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The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock. Man, does it feel good to say that!
With the official salary cap for the 2021 season at a modest $182.5M, the NFL has set the standard for how much money teams will be eligible to spend this offseason, and Jacksonville will likely be one of the teams spending big, for a plethora of reasons.
The Jaguars, according to OverTheCap, are the team with the most cap room available with an effective $73,669,714 in cap space. The figure includes the franchise tag tender that has yet to be signed by left tackle Cam Robinson, officially set at $13,754,000.
Jacksonville doesn’t plan to hold onto much of the money, and according to general manager Trent Baalke, the team will ensure to “push the envelope” in regards to the amount of cap space the team spends over a three-year rolling period of time.
“We have an ownership that’s willing to do that and we want to do that, so we’re going to use the dollars,” Baalke told members of the media on Wednesday.
The team’s general manager did make sure to emphasis, however, the need for value throughout the course of free agency. Essentially, the team isn’t going to spend big on a player just to spend big in general, a typical concept that most teams gravitate towards.
“We’re looking for value. That isn’t always the most expensive player. There’s all different levels of ‘like.’ When we say we like a player, to what level and what value do we place on him? So, that’s going to be critical as we build this team out moving forward is making sure we get the value of the position and the player correct.”
The Jaguars are a team with a myriad of holes on its roster. The team is prepared to spend the No. 1 overall pick on a franchise quarterback, likely Trevor Lawrence, and they’ve alluded to as much plenty of times throughout the offseason. Jacksonville will need to surround its quarterback with talent, offensively and defensively, in order to become competitive quickly.
On Tuesday, Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer spoke about the number of holes the Jaguars roster currently holds. It’s a lot, Meyer conceded. Afterall, the team did go 1-15 just a short time ago.
Meyer and his staff have already begun assembling a list of needs in order for the team to become a “functioning offense in the NFL,” Meyer said. Working in conjunction with his coordinators and Baalke, the team then creates a value chart to make sure it can acquire as many pieces as possible, not simply spend big on one or two players.
“I don’t think we’re in position just because we have a lot of holes, we [were] 1-15 [in 2020]. There’s some quality players here, but there’s also a lot of holes, so that’s where we’re going to rely on Trent’s experience, and his other guys on his staff, on how much it costs,” said Meyer.
“To answer your question, there will be some guys we don’t feel like it’s the right thing to go on because it would just eliminate other opportunities for other players.”
There are plenty of holes to fill on the Jaguars’ roster. A few of the major points of emphasis Meyer made on Tuesday was regarding the team’s defensive line, one that will be addressed “first” as far as the defense goes, and the team’s wide receiver and tight end room.
“Offensively, I think we have some really good receivers. We’re not done with that room, however. If you’ve covered our teams over the years, the need for speed, the big play opportunity was not the Jaguars last year and we’re searching for the big play hit at the receiver position ... The tight end room, that’s a room that’s going to have to be rebuilt in some ways.”
There are a few names to watch for if you’re the Jaguars and embarking on the free agency trail. Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith, who was not franchise tagged this year, Los Angles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry and Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett. But, don’t be surprised to see the team double dip this year, adding another in the 2021 NFL Draft.
While neither Baalke nor Meyer disclosed the players’ names – for competitive reasons -, don’t be surprised to hear about one or two of them in the coming days. That, of course, won’t be the only position the team addresses, however, and an emphasis on value will be key.
“I spoke earlier about value, I think value’s critical. You have to get the value of the players right. Just like building a stock portfolio, if you get a bunch of overpriced stocks, you buy high and sell low, eventually that catches up with you,” said Baalke. “So, we want to treat the players right and value them correctly and bring them into the organization and give them the best of the best and that’s what we’re looking to do.”