The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off their best season in a decade. How do they get better this offseason? Here are their top five free agent targets.
2017 was a fantastic year for the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was a top-three year in franchise history, as the Jaguars won the AFC South for the first time and made it to the AFC playoffs for the first time since 2007. Jacksonville went 10-6 and earned the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoff picture.
After surviving the No. 6 Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card game at home 10-3, Jacksonville would head to the Steel City as a significant underdog to a team they clobbered earlier in the season. The Jaguars shocked the No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional Round to make it to their third AFC Championship game in franchise history.
Waiting for them in Foxborough was the No. 1 New England Patriots. Though the Jaguars largely outplayed the Patriots, a fourth-quarter collapse and the great play of the New England offense dashed Jacksonville’s Super Bowl dreams. #Sacksonville was the greatest hash tag from 2017, no doubt. Maybe the 2018 Jaguars will be good enough to reach Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta?
For them to even think about getting there, the Jaguars do have some issues to address in the offseason. What is the health status of quarterback Blake Bortles heading into his fifth-year option? He did have wrist surgery after the AFC Championship loss. The Jaguars should be a solid team in 2018, but here are their five biggest targets heading into NFL free agency. They will have $23,552,064 in available cap space, according to Spotrac.
OLB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Veteran linebacker Paul Posluszny has been a mainstay in the Jaguars defense since coming over from the Buffalo Bills in 2011 NFL free agency. Though he will be 34 years old in 2018, Posluszny has been the glue guy in the middle of the Jaguars defense for some time. There may be other star players on this Jaguars defense, but he is certainly a locker room leader for this bunch.
Continuity will be key if the Jaguars want to get back to the AFC playoffs and do some work once they get there. Keep in mind that the Jaguars will have a first-place schedule in 2018 and should play in the most competitive AFC South in some time. All three of Jacksonville’s rivals could make a push for playoff contention. The Jaguars did go worst to first in 2017, so nothing is ruled out in the AFC South.
Posluszny has just completed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Jaguars. 2017 saw Posluszny register 42 tackles, 18 assists, two passes defended and 1.5 quarterback sacks in 16 games. Though he was a Pro Bowler in Jacksonville in 2013, it’s safe to say Posluszny is past his prime, but remains a solid, starting level linebacker.
It will really come down to length and financial ramifications of his contract. Posluszny could look for more years instead of money. However, the Jaguars aren’t swimming in available salary cap space as they had been in previous offseasons. That being said, Posluszny could potentially be willing to take a hometown discount to play for the contending Jaguars on another contract. Keep in mind that the free agency linebacker class isn’t great and Jacksonville could overspend on somebody they don’t know if they don’t bring back Posluszny. Best guess is he returns to Duval.