Want to get Jaguars news straight to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday?
Subscribe to the Keep Choppin’ Wood newsletter and get analysis, opinion, and even the occasional mac n’ cheese recipe!
Happy Thursday, everyone! We’re almost there. Just two more days until the weekend. You got this. Maybe. Hopefully.
Here’s all the Jacksonville Jaguars news that’s fit to print, or find from around the Internet.
Top safety options available in free agency
The Jaguars didn’t want to lose left tackle Cam Robinson in free agency, so they decided to use the franchise tag on him. However, the Alabama product wasn’t the only player that slapped with the tag, and three safeties, Marcus Williams, Marcus Maye, and Justin Simmons were among the ten players that got the tag this offseason.
Even though the Jaguars may have more pressing needs on defense, they can’t neglect the safety position. Jarrod Wilson will probably start at one spot, but Jacksonville needs a playmaker to line up next to him. They tried different players last season but none of them look like the long-term solution, at least not now.
If the Jaguars want to sign a safety in the open market, these will be the best three available unless they re-sign with their current teams, which could happen between now and the beginning of free agency.
NFL sets salary cap at $182.5 million for 2021 season
The NFL has officially set the 2021 salary cap at $182.5 million. As expected, it’s pretty close to the lowest possible number as communicated a few weeks ago, $180M. These numbers were set so low due to the economic decline caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
For the Jaguars, this means that their adjusted salary cap space is $73,821,714, which includes rollover from 2020, dead money, and other adjustments, according to OverTheCap.com.
This cap number also includes the franchise tag tender for left tackle Cam Robinson, officially set at $13.754M.
Urban Meyer wants to “build” around James Robinson
When Urban Meyer looks at the offense he’s setting out to build in his first year in Jacksonville, the first-time NFL coach likes some of the pieces already in-house.
Meyer noted Tuesday that undrafted running back James Robinson is one of the building blocks for 2021.
“Running back, James [Robinson], we feel pretty good about him,” Meyer said, via the team’s official transcript. “He had a good year, so we want to build a room with him being an integral part of it.”
Robinson was an unearthed gem in 2020. Leading all running backs with 86 percent of the team’s carries, the Illinois St. product finished tied for fifth in rushing yards with 1,070 despite missing the final two games of the season. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry with seven TDs.
5 free agency takeaways from Urban Meyer’s press conference
Urban Meyer met with the media for the first time since he named his coaching staff. The team’s head coach touched on several topics, including the team’s current roster and its future.
The Jaguars will head into free agency with the most cap space in the NFL, a number yet to be finalized by the NFL as of today. The team will also head into the offseason with the No. 1-overall pick in this year’s draft, likely to select former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Meyer feels there are plenty of holes to fill for the team to become competition, noting that they finished at poor 1-15 just a year ago.
Here are the big takeaways from Meyer’s pre-free agency press conference yesterday.
Top free agent pass rushers the Jaguars could sign
Free agency is less than two weeks away and it will be interesting to see what the Jaguars plan to do in the open market. They currently have many roster holes and it will curious to see which ones they will fill in free agency and which ones they will wait until the draft to address.
Black and Teal outlined the top five pass rushers we could sign in free agency here.
Jaguars want Andrew Norwell to take pay cut
As the Jaguars presumably prepare themselves to toss the keys to the franchise to yet another quarterback prospect in 2021, namely consensus No. 1 overall talent Trevor Lawrence, it seems unlikely Andrew Norwell will be around to try and protect him — the starting guard currently locked in an unpleasant conversation with head coach Urban Meyer and the team’s front office.
The 29-year-old is reportedly the target of a potential pay cut this offseason, per Albert Breer of SI.com, with the Jaguars having approached him with the goal of achieving a common ground but having yet to do so.
Urban Meyer outlines free agency and NFL Draft timeline
The Jaguars are a week away from free agency beginning… and then only a month and a half from arguably the biggest draft in franchise history, with the club owning the No. 1 overall pick.
As such, it’s not a surprise the staff under new Head Coach Urban Meyer have been deep in film study and player evaluations. It’s been something to get used to for Meyer, but a welcome change in the day-to-day aspects of the job for the first-time NFL head coach. Appearing with his former podcast host Buddy Martin for an episode of the Buddy Martin Show earlier this week, Meyer explained the foundation for the franchise’s current operation in both free agency and the NFL Draft.
Peter King: Jaguars have had “multiple” ZOOM calls with Zach Wilson
The Jaguars have had multiple Zoom calls with former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, according NBC Sports’ Peter King.
The Jaguars currently own the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
King discussed Jacksonville’s research on Wilson during an interview with ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio.
BCC Q&A: Who are the best tight ends and defensive linemen in the NFL Draft?
We had a special Q&A last week — Nathan Cooper and John Todd from Sports Info Solutions are answering your questions about the 2021 NFL Draft.
Nathan Cooper and John Todd and co-authors, editors, and head scouts for The SIS Football Rookie Handbook. You can buy the hard copy or the digital version of the book.
We’re talking anything and everything NFL Draft. Let’s get to it!
Hunter Henry would be a perfect free agent signing
Jacksonville has more than $82 million in cap space to work with, so it stands to reason that we can expect the Jaguars to be big spenders during free agency this offseason. Coming off a 1-15 season that granted them the first overall pick, they obviously have a lot of areas on the roster that need to be addressed.
It’s likely that the Jaguars will try to address the offensive and defensive trenches, but with a young receiving corps that is promising (albeit potentially missing a piece or two), it could try to give Lawrence an elite target in the passing game. NFL.com thinks it has the answer.
In a rundown of the best free agent fits for each AFC team, the Jaguars were matched with tight end Hunter Henry.
Jaguars to enter 2021 with fourth-highest adjusted cap
The Jaguars got more good news this week as it pertains to their standing with the salary cap heading into the 2021 offseason.
ESPN’s Field Yates reported the finalized adjusted cap figures for each NFL team on Thursday, numbers that are officially set 14 days before the league year each season. The Jaguars, predictably, are among the teams with the highest adjusted salary cap figure, meaning their cap room this offseason is actually set to be more than whatever the cap ceiling will ultimately be set at.
Under CBA rules first implemented in 2011, teams are allowed to carry unused cap space into the following season. The Jaguars are bringing an extra $26,740,156 to the table this offseason, the fourth-highest among all teams.
Allen Robinson wants to play with Trevor Lawrence
The Jaguars have a couple of good wide receivers in Laviska Shenault and DJ Chark. However, they could round out their receiving corps by signing Allen Robinson, who will arguably be one of the best free agents available this offseason and has positive things to say about Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the projected first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Robinson recently appeared in The Chris Collinsworth’s Podcast to talk about this future. When discussing what kind of team he would like to join, he says that he has never really focused on who’s throwing the ball, and instead, he strives to be the best player he can be and wants to make an impact on the team he’s playing for.
Later in the sit-down, Robinson was asked about the odds of re-joining the Jaguars and his thoughts on Lawrence. The Penn State product says he’s not opposed to anything, that everything is on the table, and that it’d be great playing with the next NFL Prodigy of the quarterback position. He believes the Clemson standout will be an outstanding player in the NFL and mentions that he’s seeing players transcend the quarterback position based on their athleticism and the ability to make off-schedule throws.
Why Alex Smith is the ideal backup for Trevor Lawrence
For the first time since Alex Smith was the top pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, the veteran quarterback is reportedly set to be a free agent and be given to chance to pick his own team and path.
And going off just simple reasoning, there is evidence to think that team and path may be in Jacksonville.
Jamison Crowder could lowkey be a great signing for this team
The Jaguars may need to replenish their wide receiver corps if Keelan Cole and Chris Conley walk away in free agency. Although there are going to be plenty of options in the open market, there may be another one if the New York Jets release wide receiver Jamison Crowder.
Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports recently wrote about 25 potential big-name cap casualties and Crowder made the cut. Benjamin says that the Jets don’t really need to cut the wide receiver but then adds that they may not be inclined to keep him at his current salary. He’s set to count $11.37 million against the cap and could free up $10.37 million in cap space with a $1 million dead cap hit.
Benjamin believes Crowder is not spectacular but could fill the role of a No. 3 wide receiver — and that could make him a solid signing for this Jaguars team.
Estimating Leonard Williams’ price tag in free agency
The Jacksonville Jaguars lead the NFL in total cap space with over $78.7 million available to be spent this offseason. Given defensive struggles during the 2020 season, especially against the run, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team allocate at least some of that capital toward free-agent upgrades along the defensive line.
If Jacksonville wants to bring an immediate upgrade to its interior defensive line while also securing an answer for the long term, now is the time to do it. And if that’s the route it wants to go down, there’s one clear-cut option: Giants defensive end Leonard Williams. According to Spotrac, Williams’ market value is a five-year, $56.3 million contract. However, in their predictions post, they have Williams down for a four-year $80 million deal similar to that of Chris Jones, who has an average salary of $20 million.
What will it take for the Jaguars to sign Williams?
4 replacements at tight end for Tyler Eifert
The Jaguars need to give their roster a make-over after finishing 1-15 in 2020 and it seems like the first domino is about to fall. They will decline the 2021 team option on tight end Tyler Eifert’s contract, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media. The team will free up $5.2 million in cap space this year while the Notre Dame product will become a free agent.
The decision didn’t come as a surprise as Eifert failed to have an impact on the field, hauling in 26 receptions for 349 yards and two touchdowns. While these aren’t bad numbers, this is not the kind of production a team should expect from a number one tight end, especially one making $5.2 million.
The Jaguars are set to have $77 million in cap space, so they could easily afford to pay Eifert’s salary this season. Nevertheless, they could use the space they save on other position groups or to sign an upgrade in free agency. While the Jaguars could trade up to take Kyle Pitts in the draft or take Pat Freiermuth late in the first round or early in the second, the open market will offer a few enticing options the Jacksonville should consider adding.