The Jacksonville Jaguars signed free agent offensive lineman Stefaen Wisniewski last week to a one-year deal. "Wiz" was a player that was still on the market, surprising to many experts, but when it was revealed he was dealing with recovering from a torn labrum he suffered during the 2014 season, it turned a lot of teams away.
In fact, Wiz said that he had a long term offer on the table from his former team, the Oakland Raiders, during the season but he wanted to wait to sign anything.
"They [Oakland] made a good offer in November and it was a good offer, but at the time, there was a lot of uncertainty there working with an interim coach. There was a lot of uncertainty of who the coach was going to be in the future," Wisniewski told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday. "Me and my agents said we would rather have this conversation after the season when we kind of know what’s more settled. Obviously, they brought in a completely new staff and their staff wanted to go in a different direction."
Wiz made many visits late in free agency as teams wanted to assess where he was at with his shoulder before investing, but he noted that he was impressed with Gus Bradley and his vision, which was part of why he decided on signing with the Jaguars.
While Wisniewski had shoulder surgery in January to repair a torn labrum, he plans to be ready for training camp and to become a starter on the Jaguars offensive line.
"My plan is to be a starter. I think the coaches might say they want me to compete," Wisniewski said on Tuesday. "I have been a starter since I’ve been in this league and I expect to continue to be one. If I have to compete to get there, that is fine, however that works out."
The most likely spot Wiz will compete to start is at the center position, with second-year man Luke Bowanko. In the past, Wiz has shown himself to be a high caliber player at the center position and he has a chance to earn a long-term deal in Jacksonville if he can get healthy and prove himself, much like general manager Dave Caldwell did with Sen'Derrick Marks when he was first signed.
Wisniewski also has experience playing the guard position, but the most likely scenario is he's competing at center. Though, we could see a situation where there is a three-way battle for two spots, between Wisniewski, Bowanko and Zane Beadles.