The Jaguars needed receiver help after letting Allen Robinson go in free agency. Donte Moncrief helps to fill that void.
With free agent receiver Allen Robinson joining the Chicago Bears, the Jacksonville Jaguars needed to make moves to maintain, if not improve, the receiving corps for the 2018 season. Their first step was to re-sign Marqise Lee to a four-year deal. And not long afterward they made another addition, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter reporting that Jacksonville will be adding Indianapolis Colts free agent to their roster when free agency officially begins on Wednesday.
Moncrief, a third-round pick of the Colts in 2014, appeared in 53 games with 27 starts over his past four seasons. He’s totaled 1,857 yards and 18 touchdowns on his 152 receptions, with his most productive year coming in 2015, when he caught 64 passes for 733 yards and six scores. His output was negatively affected by the ongoing shoulder problems for Colts starting quarterback Andrew Luck; with Luck sidelined for all of 2017, Moncrief totaled just 26 catches for 391 yards and two scores.
The terms of Moncrief’s deal have yet to be released, but for a 24-year-old on his second contract, it should be a healthy but not bank-breaking amount. Based on Robinson’s deal with the Bears—$42 million over four years—it will likely be under that $10 million-plus average-per-year that the Jaguars chose not to offer Robinson in lieu of Chicago’s interest.
The Jaguars suffered a rash of injuries at receiver last year that held them to bottom-16 numbers in both receiving yards and touchdowns. Getting hurt players back is only one part of the equation, especially when one of the injured, Robinson, has left in free agency. The Jaguars were expected to be active in the free-agent wide receiver market given the amount of interest Robinson had been generating when the Jaguars opted not to give him the franchise tag.
Moncrief’s true potential seems mostly untapped, thanks in part to Luck’s prolonged absence and injury. In Jacksonville, he should get a highly featured role while working with a quarterback in Blake Bortles who may not be as prolific as a healthy Luck but is far more durable.