The Jacksonville Jaguars were a busy bunch Monday evening while you were sleeping.
The Jaguars and free agent G Andrew Norwell have agreed to a deal that will make Norwell the highest paid offensive guard in the NFL. The deal is said to be worth $66.5 million over 5 years and $30 million guaranteed.
Norwell, originally an undrafted free agent from Ohio State in 2014, became a stalwart for the Panthers offensive line over the last couple of seasons and was considered the best non QB on the open market this year.
The deal won't become official until free agency starts on Wednesday at 4pm.
This is a clear sign that the Jaguars want to continue to be a run first team. If there was an area of the offensive line that needed to be upgraded (there was) it was guard. Both of the Jaguars guard positions should be revamped in 2018. Norwell will likely man the left guard spot, while AJ Cann and someone else should compete for the starting right guard.
While the Jaguars finished with the number one rushing offense in football last season, it too often disappeared for stretches and sometimes entire games. This move should help ensure that the same fate does not befall the Jaguars in the future.
The Jaguars also lost their biggest in house free agent, WR Allen Robinson. He has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Bears worth $42 million over three years. Most fans will be sad to see A-Rob leave Duval.
The argument can be made for or against the Jaguars strategy here, but time will tell if they made the right decision. For those that were in favor of keeping Robinson, they'll say the Jaguars could have made it to the Super Bowl if they had just one more completion down the stretch against the Patriots. While that may be true, it's also likely true that if the Jaguars offensive line would have held up against the Pats in the second half that the Jaguars wouldn't have needed to complete a pass late in the game.
What is obvious is that the Jaguars have a clear plan: run the football and protect Blake Bortles at all costs.
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