It’s sneaking up rather quickly, but NFL free agency for the 2022 season begins next week.
Free agency officially starts when the new league year kicks off on Wednesday, March 16 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. However, the real action begins before that, on Monday, March 14 at noon Eastern Time when agents and representation for pending free-agent players can start negotiating with NFL teams.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have over $40 million of cap space available, according to spotrac.com, and are expected to target some major players on the open market.
Before all of that, though, now may be a good time to quickly run through the current players on Jacksonville’s roster whose contracts are expiring. These players could be suiting up for different squads in 2022 if the Jaguars choose not to bring them back.
Also, as a reminder, here is a quick glossary of terms from NFL.com on the different types of free agency designations:
Unrestricted free agent (UFA): Any player with four or more accrued seasons and an expired contract; free to negotiate and sign with any team.
Restricted free agent (RFA): A player with three accrued seasons and an expired contract. RFAs are free to negotiate and sign with any team, but their original team can offer them one of various qualifying offers (“tenders”) that come with the right of first refusal and/or draft-pick compensation. If the tender is withdrawn by a team, the RFA becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Exclusive rights free agent (ERFA): Any player with fewer than three accrued seasons and an expired contract. If his original team offers him a one-year contract at the league minimum (based on his credited seasons), the player cannot negotiate with other teams.
So which current Jaguars have expiring contracts?
Unrestricted free agents:
- D.J. Chark Jr., wide receiver
- Laquon Treadwell, wide receiver
- Tavon Austin, wide receiver
- Jaydon Mickens, wide receiver
- Jacob Hollister, tight end
- James O’Shaughnessy, tight end
- Andrew Norwell, offensive guard
- A.J. Cann, offensive guard
- Will Richardson, offensive tackle
- Adam Gotsis, defensive end
- Lerentee McCray, defensive end/outside linebacker
- Jihad Ward, defensive end
- Taven Bryan, defensive tackle
- Damien Wilson, linebacker
- Tre Herndon, cornerback
- Nevin Lawson, cornerback
- J.K. Scott, Punter
Restricted free agents (RFA):
- Dare Ogunbowale, running back
- Kahale Warring, tight end
- Andrew Wingard, safety,
- Dakota Allen, linebacker
Exclusive rights free agents (ERFA):
- Chapelle Russell, linebacker
- Jamir Jones, outside linebacker/defensive end
- Mekhi Sargent, running back
- Terry Godwin, wide receiver
Of course, the big names on Jacksonville’s impending free agents list are wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr. and offensive guard Andrew Norwell. The team decided to use the franchise tag on offensive tackle Cam Robinson, so if Jacksonville wants to bring Chark or Norwell back, it will have to negotiate new deals for those players. The team also recently re-signed center Tyler Shatley and extended linebacker Tyrell Adams, whom the Jaguars acquired off of the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad in late December of 2021.
Update: The Jaguars signed offensive lineman Brandon Murphy on Thursday and released running back Carlos Hyde on Friday. Jacksonville also sent tenders to Russell, Jones and Sargent.
New head coach Doug Pederson, general manager Trent Baalke and the rest of the Jaguars’ personnel department have some decisions to make regarding who the team wants to bring back and who it will let walk into free agency.