This week, I will be going over key players that the Jaguars signed in this year’s free agency class. In addition to the names, I gave some quick thoughts on the players and why the organization brought them in.
Thomas Rawls- Rawls was signed to a futures contract, which basically means nothing at this point. He will have to earn his job on the roster later on this offseason, but with the lack of running back depth behind Leonard Fournette, Rawls may make the roster.
Alex McGough- McGough also signed a futures contract. If he makes the roster later on in the offseason, he would contend with Tanner Lee and Cody Kesslar to be Nick Foles’ backup.
Nick Foles- The prized offensive free agent of this year’s class. Foles has been in the NFL since 2012 and has flirted with the concept of retirement once (before the 2016 season). The Jaguars went all-in on Foles and paid him to be the starting quarterback. Foles and the Jaguars agreed to a 4 year deal, worth $88M with over $50M guaranteed. Foles has been consistent the last few years, which is what the Jaguars have been lacking when they had Blake Bortles as their quarterback the last 5 years. Foles won Super Bowl MVP with the Eagles in 2017, beating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. The Jaguars better hope that Foles is worth the money, or this deal will be the worst ever given out by Tom Coughlin and Dave Caldwell in their time here. If it does not work out, do not expect those two, in addition to head coach Doug Marrone, to be back in 2020.
Geoff Swain- Jaguars had a need a tight end, and they addressed it in free agency.. For now. Swain is a serviceable tight end. For more insight, I reached out to a friend who is a Cowboys fan. Here is their opinion on Swain: “He’ll move the chains every now and then but you can’t rely on him to catch TD’s or gain considerable yardage. He is a solid blocking TE. If the offense is a TE heavy offense, it’d probably need to be addressed in the draft.” In my opinion, look for the Jaguars to draft a tight end in this year’s draft, as signing Swain is purely for depth. It is a deep draft class for that position.
Cedric Ogbuehi- Ogbuehi was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals the past 4 years. He started 25 games in those 4 years. He only played two games last season, and was a healthy scratch the other 14. I don’t think that Ogbuehi will contribute much, if at all this season.
Chris Conley- After swinging and missing with Donte Moncrief last year, Caldwell and Coughlin needed to be smarter with their money. Getting Conley for 2 years, $4.6M is an absolute steal compared to Moncrief for $10M last year. Conley will not contend for the number 1 receiver spot, but will be the slot option. Conley is looking to get more looks, after being the number 5 option in Kansas City last year. He will be one of Foles favorite targets after having worked with Foles in 2016 in Kansas City. I think this will be a value of a signing.
Jake Ryan-Ryan is coming off a torn ACL in 2018. Ryan was drafted in 2015 by the Green Bay Packers. He was an inside linebacker for the Packers in 2017 and finished with 81 tackles in 12 starts. From the looks of it, it does not look like Ryan was added to be the starter, but as more depth in the linebacker room.
Alfred Blue: Blue played every game for the division rival Houston Texans last year and rushed for 499 yards and rushed for two touchdowns. He was drafted by the Texans in 2014. Blue went to LSU during his college years, just like Leonard Fournette. They never played with each other at LSU though. Blue can pass-catch out of the backfield, much like former running back T.J. Yeldon did throughout his career in Jacksonville. He is the second running back signed this offseason, along with the afore mentioned Rawls.
Benny Cunningham: Cunningham was on the Chicago Bears the last two seasons and was a nonfactor this past season for the Bears after having their two running backs run for over 1,000 yards a piece (Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen). Throughout his 6 year career, he was more of a pass catching back, and this is something that could help replace TJ Yeldon and Corey Grant. Adding Cunningham more than likely just adds running back depth for the team and Cunningham may have to battle for a roster spot down the line if the team elects to add a running back in the NFL Draft later this month.
Leonard Wester: Wester was an undrafted rookie in 2016 and was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played 27 games in the three seasons while a part of the organization. He played in all 16 last season. He was signed as extra depth for this unit, as this unit lacks depth. Continue to expect the organization to draft a offensive lineman early in the NFL Draft later this month, as early as the 7th overall pick the team currently holds.