In early March, I outlined a five-category plan for offseason moves for each team in the AFC South.
I considered finances, continuity, turnover, additions and the draft.
Today we’ll look back to see how my plan and the team’s offseason lined up and how they didn’t.
Next up are the Jaguars. Here’s the original post.
What I got right:
Turnover: "Allow the rest of the free-agent class to hit the market and wish it well. If a player like defensive tackle Terrance Knighton or fullback Greg Jones doesn’t find what he wants out there and remains available later, consider an offer down the road."
Knighton is in Denver. Jones is in Houston.
Draft: “The No. 2 spot is a toughie, because clear choices at the top of this draft have not emerged. There is defensive line talent, however, and the pass rush is a longstanding issue the new regime is inheriting. That first pick needs to be able to rush the passer or be a long-term fixture on the offensive line. Needs are so wide-ranging, there are few spots the Jaguars need to avoid. Although I'm not happy with the quarterback situation, I would not feel I had to have another one unless I saw a real value in the second or third round.”
In Luke Joeckel they got the long-term fixture on the offensive line, and they did steer clear of drafting a quarterback.
What I got wrong:
Finances: “The Jaguars have about $24 million in salary-cap room, so they don’t have a huge issue. But they are carrying several contracts that are too hefty. Laurent Robinson is overpaid, but they are a year into his deal and unlikely to bail. Tight end Marcedes Lewis and guard Uche Nwaneri are too costly, both due base salaries of more than $4 million this season. Linebacker Paul Posluszny ($6.5 million base), Dawan Landry ($5.4 million) and cornerback Aaron Ross ($3.75 million) are also costly. I’d make no money moves until my coaches have time with the team on the field for a thorough assessment and see some of the alternatives brought in.”
They didn’t wait to make money moves, parting ways with Robinson, Landry and Ross in short order.
Continuity: "Re-sign outside linebacker Daryl Smith. He’s been a very solid player for the franchise, and because he was hurt for 14 games last season, his price is going to be discounted. Re-sign cornerback Derek Cox, ideally to an incentive-laden deal tied to his availability. Hope he’ll give you a chance to match if someone else gives him a better offer. He’s a great player but it’s hard to invest in a guy who misses so much time."
They had zero interest in Smith, who wound up in Baltimore. Cox might have been of interest, but the Chargers got him with a four-year, $20 million deal with $10.5 million guaranteed.
Additions: "I’d shop more aggressively than I expect the Jaguars will, based on how they’ve spoken about free agency, but I will try to stick to their parameters here. Seattle defensive tackle Alan Branch was a key piece of the defense Gus Bradley ran for the Seahawks, and new coaches typically like bringing in a guy or two who know how they will operate. I want to make at least one statement signing that addresses a big area of concern. If Sebastian Vollmer’s back checks out, he’d be my guy. He’s a top right tackle who’s been part of a successful franchise in New England. From there, I’d pursue a few more affordable types: one of two cornerbacks, Greg Toler from Arizona or Bradley Fletcher of St. Louis, and a defensive end who’s still young and has some versatility, William Hayes, also of St. Louis."
I don’t believe they showed even a degree of interest in any of the five players I listed. I can say it was hard to predict what Dave Caldwell was going to do as a first-time GM, but this is what I would have done, not necessarily what I expected they would do.