It appears as though the Jacksonville Jaguars have gotten another higher profile free agent to sign on their team in 2016. Running back Chris Ivory, formerly of the New York Jets, agreed to terms with the Jaguars on Tuesday night and he will likely be one of the team’s top backs heading into the season. This move makes little sense for the Jaguars and the team definitely could have allocated their plentiful resources better.
The team has one major reason that they did not need to add Ivory, and that is T.J. Yeldon. Yeldon had a relatively solid rookie season, averaging 4.1 yards per carry through 12 games and he looked like he had the potential to be an all-around back for the team. Granted, he did struggle with injuries but he really looked like he could be a workhorse back. Now, the team will be adding a second back in an attempt to create a one-two punch, but it may not work effectively.
Although Ivory is better than the backups that the team used last year, he comes with far more concerns. To begin with, Ivory has played six NFL seasons and has totaled 883 carries over his career. While those are actually not terrible numbers, Ivory is still an almost 28-year-old running back who is rapidly approaching the dreaded 30 mark that so many running backs decline at.
Coupled with the age concerns are injury concerns, as Ivory had some nagging injuries toward the end of last season that caused a dip in performance during the last couple of games. If Ivory keeps getting nicked up, he is not going to be an effective backup to Yeldon and he may just end up being a waste of money for the team.
Also, the Jaguars did have some solid backups towards the end of last season. Denard Robinson played well as a backup in limited action last season before getting injured. He took over for the ineffective Toby Gerhart and looked like a decent change of pace back. The Jaguars easily could have rolled with him as their top backup.
If not him, the team also has former New England Patriot Jonas Gray who is a decent power back. He could have been a good enough short yardage guy and he came at a much cheaper price tag than Ivory did. The team could have even targeted a backup in the mid-rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft.
At the end of the day, I just do not think it makes sense for the Jaguars to spend so much on Ivory. The team already had a solid offensive, and they needed more help in the back seven and across the offensive line than they needed in the offensive backfield. Perhaps Ivory took a discount, but if he did not this is likely another case of the Jaguars overpaying for a bigger name.