Let the legal tampering begin. Monday’s window is open, as teams can negotiate with free agents from other teams. Nothing can be signed until the new league year begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday, but free agency is basically on.
So, what should the Jaguars do in free agency?
The Jaguars have not been able to reach a deal with receiver Allen Robinson. He remains my top priority. However, for the purposes of this list, we’ll assume Robinson and the Jaguars are parting ways. That leaves the Jaguars roughly $29 million in salary-cap space. Since I would cut receiver Allen Hurns to save $7 million, let’s push the total to $36 million.
Here is the ideal haul for the Jaguars, as they try to improve a 12-win team (counting playoffs) that couldn’t hold a 10-point fourth-quarter lead at New England in the AFC Championship Game.
Cincinnati TE Tyler Eifert
Stats: Five seasons – 127 catches for 1,537 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Why sign him: Eifert can be a 10-touchdown-a-year target for quarterback Blake Bortles. He caught 13 scores for the Bengals in 2015. An ankle injury in the Pro Bowl, followed by a back issue, forced Eifert to miss much of the last two years. He only played in 39 of 80 games during his Cincinnati career.
Pairing Eifert with Marcedes Lewis would give the Jaguars a needed boost at their worst position and lessen the need to invest an early-round pick in a tight end. I believe Eifert will go to multiple Pro Bowls.
Contract suggestion: Four years, $32 million with $13 million guaranteed.
Remaining cap space: $28 million.
New York Giants LG Justin Pugh
Stats: Five seasons – 63 starts.
Why sign him: Pugh would be a quality upgrade at left guard. Familiarity in free agency usually counts big and there couldn’t be more here with Pugh and the Jaguars. Jacksonville personnel chief Tom Coughlin coached Pugh with the Giants for his first three seasons. Jaguars coach Doug Marrone was Pugh’s head coach at Syracuse, while Jaguars offensive line coach Pat Flaherty worked under Coughlin in the same role in New York.
Pugh would supplant Patrick Omameh as the starter at left guard. The Jaguars could still use a pick in the first two rounds on a player to push both right guard A.J. Cann and right tackle Jermey Parnell.
Contract suggestion: Four years, $28 million with $12 million guaranteed.
Remaining cap space: $21 million.
Indianapolis WR Donte Moncrief
Stats: Four seasons – 152 catches for 1,875 yards with 18 touchdowns.
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