According to Jason La Canfora the Jaguars are looking to trade veteran left guard Andrew Norwell. Now, it's important to note that La Canfora has been notoriously inaccurate on his Jaguars scoops, but he has been doing this a long time. He mentioned that if the Jags can't find a trade partner, some teams expect Jacksonville to release Norwell.
Norwell signed a five-year, $66.5 million deal with the Jaguars in 2018. He was coming off one of the best seasons of pass protection in recent memory, having surrendered zero sacks for the Panthers in 2017. Norwell dealt with injuries during his first year with the Jaguars but was still a highly effective pass protector. And in year two with the team, he battled through injuries again but still logged over 1,000 snaps, playing in every game. The injuries undoubtedly took their toll on Norwell in 2019, and his play suffered. But in 2020, he was back to his old self, surrendering less than one pressure per game on average.
Norwell has been rumored as a cut candidate for a couple of years thanks to his hefty price tag, but he's coming off a season in which he was one of the elite pass protecting left guards in football. Sure, the Big Cats could save $9 million in 2021 salary cap space by moving on from the former Buckeye. But with $82 million in cap space, what's the point of pinching pennies and losing out on a fantastic interior pass protector with Trevor Lawrence on the way. And it should be noted that Norwell played for Urban Meyer at Ohio State.
The only way I could understand why the Jaguars would want to move on from Andrew Norwell is to upgrade the position. If the Jaguars did release their veteran left guard, their salary cap space would climb to about $91 million. That would give Jacksonville more than enough cap space to sign multiple offensive lineman that are considered upgrades.
But Urban Meyer spoke confidently about his offensive line earlier in the offseason. I'd stick with Norwell at left guard in 2021 and instead spend my offensive line money on a premium left tackle and an upgrade at right guard, where AJ Cann has been inconsistent at best throughout his career. Having several new starters along the offensive line in an offseason that could again be shortened due to COVID might not be the best course of action with a rookie quarterback coming.
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