The 2014 NFL free agency period officially begins at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 11. At that time players can sign with new teams. Teams can begin negotiations with impending free agents on Saturday, March 8 however, during the "legal tampering" period.
So where do the Jacksonville Jaguars stand as free agency is about to begin? Here's a look at their salary cap situation, including cap space, which current Jaguars are scheduled to be free agents and which players and positions the Jaguars will likely target when the clock strikes.
The 2014 salary cap for all 32 NFL teams has been set at $133 million. The Jaguars are in excellent shape in regards to the NFL cap, having an estimated $59 million in cap room to spend if they so desire, according to Over The Cap. The team could create some more salary cap if they release veteran defensive end Jason Babin, as some expect, which would ad another $6.175 million to their total, bringing it to around $65 million.
Jaguars Free Agents
The Jaguars have 14 pending free agents that could hit the open market on Tuesday, including the recently released Uche Nwaneri. The team has already signed three of their impending free agents in Cameron Bradfield, Clay Harbor and Sam young, all of whom are not included in the 13. The headliners for the 13 free agents are running back Maurice Jones-Drew and quarterback Chad Henne, the latter of which is expected to re-sign with the team before the start of free agency.
The rest of the Jaguars free agents are as follows: Brad Meester, Brandon Deaderick, Kyle Love, Jordan Todman (RFA), Austin Pasztor (ERFA), Will Blackmon, Allen Reisner (RFA), Mike Brown (ERFA), Ryan Davis (ERFA), Delone Carter, and Will Ta'ufo'uo (ERFA).
It does not appear that Maurice Jones-Drew will be back with the Jaguars, unless he gets absolutely zero play in free agency and comes back on an incentive-based short-term deal.
Offense: On the offensive side of the ball the Jaguars desperately need help at quarterback and on the interior of the offensive line. The team does not have an adequate starter at right guard, center or left guard currently on the roster (as far as we know). It's very likely the Jaguars will push hard for at least one, probably two, starters at these positions early on in free agency.
On the quarterback front, as mentioned Chad Henne is likely to be re-signed but other than that the free agent market is pretty drab.
The Jaguars could also use some help at the wide receiver position, but in the current free agent market it looks like bargain shopping on some low-risk deals will be the best option.
Defense: On the defensive side of the ball the Jaguars are in dire need of pass rushers, in any and all forms. The team will likely look to sign a LEO end, such as Michael Johnson, and possibly a pass rushing linebacker to add to the mix. Linebacker is another position of need, but the team can likely get by with what they have currently and supplementing in the NFL Draft.
Lamarr Houston: The former Oakland Raiders defensive lineman could hit the open market and at only 26 years old, could be right in that age-range the Jaguars are likely looking for.
Michael Bennett: While not a pure LEO, he's show he's effective in the Seahawks defensive system so he should be effective for the Jaguars.
Michael Johnson: For my money, Johnson is probably the best fit for the Jaguars defensive scheme on the open market.
Everson Griffen: An under the radar pass rusher the Jaguars could pounce on early, if he's on their wish list.
O'Brien Schofield: Could be a fit at the SAM linebacker/second LEO role at just 26 years old.
Jon Asamoah: The 25 year old could be a good value signing for the Jaguars, who run a zone blocking scheme.
Geoff Schwartz: Can play both guard positions and even right tackle if necessary.
Evan Dietrich-Smith: A smaller offensive center suited for a zone blocking scheme, who could be right up the Jaguars alley.