Right now, other than the recent announcement that the Jacksonville Jaguars will be playing two “home” games in London in 2020 (and fans are fighting to keep as many games in Jacksonville as possible), and a couple of staff changes, there isn’t a whole lot of news and content going on outside of mock drafts galore.
With the meat of offseason on the horizon, let’s have some fun and go over key free agents the Jaguars may target in March. We will do this in a unique, A-to-Z format, similar to what we have done with training camp in the past. Just a couple quick notes, that the letters may refer to first or last names of players, and certain letters may have “honorable mentions” (players that are perhaps less likely to join Jacksonville for a variety of reasons, but will be available).
Jacksonville has a lot of needs — offensive line, wide receiver, tight end, defensive line (particularly defensive tackle), cornerback and linebacker stand out. The Jags need to make some cuts and re-structure contracts to clear cap space, as the team has very little of it at the moment, but that shouldn’t be too hard to do for the front office. So I’ll try to stick to players (mostly) in these position groups, which is still quite a variety. You’re not going to see any quarterbacks on this list, for example.
Of course, not all of these players will make it to free agency — some will be re-signed by their current teams, some will be tagged (franchise, transition, etc) and some may even retire. But as of now, here are players that may be available at the start of free agency in March, and players the Jags could have interest in, in alphabetical order.
And of course, the Jaguars won’t have interest or try to sign each of these players mentioned. This is just a fun exercise. So, here we go:
A: Robby Anderson, WR, New York Jets: The Jaguars should look to add a play-making receiver alongside D.J. Chark Jr. this offseason. Anderson is a speedy receiver that can stretch the field for Gardner Minshew II (or Nick Foles). Anderson has expressed his desire to stay in New York, but he is looking for $10 million annually, which the Jets are unlikely to be able to afford. Jacksonville may not want to pay that much for Anderson, either, but it’s not unreasonable to take a look.
Honorable mentions: Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys, Mario Addison, OLB, Carolina Panters & Artie Burns, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers
B: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, Houston Texans: The Jaguars had strong interest in Mingo in 2018, but he chose to sign with the Seattle Seahawks. He was then traded to the Houston Texans in 2019 in the Jadeveon Clowney deal. In need of serious linebacker help/edge rushing depth, Jacksonville could take another run at him in 2020, however Mingo has just one sack combined in the past two seasons and although he played in all 16 games, he only started one for Houston.
Honorable mentions: Brandon Scherff, OG, Washington Redskins, Beau Allen, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers & Bashaud Breeland, CB, Kansas City Chiefs
C: Maliek Collins, DT, Dallas Cowboys: The Jaguars were abysmal against the run in 2019, especially without Marcell Dareus in the lineup. If Dareus is a cap casualty for the Jags this offseason, there will be a big hole in the interior of the defensive line. Collins has been a starter for the Cowboys since being drafted in 2016, and often played the 1-technique, run-stuffing, role there. With a new coaching staff in Dallas, Collins is likely to reach free agency. Honorable mentions: Jadeveon Clowney, DE/OLB, Seattle Seahawks & Jack Conklin, OT, Tennessee Titans
D: Danny Trevathan, ILB, Chicago Bears: Again, the Jaguars need linebacker help. Myles Jack has played the middle linebacker position for the past couple of seasons, but he has had his fair amount of struggles there and seems to be a more natural fit at the WILL position. Bringing in a veteran like Trevathan — who has 609 career tackles and nine career sacks —and moving Jack to the outside could do wonders for the linebacking corps. However, Trevathan suffered a serious elbow injury in 2019, so his medicals would need to clear.
Honorable mentions: Devin Funchess, WR, Indianapolis Colts, Ronald Darby, CB, Buffalo Bills & Bud Dupree, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers
E: Eric Ebron, tight end, Indianapolis Colts: I’ve seen a lot of interest for Ebron amongst Jaguars fans. As a person who has watched a lot of Detroit Lions games, I don’t think that’s the right choice. He drops balls at a high rate — and that problem did not go away in Indianapolis, as he had 14 drops in 27 games with the Colts. Ebron is not exactly known as a good run blocker, either. There are better options at tight end. But the Jags, may be able to sign him to a cheap deal.
Honorable mentions: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Seattle Seahawks & Eli Apple, CB, New Orleans Saints
F: Kendal Fuller, CB, Kansas City Chiefs: With Jalen Ramsey out of town, and A.J. Bouye as a potential cap cut this offseason, the Jags will need to bolster the cornerback position. Fuller, who just turned 25 last week, helped the Chiefs win Super Bowl LIV earlier this month. He played in 11 games with four starts in 2019 for KC. Fuller also played under head coach Jay Gruden — Jacksonville’s new offensive coordinator — for the Washington Redskins in 2016 and 2017.
Honorable mention: Dante Fowler Jr., DE/OLB, Los Angeles Rams — Haha, could you imagine?
G: Markus Golden, OLB, New York Giants: Another linebacker target the Jaguars should look into. Golden started his career with the Arizona Cardinals, before signing a one-year deal with the Giants in 2019. He’s also a pass-rushing threat. In his first year in New York, Golden recorded 10 sacks (he has 29 career sacks in five seasons), along with 72 total tackles, including 13 tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery touchdown. He started all 16 games for the Giants.
Honorable mentions: A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals & Gerald McCoy, DL, Carolina Panthers
H: Hunter Henry, tight end, Los Angeles Chargers/Austin Hooper, tight end, Atlanta Falcons: The Jaguars must upgrade the tight end position this offseason. Henry and Hooper are arguably the most talented tight ends of the free agent group and both players are still only 25-years-old. The Falcons have been non-committal about re-signing Hooper, and after a breakout season in 2019, he is going to command a lot of money, which is bad for the Jags. Meanwhile, Henry could be a somewhat cheaper option. He’s caught 136 passes and 17 touchdowns in 41 games with the Chargers, but has dealt with many injuries, including an ACL tear in 2018.
Honorable mentions: Chris Harris, CB, Denver Broncos, Haha Clinton-Dix, FS, Chicago Bears & Shelby Harris, DT, Denver Broncos
I: Mike Iupati, OG, Seattle Seahawks: Well, there weren’t many choices for the letter “I,” but Iupati is a four-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro. He is entering his 11th year in the league, and will turn 33 in May, but Iupati started 15 games in 2019 and can still play. He should be a cheap one or two-year contract, and can provide stability or at least depth to the interior offensive line.
J: Jimmy Smith, CB, Baltimore Ravens: Smith has stated his desire to stay in Baltimore, and John Harbaugh has mentioned wanting to keep him there as well. If he does reach the open market, he will likely demand more money than someone like Kendall Fuller. Smith has dealt with many injuries in his career, but when he is on the field he makes plays — 14 interceptions and 70 passes defended in 107 games. Jacksonville may have interest if he’s available.
Honorable mentions: Josh Norman, CB, Washington Redskins, Joe Schobert, LB, Cleveland Browns & Jimmie Ward, FS, San Francisco 49ers
K: Eric Kush, OG, Cleveland Browns: Kush is a veteran entering his eighth NFL season, and has bounced around several teams. He’s played in 49 career games with 19 starts, including seven starts with the Browns in 2019. He may not be an instant-starter for the Jaguars if he’s brought in, but he could at least provide some competition for the interior of the offensive line.
Honorable mention: Ryan Kalil, C, New York Jets
L: Cory Littleton, ILB, Los Angeles Rams: If the Jaguars are looking to move Jack back to the outside, and add a new player at MIKE, Littleton is intriguing. He’s played as the inside linebacker in LA’s 3-4 front throughout his career, so there may be a bit of transition into defensive coordinator Todd Wash’s 4-3 scheme, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue for an inside linebacker. After going undrafted in 2016, he was a Pro Bowler and All-Pro selection in 2018.
Honorable mentions: Logan Ryan, CB, Tennessee Titans, Darron Lee, ILB, Kansas City Chiefs & LeSean McCoy, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
M: Michael Brockers, DT, Los Angeles Rams: The Jaguars need to upgrade the defensive tackle spot. Brockers has spent his whole career with the Rams, and has been used as both as defensive tackle and defensive end. He has 23 career sacks, but his strengths lie in his ability to stop the run, which is something the Jags desperately need. In fact, Brockers’ All-Pro teammate Aaron Donald called him “one of the best run stoppers in the National Football League.” He would also need to transition from a 3-4 scheme.
Honorable mention: Rodney McLeod, FS, Philadelphia Eagles & Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
N: Nigel Bradham, OLB, Philadelphia Eagles: Bradham, who played his college ball at Florida State, was recently cut by the Eagles and will be 31 in September, but would provide a veteran presence in a linebackers room that really needs it. He spent the first four years of his career with the Buffalo Bills before spending the previous four in Philly. He has accumulated 609 career tackles, 34 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, 33 passes defended and three interceptions in 115 career games (96 starts).
Honorable mention: Ndamukong Suh, DL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
O: Patrick Onwuasor, ILB, Baltimore Ravens: We’ve mentioned many linebackers here that could come in and start right away, but Onwuasor would likely be a depth signing with a chance to a compete for a starting role. Onwuasor was signed by the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2016 and had a breakout year in 2017 with 90 tackles and 13 starts. He then started 12 games in 2018, and then just six in 2019 (although he played in 14). He’s seemed to fall out of favor in Baltimore and should be available.
P: Michael Pierce, DT, Baltimore Ravens: Another Raven the Jaguars should have interest in is defensive tackle Michael Pierce. A huge presence, even when he doesn’t make the play, Pierce eats up gaps and takes on blocks, freeing other defenders to make stops. Another undrafted gem, Pierce has 151 tackles, 3.5 sacks and four fumble recoveries in 60 games. The Jaguars could sign him for less than $5 million per year (though unlikely).
Honorable mention: Andrus Peat, OG, New Orleans Saints, Payton Barber, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers & Jordan Phillips, DT, Buffalo Bills
Q: Quinton Spain, OG, Buffalo Bills: The Jags could look to cut Andrew Norwell and his large contract this offseason, although it’s unlikely as that would cost Jacksonville $9 million in dead cap. If that happens Spain could be a replacement option at left guard. Or perhaps Spain could swing over to the right side — which was platooned between A.J. Cann and Will Richardson in 2019. Either way, the offensive line could use help.
Honorable mention: Robert Quinn, DE, Dallas Cowboys
R: Paul Richardson, WR, Washington Redskins: Richardson also played under Gruden in Washington in 2018 and part of 2019. Could there be a reunion in Duval? Richardson could be a relatively cheap veteran who would provide another option in the passing game. He has caught 143 balls for 1,809 yards and 12 touchdowns in 64 career games with the Redskins and Seattle Seahawks. He would likely play on the outside opposite of Chark.
Honorable mentions: Bradley Roby, CB, Houston Texans, D.J. Reader, DT, Houston Texans, Theo Riddick, RB, Denver Broncos & A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Detroit Lions
S: Shaquil Barrett, OLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It would be surprising if the Bucs let Barrett walk, as either the franchise tag or a long-term deal is likely coming his way. Even if he did reach the open market, Barrett would command a lot of money after his 19.5-sack campaign in 2019, so it’s probably out of reach for Jacksonville. But let me, dream.
Honorable mentions: Jabaal Sheard, DE/OLB, Indianapolis Colts & Emmanuel Sanders, WR, San Francisco 49ers
T: Tyer Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals: Eifert is another veteran tight end option who the Jaguars could look to sign to a somewhat modest contract. He’s shown his talent in Cincinnati, including a 13-touchdown campaign in 2015. However, Eifert has struggled with injuries throughout his career and will turn 30 in September. Perhaps pairing Eifert with 2019 draft pick Josh Olver, and maybe even a 2020 rookie tight end, could bring stability to the position group — as long as Eifert stays healthy. Eifert also played under Gruden, when Gruden was offensive coordinator for the Bengals in 2013.
Honorable mentions: Trae Waynes, CB, Minnesota Vikings, Tony Jefferson, SS, Baltimore Ravens & Chris Thompson, RB, Washington Redskins
U: Unrestricted free agents for Jaguars: The Jaguars have several unrestricted free agents in 2020: D.J. Alexander, Preston Brown, Seth DeValve, Najee Goode, Benjamin Ijalana, Ben Koyack, Yannick Ngakoue, Nick O’Leary, Cediric Ogbuehi, Tyler Shatley and Akeem Spence. Who will stay (one better be Ngakoue) and who will go? Big Cat Country’s Demetrius Harvey discusses that topic in more depth here.
V: Kyle Van Noy, ILB, New England Patriots: After a less than stellar start to his career with the Detroit Lions, Van Noy reinvigorated his career in New England, where he helped bring two more Super Bowl titles to. The Patriots have a history of letting players walk in free agency. That said, Van Noy seems to play better in the 3-4 system so Jacksonville may not be a great match for him, but with an 83.6 overall grade in 2019 from Pro Football Focus, he’s worth a look.
Honorable mentions: Jared Veldheer, OT, Green Bay Packers & Vernon Hargraves, CB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
W: Daryl Williams, OT, Carolina Panthers: We haven’t discussed too many offensive tackles. Williams could come in and provide depth at right tackle or swing tackle or even compete with Cam Robinson at left tackle. Robinson struggled in 2019, coming off of an ACL tear in 2018. Right tackle should be set with Jawaan Taylor, but Williams could push him there. If players like Ogbuehi and Ijalana aren’t back, the Jags will need to add capable tackles. Williams has started 41 games with 56 appearances.
Honorable mentions: Andrew Whitworth, OT, Los Angeles Rams & Daryl Worley, CB, Washington Redskins
X: Xavier Williams, DT, Kansas City Chiefs. Williams could add depth at the defensive tackle position and is a big presence at 6-foot-2, 309 pounds. The Jaguars need a run-stuffing nose tackle type, and Williams fits the bill, even if he doesn’t start full-time. He spent most of 2019 on injured reserve with an ankle injury. After going undrafted in 2015, Williams has played in 44 career games with six starts.
Y: Yannick Ngakoue, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars. We briefly mentioned Ngakoue above, but he deserves his own section. Re-signing the talented defensive end is a big, if not the biggest, priority for both Jaguars’ brass and fans alike this offseason. The team can chose to franchise tag him to buy more time to get a long-term deal together, but OverTheCap.com projects a tag cost of about $19.3 million for the defensive end position in 2020. The team has until March 10 to designate the franchise tag on Ngakoue. Just get it done, Jaguars!
Z: Zach Kerr, DT, Arizona Cardinals: Yet another former UDFA who has made a solid career for himself in the NFL. Kerr is a 311-pounder who adds beef and depth to the interior defensive line. He’s played in 75 games with 12 starts (including three starts and 12 appearances in 2019) since entering the league in 2014, amassing 135 total tackles and 7.5 sacks in that time. He could be a cheap pickup for Jacksonville.