The Jacksonville Jaguars fell to 2-7 on the 2016 season, which is nowhere close to where anyone thought they would be headed into the season. The Jaguars have now lost three games in a row and a road trip to Detroit to take on the Lions doesn’t seem to promising. It’s likely the Jaguars end up with something like four wins, maybe, so what exactly is the point of the rest of the 2016 season?
Going forward, the rest of the season is about getting some answers for 2017, because you have a lot of questions. We’ll talk about if the general manager will change later, because I think it needs to, but just in general the team needs to do a lot of self-evaluation for the upcoming offseason.
The first big question is about quarterback Blake Bortles and what happens going forward. I do think Bortles will be on the roster next season and likely the starter, regardless of who is in charge. Like they did with Luke Joeckel, the Jaguars will have to make a decision to pick up Bortles’ fifth-year option. I don’t think they will, or should. You still have the franchise tag option if Bortles suddenly comes back next year and plays more like he did in 2015, but as it stands right now you can’t take that option and risk being on the hook for a big guaranteed salary. Look at what happened with Washington and Robert Griffin III. At this point, I think Bortles is probably a lost cause and we’re past the point of him being salvageable. He appears to be in his own head and just making things worse, because there is a lot more going on than just his throwing motion, which is probably the least of his issues.
The other questions are about some of the free agents the Jaguars have brought on and some of the older aging veterans. Who do you keep? Is this the end of the string for guys like Jared Odrick, Sen’Derrick Marks, Paul Posluszny, Tyson Alualu, Davon House, Roy Miller and perhaps Julius Thomas? The Jaguars salary cap going forward is extremely healthy, so they can keep all these players if they want, but will the inevitable new coach want to keep them? It’s likely the Jaguars run a completely different defensive scheme, so it’s unlikely all of the heavy defensive lineman will be necessary.
Then you have to make a determination on some of the draft picks that you may need to re-sign. I think it’s obvious you keep Telvin Smith, should be a no brainer. Johnathan Cyprien, while I think has been a lot better this season, is probably someone you can let walk. Aaron Colvin is an interesting one, because I think if the money is right you can re-sign him, but I’m not sure he’s played well enough to warrant a must keep. On the offensive side of the ball I think you re-sign Brandon Linder and then you have to make a decision on Allen Robinson. Personally, I’d keep him because I do still believe he’s a very good receiver in the NFL.
The big question is Marqise Lee, but I think he’s someone you let hit free agency. Yeah, he’s having a better season this year but it’s really not anything special. You can find a Marqise Lee type in the draft every year and I think the skill set of Robinson is harder to find than that of Lee.
The team has to do a lot of self-evaluation in the final seven games of the season and make some difficult decisions for the future.