Another year ends with the Jacksonville Jaguars not in the Super Bowl, however, this year feels different. Unlike years before, the Jaguars have a young elite quarterback with a fairly decent cast of receivers. Also, the Jaguars have solidified building blocks for the future.
For example, quarterback Trevor Lawrence improved greatly from year 1 to year 2. He also managed to show grit in tough moments and a short memory. Lawrence threw for 4,113 yards, 25 touchdowns, and only 8 interceptions. Compare that to the 17 interceptions he threw in 2021, and you have the makings of a future great.
Lawrence’s development is a great sign for the Jaguars future due to the increased level of play AFC quarterbacks are showing. Furthermore, with the quarterback position taken care of, the Jaguars can focus on building around Lawrence.
More important, the Jaguars had a very capable offensive line as the season went on. Although not perfect, the offensive line Lawrence enough time to make plays. I expect the Jaguars to go after a few pieces in the off-season to continue to improve the line.
Lastly, the receiving core was serviceable. Last years offseason acquisitions turned out to be good additions for the Jaguars. Christian Kirk experienced his first 1,000 yard season in the NFL Tight end Evan Engram also had his most productive season as a pro.
However, the Jaguars should add another tight end and wide receiver to the team. As great as the production was, the Jaguars need a dynamic playmaker in the receiving core. Boston College’s Receiver Zay Flowers is a good option to consider in the draft.
Overall, the offense improved in many areas and are at a stage of adding explosive pieces. It’s the defense that will need the most work.
The Jaguars played a bend but don’t break defense during the 6-game win streak. The pass rush and secondary were nonexistent against the Cowboys, Chargers, and Chiefs. Although clutch plays were made in late moments, the defense constantly gave up huge yards in their zone defense.
The Zone defense was ineffective due to the fact that the defensive line could not get to the quarterback. Patrick Mahomes continued to make plays threw the air and on the ground at times.
Nonetheless, the Jaguars found key players they can count on in tough moments. Saftey Rayshaun Jenkins comes to mind as an anchor for the defense. Moving forward, the Jaguars will have to focus on drafting or acquiring a talented edge rusher.
The Jaguars were ranked 26th in the league in sacks with only 35. In addition to the defensive line, the Jaguars will have to sure up the secondary with a lockdown corner.
There were some rumblings that cornerback Jalen Ramsey might consider returning to Jacksonville if the opportunity was right for both parties. Needless to say, the Jaguars are in a great position to add quality talent on defense.
Jaguars Salary Cap Hits
Heading into the 2023 offseason, the Jaguars are sitting at the third-worst salary cap situation in the league. Currently, the Jaguars will be $18 million over the cap. However, the Jaguars will need to sure up a few go-to pieces from 2022.
Tight-end Evan Engram will be priority #1 for the Jaguars to resign. Engram was a key target for Lawrence later on in the season and in the playoffs. The NFL covets athletic and skill full tight-ends like Engram.
The Jaguars should expect a bidding war for Engram’s services this offseason.
Unfortunately, cornerback Shaquille Griffin won’t be in the same boat. As bad as the Jaguars secondary was in the playoffs, the secondary seemed worse when Griffin was on the field.
Cutting Griffin would save $13.5 million in cap space for the Jaguars.
- Offense improved but needs more dynamic help
- The defense was a weakness in the playoffs
- The Salary cap doesn’t show much wiggle room
- Resigning TE Evan Engram is a priority
- Cutting Shaquille Griffin is a must and saves the team $13.5 million