NFL free agency: Jaguars will have to pay if they want Michael Johnson

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

With Everson Griffen off the market, if the Jacksonville Jaguars want to sign Michael Johnson they're going to have to open the checkbook.

The 2014 free agent pass rushing class is slowly dwindling, as Everson Griffen has just been re-signed by the Minnesota Vikings. Griffen didn't just re-sign, he got paid to the tune of a five-year deal worth $42.5 million with $20 million in guaranteed money.

This deal sets the baseline market for a pass rusher in free agency, which means if the Jacksonville Jaguars want anything to do with Michael Johnson they're very likely going to have to pay him more than what Griffen just got. In all likelihood a deal for Johnson is going to look something like five years for $50 million with about $25 million guaranteed.

"This is not a Wayne Weaver-led organization any more. [Owner] Shad [Khan] wants to win and he didn't pay all that money for that ball club to watch them do nothing," a league source told Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union. "Overpaying $1 million for a guy is chump change for a guy like Shad."

I don't think the Jaguars would be against paying that, either, if they truly thought he could add that much to their pass rush. As it stands right now, before factoring in the Red Bryant deal, the Jaguars have about $53 million in cap room after re-signing Chad Henne and the other RFA and ERFA players.

The team could certainly afford it and if they're going to target Johnson they're going to have to over pay, as well as afford a starting guard or two. Fact of the matter is, you're not going to get a starting caliber pass rusher for cheap in the free agent market.

In fact, it might be more beneficial for a team to jump at Johnson, Michael Bennett or Lamarr Houston on Tuesday and offer something in the range of five years for $50 million with about $25 million guaranteed to see if one of them will take it. It's going to be a game of chicken to see the first team willing to offer it up and the first player willing to take it, as as soon as one of those three sign the other two will likely use that new deal as the base line instead of Griffens.

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