The Jacksonville Jaguars don’t have a rich history of victory and one of the big reasons is because of their struggles to find success in free agency. They have been able to trade away some of the contracts to other teams to take some of the burdens off of them, but that doesn’t diminish the terrible decisions they made in the first place.
Let’s look at the Jaguars’ five worst free agent signings of all time.
5. Chris Ivory
Before the 2016 season, the Jaguars were looking for a running back in free agency. They thought they had made a splash bringing in Chris Ivory on a five-year deal. It was only worth $10 million in guarantees, but that was about $9.5 million too much.
In two seasons with the Jaguars, Ivory only started four games, never really getting a strong footing with the team. In 2017, the Jaguars drafted Leonard Fournette and the writing was on the wall that Ivory’s time was up. On a different team he might have had more success, but with the Jaguars, Ivory wasn’t the right fit.
4. Bryce Paup
Bryce Paup was signed by the Jaguars before the 1998 season on a six-year deal worth almost $22 million. Paup had been named to four Pro Bowls before he signed with the Jaguars to be a difference-maker on the defense. He was mostly known as a pass rusher, but with the Jaguars they heavily used him in coverage, something he struggled with. During his two years with the Jaguars, he had only 7.5 sacks. The sack total isn’t terrible but he was more a liability rather than a strong part of the defense.
3. Jerry Porter
Jerry Porter signed a six-year deal in 2008 with the Jaguars to be their top wide receiver. When he was with the Oakland Raiders he often was unhappy, and even with the big deal given him by the Jaguars, that didn’t change.
Porter underwent hamstring surgery during the 2008 offseason which meant he couldn’t play until the fourth game of the season. He ended up catching 11 passes in the remainder of the year, which is nowhere good enough for a receiver on such a hefty contract. After the season, Porter was cut by the Jaguars and he never played in the NFL again
2. Nick Foles
Before the 2019 season, the Jaguars hoped they were getting a franchise quarterback in Nick Foles. He had led the Eagles to the Super Bowl, and after years of questions about the quarterback position, they figured Foles was the guy to finally answer them. The Jaguars signed Foles to a four-year deal that included $45 million in guarantees. Foles went down with an injury during Week 1 and by the time he could return, he was outplayed by Gardner Minshew, who was selected in the sixth round in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Jaguars did ship him off to the Chicago Bears to get some of that contract off their hands, but that doesn’t take away from Foles being a failed signing. The Jaguars got lucky the Bears were willing to give them any draft capital to take that contract off of their hands.
1. Julius Thomas
When the Jaguars signed Julius Thomas before the 2015 season most believed it was one of the best signings of the free-agent period. Thomas signed a five-year deal worth $46 million, with $26 million guaranteed. The hope was he would become a reliable target for then-quarterback Blake Bortles, but that never worked out.
Thomas dealt with injuries during his time in Jacksonville and never lived up to the expectations. During his two seasons, he caught 76 passes for 736 yards and nine touchdowns. He was then traded to the Miami Dolphins.