The Jacksonville Jaguars have been somewhat busy during the 2020 free agency period — bringing in a few new faces, re-signing some players of their own, making trades official and placing tenders on a couple of guys.
Here is a quick recap of the notable moves so far this offseason:
- Middle linebacker Joe Schobert signs a five-year, $53.75 million deal
- Cornerback Darqueze Dennard signs a three-year, $13.5 million deal
- Defensive lineman Rodney Gunter signs a three-year, $18 million deal
- Defensive tackle Al Woods signs a one-year, $2.75 million deal
- Defensive end/outside linebacker Cassius Marsh signs a one-year deal
- Jaguars place franchise tag on defensive end Yannick Ngakoue
- Jaguars officially trade defensive end Calais Campbell to the Baltimore Ravens for a fifth-round pick and cornerback A.J. Bouye to the Denver Broncos for a fourth-round pick
- Jaguars trade quarterback Nick Foles to the Chicago Bears for a fourth-round pick
- Jaguars re-sign offensive lineman Tyler Shatley to a one-year deal
- Jaguars re-sign defensive end/special teamer Lerentee McCray
- Jaguars placed tenders on linebacker Austin Calitro (exclusive rights tender) and wide receiver Keelan Cole (second-round RFA tender).
So, the Jaguars really only made one “splash” move in free agency by signing Schobert to a large contract. The team also filled needs with veterans such as Dennard, Woods and Gunter, but should continue to use free agency and eventually the NFL Draft to bolster positions of need.
What does the national media make of some of these moves, though? Let’s take a look at several opinions:
- While many Jaguars fans are rightfully excited about the Schobert addition — a strong presence in the middle that allows Myles Jack to play a more natural position on the outside — NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund disagrees. In her NFL.com article, “2020 Free agency frenzy: 3 good moves, 3 head-scratchers,” Frelund listed Schobert’s lucrative deal as a “head-scratcher.”
“Acquisition details: Jacksonville signed Schobert to a five-year, $53.75 million deal that includes $22.5 million guaranteed.
Yes, the Jaguars entered this week with a significant need at this position. Jacksonville’s linebacker production, in terms of win share, ranked dead last in my model last season. But this deal is head-scratching due to the price tag, especially considering all of the other needs the team still has to fill. Not to mention, Schobert doesn’t exactly excel in coverage, which is more important for NFL linebackers than ever before. Schobert’s body of work shows that his 2018 proficiency in coverage was an aberration. Overall last season, PFF ranked Schobert 50th of 84 linebackers (min. 300 snaps).
Now, to be fair, my model projects that the Jags’ system will fit Schobert better. However, giving him an APY of nearly $11 million — despite the fact that Jacksonville has serious questions at other defensive positions like corner and pass rusher — creates the potential for a low return on investment.”
It’s interesting Frelund notes his pass coverage as a detriment — we tend to disagree here at Big Cat Country.
A couple other media outlets are skeptical of the move, too:
- SB Nation doesn’t love the signing in the short-term, giving the Jags a grade of “C,” however, likes the move for the long-term, handing out a “B” for the future impact.
- ESPN grades the signing as a “C-,” and thinks the Jaguars could have spent that money on other positions...as if linebacker wasn’t a major need.
Many other outlets saw this as a strong move for Jacksonville, however:
- The Sporting News grades the move as a solid “B”
- Locally, Jaguar Report gives the move an ‘A-.”
- CBSSports likes the signing, as Pete Prisco grades it as a “B+.”
- One Bleacher Report writer thinks the Cleveland Browns allowing Schobert to walk was one of the biggest mistakes in free agency. However, another Bleacher Report writer listed Schobert as one of the most “overrated” free agents this offseason.
- Dennard, who has played primarily as a nickel, will play outside cornerback with the Jaguars.
- SB Nation thinks Dennard is a solid fit on a modest deal in Jacksonville, as the Jaguars looks to replace A.J. Bouye:
“After shipping out Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, the Jaguars really need some help in their secondary. Dennard is the perfect kind of signing: he can play at a very high level if he can remain healthy. If he doesn’t, though, the Jaguars could be in a real mess. However, that risk is mitigated a bit by a deal that came at an affordable $13.5 million over the next three years.”
- The Sporting News isn’t as sold on Dennard, though, grading the move as just a “C.”
- CBSSports thinks Dennard is a pretty good signing, with a “B” grade.
- Bleacher Reports give the Jaguars a “C+” for the Nick Foles trade. The Bears received a “B+” for the deal. Um, OK, I guess?
- Similar to many Jaguars fans, SB Nation absolutely hates the Calais Campbell trade from both a short-term (“D+”) and long-term (“C”) perspective. The Ravens were awarded an “A” and “B+” for their efforts.
- SB Nation was a little bit kinder for the A.J. Bouye trade, but not by much. The Jaguars received a “C-” for the time being, and a “B-” for the future outlook. The Broncos got marks of a “B” and “C+,” respectively
- WalterFootball.com (actually) makes sense here, giving the Jaguars an “A-” for the Foles trade. The website also loves the Bouye trade from Jacksonville’s perspective (“A”) and joins the club in hating the Campbell trade (“D”).
Overall team grades for free agency:
- The New York Post gives the Jaguars a “C+”
- USA Today’s Touchdown Wire grades the team at a “B.”
- Pro Football Focus grades a little bit differently, but says the Jaguars have been “average” so far in free agency.
- Yahoo! Sports is not a fan of Jacksonville’s offseason moves thus far, currently grading the Jags as a “D-minus.”
- NFL.com’s post-free agency power rankings have the Jaguars ranked...dead last, currently.
What do you think of the free agency period for the Jaguars so far? There have not been a lot of big names signings outside of Schobert, but the team has been stocking up draft picks through trades and filling needs with veterans.
How would you grade the free agency period (thus far) for the Jaguars?
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