The Jacksonville Jaguars signed former Cleveland Browns free safety Tashaun Gipson to a five-year, $35.5 million deal this offseason. But Gipson wasn't the Jaguars lone target to improve the back end of the defense.
Jimmy Kempski of the Philly Voice reported that the Jaguars, among other teams, made offers to Rodney McLeod, who would end up signing a five-year, $37 million deal.
Rodney McLeod had offers in free agency from the Jaguars, Browns, and Buccaneers. Offers were similar to Eagles' offer, money-wise.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) June 3, 2016
The fact that the Jaguars not only had interest but also offered the 25-year-old McLeod a contract near $37 million makes sense for a number of reasons. I can't say with any certainty what the plans were for McLeod. They might have seen him as a strong safety. I have no idea.
The Jaguars' two weakest positions on defense outside of Defensive End last season were both Free Safety and Strong Safety. Gipson solves the free safety problem, but strong safety is still a huge toss up, so McLeod would make sense if he was looked at as an option there.
Johnathan Cyprien has three years of experience in the system but has never developed into the playmaker or even steady starter that the Jaguars thought they were getting when they selected him in the second round. James Sample was a fourth-round pick who only made it through a few games in his rookie season until he was lost for the year due to injury. He is also changing positions from free safety to strong safety.
Going into the season with two players who have yet to show anything that suggests that they can be dependable starters means that there is still a hole at the position, one they seemed to want to fill with McLeod.
But McLeod was also signed before Gipson was, so maybe he was No. 1 on the Jaguars list for free safety? Who knows. Either way, they wanted him on their squad.