JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The key phrase among Jaguars faithful is “get Trevor some help.”
The phrase has been used to justify everything from draft picks to high-priced free agents. The sentiment is true. if Lawrence is going to be the franchise quarterback that many believe he can be, he won’t be able to do it alone. While the playmakers on the offense are the names that most fans know, it’s those big unsung heroes on the offensive line that are often at the top of quarterback’s Christmas lists.
Last season’s injuries and poor play plagued the Jaguars offensive line. That problem originated because Urban Meyer convinced himself that keeping the same five starting offensive linemen together from the previous year and not bringing any competition was the best course of action.
History proved he was wrong.
Luckily for Lawrence, the Jaguars don’t have the luxury of doing the same thing this year. AJ Cann, Andrew Norwell and Cam Robinson are all free agents. There is also a case to be made for the team to release Brandon Linder and bench Jawaan Taylor.
There is a path into 2022 where the Jaguars have a completely new starting five along the offensive line. After Tyler Shatley was re-signed, there are some other options in free agency and the draft. Here is the path I would take.
LT — Cam Robinson
To do: Franchise tag
I know tagging Robinson is not the popular course of action but it would buy the Jaguars one more year. As I detailed in a previous article, the franchise tag would pay Robinson $16.5 million for the 2022 season. A long-term deal with Robinson or a player of his caliber would cost closer to $17 million. Retaining Robinson gives the Jaguars the flexibility to select the best player at No. 1 overall instead of making the pick based on need.
Cam Robinson mixing up his sets 🔥 pic.twitter.com/fF1EmQrJqq— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) May 28, 2021
LG — Brandon Scherff
To do: Sign in free agency
With Andrew Norwell a free agent, the Jaguars should look for a new starting left guard in 2022. Scherff is the top free-agent guard on the market. He would be a huge addition to the Jaguars O-line group. Scherff won’t come cheap but this would “get Trevor some help.” Scherff had made five Pro Bowls in his seven-year career and earned All-Pro honors in 2020. Jaguars new offensive line coach Phil Rauscher also worked with Scherff when he was on the Washington staff in 2018 and 2019.
C — Brandon Linder and Ben Jones
To do: Release Linder and sign Jones in free agency
The best ability is availability. Linder has not been available. He has missed 41 games in eight seasons. He would have the third-highest cap hit on the team and there’s no dead money if they cut him. Without Linder, the Jaguars should turn to a more durable veteran option in Jones. He’s been a linchpin for the Titans so signing him would also weaken a division rival.
RG — Mark Glowinski
To do: Sign Glowinski in free agency
Last season, Ben Bartch showed the potential to be a solid NFL starter at guard. But make him earn it. Glowinski isn’t a top-tier free agent guard but he is a solid starting option. After spending the last few years with the Colts, Glowinski’s contract won’t break the bank. He could come in a compete with Bartch for the right guard job.
RT — Walker Little
To do: Slide Little over in place of Jawaan Taylor
Taylor has been the Jaguars starting right tackle for the last three seasons. Taylor has been durable, not missing a game, but has not played as well as many would like. He also has not had much competition for the job. Last season, Little spent a lot of time working on his ability to play that right tackle spot. Well, it is time for him to put that work into action. He slides to the right side to compete with Taylor for the job.
Walker Little working in at Right tackle pic.twitter.com/x1AeY1nNxr— Jamal St. Cyr (@JStCyrTV) August 7, 2021
In the draft
To do: Add depth
After spending considerable cash in free agency, the Jaguars are now set up to hit the draft and only look to add depth. This path would rule out players like Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu. But maybe if a guy like Tyler Linderbaum fell to the end of the first round he could be a solid target to add some big-time talent to the interior of the offensive line.