Saturday word broke that the Jaguars agreed to a contract extension with starting QB Blake Bortles. The deal is worth $54 million over three years ($66 million with incentives), but here comes the kicker: the Jaguars actually save $9 million in cap space this year by getting rid of Bortles' fifth year option. His contract will only count $10 million against the salary cap this year. By getting rid of RB Chris Ivory and signing Bortles to an extension, the Jaguars effectively saved over $12 million in cap space for 2018. An ace job by the Jaguars salary cap wizard John Idzik and the rest of the front office.
By saving $12 million in two days the Jaguars now have the cap flexibility to make several big money moves this offseason. It appears that with rollover cap the Jaguars will have around $35 million in cap space. The Jaguars could get even more spending money by reducing Allen Hurns' annual salary or cutting him outright. The point is that the Jaguars now have the ability to make several power plays prior to and during free agency. Let's take a look at what I think the Jaguars should do with their newly found cap space.
1. Sign Allen Robinson.
Prior to this weekend I believed Allen Robinson should have been signed a while ago, but the Jaguars saw the bigger picture. Now they have more than enough salary cap space to throw $14-15 million a year at Allen Robinson with a front loaded contract. The team should do exactly that. He's the only receiver on the Jags roster that has shown the potential to be a true number one receiver in the NFL. He and his QB Blake Bortles were developing quite a chemistry in 2015 before the disastrous 2016 season season took place. Heading into 2017 Allen Robinson looked like the best player on the Jaguars offense by a long shot. Now the Jaguars should pay him as such. Get this man signed.
2. Sign Aaron Colvin.
It's probably against typical NFL salary cap management protocol to sign a nickel CB to a deal worth $8-10 million. But that's exactly what the Jaguars should do. With Aaron Colvin in the fold the Jaguars have the best secondary in football. Without him? It's probably still a top five unit. But why break up the best secondary in football so soon? Especially while the Jaguars still have Jalen Ramsey locked up for what seems like highway robbery at a salary cap number of just $6.3 million. Pay Colvin until you have to pay Ramsey (Jalen might not be so chirpy regarding getting Colvin a new contract in the future if it interferes with his own). The Jaguars have the power to have the best secondary, on paper and in actuality, in football next season. All they have to do is lock up Colvin.
3. Sign a starting guard.
The Jaguars haven't been known to spend big money on free agent interior lineman in recent years. Last year they bowed out of the Kevin Zeitler sweepstakes and the season before that failed to even compete for Alex Mack in free agency, even though the team saw enough value the season prior to try and sign him as an unrestricted free agent. The Browns blocked the deal at the time. But the point is the Jaguars have failed to find high quality interior lineman (outside of Brandon Linder) over the last several years via the draft or otherwise. Starting left guard Patrick Omameh is set to be a free agent and starting right guard AJ Cann has left plenty to be desired. Enter Andrew Norwell, Justin Pugh, and Josh Sitton. All three players are set to be free agents and all three players would represent major upgrades at guard for the Jaguars. The team could probably afford to sign two of them, but even if they are able to add just one of these players it could pay major dividends for a team that wants to run the ball and run it often.
The Jaguars hit another home run to start the offseason by keeping their QB, cutting dead weight at RB, and saving $12 million in the process. Now the Jaguars just have to take my advice with these three suggestions and they'll be off to a fantastic start to the 2018 offseason.
Stay tuned for more!
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