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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars 2019 Impending Free Agents Review

Demetrius Harvey

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Aug 25, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone and place kicker Josh Lambo (4) talk at mid filed during pre game warmups against the Atlanta Falcons at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Free Agents

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.

Must Retain: 

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.

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 vs. Texans: Five observations, red zone issues remain

Demetrius Harvey

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Nov 3, 2019; London, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) throws under pressure from the Houston Texans defensive line men during an NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn--USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) will be left with a lot to work on during their bye week. There was plenty to gather from the team’s 26-3 loss against the Houston Texans (6-3) in London.

1. Jaguars red-zone woes are still prevalent and have no fix in sight

In the red zone this season, the Jaguars have completed 34.5% (10/29) of their opportunities for touchdowns.  This ranks only better than the Cincinnati Bengals (33.33%) in the entire NFL.

While quarterback play is an issue in this area, the Jaguars have not made the most of their play-call opportunities either. The Jaguars entered the Houston Texans’ red zone only twice in 11 drives on Sunday.

During the two drives in the red zone, the Jaguars completed 0 passes and ran the ball one other time with Leonard Fournette for three yards. Simply not good enough.

Jaguars’ offensive coordinator John DeFilippo has spoken about the team’s ineffectiveness on red zone opportunities. “We moved the football well, but we need to do a better job in the red zone,” DeFilippo said on Thursday following the team’s week seven victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. “I need to do a better job of helping our guys get open. We need to do a better job executing and being more detailed and throwing the ball on time and all of those things. Again, all of that starts with me, and I will do a better job with that.”

Two weeks later and the team’s struggles have continued.

2. Gardner Minshew might take a backseat

Already discussed, the Jaguars might be in for a quarterback change coming out of their week 10 bye week. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew struggled mightily in Sunday’s game, and head coach Doug Marrone will have a tough decision to make.

Although Minshew was playing with a sore right shoulder, he was able to practice in full all week leading up to their matchup at Wimbley. Regardless, the Jaguars will have to make a decision, and everything points to Nick Foles being the team’s starting quarterback against the Indianapolis Colts in week 11.

Now completely Minshew’s fault, his struggles in the red zone have been evident for the past several weeks. Foles — during the 2017 and 2018 seasons when he started for the Philidelphia Eagles — was efficient in the red zone, which could point to his maturity as a passer more than anything.

The Jaguars will want to see what they can get out of their veteran quarterback, and there is a reason to believe the Jaguars’ head coach is leaning in this direction. If Foles is not named the starting quarterback next Sunday, it is very likely the veteran will never start for this Jaguars team, at least not under the current staff.

3. Jaguars’ run-defense regressed

Without starting nickel corner D.J. Hayden and SAM linebacker Leon Jacobs, the Jaguars were forced to remain in their nickel package for much of the day. Rookie cornerback Breon Borders replaced Hayden in the starting lineup and while he was not the reason why the run defense suffered, not having a competent linebacker on the strong side of the ball impacted the team greatly.

Texans’ running back Carlos Hyde gashed the Jaguars’ defense 19 times for 160 yards during Sunday’s matchup. Part of the reason why the Jaguars were unable to stop the Texans’ running game late was the sheer amount of plays the Texans ran to begin the game.

In the first quarter, the Texans ran 20 total plays while the Jaguars offense was only able to produce nine total plays.

4. Jaguars cannot rely on penalties, but two changed the course of the game

While the Jaguars should not, and cannot rely on penalties, the team had two costly controversial calls in the third quarter of Sunday’s matchup.

With an opportunity to score, Minshew threw a beautiful back-shoulder pass to Jaguars’ receiver DJ Chark Jr. who was able to haul in the pass but was called for offensive pass interference. A few plays later the Jaguars would botch a field goal attempt and give the Texans the football at the 50-yard line.

Following the change of possession, Jaguars’ defensive end Calais Campbell was called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Specifically, Campbell was called for lowering his head to initiate contact with a defenseless rusher. The Texans would net only a field goal on this drive, but it was a potential 10-point swing as Chark’s interference call was questionable, and Campbell did not even touch Watson on the play.

5. Keelan Cole shines in Dede Westbrook’s absence

Although the Jaguars clearly missed their 1B receiver in Dede Westbrook, rarely-utilized receiver Keelan Cole was able to step up to the plate and put on his best performance of the season, and possibly since 2017.

While it was not sensational, Cole hauled in five out of six of his targets for 80 yards on the day. The Jaguars could not get anything going down the field, however, Cole was able to get open on routine crossing routes.

In the coming weeks, look for Cole to have a bigger role in the Jaguars offense, especially with veteran receiver Chris Conley playing so up-and-down (2 receptions on 7 targets for 32 yards).

DeFilippo recently spoke about Cole and understands the third-year receiver may be frustrated with his snap count.

“I am proud of the way he stayed in it and even though he has not gotten the playing time,” DeFilippo said after the Jaguars victory over Bengals. “Everyone wants to play every snap. I’m sure he wants [more playing time]. He has done a great job staying in it.”

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Jaguars to make tough decision next week, Minshew Mania over for now

Demetrius Harvey

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Nov 3, 2019; London, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) throws a pass in the first half against the Houston Texans during an NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) were embarrassed early Sunday morning via a 26-3 loss to the rival Houston Texans (6-3). Minshew-Mania may be over for now, but it won’t be the last time the rookie sensation starts for the team.

To put it simply, rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew did not play well at all yesterday. Completing 27/47 (57%) of his passes for 309 yards, two interceptions, and two fumbles lost, Minshew looked lost during the second half of the game on Sunday.

Minshew has been everything the team could have hoped for — and much more — out of a sixth-round quarterback, but between what transpired yesterday, and a few of his past performances — against winning teams –, the Jaguars will likely see what they can get out of veteran quarterback Nick Foles.

For three quarters, Minshew looked okay. While there was plenty that went wrong, the rookie was able to make key throws, during key situations. One play, in particular, stands out. With a little over five minutes left in the second quarter, the Jaguars could not seem to get anything going before Minshew scrambles around and eventually finds a wide-open Ryquell Armstead in the middle of the field. Armstead would take the ball 31 yards and set the team up for their only points of the game.

Minshew’s ability to improvise has been his bread and butter this season, and although he was not able to work his magic often against the Texans, these were the types of plays that gave pause in the Minshew/Foles debate.

During the fourth quarter, the Jaguars and Minshew were forced to take more shots downfield in a sort of desperation move while trailing 19-3. Although playcalling can certainly be questioned, the decision making of the Jaguars’ rookie quarterback was equally perplexing. Throwing two interceptions and losing two fumbles, Minshew had no chance at making a little magic to lead the team to another come-from-behind victory.

Jaguars’ head coach Doug Marrone will be forced to make a decision on his quarterback, but not right now. After the game, Marrone indicated he will wait until the Sunday before the team returns from their week 10 bye week to talk to both quarterbacks.

“I think after those 48 hours are over, I’m going to step away a little bit, take a break because I don’t have to make a decision and have time,” Marrone said shortly after the game when asked about making the quarterback decision. “That’s what I’m going to talk to the quarterbacks about, and then I’ll tell them probably right before we come back on Sunday, we’ll be able to discuss where we’re going to go. That’s pretty much my plan.”

While Minshew did not have a great game yesterday, the decision will be made on more than just one game, Marrone said.

The Jaguars’ head coach is stuck with an incredibly tough decision. At 4-5, the team needs a spark. The Jaguars need to win down the stretch and having to rely on a rookie — still going through ups and downs — is exhausting. While Foles may not be “the answer”, he is the only other option at this moment, and the Jaguars absolutely believe in the veteran.

Although this may be the end of Minshew starting in Jacksonville this season, his achievements — 188/307 (61%) completions for 2,285 yards, 13 touchdowns, and four interceptions — should not go unnoticed. The team absolutely still believes in the rookie quarterback, and he has a golden opportunity — if not this season — next year to prove everyone wrong.

One of the best, most fun performances out of a Jaguars’ quarterback over the first half of the season ever, is nothing to get upset about. Minshew provided spectators with Minshew-Mania, Minshew-Magic, and any other Minshew-ism one can think of.

For now, it is very likely Foles will make his Jaguars’ debut once again after breaking his left clavicle during the opening game of the season. In 11 plays this season Foles completed five out of eight of his passes for 75 yards and a touchdown.

It may be over for now, but this is just the beginning, and having the problem of deciding between a former Superbowl MVP and a rookie sensation at quarterback is a good thing. Depending on how Foles plays — if he is to be named the starter next Sunday –, Minshew could get yet another opportunity as the Jaguars progress from their 4-5 record.

Bonus clip:

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Jaguars fail to seize opportunity in London, falling 26-3 to Houston Texans

Demetrius Harvey

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Nov 3, 2019; London, United Kingdom; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) rushes for a first down during the first half of the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans during an NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn--USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) fell to Houston Texans (6-3) in a disappointing pre-bye week game in London, England. The Jaguars absolutely did not have home-field advantage on the day. 

The Jaguars took to their annual London voyage with a lot of optimism, however, all of that optimism was quickly quieted by the Houston Texans (6-3) as they were able to bottle up Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars, holding the team to just three points on the day.  The Texans would win 26-3 and kill any chances the Jaguars may have had at earning the division title in a few weeks.

To begin the game, the Jaguars opted to start out on defense with the Texans struggling early on in games this season. Holding the Texans to just three points to start the game, the Jaguars defense showed up big, especially as Jaguars’ cornerback A.J. Bouye shadowed Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins who finished with just eight receptions for 48 yards. The Jaguars seemed to find a groove early on during the first half of the game, but their inability to score in the red zone reared it’s head yet again.

In what is likely his last game starting for the Jaguars this season — at least for now — Jaguars’ rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew completed just 27 out of 47 of his passes for 309 yards and two interceptions. Minshew also fumbled the football two times near the end of the game, which would ultimately end it at Wembley stadium.

While the Jaguars defense played well early on, they stood no chance against Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson who completed 22 out of 28 of his passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Extremely elusive, Watson was able to escape from the Jaguars pass rushers all day long. The Texans effectively ended any chance of the Jaguars coming back after Watson completed a long throw to Hopkins for 21 yards to the Jaguars’ one-yard line. The Texans would score on a one-yard run by Duke Johnson putting the team up 19-3 late in the third quarter.

All four of Minshew’s turnovers would come in the fourth quarter as the Jaguars attempted to climb back in the game. Missing their second-most targetted wide receiver in Dede Westbrook, the Jaguars and Minshew couldn’t seem to get anything going in the passing game.

The Jaguars’ run game was equally disappointing today as running back Leonard Fournette could only edge out 40 yards on 11 rushes.

Perhaps the best play of the game by the Jaguars’ defense, near the end of the game Texans’ running back Carlos Hyde sprinted free and was looking to go into the endzone when Jaguars’ safety Jarrod Wilson showed incredible hustle to force a fumble at the last second, turning the ball over to the Jaguars’ offense.

The good fortune wouldn’t last long, however, as Minshew would go on to throw his final interception of the game to completely seal the game for the Texans offense.

The Jaguars’ offense simply did not get anything going today, similar to their game against the New Orleans Saints in week six earlier this year. Minshew was sacked only four times on the day as the Texans did not want him to escape the pocket.

The team will have a very tough decision to make during their week 10 bye week. Ultimately, the team will need to decide between veteran quarterback Nick Foles or the rookie quarterback in Minshew.

Jaguars’ head coach Doug Marrone will be making the decision, and after falling 26-3 today largely due to the play of the team’s quarterback, it may be a no-brainer.

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