Jaguars focus on pass catchers with Kirk, Jones, Engram in the fold

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) runs against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) (Tony Avelar, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars finally addressed their glaring holes among pass catchers, with agreements with two receivers and a tight end during the legal tampering period on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Arizona and Las Vegas receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones are headed to Jacksonville, as well as Giants tight end Evan Engram as the Jaguars opened up with an expensive bang. Add in offensive guard Brandon Scherff and just the guaranteed portion of those salaries for those four players check in at $100 million alone.

Kirk is guaranteed $37 million, Scherff $30 million, Jones $24 million and Ingram $9 million.

It’s expensive to rebuild an offense.

The NFL free agency period officially opens Wednesday at 4 p.m., but the legal tampering period Monday allowed players and agents to work on deals.

The biggest incoming target among skill position players is the Cardinals’ Kirk, a smallish but explosive target who could work out of the slot or slide outside.

Kirk (5-foot-11, 200 pounds) hasn’t been the bona fide No. 1 receiver that Jaguars fans have clamored for, but his potential is there. He projects as a slot-type receiver for Jacksonville.

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Kirk, 25, is entering his fifth season in the league and coming off a year in which he posted career highs in yards receiving (982) and receptions (77). Kirk played in all 17 games last season, his first year in the league that he’s managed to play a full schedule.

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Kirk was rated as the 30th best free agent available by ESPN.

His production increased with the retirement of Larry Fitzgerald and the health of Deandre Hopkins (missed seven games).

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Can Kirk ascend to be a legitimate No. 1 or a 1B receiving option alongside Marvin Jones Jr.?

Jones (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) was a second-round pick of Buffalo in 2017 and has much-needed size. Like Kirk, Jacksonville is betting on Jones’ upside rather than past production. His best year in the league came in 2018 when he had 652 yards and seven touchdowns for the Bills. Jones started a career-best 15 games that season. He was traded to the Raiders in 2019.

Jones’ contract, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, is a three-year, $24 million deal.

Engram (6-foot-3, 240 pounds) is a former first-round draft pick by the Giants. He signed a one-year deal with the Jaguars where he hopes to reignite his career. Engram’s production gradually slipped in New York, but he should immediately push Dan Arnold for the starting spot. Jacksonville’s major tight end signing last offseason was Chris Manhertz, who was purely a blocker and offered very little in the passing game.

Engram has 262 catches for 2,828 yards and 16 TDs.


About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.