2017 Free Agency Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars

Top free agent targets for the Jacksonville Jaguars, players that must be re-signed, team cap space, and more to get you ready for 2017 free agency.

| 3 weeks ago
(Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

(Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

2017 Free Agency Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars


[Editor’s note: This preview was originally published on Feb. 26, 2017, and updated on March 6 to reflect changes in the market do to franchise tags, re-signings, cuts, etc.]

What you need to know

The Jaguars enter free agency with multiple needs and more than enough cap space to pursue some of the biggest names available. They’ve wasted little time making moves, cutting DE Jared Odrick, a one-time big-money free agent signing that didn’t work out. They have also reportedly made a pair of trades, one sending TE Julius Thomas to the Dolphins, and another acquiring T Branden Albert from the same team.

Salary cap room

$76,486,043 (third in NFL; as of 3/6/17)

Biggest needs

  • Guard
  • Edge defender
  • Safety
  • Cornerback

Notable free agents

  • Prince Amukamara, CB, 76.6 overall grade in 2016
  • Johnathan Cyprien, S, 87.8
  • Tyson Alualu, DI, 47.0

Must re-sign

Prince Amukamara, CB, 76.6 overall grade in 2016

“Must re-sign” is such a strong term, but the Jaguars could do worse than hold on to Amukamara as their second cornerback, opposite Jalen Ramsey. Amukamara earned a 76.6 overall grade in 2016, his fifth straight year with a grade in the 75-79.5 range. The alternative would be to let Amukamara move on and seek an upgrade, but each of the top free agent corners comes with risk attached, and they will be expensive.

Dream splash

Kevin Zeitler, G, Cincinnati Bengals, 87.1

A five-year veteran, Zeitler is one of the better guards in football and arguably the best offensive lineman expected to hit free agency. He posted overall grades of 86.4, 86.0 and 87.1 in the past three seasons, respectively, and has graded well as both run-blocker and pass protector. His consistency, and his age profile, at just 27, combine to make Zeitler a highly desirable free agent.

Top 2017 free agency prospects

Kevin Zeitler, G, Cincinnati Bengals, 87.1

He may be a “dream signing,” but the Jaguars have more than enough cap space to turn dreams into reality. That should allow the team to make a serious run at their top offensive line target, whether or not that is Zeitler.

Logan Ryan, CB, New England Patriots, 83.5

If Amukamara walks in free agency, then the Jaguars will be looking for a replacement as their No. 2 corner, and Ryan would offer an upgrade. Ryan earned an 83.5 overall grade in 2016, building on a solid 81.6 grade in 2015. He has been exposed at times, but makes up for that with his ability to get his hands on the ball, having forced 27 pass disruptions (seven of them interceptions) over the past two seasons.

Jabaal Sheard, EDGE, New England Patriots

While the Jaguars have a pair of young pass-rushers in Dante Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue, they could stand to add more experience and production to the position. Sheard would certainly bring that, having generated 14 sacks and 96 total QB pressures over the past two seasons, while remaining solid against the run. He is also scheme and position versatile, so should suit the Jaguars whether they keep the variant 4-3 scheme they ran under Gus Bradley, or revert to a more traditional form of the 4-3 front.

 

2017 Free Agency Rankings
Top 50 free agents
Every 2017 free agent ranked by 2016 overall grade
10 free agents who can make an immediate impact
10 veteran free agents worth a one-year contract
10 sleeper free agents who could bring surprise upside
10 splash free-agent signings we’d like to see
Quarterback rankings
Running back rankings
Wide receiver rankings
Tight end rankings
Offensive linemen rankings
Edge defender rankings
Interior defender rankings
Cornerback rankings
Safety rankings
Linebacker rankings

2017 NFL Team Free Agency Previews

DivisionTeam
NFC EastDallas Cowboys
NFC EastNew York Giants
NFC EastPhiladelphia Eagles
NFC EastWashington Redskins
AFC EastBuffalo Bills
AFC EastMiami Dolphins
AFC EastNew England Patriots
AFC EastNew York Jets
NFC WestArizona Cardinals
NFC WestLos Angeles Rams
NFC WestSan Francisco 49ers
NFC WestSeattle Seahawks
AFC WestDenver Broncos
AFC WestKansas City Chiefs
AFC WestLos Angeles Chargers
AFC WestOakland Raiders
NFC NorthChicago Bears
NFC NorthDetroit Lions
NFC NorthGreen Bay Packers
NFC NorthMinnesota Vikings
AFC NorthBaltimore Ravens
AFC NorthCincinnati Bengals
AFC NorthCleveland Browns
AFC NorthPittsburgh Steelers
NFC SouthAtlanta Falcons
NFC SouthCarolina Panthers
NFC SouthNew Orleans Saints
NFC SouthTampa Bay Buccaneers
AFC SouthHouston Texans
AFC SouthIndianapolis Colts
AFC SouthJacksonville Jaguars
AFC SouthTennessee Titans

| Analyst

Kevin has been an analyst at Pro Football Focus since 2014, with a particular focus on college football.

  • Phong Ta

    One of the easiest ways to get a QB into bad habits is pressure up the middle, as we’ve seen with Bortles. If the Jaguars are serious about giving him another shot in 2017 then going hard after O-Linemen, be it drafting one in the 1st round and/or overpaying a bit for Zeitler, is a good place to start

    • Tim Edell

      Jaguars aren’t drafting an OL with the 4th overall pick.

      • crosseyedlemon

        Would the Seahawks or Vikings? Trading down might be something the Jags should consider since they are still a couple of years away from being among the elite teams in the league.

        • Tim Edell

          Well the Vikings do not have a 1st round pick and I can’t see Jags trading all the way to the bottom of the first round. There is no OL in this class worth a top 10 pick.

  • Mike J.

    Living in J-ville, I see the Jags quite a lot, for good or bad. CB A’a is a guy I certainly would make a real effort to keep. He didn’t look great,ever (unlike his rookie running mate),but darn near never made any egregious errors either; very steady.