In surprise move, the Jacksonville Jaguars brought back wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker after he was released by the St. Louis Rams. It's a good move in two phases outside of anything else, you get a decent wide receiver for veteran minimum because the Rams are still on the hook for the contract Sims-Walker signed in free agency. You also get a receiver who knows the playbook and should be able to step in right away without much of a hiccup, other than getting used to playing with rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
He struggled last season seeing his numbers from the previous season dip significantly and also missed some games. "I was just out there for the team. They asked me to go out there playing and I tried to fight through as best I could, tried to get shot up, whatever it took for me to go out there and help my team win. I struggled but I was out there," Sims-Walker told ESPN 101 in St. Louis when he signed with the Rams. "That probably was my roughest season I played in. A lot of guys probably didn't know I was hurt, but I was out there at maybe 75 percent at best."
Sims-Walker does offer a bigger target than the other Jaguars receivers outside of Kassim Osgood. While Sims-Walker doesn't have the greatest hands, he can run all the routes successfully. What I mean by that is, when a guy like Jason Hill runs a slant over the middle this years, he's had trouble catching the football. I don't want to say he's afraid of going over the middle of the field, but he clearly isn't fond of it. Hill's best bet is running deeper routes down the field and along the sideline. A guy like Sims-Walker is a "slant" receiver. He's a bigger guy at 6'2" 215 pounds and doesn't mind getting hit.
The biggest area Sims-Walker will help out will be allowing the other receivers to play their more natural positions. I'm not sure if the Jaguars will do it, but Sims-Walker will likely play as an outside receiver. This could allow for the Jaguars, who've run a lot more 3-4 receiver sets with Gabbert to move Mike Thomas into the slot, which seems to be the spot that will best utilize his talents. At the other outside receiver spot, you can trot out either Hill or Jarett Dillard. Thomas, who's been forced into the team's number one receiver role has put up okay numbers (27 catches for 301 yards), he's been limited predominantly to short passing routes and wide receiver screens.
"Mike (Sims-Walker) gets a chance to come back in, make some plays, help us win, play a role," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said on his radio show. "From that standpoint, I think it's a good fit for him. Good opportunity for us to acquire a veteran player at a position we have not been real strong to start the year."
I'm not going to say Sims-Walker is the "fix" for the Jaguars wide receiver woes, because he's not, but he does open some things up as mentioned. It's a perfect signing to try and add something to the offense. In 2009, Sims-Walker lead the Jaguars 63 passes for 869 yards and 7 touchdowns. Last season, Sims-Walker had 43 catches for 562 yards and 7 touchdowns in 14 games, playing with a high-ankle sprain for much of the season. Through four games with the Rams, Sims-Walker had 11 catches for 139 yards.