The Jaguars got off to a ... surprising start to free agency on Monday. The legal tampering period kicked off at noon, and while NFL teams can't officially sign players until Wednesday at 4 pm, deals have been agreed upon and reported league-wide.
The Jaguars were expected to reel in some big fish early on. But so far, the most expensive free agent the Jaguars have signed is Roy Robertson-Harris, a defensive lineman who was on precisely no one in Jacksonville's radar. Head coach Urban Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke appear to have swung and missed on some players, so day two of the legal tampering period will be critical.
Here's a look at what we know so far:
DL Roy Robertson-Harris - 3 years, $24.4 million, 14 million guaranteed (Mike Garafolo)
27 years old, 6'7'', 292 pounds
A rotational defensive lineman from Chicago, Robertson-Harris has been an effective and versatile defensive lineman over the last three years for the Bears. He's coming off a shoulder injury but should be fully healed well before training camp. The money in the deal suggests Robertson-Harris could start for the Jaguars. He'll likely play on the edge in base downs and rotate inside at times. Robertson-Harris is long and strong and should help the Jaguars' defense improve against the run, while providing some flashes as a pass rusher. When you look at what Robertson-Harris earned on the market compared to more proven players like Shelby Harris and Dalvin Tomlinson, it's a bit of a head-scratcher.
KR/PR/WR Jamal Agnew - 3 years, $14.25 million, $3.5 million signing bonus, with escalators (Aaron Wilson)
5'10", 190 pounds
Agnew's deal is worth up to $21 million, a shocking potential number for a player whose primary role has been on special teams. A dynamic kick and punt returner, Agnew has returned five kicks/punts for touchdowns in his four-year career. He has legit 4.3 speed. But his impact outside of special teams is a projection at best. He transitioned to wide receiver last year, having previously played cornerback.
S Rudy Ford - 2 years, $4.2 million (Tom Pelissero)
26 years old, 6'0", 204 pounds
Rudy Ford projects to be a core special teamer. Seeing Urban Meyer add two special teams players early on shouldn't come as a major surprise. He's emphasized special teams throughout his coaching career. I don't expect Ford to contribute much outside of special teams.
WR Phillip Dorsett - no contract details
28 years old, 5'10", 192 pounds
Dorsett is another speed merchant, but coming off a foot injury that required surgery and cost him all of the 2020 season, it's unclear where Dorsett is at physically. While we don't yet know the details of the contract, it's safe to assume that it's fairly minuscule, considering he signed a one-year deal in Seattle last year worth just over $1 million. His best years were spent in New England, but even there, he never caught more than 32 passes in a season. Dorsett likely slots in as the Jaguars' third receiver right now, but he'd be more of a 4th-5th receiver in an ideal world.
DE Dawuane Smoot - 2 years, $14 million (Ian Rapoport)
26 years old, 6'3", 264 pounds
Smoot is coming off a strong year in which he racked up 32 QB pressures and 5.5 sacks. As a rotational player, Smoot has registered 11 total sacks over the past two seasons in Duval. He returns to Jacksonville and should continue to rotate in as a base defensive end and iDL in sub-packages.
S Rayshawn Jenkins - 4 years, $35 million, $16 million guaranteed
27 years old, 6'1'', 220 pounds
Jenkins might be the best signing of the day for the Jaguars. He played a lot of strong safety for the Chargers in 2020 due to the Derwin James injury. But he played more free safety in the past, and that's where he looks more comfortable. He's sticky in coverage and should be able to play split zone, deep middle, and even cover tight ends in man coverage. Jenkins has picked off five passes over the last two seasons.
RB Carlos Hyde - 2 years, $6 million (Ian Rapoport)
30 years old, 6'0'', 229 pounds
Hyde played for Urban Meyer and Ohio State and was drafted by Trent Baalke in San Francisco, so the connections are apparent. While his brief tenure likely left a bad taste in the mouths of Jaguars fans, he's been effective over the last two seasons in Houston and Seattle, averaging 4.4 yards per carry. He fits the zone rushing attack that Urban Meyer will feature and is a quality backup to James Robinson.
A list of names that certainly leaves something to be desired when you consider the players that were signed around the league Monday. But there are plenty of talented players available at positions the Jaguars still need to upgrade. And the Jaguars still have plenty of spending money. They missed out on most of the upper echelon edge rushers, but there are still quality defensive ends to be had. Hunter Henry and Gerald Everett are available at tight end. Most of the top wide outs are still on the board. And there's plenty of quality cornerbacks available too.
It's not time to panic yet, but if day one of the legal tampering window was a sign of things to come, the Jaguars' turnaround under this new regime might take longer than initially expected.
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