The Jacksonville Jaguars are taking an approach to this offseason that has not been taken in quite some time. In fact, I'm not sure it has ever been taken in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars are in a state of building towards a plan, or a scheme. A scheme in which new general manager, David Caldwell, feels is the correct path to take after years of backtracking.
Aside from releasing some of the horrible contracts that were put into place by Gene Smith, Caldwell has completely stuck to his guns throughout the first week of free agency.
Releases that include Laurent Robinson, Guy Whimper, Aaron Ross and Dawan Landry are cuts that were expected and needed in Jacksonville. The talent there vs. current salary proved to be significantly off in Caldwell's eyes.
While teams splashed with some large contracts in the first couple of days, the Jaguars patiently waited with a plan, as the first to sign on the dotted line was a backup linebacker, Geno Hayes.
Hayes brings versatility as well as knowledge to the Jaguars. He has played with both Gus Bradley and Bob Babich over his career in the NFL. Bradley and Babich know what he can and cannot do, which is all apart of picking and choosing the correct players for the scheme at hand.
Are you happy with the Jaguars free agent choices so far?
The Jags were busy on Friday, as they signed three more cheap, yet useful pieces to the puzzle.
The most well-known was running back Justin Forsett, who played for the Houston Texans a year ago. Forsett, like Hayes, brings in a guy capable of doing many things for the Jaguars. Aside from helping out Maurice Jones-Drew, he will be used out of the backfield as a receiver, and could possibly see kickoff return duties as well.
Roy Miller is a very similar player to Terrance Knighton, but signed cheaper. In what I believe is the best move so far for the Jaguars this offseason, Miller is a run-stuffing defensive tackle who easily replaces Knighton. He will not see much time in passing situations, but for his price tag, he was a steal. Leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an incredible year in run defense, Miller was sought after by the Bucs, who never offered him a fair deal.
Lastly, the Jags picked up Alan Ball from the Houston Texans. Ball, a cornerback and safety, is tall, lanky and fits the exact mold that was envisioned when Bradley came to the Jags for his secondary. Although he is not known to be a starter, Ball will come in and compete with the young group of corners. That is what was promised to Jags fans, and that is what will happen.
The free agents that have been added thus far are young, versatile and have seen some levels of success in their careers. The Jaguars are expected to bring in some more faces through free agency, most notably a right tackle and possibly another cornerback and safety.
Although the names may not have many fans jumping for joy, the one thing that a general manager needs to have is a plan to build a winner. Caldwell seems to be slowly, yet steadily earning the respect of the Jaguars fanbase by doing so.