X

Have feedback / suggestions? Let us know!

NFL Jacksonville Jaguars

5 Jacksonville Jaguars Storylines To Follow Leading Up To Free Agency

1 of 6

5 Jacksonville Jaguars Storylines To Follow Leading Up To Free Agency

a
Ron Chenoy - USA Today Sports

As free agency begins on March 11, the Jacksonville Jaguars have a plethora of holes to fill on their roster. Every team in the NFL will have holes to fill as free agency begins next week, but the Jaguars are one of those teams that need free agency and the NFL Draft more than the typical team -- after all, the Jaguars did finish with a 4-12 record in 2013.

You can look across the roster and see the team has many voids on both offense and defense. Quarterback and a pass-rushing defensive end are the biggest needs, while the team will also have to look at the running back, wide receiver, offensive line, tight end and outside linebacker positions with a close eye.

Incumbent starting quarterback Chad Henne is a free agent, while 2011 first-round draft pick Blaine Gabbert has been a bust. It will be interesting to see if the Jaguars go the route that the Kansas City Chiefs went last year in signing a veteran quarterback through free agency. If the franchise elects to go that route, they could select a pass rusher at the defensive end or outside linebacker positions with the No. 3 overall pick.

RB will be a position of focus because Maurice Jones-Drew is a free agent this offseason. Drew has been the franchise's leading running back for the past eight years, but the eight-year veteran has a lot of wear-and-tear on his tires. The veteran running back has 1,804 carries during his career, the fifth-most of any RB currently in the NFL.

What are five Jaguars storylines to follow leading up to free agency?

2 of 6

5. The Jaguars' Quest to Find a No. 1 Receiver

a
Phil Sears - USA Today Sports

In November of 2013, Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy a second time. He served an eight-game suspension to end the season, which means he'll likely serve at least another eight games before he is reinstated.

That leaves the Jaguars without a No. 1 receiver entering 2014. The Jaguars have plenty of cap space with nearly $60 million to spend in the offseason. Eric Decker, Hakeem Nicks and James Jones headline a free agent class of wide receivers. Could we possibly see Decker with the Jaguars in 2014?

3 of 6

4. Will the Jaguars Bring Back Maurice Jones-Drew?

a
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Maurice Jones-Drew is second in rushing touchdowns and fifth in rushing yards of all active RB. He has been the team's unquestioned starter at running back since 2009. The problem is that he's 29-years old and has been in the league for eight seasons. To make matters worse, Jones-Drew ran for just 3.4 yards per carry in 15 games started last season.

Jones-Drew is a free agent, and though the team will bring in a RB to carry the load for the team, the question is would Jacksonville want to bring back Jones-Drew in a complementary back role? Jones-Drew's market value will dictate whether he returns to Jacksonville or not because the Jaguars will not break the bank to bring back the veteran RB.

4 of 6

3. Who Will Be Jacksonville's Starting RB in 2014?

a
Getty Images

It's obvious that Jones-Drew won't be the team's unquestioned starter at RB in 2014 even if he does come back. So, who will the Jaguars sign to bring stability to the backfield? Ben Tate, Darren McFadden and Knowshon Moreno are all possibilities for the Jaguars. Considering the team has so much cap space, signing either RB to a lucrative deal won't be a problem.

5 of 6

2. Will They Re-Sign Chad Henne?

a
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

GM David Caldwell has already stated that one of the team's goals this offseason is to re-sign quarterback Chad Henne. Though Henne did bring some stability to the quarterback position, he is still a below-average quarterback. Blaine Gabbert will likely return as he's under contract for one more year, and the Jaguars can draft one of the top three quarterbacks in the draft with the No. 3 overall pick.

If that is the case, will the team really prioritize bringing Henne back when the team has won just six games over the past two seasons with the veteran starting at quarterback?

6 of 6

1. Will The Team Find a Top Pass Rusher Through Free Agency?

a
Brace Hemelgarn - USA Today Sports

The franchise ranked dead last in sacks last season with just 31. The Jaguars' leading pass rusher was 33-year-old veteran journeyman Jason Babin. There is a reason why there is talk over whether the Jaguars will draft a quarterback or a defensive end with the No. 3 overall pick, and it's because the Jaguars received subpar play from both positions last season.

Big names such as Jared Allen, Justin Tuck and Michael Bennett are free agents this year. You almost have to expect the Jaguars to overpay for one of these pass rushers so they can draft a quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick, and avoid all of the criticism that would come due to drafting a defensive end over a quarterback in this year's draft.