I like what the Jaguars are doing in free agency. I like the way they’re doing it.
The Jaguars have plenty of money to spend under the salary cap, but they aren’t throwing it around like Monopoly money. They’re not creating a lot of buzz by signing big-name players, but they’re signing players with good track records.
They’re building a defensive wall with pass-rush ability after using last year’s draft on the secondary. Red Bryant, Chris Clemons and Ziggy Hood make the Jaguars better. Reworking Jason Babin’s contract keeps a serviceable player and good locker room guy. They have locked up their best defensive tackle in Sen-Derrick Marks. All of this means Andre Branch can be used strictly as a pass rusher and another of former GM Gene Smith’s draft busts, Tyson Alualu, can be sent packing. The addition of linebacker Dakota Watson improves the speed of the defense.
They re-signed quarterback Chad Henne, who isn’t going to make anyone forget about Joe Montana but he’s not going to remind anybody of Blaine Gabbert or Jonathan Quinn either. Henne is a competent quarterback who won’t win championships but isn’t likely to lose them. He’ll likely be better thanks to his new left guard, Zane Beadles, and a healthy left tackle in Luke Joeckel.
Newly signed running back Toby Gerhart is no MJD in his prime, but he’s a better than the 2014 version of MJD.
The Jaguars still need help at wide receiver and in the middle of the offensive line and that’s no doubt where they’ll go in the NFL draft. And, of course, they’ll continue to look for their quarterback of the future.
Their plan is obvious: Build a defense to become respectable; then develop an offense to become contenders. Do this by spreading the wealth and building depth.
It’s too early to know if the plan will work, but I like the way they’re thinking.
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