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Report: Andrew Norwell to Sign Jaguars Contract, Become NFL's Highest-Paid Guard

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2018

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 21: Andrew Norwell #68 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates after the game against the Cleveland Browns on December 21, 2014 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars and offensive lineman Andrew Norwell reportedly will ink a five-year, $66.5 million contract once free agency starts, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Schefter added the contract will include $30 million guaranteed and will make Norwell the highest-paid guard in the NFL. Schefter also broke down where Norwell's deal ranks among the NFL's top contracts for offensive linemen:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Highest Average Annual Value - Current OL Contracts: G Andrew Norwell $13.3M OT Russell Okung $13.25M OT Trent Williams $13.2M

Norwell has established himself as one of the NFL's top guards since the Carolina Panthers signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State in 2014. He started all 32 games on the left side over the past two years, earning First Team All-Pro honors for the 2017 campaign.

In addition, Pro Football Focus graded him as the No. 3 guard in the league this past season, awarding high marks for both his run and pass blocking.

Max Henson of the Panthers' official website passed along another PFF tidbit:

Max Henson @PanthersMax

All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell didn't allow a sack or QB hit all year, according to @PFF. And we know his forte has always been mauling people in the run game. Heck of a season.

The 26-year-old Ohio native tried to downplay his personal impact in December but said it was nice to hear his name in the Pro Bowl conversation.

"Of course I like hearing that. That means I'm doing my job well," Norwell told Bill Voth of Panthers.com. "It's very humbling when people think highly of me like that. That says a lot when they recognize my play. Football means a lot to me, and I just try to leave it out on the field and play for the guys next to me."

In all, he ranks tied for 12th among guards in Approximate Value since 2014, per Pro Football Reference.

Losing Norwell creates major problems for the Panthers. Football Outsiders rated the team's offensive line 19th in pass protection and 25th in run blocking last season. Now the front office needs to replace the player who was often the lone bright spot in the group.

Meanwhile, the guard should provide a massive boost for the Jaguars alongside players like Cam Robinson and Brandon Linder up front as they look to protect Blake Bortles and create running lanes for Leonard Fournette.

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