The Jacksonville Jaguars' offseason efforts to beef up a porous receiving corps continued on Sunday afternoon, with a one-year agreement reached between the team and 31-year-old free-agent wideout Lee Evans.
Evans, who was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 2004 draft, spent the 2011 season with the Baltimore Ravens, finishing with just four catches in nine regular-season appearances.
It was Evans' first and only season in Baltimore, and it will be perhaps best-remembered for his final play as a Raven, in which he dropped a would-be game-winning touchdown pass in the AFC Championship Game. Evans appeared to have control of the Joe Flacco throw before the ball was dislodged by Patriots defensive back Sterling Moore. Baltimore kicker Billy Cundiff missed a game-tying field goal later in the drive, and the Patriots came away victorious.
The Jaguars are hopeful that they've landed the Evans who used his speed to torch AFC East defenses throughout the early portion of his career, and the player who averaged nearly 850 receiving yards during each of his first seven pro seasons. Evans is also the only player in NFL history to record two catches of more than 80 yards within a single quarter.
The Jaguars made an early free-agent splash by luring free-agent wide receiver Laurent Robinson away from Dallas, generously agreeing to pay him $32.5 million over the next five years.
The hopes for new head coach Mike Mularkey are to stabilize a receiving corps for second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who will compete with Chad Henne for the starting job in 2012, and to help add explosiveness to what was one of the league's worst offenses in 2011.
Evans should be seeking to prove himself after the worst season of his career, and the Jaguars present him a unique opportunity for extensive playing time.
Chalk this one up as a shrewd, low-risk, high-reward signing by GM Gene Smith.