After going 10-6 in 2017 and getting all the way to the AFC Championship under head coach Doug Marrone, the Jacksonville Jaguars have had a rough couple of seasons. Winning just 11 combined games over the next two years, it’s been a rocky road at best for a team that once seemed so close to getting to the big game.
The team brought in quarterback Nick Foles to help lead the team back to the postseason but after he went down in Week 1 with a collarbone injury, sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew stepped in and performed well. Foles was given the job back upon return but before the end of the year, Minshew appeared to have regained pole position in the QB battle.
Here are three moves the Jacksonville Jaguars must make this offseason if they want to improve upon their 6-10 2019 season:
3. Retaining Yannick Ngakoue
Pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue is set to hit the free agent market for the first time in his young career. Per FanSided’s Matt Verderame, though, Jacksonville doesn’t intend on letting that happen.
The 24-year-old will likely be franchise tagged by the team because his camp and the Jaguars have yet to be able to work out a long-term contract extension. While the tag will cost a pretty penny, players of Ngakoue’s caliber don’t grow on trees. He’s young, plays hard and has been a major part of the team’s defense for quite some time. The Jags need to retain him.
2. Get some tight end help
James O’Shaughnessy has shown flashes throughout his career in the NFL but overall, it doesn’t seem like he’ll pan out long-term. Because of that, Jacksonville will need to find a viable option for their quarterback to throw to. Tight ends are often the security blanket for the quarterback and with Minshew being a younger guy, the truth of that statement can only be amplified. By bringing in a pass-catching option via the draft or free agency, the offense should improve as a result.
1. Finding a trade partner for Nick Foles
Nick Foles is not a bad quarterback, but Minshew’s 2019 was enough in my eyes to warrant exploring the trade market for Foles. Minshew is the future of the organization and if the Jaguars can find a way to take on Foles’ $22,125,000 cap hit for the 2020 season (then increasing cap hits for the next two seasons), they’ve got to do it.
The difficult thing here is, well, finding that trade partner. Not many teams will be eager to bring in a 31-year-old quarterback with a healthy salary and an inconsistent track record. Then again, Foles is a former Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl MVP. He’s shown that once he gets to the big dance, he’s as lethal as any field general out there.
If Jacksonville can persuade another team to take on the deal, it would immediately allow them to use the money they were going to spend on Foles and use it elsewhere.