After 1st day of free agency, Jaguars have changed the roster dramatically

FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, file photo, Washington Football Team offensive guard Brandon Scherff stands on the sideline prior to an NFL football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Football Team, in Landover, Md. On Monday, March 8, 2021, Washington announced they've placed the franchise tag on guard Brandon Scherff for a second consecutive year. Scherff is coming off his first All-Pro season. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally, File) (Mark Tenally, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – What we saw Monday from the Jaguars was the direct and indirect impact of the decision to hire Doug Pederson.

Pederson’s presence, the assistant coaches he hired and the confidence that he will coach the Jaguars like a professional team allowed the Jaguars to go out and snag six new players, all of whom could wind up being starters.

They might not be done, either. I think the tagging of Cam Robinson and the addition of Brandon Scherff pretty much assures us that the Jaguars are going to take Michigan’s defensive end, Aidan Hutchinson, if they stay at the top of the draft. So that makes a potential seven new starters for the team this off-season.

Let’s take a closer look at the additions and what they mean for the Jaguars:

Right guard Brandon Scherff

The deal: Reported to be a three-year deal worth $49.5 million

The positives: When he’s on the field, he’s a stud. He a first-team All-Pro in 2020. He’s been selected to five Pro Bowls, including last season. He was the fifth pick of the draft in 2015 and he’s played like the fifth pick his whole career.

The negatives: Scherff has had a tough time staying healthy lately. That can be a troubling sign for aging linemen.

What it means for the roster: He’s your starting right guard. If he plays to his potential, he could be the best right guard in team history. Chris Naeole currently holds that title.

Linebacker Foye Oluokun

The deal: Reported to be a three-year, $45 million deal with $28 million guaranteed.

The positives: Oluokun led the NFL in tackles last year with the Atlanta Falcons. He’s a thumper in the middle who should free up Myles Jack to run and hit as he does best.

The negatives: There don’t seem to be many, other than the fact that Oluokun will have to adjust to a new defensive system, but that’s something that good players do all the time.

What it means for the roster: Oluokun becomes the quarterback of the defense. He’ll be the one with the responsibility to make the defensive calls in defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell’s new system.

Defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi

The deal: Reported to be a three-year, $30 million deal with $20 million guaranteed

The positives: Fatukasi is a big run-stuffer in the middle of the defensive line. He has been tough to run against, even on a Jets defense that struggled much of his time in New York.

The negatives: It’s a big contract if he doesn’t make a bigger impact than Malcom Brown made last year. Brown’s contract is more cap-friendly than Fatukasi’s.

What it means for the roster: With Fatukasi, Brown and DaVon Hamilton, the Jaguars have some beef upfront. It will be interesting to see how the Jaguars scheme utilizes all three big men.

Wide receiver Christian Kirk

The deal: Reported as a four-year deal worth up to $84 million with $37 million guaranteed.

The positives: Coming off his best year and only 25 years old, Kirk has 2,902 yards in four seasons in Arizona. In Jaguars’ history, only Jimmy Smith, Keenan McCardell and Marcedes Lewis have more receiving yards in their Jags careers than Kirk had in Arizona.

The negatives: Never had a 1,000-yard season as a pro.

What it means for the roster: This is a big question. Kirk was a slot receiver in Arizona. Is he able to make a big impact from that position with the Jaguars? He’s not a small receiver (listed at 5′11″ and 200 pounds) but he has never been a No. 1. I think the Jaguars still need that X receiver, but he will certainly be able to upgrade the slot position for the team.

Tight end Evan Engram

The deal: Reported to be a one-year deal, worth $9 million guaranteed with incentives that could go up to $10 million.

The positives: Engram is a pass-catching tight end that the Jaguars have been searching for. Paired with Dan Arnold, he can provide Trevor Lawrence with a target that can stress the defense down the seam. The contract isn’t very restrictive.

The negatives: He’s not much of a factor in the running game, but is a classic move tight end.

What it means for the roster: The Jaguars don’t have to reach for a tight end in the draft. A position that was severely lacking when the last offseason began is suddenly looking like it’s not a weakness, if not an outright strength of the team.

Wide receiver Zay Jones

The deal: Reported to be a three-year, $24 million deal with incentives that could drive it up to be a $30 million deal.

The positives: Jones has a reputation of having good hands and being a good blocker in the running game.

The negatives: Only a part-time starter with the Raiders, he is just 26 and now with his third team.

What it means for the roster: Jones will likely have a spot with the Jaguars receiving corps, but his role remains to be seen. He played outside with the Raiders so don’t be surprised if he and Marvin Jones could be a position battle in camp.

It’s OK to be cautious when thinking about what the Jaguars could be, but right now, expecting a competent professional outfit isn’t out of the realm of possibility.


About the Author:

Cole joined News4Jax full-time in January 2017, but he has been a part of the team since he began filling in as a sports anchor in 2005.