AFC South Free Agency: Grading the Jacksonville Jaguars

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistMarch 20, 2012

Will Laruent Robinson touch down or just...fall down in Jacksonville?
Will Laruent Robinson touch down or just...fall down in Jacksonville?Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed three free agents through the first week of the open market: wideout Laurent Robinson, quarterback Chad Henne and cornerback Aaron Ross.

They have promised around $54.6 million (though probably only around $20 million of that is guaranteed money) to the three players.

While each of the individual moves is easy to justify, they are underwhelming when listed as a whole.

Robinson is definitely a huge risk. If he comes anywhere near duplicating his Dallas numbers, he'll be worth every penny, but he's obviously going to a different offensive environment in Jacksonville (that's a politic way of saying that his quarterback is terrible).

Henne is obviously a low-risk situation, but if all goes well, that's several million dollars being paid to a player who never sees the field.

Ross is a curious case as well. Cornerbacks are notoriously difficult to judge because so much of what happens on the field is determined by scheme.

He comes from a positive winning atmosphere and brings two Super Bowl rings to a locker room more starved for bling than an Amish barn-raising. He comes with a first-round pedigree, but it's interesting to note that the Giants let him walk. They could have kept him if they had wanted, but instead chose to franchise their punter.

There hasn't been any outcry by Giants fans about losing their starting corner. The perception is that he's "just a guy." I've never been a big believer in ProFootball Focus's cornerback stats (it's nearly impossible to judge secondary play using standard broadcast feeds), but they have Ross down as allowing opposing passers a rating of 98 against him. None of that is damning evidence, but it does give me pause.

The odds are low that all three of these moves pan out for the Jaguars, but it also seems likely that at least one of them does. For a team with as much cap space as the Jags, they can afford to pay out a little on spec.

Ultimately, the best way to grade free agency is to ask, "Is this team better or worse this week than last?" In the Jaguars' case, the answer is almost definitely better.

Grade: B+