JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When the free agent signing period opens at 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Jaguars will sign former Carolina Panthers guard Andrew Norwell to a five-year contract, according to multiple reports.
The deal is expected to include a $66.5 million in salary, with $30 million guaranteed. At $13.3 million per season, Norwell will become the highest paid guard in NFL history.
Norwell, 26, signed with the Panthers in 2014 as an undrafted free agent from Ohio State. In 2017, he started all 16 games. He did not allow a sack all season and was named first team All-Pro. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the third best guard in all of football.
The contract would be slightly bigger than Kevin Zeitler's free agent deal with the Browns in 2017.
The move means that the Jaguars can upgrade the left guard position. Patrick Omameh started 13 games at that spot in 2017 but is expected to walk in free agency.
With the Norwell signing, the Jaguars offensive line includes second-year left tackle Cam Robinson, Norwell at left guard, Brandon Linder at center, likely A.J. Cann at right guard and Jeremy Parnell at right tackle.
The move is consistent with Tom Coughlin's preference for big players. At 6-feet-6 inches tall and 325 pounds. With Norwell on the line, the Jaguars can next turn their attention to the wide receiver and tight end positions, should they wish to upgrade personnel on the offensive side of the ball.
Wide receiver Allen Robinson is reportedly signing with the Chicago Bears as a free agent. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the deal is for three years and is worth $42 million, with roughly $25 million guaranteed.
One of the top wide receiver targets, Jarvis Landry, was tagged as a franchise player by the Dolphins, then traded to the Browns. Another, Sammy Watkins, is reportedly signing with the Kansas City Chiefs. Other wide receivers on the market include Seattle's Paul Richardson and the Bills Jordan Matthews.
The Jaguars may find more impactful players at tight end, where 31-year-old Jimmy Graham is the class of the group. He caught 10 touchdown passes in Seattle in 2017.The Bengals Tyler Eifter and the Eagles Trey Burton are also among the top players at the position.