Jacksonville Jaguars GM Trent Baalke giving Trevor Lawrence what he needs in free agency

How Christian Kirk's contract will affect the rest of the FA market (0:51)

Louis Riddick explains how Christian Kirk's four-year, $84 million deal will affect the other free-agent wide receivers. (0:51)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Trevor Lawrence should be pretty happy.

The Jacksonville Jaguars second-year quarterback now has a five-time Pro Bowl guard in front of him and a young, speedy, proven receiver to catch passes. It took general manager Trent Baalke and coach Doug Pederson less than three hours to get those two players -- and two other defensive players -- to agree to terms Monday afternoon during the league’s legal tampering period.

He followed that by adding a tight end later in the day to considerably beef up what was a less-than-ordinary offense last season.

It’s a strong second act in an offseason in which surrounding Lawrence with more talent on offense was the No. 1 priority. Hiring Pederson, who won a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017, was a great start. On Monday, wide receiver Christian Kirk, guard Brandon Scherff, tight end Evan Engram, linebacker Foyesade Oluokun and defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi all agreed to terms. The haul adds some much-needed momentum to a franchise that has won four games total the past two seasons.

Baalke capped off the day by adding wide receiver Zay Jones late Monday, giving the Jaguars a new No. 3 receiver behind Kirk and Marvin Jones Jr. Zay Jones has only caught two touchdown passes in the past three seasons, but he’s been at best the third option behind Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller, He also was behind Henry Ruggs in terms of catches in Ruggs’ rookie season in 2020.

A healthy Jamal Agnew (hip) and Laviska Shenault Jr., who was tied for second in the NFL with eight drops, are likely going to see a reduced role in 2022.

The expected additions of Kirk, Engram and Scherff are huge, because receiver, tight end and offensive line were three of the Jaguars’ biggest weaknesses. The priority this offseason was to surround Lawrence with more talent, and Kirk was one of the better receivers available. He’s coming off a season in which he set career highs in catches (77) and receiving yards (982), and he’s only 25 years old despite being in the league for four years.

The Jaguars led the NFL in drops last season (39 per ESPN Stats & Info) and receivers alone had 21. The Jaguars also had a league-low eight receptions of 30 or more yards. Kirk had four drops and seven catches of 30 or more yards in 2021. He instantly becomes the Jaguars’ top receiver ahead of Marvin Jones Jr. and if the Jaguars add another receiver in free agency, he'll likely slide into the No. 3 spot and give the room a much different look than last season.

The tight end position hasn't made much of an impact in Jacksonville for a while: The fewest catches Engram has had in a season in his five-year career was 44 in 2019. The Jaguars have had only three tight ends catch more than 44 passes in a season in franchise history: Kyle Brady (64 in 2000), Marcedes Lewis (58 in 2010 and 52 in 2012) and Julius Thomas (46 in 2015). Engram evolved into more of a slot tight end in the latter part of his career with the Giants and he'll pair with Dan Arnold, whom the Jaguars traded for last season, as tight ends who can be moved around.

Tight ends have thrived under Pederson and Engram could certainly reach the 40-catch mark again if the Jaguars use him the way the Eagles did Zach Ertz.

Scherff has had injury issues (he’s missed 22 games in the last four seasons), but he’s been a mauler in the run game. Putting him alongside right tackle Jawaan Taylor should solidify the right side of the offensive line. With left tackle Cam Robinson back on the franchise tag and coming off arguably the best season of his career, the Jaguars need to figure out what to do at left guard. One solution would be to move Ben Bartch, who started 11 games at right guard as an injury replacement to A.J. Cann, there.

Oluokun is a tackling machine (he led the NFL with 192 in 2021) and a speed upgrade over Damien Wilson. Fatukasi is a good run-stuffing tackle who can help upgrade a run defense that ranked 23rd and 30th the past two seasons. Those are quality signings, too.

But Baalke adding Kirk and Scherff, two of the better players available, within the first three hours of the legal tampering period, and adding Engram in the evening, is a big-time victory for a GM who has taken a pretty good beating on social media the past six months. The Jaguars are much better at two critical spots than they were when Monday began, and there’s still more signings to come.

As well as the draft. The Jaguars have 12 picks, including the No. 1 overall pick and three others in the top 70. Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson could be the top pick, but taking a receiver with the 33rd overall pick, and possibly another in a later round, would give Lawrence a significantly upgraded group of players.

Pederson, signings at critical spots and then a good run in the draft would be an almost perfect offseason. If the Jaguars are able to accomplish that then there would be an entirely different feeling about Baalke and the franchise than there was when Urban Meyer was fired in mid-December.

That should make Lawrence even happier.