State of the Franchise: Jacksonville Jaguars

State of the Franchise: Jacksonville Jaguars
Reading Time: 3 minutes.

2018 was an absolute disastrous year for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Coming into the season off the back of an AFC Championship game appearance in 2017, big things were expected. However, the season fell apart extremely fast. Suddenly after looking like they might have some of the answers within the team they appear back at square one, especially offensively.

A 3-1 start with a big victory over the Patriots hinted at a possible repeat of their 2017 season. However, their 30-14 loss in Kansas City started a seven game losing streak. Over the final 12 games of the season the Jaguars went 2-10. They ended the season 5-11 despite having a top five ranked defence is total yards and points allowed.

Cap Space: -$565,428

I do not think you need me to tell you that a negative cap is not good for the Jaguars. Especially when you consider that the other three teams have a combined cap space of more than $200 million. The Jaguars do have some options for opening up more space but they are not perfect by any means.

Cutting Blake Bortles would save them $4 million in space, but it would also incur a dead cap cost of $16.5 million. Malik Jackson could save $11 million, but again would still count $4 million against the cap. Marcell Dareus could be jettisoned for $10.585 million without count anything against the cap in dead money.

However, there is another way they could open space. Carlos Hyde ($4.7 million), Abry Jones ($4 million), Brandon Linder ($5.781 million) and Jermey Parnell ($6 million) could be cut to open up just over $20 million in cap space. That would at least give them room to manoeuvre this offseason.

Expiring Contracts

The Jaguars are in a fascinating position because there are not really any major free agents pending this season. Offensively they have Donte Moncrief and T.J. Yeldon looking likely to walk out of the door. Neither of those pieces are significant enough that the Jaguars will be spending much time trying to convince them to stay.

Their other impending free agent was Josh Lambo. However, they have already inked him to a four year extension to keep him in Jacksonville.

Draft and Free Agency

Draft Picks: 7, 38, 69, 99 (from LAR), 110, 179, 238

Major Needs: Quarterback & Wide Receiver

The Jaguars need to move on from Bortles and find a different solution at quarterback. The problem they have is that their roster is constructed in such a way that that solution needs to be immediate. They either need to invest a very high draft pick or go out and sign an impact free agent such as Nick Foles.

It seems wrong to put wide receiver in here with quarterback but both of them are major needs for this team. It will be tough for any quarterback to come in and succeed with the current skill position players the Jaguars have. My expectation is that we see the Jaguars invest heavily in the draft to get some fresh young receiving talent for their new quarterback to throw too.

Minor Needs: Tight end, Offensive line & Defensive end

In the same vein that the Jaguars need receiving talent they also need a tight end. Adding a big bodied tight end who can help in both the run game and the passing game could be the key to unlocking the potential of this offence. Equally some help on the offensive line is required. The Jaguars run game struggled last season and they at times struggled to keep Bortles up right. They need to get stronger and more physical on their line to get their offence to where they need to be.

The last element is their defensive line. They have a solid front four but beyond that they are lacking in depth. They let Dante Fowler go via trade in mid season and they will likely try to replace him via the draft, in order to give them more depth to their pass rush.

Image credit: Boston Globe

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