The Jacksonville Jaguars entered free agency badly needing to upgrade their offensive line. That need was apparently enough to give a Jermey Parnell more than a million dollars guaranteed for every NFL game he's started.
The Jaguars and Parnell agreed to a five-year, $32 million deal Monday that will pay $13 million in guaranteed money, per Michael DiRocco of ESPN:
The Jaguars confirmed the deal via their Twitter account on Wednesday.
Parnell, 28, has spent the last five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. A defensive end during his one season of football at Mississippi and stints with the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints, Dallas converted him full time to the offensive side in 2010 and watched him develop into a solid all-around backup.
After being buried deep on the depth chart initially, Parnell has been a regular special teams contributor and occasional replacement on the offensive line. He started a total of nine regular-season games over the last three seasons, including seven (including playoffs) in which he spelled right tackle Doug Free in 2014. Parnell did not allow a sack and committed only one penalty in those seven contests, per the Washington Post.
Pro Football Focus graded Parnell as the 20th-best offensive tackle in football last season. He showed particular strengths as a run-blocker, which should help a Jacksonville line that ranked near the bottom in almost every metric last season. The Jaguars' adjusted sack rate of 11.3 percent was nearly two percentage points higher than the next worst team, per Football Outsiders, and they ranked toward the bottom in adjusted line yards.
Whether Parnell will ultimately help Jacksonville depends on whether his strong play in 2014 was a blip on the radar or a sign of things to come. He turns 29 in July, which makes him relatively old to still have such a small resume. With $13 million guaranteed, the Jaguars better hope they aren't paying a premium for someone who's better off as a career backup.
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