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Jacksonville Jaguars

2019 NFL Free Agency: Which free agents should the Jaguars target?

Demetrius Harvey

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Feb 27, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell speaks to media during the 2019 NFL Combine at Indianapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

NFL free agency is quickly approaching, and while the Jaguars may not be major players this year in terms of signing several big-money free agents, there still are a few positions the Jaguars would like to upgrade.

After missing the postseason in 2018, the Jaguars have holes to fill. This is not only due to the injuries along the offensive line but also due to a total lack of talent at certain positions, particularly at quarterback, tight end, and the OL.

The Jaguars, currently, are set to enter the 2019 season with Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler as the two primary quarterbacks. However, that can change quickly depending on what occurs during free agency and the draft. Blake Bortles will likely be released, although general manager Dave Caldwell has suggested otherwise recently. Either way, the Jaguars will be addressing this position at some point and it very well might come via free agency.

The Jaguars struggled to get anything out of the tight end position after Austin Seferian-Jenkins landed on injured reserve and was recently released earlier this month. The Jaguars will enter 2019 with receiver-turned tight end Pharoah McKever, and Ben Koyack at the tight end position. This position needs fresh bodies, to say the least.

As for the offensive line concerns for the Jaguars, they recently released long-time right tackle Jermey Parnell. During the season they lost three out of five starting offensive linemen due to injury, including Cam Robinson (week 2 — ACL), Brandon Linder (week 10 — knee), and Andrew Norwell (week 12 — foot).

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the offensive line, and in particular at right tackle and right guard. After the release of Jermey Parnell on Friday, the Jaguars have only Will Richardson — 2018 4th round pick — as an option.  Richardson played a whopping 0 snaps last year in the regular season and will be looking to compete this summer for the position.

The other completely uncertain position along the offensive line is at right guard. With guard A.J. Cann likely moving on from the team, the Jaguars are completely baren at right guard making it one of the most important positions the Jaguars have to fill. Whether it be via draft or free agency, they will have to figure this out.

There are several players that may fit the Jaguars criteria in free agency, and although there may only be one or two big signings this time around, I still expect the Jaguars to be active as they have always been active in free agency during the Dave Caldwell era. Although there may only be offensive players listed here, that is for a reason. The Jaguars may address a couple of depth positions on defense this offseason, however, they are unlikely to be major players in that area. The offense will be, and should be, the priority for the Jaguars.


Quarterback

Nick Foles — Eagles

The Jaguars will be searching far and wide for a quarterback this offseason and one quarterback who continuously is brought up is former Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.

Foles began his career in 2012 as a 4th round pick out of Arizona to the Philidelphia Eagles. In his career, Foles has completed 61% of his passes for 11,165 yards, 68 touchdowns, and 33 interceptions. He has had success in the past two seasons winning the Superbowl for the Eagles in 2017 and taking them to the divisional round of the playoffs in 2018 after multiple injuries to starting quarterback Carson Wentz.

For the Jaguars this signing makes sense. Not only due to the connection to new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo but with his success and leadership ability the Jaguars desperately need to regain control of the huddle. Foles *should* be able to do this.

What makes this move less than ideal is absolutely the price tag. The Jaguars recently cleared ~$30M in cap space by releasing Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson, Carlos Hyde, Jermey Parnell, and Carson Tinker. Although that will be enough to sign the quarterback, considerations need to be made for the rest of the team.

Projected salary: 3 years, $56M, $20M guaranteed

Teddy Bridgewater — New Orleans Saints

Teddy Bridgewater is another quarterback the Jaguars have been reportedly interested in. Bridgewater was originally the 32nd pick in the 2014 NFL draft to the Minnesota Vikings. During his two seasons with the Vikings, he compiled a completion percentage of 64.4% with 6,268 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.

Before Bridgewater could enter his third year with the team, he suffered a devastating knee injury which set him back for the next two years of his deal until he was eventually allowed to walk in free agency.

Last season, Bridgewater made his first start since prior to his injury completing 63.6% of his passes for 118 yards with one touchdown and one interception. One of the major reasons why the Jaguars may be interested in Bridgewater is his potential. Although he has not played long in the league due to his knee injury, he has still been efficient enough to become a bridge-type (no pun intended) quarterback while the Jaguars draft someone to eventually take over the starting role.

The biggest issue is with Bridgewater is his durability. Although he has yet to be injured since his catastrophic knee injury during the 2016 offseason, he has also yet to be able to play much at all regardless. The Jaguars will likely still have the issues they had with him that they have always had.

Projected salary: 2 years, $10M, $5M guaranteed

Honorable mentions: Josh McCown (Jets), Tyrod Taylor (Browns)

Offensive Line

Andy Levitre — Atlanta Falcons

Levitre is an impending free agent who last played with the Atlanta Falcons after being traded to the team from the Tennesee Titans in 2015. He was not able to stay healthy with the Falcons incurring a triceps injury in both 2017 and 2018. While he was injury-prone during his time there, the Falcons were still able to have success with him as a major contributor to an otherwise average offensive line.

The issue with Levitre is his injury history as well as his regression of his play in the past couple of years. However, with A.J. Cann likely departing in free agency the Jaguars need to address the right guard position in any way they possibly can. Levitre would be an experienced guard on a team lacking serious depth or experience.

Projected salary: 1 year, $2.5M

T.J. Lang — Detroit Lions

Lang was recently released by the Detroit Lions due to cap ramifications as well as his injury history. Lang has suffered multiple concussions throughout his career as well as a neck injury. If Lang can come to the Jaguars and stay healthy he would make for a very reliable and consistent guard in an effort to replace A.J. Cann. The Jaguars will surely be signing some sort of offensive lineman. Lang has the added benefit of being versatile. He can play tackle as well as guard.

Projected salary: 1 year, $3.5M

Honorable mentions: Billy Turner (Broncos), James Carpenter (Jets)

Running Back

Latavius Murray — Vikings

Latavius Murray may be one of the most obvious players for the Jaguars to sign. The Jaguars currently have Leonard Fournette, David Williams, and Thomas Rawls. Williams carried the football 8 total times for 36 yards, and Rawls has played 0 snaps for the Jaguars.

Murray also has strong ties to the Jaguars with their new offensive coordinator being John DeFilippo who coached Murray in Oakland (2013-2014) and in Minnesota during last season before Defillippo was fired as offensive coordinator.

Murray would bring more of a supplement to Leonard Fournette in the same way the Jaguars hoped Carlos Hyde would during last season. He has accumulated 3,698 yards for 4.1 yards-per-carry and 34 touchdowns. He also had 128 receptions and 883 yards.

Projected salary: 2 years, $8M

Mark Ingram — Saints

Mark Ingram is more of a longshot for the Jaguars, however, he would also be a great compliment to Leonard Fournette. Ingram has had a sort of resurgence to his career with the addition of Alvin Kamara in New Orleans accounting for over 1,000 yards each of the past two seasons. If the Jaguars are searching for a good mentor for Fournette, Ingram would be a fantastic fit.

Projected salary: 3 years, $18M

Honorable mentions: Frank Gore (Dolphins), Bilal Powell (Jets), Alfred Blue (Texans)

Tight End

Jesse James — Steelers

As stated before, the Jaguars are in desperate need for a tight end this offseason. Jesse James has been an above average blocker for the Steelers the past few seasons and has had some success in the receiving game accounting for 120 receptions for 1,189 yards and nine touchdowns thus far in his career.

James makes the most sense for the Jaguars, and there are some rumors the Jaguars may be interested as well.

Projected salary: 5 years, $30M

Tyler Eifert — Bengals

Eifert is a player the Jaguars may have a little bit of interest in as he would come cheap due to his injury history. Eifert entered the NFL in 2014 with the Cincinnati Bengals but has been snake-bit with injuries throughout his career. If the Jaguars were to sign him he would be cheap.

Eifert has a ton of upside with his best season coming in 2015 accumulating 52 receptions for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns. If the Jaguars can muster some amount of success with him, it would be a major win for them and Eifert himself.

Projected salary: 1 year, $2M

Honorable mentions: Demetrius Harris (Chiefs), Jared Cook (Oakland), Luke Wilson (Detroit)

Wide Receiver

Golden Tate — Lions

Although it may seem like a reach, the Jaguars will likely want to target a wide receiver or two during the offseason. With Marqise Lee coming back from a devastating knee injury, and Keelan Cole regressing a bit last season the Jaguars need to add something there. Golden Tate would be an ideal fit at receiver in my opinion. Tate last played with the Philadelphia Eagles after being traded midseason by the Detriot Lions.

Tate has accumulated 611 receptions for 7,214 yards and 42 touchdowns over his 10-year career. Tate is more known for his aggressive nature at receiver playing similarly to a running back at receiver like Anquan Boldin. If the Jaguars want to add a veteran presence to their receiver room, Tate would make the most sense.

There is a connection here. Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey:

Projected salary: 3 years, $27M

John Brown — Ravens

Brown began his career with the Arizona Cardinals. He had a breakout year in 2015 accumulating 65 catches for 1,003 yards and 7 touchdowns. Due to injuries, Brown’s play tapered off after that until his resurgence in Baltimore just last year. Brown had 42 receptions for 715 yards and five touchdowns. If the Jaguars would like some depth in the same vein as Donte Moncrief was last season they could turn to Brown. Brown at the very least is a much better route runner than Moncrief with similar speed on the outside.

projected salary: 2 years, $10M

Honorable mentions: Adam Humpries (Buccaneers), Randall Cobb (Packers), Pierre Garcon (49ers), Jermaine Kearse (Jets)

Demetrius Harvey is the lead editor for the Locked on Jaguars website covering breaking news, breakdowns, and more. You can follow him at @Demetrius82 on twitter.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars to open seven training camp practices to fans in 2019

Demetrius Harvey

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Jul 26, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark (17) signs autographs during training camp at the Dream Finder Homes practice facility outside of TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced today they will be opening seven practices during training camp to the public. The first four training camp practices will be open to the public. Practice on Saturday, July 27, is open exclusively to Jags365 Season Ticket Members and is scheduled for 8:45 a.m.

The team’s first practice in full pads will also be open to fans on Sunday, July 28 at 8:45 a.m. All seven of the Jaguars’ Florida Blue open practices are scheduled to take place at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex on the northwest corner of TIAA Bank Field.

2019 JAGUARS OPEN TRAINING CAMP PRACTICES

Thursday, July 25 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Friday, July 26 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Saturday, July 27 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m. Open exclusively to Jags 365 Season Ticket Members
Sunday, July 28 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Tuesday, July 30 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Wednesday, July 31 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Thursday, August 1 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.

Fans are required to register here for each training camp session and tickets will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Gates will open to fans at 8:15 a.m., 30 minutes prior to the start of practice.

Parking is available in Lots M and N, and concessions and merchandise will be available for purchase on-site Limited player autograph availability will occur following each practice.

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53 Man Roster

Jaguars 2019 position group breakdown: Running Backs

Brandon Carroll

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Dec 23, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) runs down the field during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to their quarterback situation, the Jacksonville Jaguars have attempted to answer some questions in terms of the run game in this year’s offseason. Jacksonville went through a full remodel in an attempt to add veteran presence that can sustain the ground attack if injury strikes the team yet again in 2019. 

Two years ago, the Jaguars were a team that led the NFL in rushing at 527 attempts throughout the regular season. Nearly 50 carries ahead of any other team in the league. On those 527 attempted the Jaguars saw heights in production not seen since the Maurice Jones-Drew. 

That production staggered in yardage and overall sustainability of the offense with their lackluster quarterback play last season. This was all due to the injuries of star running back Leonard Fournette and the majority of the offensive line. Without Fournette, the Jaguars only accumulated half the yardage in 2018 Fournette produced in 2017 with T.J. Yeldon and Carlos Hyde leading the affair. 

Being a strong part of the offensive system, the Jaguars win total saw a sharp decrease and the team swagger that carried them to the 2017 AFC playoffs had vanished.

Jacksonville looked to replenish their running back room and get back to the strong, effective run game they saw in 2017 that made them so successful. 

Adding Alfred Blue, Benny Cunningham, Thomas Rawls and more through free agency, as well as, drafting former Temple running back, Ryquell Armstead the Jaguars made a good move in adding reliable to back up Fournette in the backfield. 

Projected Running Back Depth Chart:
*italicized indicates starter, underline indicates picked up via draft/free agency
Leonard Fournette, Alfred Blue, Benny Cunningham, Ryquell Armstead.

Leading the pack coming into 2019 is Leonard Fournette. Fournette is a player that has all the major attributes to be a star player in the NFL if he could just stay healthy. Fournette missed eight games last season and seven due to injury which caused the Jaguars offense to stall in his absence. 

He is a player that combines strong downhill running with game-breaking speed. Abilities not many can combine nevertheless replace. He is a generational talent who looks to return to his rookie form in 2019. 

Fournette looks to be getting back on track this season and “refocused on football.” Him being able to stay on the field will be a huge plus for a Jaguars team that has struggled offensively for many years. 

The next two players on the depth chart are veteran backs Alfred Blue and Benny Cunningham. 

Blue being a signee from the Houston Texans roster and an experienced back who knows how to get yardage necessary to sustain drives. While receiving very little touches in the Houston offense he played the backup role well and was a reliable source of receiving out of the backfield.

Blue will be used more as a third-down back in the Jaguars offense. 

The same goes for Cunningham. Coming over from the Bears, which last season saw two top-caliber running backs in Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen sharing carries, Cunningham got lost in the shuffle. Cunningham is a great receiving threat out of the backfield and can play solid minutes in his role on his new team. 

Having two players that can play roles, and play them well is vital for any team in the NFL. Taking fatigue and potential injury into account getting Cunningham and Blue was one of the more important moves the Jaguars made this offseason. The Jaguars acquired two reliable backs for new quarterback Nick Foles to work with on downs where Fournette is not in the game. 

Next on the team’s depth chart is the Jaguars 2019 fifth-round pick out of Temple, Ryquell Armstead. In his senior year, Armstead scored 13 touchdowns and averaged nearly 6.5 yards per carry. Armstead’s progression through his college career was a sight to see. After starting his career as a bulkier strong runner, Armstead slimmed down to become a more complete back and utilized his opportunity at Temple to make it to the NFL. 

Posting 2,987 yards and 34 touchdowns over his career, Armstead looks to carry on those impressive numbers at the next level. Armstead is a runner with great field vision and patience behind the line of scrimmage. He bursts through the open hole and is willing to lower the shoulder to gain extra yardage. Armstead says that he models his game after former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs. 

He describes himself as an angry runner. “I run angry, I run violent. I look for contact— that’s something that makes me unique.” Armstead stated in an interview with CBS sports. 

The type of physical running Armstead brings to the table is something the Jaguars have had success within recent memory. That willingness to create contact and run hard for his team to succeed is an attribute any team would love to have with their running back. 

A player that very strongly resembles Leonard Fournette in terms of running style was a guy the Jaguars looked at as a potential steal in the fifth round. An aggressive, one-cut runner who can run over opponents or bounce it to the outside and take off down the sideline. 

Armstead had the second-fastest time in the 40-yard dash among eligible running backs at the 2019 NFL combine at 4.49 seconds. Being a player with blazing speed mixed with a downhill running style, Armstead could see minutes directly behind Fournette later in the season. Armstead is an intriguing prospect but his development as a pass-catcher out of the backfield will need to improve for him to solidify the playing time this season. 

While the Jaguars have many running backs on the roster, all of them cannot stay. Unless there is a huge jump of progression when training camp starts later in the month, Thomas Rawls and Taj McGowan have very little shot of making the team. 

After last season, the Jaguars have done whatever it takes to assure they have depth at this position. Being able to provide multiple sources of production is important for any team. By providing this depth, the Jaguars hope it can get the job done and they can return to the success seen in the running game just two seasons ago. 

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Jacksonville Jaguars

REPORT: Jaguars to sign former WVU WR Marcus Simms

Demetrius Harvey

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Oct 13, 2018; Ames, IA, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Marcus Simms (8) runs the football against the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have made a roster move signing former West Virginia WR Marcus Simms according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Simms was slated to participate in the supplemental draft after filing the paperwork on June 20th.

Simms will make for interesting competition for the Jaguars as we inch closer to training camp. Simms accumulated 87 receptions for 1457 yards and eight touchdowns in his three-year career at West Virginia. Simms has also made his name known in the return game totaling 992 yards as a kick returner. According to reports, Simms ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4-4.49 seconds, with a vertical jump of 36″, a broad jump of 10-2 and three-cone time of 6.91 seconds. After his physical tomorrow, the Jaguars will have to make a corresponding move.

Simms will look to compete for a bottom-of-the-roster position with players such as Terrelle Pryor and Keelan Cole. If the Jaguars intend on retaining six receivers Simms will have a good shot at making the roster. By all accounts, Simms was a draftable player.

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