After a long offseason of negotiations, the Jacksonville Jaguars have agreed to extend tight end Evan Engram to a contract worth $41.25 million over 3 years. It’s expected to include $24 million fully guaranteed, per ESPN.
Engram had previously been franchise tagged by the Jaguars back in March, which had him set to earn $11.34 million fully guaranteed in 2023. However, despite the looming deadline of Monday, July 17, Engram had not yet signed the tag. Throughout the offseason, both the Jags and Engram expressed wishes to reach a longer-term deal. In a succinct announcement, Engram took to Twitter after the news was released to express his pleasure at finally reaching an agreement.
This new contract will make Engram one of the highest-paid tight ends in the NFL, ranking 6th behind Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Dallas Goedert, Mark Andrews, and Darren Waller.
After being drafted 23rd overall by the New York Giants in the 2017 NFL draft, Engram started off strong, hauling in 64 catches for 722 yards and 6 TDs, appearing poised to be the next elite tight end. However, over the next four seasons, Engram never quite lived up to expectations, failing to top his rookie numbers in receptions, yards, or scores.
In the 2022 offseason, the Jags took a gamble in signing Engram to a prove-it deal for 1 year worth $9 million dollars with $8.25 million guaranteed. While he started off slow, averaging 39 yards per game over the first 7 games with 0 TDs, he developed over the course of the season and finished as an explosive centerpiece of the offense. Over the last 5 weeks of the regular season, he averaged 76 yards per game and hauled in 2 TDs. His most dominant performance came in Week 14 against the division rival Tennessee Titans, during which he hauled in 11 catches for 162 yards and 2 TDs (highlights here).
Perhaps his most valuable contribution was this memorable play which helped the Jaguars lead their unbelievable comeback against the Dallas Cowboys. Down 31-34 with 2nd and 8, 17 seconds left on the clock, and one time out left, the Jags needed at least another 20 or 25 yards to get in field goal range. After the Cowboys penetrated the Jags’ protection with a 4-man rush, Lawrence hit Engram on a shallow crossing route, a considerable distance from the sideline. Engram fought tooth and nail to work his way out of bounds, acrobatically contorting his body to ensure the clock was stopped. Though captured as only 6 yards on the stat sheet, this single play helped the Jags’ season as much as any other.
He also made some of the most pivotal plays that helped propel the Jags to the divisional round of the playoffs, including this TD catch that helped kick off an incredible 27-point comeback against the Los Angeles Chargers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Overall, Engram’s extension by the Jags reflects his immense development over the last year and the critical role he played in the Jaguars' 2022 season turnaround and ensuing playoff run. With one of Lawrence’s favorite targets secured for at least another couple of seasons, Jags fans can expect more exciting success in the years to come.