5 Free Agents The Jacksonville Jaguars Should Target This Offseason
5 Players The Jacksonville Jaguars Should Target
At one stage during the year, it looked conceivable that the Jacksonville Jaguars would suffer the first 0-16 season since the 2008 Detroit Lions. Thankfully for the Jags and recently appointed head coach Gus Bradley, the team improved greatly during the second half of the season. After going win-less through Week 8, the Jags rebounded after the bye week and won four of their remaining eight games to finish the season with a 4-12 record. The 2013 regular season marked a third consecutive losing year for Jacksonville, and the team has failed to amass a winning record since 2007.
The term “rebuilding phase” has been bandied around by Jags staff, fans and media for years, but little improvement has been made. The 2014 offseason presents another opportunity for the team to build a solid foundation. The Jags are sure to draft a quarterback in the first round with their third overall pick. Chad Henne is in the final year of his contract and the Blaine Gabbert experiment has gone on for far too long. Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles look to be the most likely targets, as the Houston Texans are expected to secure the services of Louisville quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater with the first overall pick.
Aside from a quarterback conundrum, the Jags have several other issues to address this offseason and many potential solutions lie in the free agency market. On offense, Jacksonville was 31st in the league running the ball and last in total yards and points scored. The defense didn’t fare much better, ranking 25th or worse in every defensive category. In order to build for the future, drastic changes need to be made on both sides of the ball and these five players should be on Jacksonville’s radar during free agency.
5. Johnny Jolly
Defensive end John Jolly will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, having spent five years with the Green Bay Packers' either side of a two year stint in prison. He was placed on IR last month due to a season-ending neck injury and could be a suitable pickup by the Jags next year in order to beef up their defensive line.
4. Vladimir Ducasse
Vladimir Ducasse’s three-year stint with the New York Jets is set to come to an end this offseason, and he could prove to be a cheap acquisition for a Jags offensive line which struggled all year in run blocking and pass protection.
3. Alex Mack
Alex Mack is widely regarded as the best center to enter free agency this year and having lost 13-year veteran Brad Meester to retirement, the Jags should keep an eye on Mack, who could be set to part ways with the Cleveland Browns this offseason.
2. Brian Orakpo
One of the best linebackers to enter free agency, Brian Orakpo could form a formidable partnership with Jags star Paul Posluszny. Orakpo finished the season with 10 sacks and an interception return for a touchdown, and was one of few bright spots for the Washington Redskins.
1. Ben Tate
The Jags are set to allow Maurice Jones-Drew to test the free agency market this year and Ben Tate would be an adequate replacement. Having sat in the large shadow of Arian Foster for the first two years of his career, Tate showed flashes of brilliance this year with the Houston Texans, amassing 771 rushing yards and four touchdowns after losing Foster to injury.