NFL Free Agency: Five Signings That Make Sense for Jaguars
The Jaguars' season is pretty much over. They had a great opportunity to make the playoffs at the beginning of the season with Peyton Manning out, but now they are 3-8 and even if they won five straight games the playoffs would still probably be out of reach.
It is obvious that there are several places in which the Jaguars need help, namely wide receiver and offensive tackle. Luckily, the 2012 free agent market is ripe with talent at many positions. Although Jacksonville also has the draft to work with, this slideshow presents five free agents that the Jaguars should look into signing.
I really doubt that the Lions will let Cliff Avril go without a fight. He is one of the league's best young defensive ends, and he can consistently disrupt plays with his dominance on the line.
The Jaguars may have to shovel out a lot of cash to bring Avril to Jacksonville, but they desperately need talent at defensive end. Avril is a player who will be around for a while, and who is getting better with every year.
Cliff Avril has notched 24 tackles, 7.0 sacks, three pass deflections and five forced fumbles this year. He knows how to make plays against the run and the pass, and his presence on the line could be a huge step forward in solidifying Jacksonville's defense.
The Jaguars would have to make a pretty enticing offer for Cliff Avril to suit up with Jacksonville next year, but it would be an investment they wouldn't regret.
Marcedes Lewis is a free agent in 2012, so the Jags will probably try to re-sign him instead of getting a new tight end. However, if they are unable to get Lewis back, Greg Olsen would be hard to pass up.
Assuming the Panthers haven't locked him up yet, the Jaguars could really use Olsen as a reliable target for Blaine Gabbert in the receiving game. Thus far, he has caught 37 passes for 427 yards and four touchdowns, but he is much more talented than his numbers show.
Olsen is a great all-around tight end and Blaine Gabbert obviously needs a consistent, dependable player to throw to. Olsen thrived in Mike Martz's passing attack in Chicago, and his presence could encourage the Jags to air it out.
If Marcedes Lewis leaves Jacksonville, Olsen is definitely someone the Jaguars should consider. They need consistency from receivers in the passing game, and Olsen gives them that, as well as a decent blocker.
This is exactly what the Jaguars need. A tall, physical receiver who can be the go-to guy for Blaine Gabbert.
Marques Colston is 6'4, 225 pounds and is the ideal size for a reliable number one target in the receiving game. The Jaguars seem to really like short receivers, but Blaine Gabbert is obviously struggling without a big target he can count on.
Colston may not have top end speed, but he can go up and get high passes, has great hands and possesses a knack for making big plays. He could be a perfect complement to Mike Thomas, who has all the traits to become a Wes Welker-like number two receiver.
Jacksonville may not be the most probable destination for Colston this offseason, and many teams including the Saints will surely be after him, but making an offer to him is definitely something the Jaguars should consider.
Rashean Mathis has been a great corner for many years with the Jaguars, but at 31 years old who knows how much longer he'll be able to continue playing at a high level? He will be a free agent in 2012, so the Jaguars may want to consider looking for younger faces at cornerback.
Terrell Thomas fits the bill. Thomas is only 27 years old and has been a solid corner for the New York Giants for several years.
Thomas tore his ACL this season, which definitely hurts his stock as a corner, but it also means the Giants may move on without him due to the presence of Corey Webster, Aaron Ross and Prince Amukamara.
Thomas is great in press coverage and run support and isn't a big name, meaning he may not attract as much attention as free agents such as Tracy Porter. The Jaguars could also go for a young defensive back in the draft, but adding Thomas could do their secondary a lot of good.
This one is kind of going out on a limb. Nick Hardwick is one of the league's best centers, and he will probably end up back in San Diego next year considering how much he means to the Chargers' offense. However, it wouldn't hurt for the Jaguars to at least make him an offer.
The Jaguars are in desperate need of help on the offensive line, and adding a solid center is a step in the right direction. While the 2012 free agent market is extremely thin on tackles, a position the Jaguars should address in the draft, it offers a great center in Hardwick.
Hardwick is already 30 years old, but he still has several seasons left in him, and if the Jaguars want to start building a formidable offense around Blaine Gabbert, starting with a veteran center is a good idea.
There will probably be a few more appealing teams ready to make offers to Hardwick, so the chances of him going to Jacksonville are slim. However, if the Jaguars make him an attractive enough offer, he could prove to be a key member of Jacksonville's offense for many years.