We're roughly a week away from the start of the 2017 NFL free agency period and the pool of available talent is already starting to dry up. One of the key areas the Jacksonville Jaguars were likely going to target in free agency were on the defensive line, specifically at edge rusher. Three of the key potential free agents, Chandler Jones, Jason Pierre-Paul and Melvin Ingram ended up getting franchise tagged. All three would likely have been primary targets for the Jaguars, but now they're off the table.
So, what now?
I think the dream of getting an impact pass rusher, at least a starter, is probably dead in free agency with the recent franchise tags coming down and that's fine. It would have been a nice immediate shot in the arm, but the upcoming draft is deep with pass rushers and it's very likely the position the Jaguars will pick with the No. 4 overall pick, especially given how the free agent market is taking shape.
Last year the Jaguars missed on getting a free agent pass rusher and it looks like this year they will as well, at least the impact fans were looking for, but that just means the Jaguars can now shift their focus on other positions with some top level free agent talent available. The Jaguars were likely going to spend at the guard position, but now that there isn't likely a high priced pass rusher to focus on, they can put more focus on signing a guard. This also means they can spend more on the secondary, be it at the cornerback position or safety or both.
But, that doesn't mean there isn't pass rushing help still on the market they can bring in. If they want a wily veteran, there's someone like Calais Campbell on the market who can play strong side end for the Jaguars. You're very likely going to have to overpay him to get him to Jacksonville, but the Jaguars are a team who can easily afford to do so. Then you have mid-level guys like Jabaal Sheard and Devin Taylor. Both are productive pass rushers, though not likely to be that primary double-digit guy, are good players to have in rotation that aren't going to break the bank.
I'm sure you're wondering why I didn't mention Green Bay Packers linebacker Nick Perry, who ended last season with double-digit sacks, and that's simply because I don't think he can be a full-time hand in the dirt pass rusher, which is really what the Jaguars need to add in the offseason.
It was always going to be tough to sign someone like JPP, but with that option off the market it might allow the Jaguars to diversify a little more in free agency than they would have sinking the cost into JPP. But, as I mentioned, I think we can stop talking about taking a safety with the No. 4 overall pick...