Jaguars place franchise tag on TE Engram after career year

Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Bryce Callahan (23) hits Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) during the second half of an NFL wild-card football game, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Evan Engram will be back in Jacksonville for another season, probably longer if the Jaguars get their way.

The Jaguars placed the franchise tag on the veteran tight end Monday, guaranteeing him a one-year, $11.345 million contract in 2023. Engram and the team have until July 17 to negotiate a long-term deal, and both sides have expressed interest in making it happen.

General manager Trent Baalke and coach Doug Pederson reiterated their stance at the NFL combine last week, saying they wanted and expected Engram back. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence took to social media last month to campaign for Engram's return.

It never really was a question after Engram, a first-round draft pick by the New York Giants in 2017, caught 73 passes for 766 yards — both career highs — to go along with four touchdowns last season.

“This is where I want to be and where I want to continue my career and be a part of what’s being built here for sure,” Engram said after Jacksonville's season end with a playoff loss at Kansas City.

Engram developed an instant chemistry with Lawrence and a strong bond with receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. The Jaguars expect even bigger things in their second season together, especially with the addition of former Atlanta receiver Calvin Ridley. Suspended last season for violating the NFL's gambling policy, Ridley was reinstated Monday and will join his new team next month.

Engram signed a one-year, $9 million contract with the Jags last March. Baalke wanted a longer deal, but Engram believed he would flourish with a fresh start outside the Big Apple’s glaring — and often harsh — spotlight, so he took less money in hopes of landing a bigger payday.

It turned out to be a safe bet for a talented player who dealt with five injury-shortened seasons with the Giants.

With Jacksonville, he played every game for the first time in his pro career, didn't fumble and finished with just four dropped passes.


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