The Jacksonville Jaguars brought in free agent Greg Hardy for a visit this past week, doing their due diligence on the free agent in case anything comes up in the future. The reports were the Jaguars didn't have any plans of offering Hardy a contract, which is good, but the fact that the team brought him in for a visit should be a little bit of a red flag about the team's feeling on the pass rush heading into the season.
I've written in the past and been labeled a hater about the concerns with the Jaguars pass rush, particularly from the edge, but the Jaguars doing their homework on someone like Hardy shows that they have the same concerns. The players the team has at the edge rusher position collectively had played in a total of 13 games, as Chris Smith is the only one with NFL experience now that Ryan Davis has been moved to linebacker.
The Jaguars were aggressive in NFL free agency trying to improve the pass rush, signing Malik Jackson to a massive contract and even offering Olivier Vernon as massive deal to see him choose to sign with the New York Giants instead. The team tried to sign Robert Ayers as well, but the market for an edge rusher was pretty thin. The Jaguars knew it was an issue however, but the only way they could address it was with picking Yannick Ngakoue in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Now, this isn't to say that the Jaguars pass rush from the edge position is bad, because we don't know. That is the problem however, is we/they don't know what they have and bringing in someone like Hardy, even to kick the tires, show that they have their concerns as well heading into the season.
Not only does it show some concerns with the unproven pass rush, but it also leans to the pressure to win this season being very real. If general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley were as safe as some people think, they wouldn't have even kicked the tires. When you're under pressure to win however, you start to calculate if risks are worth it, and that's exactly what something like this was.
I ultimately don't expect the Jaguars sign Hardy and I certainly hope they don't, for reasons I don't feel I should need to explain at this point. However, my concerns about the pass rush are still there and it appears the team shares those concerns. As I said, it's not because I/they think it will be bad, but it's a complete unknown, and the unknown is scary.