JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It took nearly two weeks, but the Jacksonville Jaguars finally signed an offensive skill-position player in free agency. Tight end Mychal Rivera, who spent the past four seasons in Oakland, is one of only two offensive free agents the Jaguars have signed -- tackle Earl Watford being the other -- as they've devoted most of their attention to the defense.
ESPN 150 ranking: No. 146.
Grade: C. The Jaguars needed a replacement for Julius Thomas in the move tight end role and that's what Rivera did with the Raiders, catching 146 passes for 1,413 yards and 10 touchdowns since joining the league in 2013. He had his best year in 2014, when he caught 58 passes for 534 yards and four touchdowns, but his production dropped the past two seasons and he caught a career-low 18 passes in 2016.
What it means: The Jaguars now have an experienced pass-catching tight end to complement Marcedes Lewis, who is entering his 12th season with the team and at this point in his career is more blocker than receiver. Since catching 52 passes in 2012, Lewis hasn't caught more than 25 in a season. Rivera (6-foot-3, 245 pounds) is not a blocker but he does give quarterback Blake Bortles an option in the middle of the field and down the seam. Ben Koyack and Neal Sterling filled in for Thomas when he missed the final six games of the 2016 season, but Rivera steps in ahead of them on the depth chart. Since it's a deep draft for tight ends, the Jaguars are likely to draft one as well.
What's the risk: It's concerning that Rivera's production dipped after his second year. The Raiders also had him on the trading block last season because they really like what they've seen from Clive Walford, whom they drafted in the third round in 2015. The Raiders' tight ends were hit by injuries in 2016, but Rivera still caught only 18 passes. Maybe a change of scenery will revitalize his career, though he's going from one of the top teams in the AFC to one of the worst -- and he's losing the stability of playing with Derek Carr for the uncertainty surrounding Blake Bortles.