The team has seemed to move on from quarterback, Blake Bortles, as well as running back, Leonard Fournette, which the team just voided off his last two years of guaranteed money off of his rookie contract.
The defense did not perform nearly as well as they did in 2018 but the Achilles heel of the Jaguars was the entire offense. Look for Jacksonville to pour out a lot of money into improving one of the league’s worst offenses from the 2018-19 season.
Here are five under the radar free agents the Jacksonville Jaguars should sign in 2019.
5. Za’Darius Smith, DE
Za’Darius Smith had himself a solid year for the Baltimore Ravens.
On one of the NFL’s top three defenses, Smith managed to collect 8.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss while only starting eight games. As one of the Ravens premier edge rushers, he wreaked havoc on opposing offensive lineman and quarterbacks in the 2018-19 season.
Donte Fowler did not pan out as the Jaguars predicted him to since taking him in the first round in the 2015 NFL draft. They traded him to the Los Angeles Rams for a fifth-round pick.
The Jaguars now have a need for an edge rusher in their 4-3 defensive scheme under head coach, Doug Marrone. Smith was the defensive end in Baltimore’s 4-3 defense, so his move to Jacksonville would be met with no significant changes position-wise.
Smith showed late in the year how well he could penetrate opponents backfields and bring pressure on the quarterback. Grouping Smith with Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, and Marcel Dareus.
To bring Jacksonville’s defense back to its 2017 form, a guy like Smith would be the perfect piece to add to the Jaguars defensive line for 2019 and years to come.
Smith is only 26-years-old, so giving him a multi-year deal where he can get a lot of snaps and take pressure off the aging Calais Campbell and Marcel Dareus would be a wise decision.
4. Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB
Ryan Fitzpatrick gave the NFL five weeks of fun. Fitzmagic was in full swing to start the 2018 NFL season, while Jameis Winston served a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
In the three games during Winston’s absence, Fitzmagic compiled 1,230 passing yards and 12 total touchdowns. He set an NFL record for three straight 400-yard passing games. On the year, Ryan Fitzpatrick had 2,366 passing yards, 19 total touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.
The Jaguars have the 7th pick in the 2019 NFL draft and they are looking to get a franchise quarterback.
This is where Fitzpatrick comes in. If the Jaguars draft a QB, Fitzpatrick can start if the team feels like the rookie needs time to learn the offense and develop. If the rookie starts right away, Fitz is the perfect back-up. At 36-years-old, he can spend the remainder of his career as a back-up and can just come in when the team needs him.
Fitzpatrick would also be a great mentor for the rookie, were that the case. He showed last season that he can play at elite levels for periods of time so if the rookie gets hurt, the Jags have a viable back-up or a guy that can start the entire year.
Even if the Jaguars don’t draft a quarterback, Fitzpatrick showed that he can still start in the NFL and play at a high level.
Sure, there are guys like Nick Foles, Teddy Bridgewater, and Joe Flacco out there on the market, but Fitzmagic is an under the radar guy that the Jags could steal and help this football team win games in 2019.
3. John Brown, WR
The Jacksonville Jaguars offense was nothing short of atrocious this past season. With limited playmakers, a poor receiving core, sub-par quarterback play, and a shaky offensive line, this team is desperately in need of skill players.
The wide receiver spot is the most concerning skill position for the Jaguars to fill this offseason.
John Brown is a perfect fit for the Jacksonville Jaguars. During the 2018-19 season, Brown totaled 42 receptions for 715 yards with 5 touchdowns on 17 yards-per-reception. Considering that John Brown had an aging Joe Flacco and a limited passing, Lamar Jackson, throwing him the ball this year, Brown had a solid year.
The Ravens were a predominately running offense last season and Brown was their number one guy.
The Jacksonville Jaguars could use a speedy wideout like Brown to provide some sort of spark to a team lacking talent at wide receiver.
Brown is a deep-ball threat, so if the team decides to draft Dwayne Haskins or sign Nick Foles, Joe Flacco, or Ryan Fitzpatrick, the team will have a big play guy out wide.
2. Donovan Smith, LT
Left tackle may be the most important offensive position besides quarterback and the Jacksonville Jaguars desperately need a blindside protector for whoever they bring in to man the offense in 2019.
Ereck Flowers was the teams tackle in 2018 and even though Flowers played well, a guy like Donovan Smith would be a huge upgrade to play left tackle for the Jaguars in 2019.
The 25-year-old Smith played at Penn State and has started all 64 games since he was drafted in 2015. Smith is not a household name but guys that watch the Buccaneers play or know a lot about the offensive line position, all know that the young Smith is a sure-fire starter on most teams playing left tackle.
The Jaguars favor their running game led by Leonard Fournette, and a guy being able to open holes and block defenders downfield on the left side is huge for any offense.
If the Jaguars draft a quarterback or sign a guy for big money via free agency, then a solid left tackle is a must to protect your franchise player.
Smith is not known by many people but he could provide tremendous value to the Jacksonville Jaguars if signed in 2019 and beyond.
1. Tevin Coleman, RB
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a bit of a problem at the running back spot.
The team recently voided the last two years of guaranteed money off of 2nd year running back, Leonard Fournettes’ contract and T.J. Yeldon will be a free agent this offseason. If the Jaguars move on from Fournette, which seems like a reasonable possibility, then a guy like Tevin Coleman is a perfect fit for the Jaguars offense.
The Jaguars recently hired John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator. DeFilippo comes from the Doug Pederson coaching tree which loves to use versatile running backs.
Tevin Coleman is the man for that job. He served as the backup running back for the Atlanta Falcons for his first four years in the league (20 starts) and put up solid numbers. He totaled 2,340 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on 4.4 yards-per-carry.
Coleman is also a great receiving back where he has 92 receptions for 1,010 yards, with 11 touchdowns while averaging 11 yards-per-catch.
If the Jaguars had Coleman in a starting role, he would be a lethal weapon the Jags could use in various ways.
We have seen that the NFL has shifted to more of a passing league and running backs who can run the ball and make plays as a receiver are dominating the league like Le’Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliot, Todd Gurley II, Christian McCaffrey, and others. Coleman is exactly that except he has just been in the shadows of Freeman in Atlanta.
Coleman would be a great piece for the Jaguars to add this offseason and could thrive in a starting or third-down role on this team.
Jacksonville has lacked elite skill players for some time now and Coleman could be one of the many pieces the Jaguars could add to make their offense special in 2019.
(All stats via Pro-Football-Reference)