It's true. To the chagrin of many a Jag fan, the team has elected to re-sign right Guard AJ Cann.
Originally drafted by the Jaguars in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of South Carolina, AJ Cann has been a starter for most of his career in Jacksonville. With 59 starts in 60 career games, Cann has missed just four games due to injury during his four years in Duval. When it comes to avoiding major injuries, Cann is as reliable as they come.
Cann's play, on the other hand, has been up and down. At his best, he can be a road grading mauler, and at his worst, he's looked lost on the field. But when not dealing with nagging injuries, which he struggled with for much of the 2018 season, Cann is, at the very least an average pass protector and adequate run blocker.
The Jaguars elected to lock up the right guard before he was allowed to truly test the free agent market. His new deal is said to be worth slightly more than $15 million over three years.
Cann didn't have his best season in 2018, which left a bitter taste in fans mouths (I'll admit I'm one of them), but he was dealt a poor hand in 2018. The Jaguars offensive line collapsed around AJ Cann last season. To Cann's right, Jermey Parnell missed three games. To his left, Brandon Linder struggled with a knee injury all year and missed nine games. Move over to the left guard spot, and you have Andrew Norwell, who also dealt with nagging injuries and missed five games in total. Finally, at left tackle, starter Cam Robinson went down for the season in week three. The Jaguars and Cann LITERALLY had the worst luck possible when it came to offensive line injuries in 2018.
Again, AJ Cann is not an elite starter. To this point in his career, he has been average as the day is long. But signing an average right guard to a team friendly deal isn't such a bad idea, especially when you look at what's available on the free agent market. The only definitive upgrade available is TJ Lang, and his price tag figures to be much, much higher than $5 million per year. Outside of Lang, every other free agent guard has glaring deficiencies. Some excel in pass protection but struggle to run block. Instead of getting a guy who can pass protect but can't run block, the Jaguars chose to stick with AJ Cann, a guard who is decent in both areas, at a very reasonable price. I can't blame them.
This move should not necessarily prevent the Jaguars from taking a guard at some point in the middle rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft.
What do you think about the decision to bring back AJ Cann? Let us know in the comments below.
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