One of the more gut wrenching injuries for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the injury riddled 2018 season was at the hands of wide receiver Marqise Lee. Lee has dealt with nagging injuries the past few seasons since coming out of college and was set to be in a role for the primary receiver after the Jaguars let Allen Robinson walk in free agency and release Allen Hurns.
Lee had just signed a new four-year, $38 million deal in the offseason only to have his knee exploded in the third preseason game of the 2018 season against the Atlanta Falcons. At the time, it felt like a blow the Jaguars could absorb because they had relied so much on the legs of Leonard Fournette and the then-thought-to-be emerging Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook, plus the team had signed Donte Moncreif in free agency... but...
That didn’t work.
We have not heard much about Lee’s recovery this offseason, which generally I think is more of a good thing than a bad thing, because if there’s no injury news typically it means things are “on schedule”. I didn’t think the Jaguars would really look to bolster the wide receiver position unless there were concerns about Lee’s recovery and the only move the team made was signing Chris Conley, which to me is a “just in case” type of signing.
At the NFL owner’s meetings Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone mentioned that Lee probably wouldn’t be ready until near the end of training camp/the preseason, which in all honesty isn’t shocking and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lee begin training camp on the PUP list.
“Here’s what I like about Marqise Lee: Every time I talk to him, he’s feeling better, he has a smile on his face, and he’s dying to get back,” Marrone said at the owner’s meetings a week ago. “I think when you see players that are injured and have that type of mentality or expression, that makes you feel good as a coach. He’s excited. He’s getting ready to go. Obviously, we lost a lot last year when we lost him.”
Endearingly nicknamed the “White Tiger”, Lee has always kept a positive outlook with his injuries and coming back from them. Most of the time they’ve been nagging hamstring or soft tissue injuries, but as it sounds right now he’s on track to possibly return by the season opener.
I don’t expect the Jaguars to use an early round pick on a wide receiver unless someone absolutely falls in their lap, but if they do snap one up early it probably means they have some concerns on the Lee return timeline.
(Editor note: Whoops. Had a busy week this week. Back in full gear now.)