With the NFL season officially coming to an end, the Jaguars will have many decisions to make. Thus, it is time to look forward to who the Jaguars should keep on the roster, and who they should simply let walk.
Although there are not many names on this list which would qualify as notable, there are still many of which have had some playing time either due to injury or because they were starters at some point.
The Jaguars currently have around 16 contracts which are set to expire at the start of the league year on March 14th. If they decide to, they could re-sign them prior to this deadline, or let each player test free and loop back around if their market is slim sometime after that date. The Jaguars have already re-signed veteran safety Jarrod Wilson to a 3-year deal prior to his contract expiring and becoming an RFA.
All but one of the pending free agents for the Jaguars come via the offense. The only defender on the team slated to be a free agent is Tyler Patmon.
Of all their impending free agents, only a few are truly worthy of an extension immediately. This includes perhaps the most important free agent, Josh Lambo. For this reason, I have broken the group down into three categories: must retain, on the bubble, and let ’em walk.
K — Josh Lambo — Josh Lambo was signed during the 2017 season after the Jaguars grew tired of a struggling Jason Myers. Luckily, that paid off and Lambo went on to nail 95% of his field goals in ’17 and 90.5% in 2018.
If I am the Jaguars, this is a no-brainer decision, and he should be paid nicely. Currently, Graham Gano is the highest paid kicker on a per-year basis at $4.25M per year. I expect the Jaguars to land Lambo somewhere between $4-5M.
Projection: 4 years $16 million
TE — James O’Shaughnessy — The Jaguars have a decision to make with tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and if that decision goes as many expect, they will need a replacement. O’Shaughnessy is not necessarily the Jaguars starting tight end long term, or even short term for that matter, however, depth is needed and he should be able to be re-signed for cheap.
The Jaguars can address the number one tight end position in the draft or via free agency if they would like. But cleaning house on every tight end in the room is simply out of the question.
Projection: 2 years $4 million
CB — Tyler Patmon — Patmon has been a staple within the Jaguars cornerback depth for a long time now. Although he is not a starter, he is valuable as a player on defense. Patmon played 22.6% of the Jaguars defensive snaps last season and has been a versatile backup for the Jaguars the past two seasons. The Jaguars will likely want him back as he can play both outside and inside as well as some special teams. Although the defensive backs group for the Jaguars is one of the most talented, the depth is still a question mark.
Projection: 2 years $6 million
C/G — Tyler Shatley — Although Shatley may not be a starter either, the depth at the center position is completely barren. Besides Brandon Linder, the Jaguars have no other options at center as Chris Reed will become a restricted free agent.
Shatley at the very least has provided some depth at the position and while Brandon Linder is very good, he is also very injury prone. Linder has missed a total of ten games the past two seasons. Bringing back Shatley will ease the mind of the Jaguars brass as they will not feel the need to force a pick at center during the 2019 draft. If any offensive lineman is brought back to the team for next season, it needs to be Shatley.
Projection: 2 years $5 million
On the Bubble:
T — Ereck Flowers — Flowers was initially brought in by the Jaguars after being released by the Giants in week six of the regular season. Although he came in with very low expectations the tackle actually held his own reasonably well. The Jaguars could use some depth at the position with Josh Walker, and Josh Wells also slated to be free agents.
If the Jaguars can retain Flowers on a reasonable short-term low pay deal, then they likely will at the very least have a potential swing tackle to replace injury-prone Josh Wells with.
Reasonable new contract: 1 year $2 million
WR — Donte Moncrief — Moncrief is an interesting free agent for the Jaguars. Last offseason they signed him to a one-year $9M contract and he certainly did not live up to it. However, Moncrief finished the season with 48 receptions, 668 yards, and three touchdowns. Although those stats are not overly impressive, given the Jaguars Quarterback situation is it worth debating whether or not he should stay.
If the Jaguars can somehow get Moncrief to sign for much less than what he originally accepted last season then they should do it. Moncrief will at the very least provide some depth to the receiver room in which will only include Marquise Lee (torn ACL), Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole, and D.J. Chark at the moment.
The likely situation with Moncrief is he will walk in free agency and the Jaguars will address the situation in the draft.
Reasonable new contract: 2 years $10 million
T — Josh Wells — Josh Wells has served the Jaguars quite well over the past few seasons as a swing tackle, however, his level of play simply has not been acceptable. Quite frankly, the Jaguars might want to retain Wells, but they likely should not. Wells will be entering his fifth season with the Jaguars and the Jaguars may value his experience at the very least.
Reasonable new contract: 2 years $6 million
G/T — Patrick Omameh — Omameh is a familiar name to Jaguars fans as he was signed away from the team by the Giants during the 2018 offseason. Although his 2018 season with the Giants did not work out — as he was released by the team only nine weeks into the regular season — he was able to come back to Jacksonville and provide depth at both the guard and tackle positions. Omameh is not a household name, however, he would be appreciated depth if the Jaguars were to go ahead and re-sign him.
Reasonable new contract: 2 years $6 million
FB — Tommy Bohannon — The Jaguars seem to like what Bohannon brings to the table as far as punt protection as well as in the fullback role. Although the Jaguars will likely bring in some competition for him, do not be surprised if they bring Bohanon back on a 1-year deal to have some continuity in the running back room which will likely be fully revamped.
Reasonable new contract: 1 year $2 million
WR/PR — Jaydon Mickens — Mickens is set to become an exclusive rights free agent. What this means is the Jaguars hold all the cards here. Although Mickens is coming off of an unimpressive and injured season, the Jaguars might as well tender Mickens as there is very little reason not to do so. The ERFA tender will allow the Jaguars to retain Mickens for one final season as a player who will compete at wide receiver as well as punt returner.
Reasonable new contract: ERFA Tender (1 year deal)
Let ’em walk:
RB — Corey Grant — Corey Grant is probably one of the more unfortunate Jaguars free agents. Just a few months after signing a 2nd round RFA tender he, unfortunately, landed on IR with a reported lisfranc injury. Due to the nature of the injury and his inability to be an early down back, I do not see the Jaguars re-signing Grant.
Potential landing spots: Eagles, Bills, Jets
RB — T.J. Yeldon — Yeldon is going to get paid, somewhere. It just will likely not be with the Jaguars. Although he has never had a 1,000-yard season, Yeldon has proved to be a capable every-down back. Yeldon has accounted for 104 carries, 404 yards, and one touchdown last season. That does not look great as far as running back numbers go, however, his full career body of work looks better.
Over the course of four seasons, Yeldon has averaged a respectable four yards-per-carry. Some team will want to invest money into the 25-year-old running back. A change of scenery is needed for Yeldon and some team will want to pay him more money than the Jaguars would be willing to part with. Add on to this statement made by Tom Coughlin, and I believe Yeldon’s career in Jacksonville is effectively over.
Potential landing spots: Jets, Colts, Bills
RG — A.J. Cann — A.J. Cann has been the Jaguars starter at right guard for the past four seasons. Although he has had his ups and downs, I believe it is time for the Jaguars to move on. Simply put, Cann isn’t good enough to start anymore. He has been consistently beaten in the passing game and has been one of the reasons why the Jaguars have opened up so few holes on the right side of their offensive line.
Although the Jaguars will not want to pay Cann, it does not mean he won’t be paid somewhere else. He has been an ironman of sorts for the Jaguars missing only four games in his entire career. Two of those games were in 2018. Cann has shown flashes of improvement even early on this season, however, a change of scenery is needed.
Potential landing spots: Falcons, Raiders, Bills
TE — Blake Bell — Blake Bell was brought in as the Jaguars tight end depth dwindled. He was not able to really get on the field might to provide anything. The Jaguars will look to the draft or outside free agents to acquire more depth.
WR — Rashad Greene — The time has come for the Jaguars to move on from Rashad Greene. He has not been able to live up to his rookie season expectations and has not provided the Jaguars nearly enough at receiver to warrant re-signing.
T — Corey Robinson — Robinson was brought in as depth last season. The Jaguars will move on and acquire more capable depth this offseason.
T — Josh Walker — Walker was able to step in and play left tackle for the Jaguars after Cam Robinson and Josh Wells went down. Unfortunately, he allowed too many pressures to be considered as a re-sign priority.
K — Kai Forbath — Forbath will not be back with the Jaguars. He was brought in to replace an injured Josh Lambo, and although he did an admirable job in his position, the job is Lambo’s for the (hopefully) long term future.
LS — Matt Overton — Overton likely retires after this season. Although he has been able to replace Carson Tinker for the past two seasons, the Jaguars will move on.
G — Chris Reed — Reed has underperformed his entire career in Jacksonville and has routinely been beaten against the run and in pass protection. The Jaguars will finally need to move on even though Reed is a restricted free agent.
Jaguars 2019 position group breakdown: Running Backs
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.
REPORT: Jaguars to sign former WVU WR Marcus Simms
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.
Source: The #Jaguars are signing former West Virginia WR Marcus Simms, pending a physical tomorrow. Had several offers after today's supplemental draft ended. One to watch in camp.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 10, 2019
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.
2019 Jacksonville Jaguars Fantasy Football: Nick Foles Preview
Quarterback Nick Foles signed a four-year, $88 million dollar contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason. Foles is a much-needed upgrade behind center and may be the best signal-caller the franchise has had in the past decade. Jaguars fans have high expectations for how he’ll do on his new team. Here’s what you should expect how he’ll do on your fantasy team.
Poor Fantasy History
Throughout the entirety of Foles’ career, his fantasy football production has been underwhelming. Foles has only finished as a top-25 fantasy quarterback once in his seven years in the league.
Part of the reason Foles never produced solid fantasy numbers due to the fact he has never played a full 16-game season — the most games he’s played is 13 back in 2013 when he was fantasy’s QB9. Foles played more than eight games just one other season. To remove the effect of the number of games played, we can look at fantasy points per game (PPG), but those statistics are also disappointing:
-Foles averaged 20.46 PPG in 2013, his best fantasy season. His second-best fantasy season was last year when he scored 15.00 fantasy PPG, which was tied for 24th — with Eli Manning. His career mark is 13.04 fantasy PPG.
-For comparison, Blake Bortles’ best fantasy season was in 2015, when he finished with 20.25 fantasy PPG. In 2018, he scored 13.31 fantasy PPG, which was 28th. His career mark is 15.88 fantasy PPG.
Bortles has been a viable fantasy option partly because of garbage-time opportunities in his first couple years and increased rushing production in the last couple years, but it’s still a tough look for Foles to have worse career fantasy numbers than Bortles by over two points. Long story short, Foles has frankly been a bad fantasy quarterback throughout his career save for one good season.
Fewer Passing Attempts
Another warning sign for Foles is a likely decrease in passing attempts after playing for the Philadelphia Eagles the past two seasons.
-In five regular-season starts last season, Foles had 39.0 attempts per game and averaged 15.04 fantasy points per game.
-In 12 regular-season starts last season, Bortles had 33.0 attempts per game and averaged 13.32 fantasy points per game.
-Foles and Bortles each averaged 0.35 fantasy points per dropback, per Player Profiler.
Foles finished with more fantasy points per game than Bortles, which was partly due to Foles simply throwing the ball more often. Foles’ higher passing rate can essentially be boiled down to two factors: team defense and rushing rate. Jacksonville’s 8thranked defense last season allowed the Jaguars the freedom to run more often and Philadelphia’s 18thranked defense sometimes forced the Eagles to pass more often (weighted defensive efficiency rankings via Football Outsiders). Additionally, Jacksonville (49%) ran at a higher rate than Philadelphia (43%) in game-script positive situations (rushing rates via Sharp Football Stats). To summarize, due to differences in defensive production and offensive play calling, the Eagles pass a lot more than the Jaguars.
Despite the new additions of Foles and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, the Jaguars will likely continue to rely on running and defense. As a result of transitioning from Philadelphia to Jacksonville, Foles will almost certainly throw fewer passes, and therefore is unlikely to produce numbers like he did last season- which already weren’t exceptional.
Fewer Red Zone Opportunities
Foles also isn’t likely to have as many opportunities to score in the red zone as he did with the Eagles, which is another fantasy red flag.
-In the past two seasons, 36.1% of Foles’ fantasy points have come from in the red zone, while 32.5% of Bortles’ fantasy points have come from in the red zone, per fantasy data.
-In the past two seasons, the Eagles passed on 53% of red-zone plays, while the Jaguars passed on 47% of red-zone plays. The Eagles passed on 57% of red-zone plays in games Foles started, and the Jaguars passed on 42% of red-zone plays in games Leonard Fournette started.
-In the past two seasons, the Eagles averaged 3.4 red zone attempts per game, while the Jaguars averaged 2.6 red zone attempts per game, per Team Rankings.
Based on the 2017-18 seasons, Foles may not reach the red zone as much nor pass in the red zone as much as he was accustomed to in Philadelphia.
Offensive Talent Downgrade
One of the more talked about storylines regarding Foles’ signing with the Jaguars is his prior supporting cast in Philadelphia compared to his current one in Jacksonville. Foles must transition from a receiving core of Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, and Nelson Agholor to Dede Westbrook, Marquise Lee, and rookie tight end Josh Oliver. The difference in each group’s production is obvious:
-Ertz, Jeffery, Agholor, and Golden Tate (who played for Philadelphia in the second half of last season) all surpassed 100 fantasy points and 60 receptions last season. They have four combined career Pro-Bowl appearances.
-Westbrook was the only Jacksonville receiver to surpass 100 fantasy points and 60 receptions last season. In fact, he is the only player on the current roster who caught over 40 passes last season. The Jaguars receivers have zero combined career Pro-Bowl appearances.
The argument that Westbrook is as good as Agholor is feasible, but Agholor was Philadelphia’s third receiving option at best last season, and Jacksonville has no weapons who can come close to the skillset or production of Ertz and Jeffery. Additionally, Foles targeted Ertz a lot and he generated impressive numbers – which creates a lot of buzz for the imminent Foles-Oliver connection – but Ertz’s success was likely due more to his own talent than Foles’ supposed rapport with tight ends:
Per Sports Info Solutions, Foles targeted tight ends at the highest rate in the league (35%) last season. However, he posted a worse completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdown percentage, interception percentage, and quarterback rating when throwing to a tight end than the wide receiver or running back last season. Foles also ranked 42ndamong all quarterbacks (min. 10 attempts) in passer rating when targeting tight ends. Ertz finished top-three in targets, receptions, yards, touchdowns, and total fantasy points among tight ends last season. However, he ranked only 20thin fantasy points per target and 18thin yards per target among tight ends (per Player Profiler), which suggests that his massive target volume was a big benefactor towards his production. That large target volume combined with Ertz’s individual talent masked Foles’ below-average efficiency when targeting tight ends.
Now Foles is in Jacksonville, and his top tight end has yet to play an NFL snap. 2019 third-round pick Josh Oliver has a lot of potential to succeed in John DeFilippo’s tight end-friendly offense, but it is unreasonable to expect him to approach Ertz’s skill level or production in his first season. It should also be noted that rookie tight ends historically don’t have a large impact– in the past 15 years, only two rookie tight ends have surpassed 600 receiving yards, and only two have finished as a top-five fantasy tight end. Consequently, Foles may have even worse ratings when targeting tight ends this year. Foles’ supposed strength of throwing to tight ends could be revealed to simply be a result of having an All-Pro tight end to throw to ten times a game in Philadelphia. Overall, Foles is leaving a group of proven/productive receivers and joining a group of young/inconsistent receivers.
One last personnel issue to consider is the strength of Foles’ offensive lines. According to Football Outsiders, the Eagles ranked 17thin pass protection last season and gave up 40 sacks. The Jaguars ranked 27thin pass protection and gave up 53 sacks. Jacksonville’s linemen couldn’t stay healthy as it seemed like backups of backups were starting late in the season. If rookie tackle Jawaan Taylor makes an impact and the starters stay healthy this season there shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but it is worth mentioning that Foles’ new offensive line is just one more variable that could hypothetically make 2019 harder on him and hinge his fantasy potential.
Foles Overall Outlook
Foles ranks 12thin career winning percentage (per Football Database) but 34thin career fantasy points per game among all active quarterbacks (minimum 10 starts). Foles can win games without having to put up lucrative passing numbers, which is exactly what the Jaguars are expecting of him. Based on his past fantasy performances and his new environment in Jacksonville, Foles doesn’t have much of a fantasy ceiling and should not be drafted in single quarterback leagues. He has value as a streaming option/cheap DFS play when he has favorable matchups against weak pass defenses, but for the most part, it’d be wise to look elsewhere when finding a fantasy quarterback.
Note: All fantasy numbers are in standard format (non-PPR). Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are via Pro Football Reference.
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