Hays Carlyon's Jaguars Blog

From the Mind of an Intern – Recapping Jaguars Free Agency Moves

todayMarch 25, 2022



Author: Trevor Voytko (1010XL Intern)

Recapping the Jaguars 2022 Free Agency Moves


The Jaguars wanted to approach free agency aggressively, and they certainly did that by signing seven free agents for a total of $155.25M in guaranteed money. However, the public reception from the national sports media has been mixed, to say the least. On the one hand, the argument is that the Jaguars needed to overpay for virtually any free agent to convince them to play for this franchise due to its reputation of ineptness. Moreover, the team has won four games in the last two seasons, and the need for better football players cannot be overstated. On the other hand, there is a legitimate concern about whether the Jags spent too much money on guys that may not live up to their paychecks. I will take a deep dive (sorry for the PTSD, Duval) on each of the seven signings and rate each move accordingly.


           Christian Kirk – WR – 4YR/$72M 


Christian Kirk is coming off a 2021 season that saw career highs in receptions, receiving yards, and yards per game with 77, 982, and 57.76, respectively. Kirk did all of this while sharing snaps and targets with the loaded offensive cast in Arizona featuring DeAndre Hopkins, AJ Green, and Zach Ertz. Those numbers would trail only Jimmy Smith, Keenan McCardell, and Allen Robinson for a Jaguars wide receiver’s most productive receiving season. However, Kirk does most of his damage via the slot, which isn’t necessarily a knock on him, but it limits his ceiling and certainly makes his contract raise a few eyebrows. While the value may not be great, Kirk is still an excellent football player and should help QB Trevor Lawrence take a step forward in year two.


                      Grade: B-



           Brandon Scherff – Guard – 3YR/$49M


The Jaguars needed to address the guard position on the offensive line due to the departures of Andrew Norwell (Washington) and A.J. Cann (Houston), and they did so in a considerable way by signing five-time Pro Bowler and 2020 All-Pro Brandon Scherff. A former top-five pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Scherff is 6’5, 315 pounds and brings a physical brand of football to the line of scrimmage. Scherff is regarded highly around the league and a top-five guard in the eyes of most. He allowed zero sacks in 2021. The only knock on him is his durability, as he only played 44 out of 65 possible games in the last four seasons and hasn’t played an entire season since 2016. If he can stay relatively healthy, Scherff could be the best pick-up for the Jaguars in the 2022 offseason. Scherff will enter the 2022 NFL season as the highest-paid guard in the league, but if it means protecting Trevor Lawrence and significantly improving the run game, it will be money well spent.


                       Grade: A-


Foyesade Oluokun – LB – 3YR/$45M


When this move was announced, LB Myles Jack was still on the roster, and this seemed like a move to free him up by making Oluokun (a Yale graduate) the defensive signal-caller. This would allow Jack to play free, which was a significant part of his early success in Jacksonville. However, Myles Jack was cut just a day later, putting that theory to rest. Oluokun is a good player who is incredibly quick for a linebacker and has a high football IQ. Furthermore, Oluokun led the NFL in tackles in 2021. However, the question must be asked: is Oluokun a significant upgrade, or even an upgrade at all, from Myles Jack? And if he is, is he worth the increase in cost? Ultimately, time will tell, and we still don’t know what the plans are specifically for Mike Caldwell’s defensive scheme. However, it seems like a lateral move and money that could have been spent more efficiently.


Grade: C


           Foley Fatukasi – DT – 3YR/$30M


This might be my favorite signing by the Jags this offseason. Fatukasi plays the defensive tackle position the way it is supposed to be played; physically dominating, clogging gaps, and putting linebackers in place to rack up TFL’s. While he may not light up the stat sheet, Fatukasi is one of the better DTs in the NFL. In 2021 he joined a list that contained the likes of Aaron Donald, Christian Wilkins, and Cameron Jordan by being one of eight players to record 15 run stuffs and 15 QB pressures. Look for Fatukasi to be a bright spot on the Jaguar defense in 2022.


                       Grade: A


           Evan Engram – TE – 1YR/$9M


Evan Engram on a one-year “prove it” deal might be the best value deal the Jags made in free agency. The best part of this contract is that if Engram doesn’t flourish in Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson’s offense, there’s zero commitment after 2022. Engram is an incredibly gifted athlete but never seemed to put it all together in New York. To be fair, the Giants haven’t had much competent quarterback play or an effective offensive identity during Engram’s tenure. Pederson relied heavily on the tight end position in the passing game during his tenure in Philadelphia, so it’s no surprise he brought in an athletic player in Engram who can stretch the field. It’s easy to make the case that the Jaguars have the most athletic tight end room in franchise history with Dan Arnold and Evan Engram, which isn’t quite the compliment it seems to be on the surface. It seems the Jags are banking on the idea that Arnold and Engram can replicate the Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert combo’s success in Philly.


                      Grade: C+


  Zay Jones – WR – 3YR/$24M


Perhaps the most confusing signing this entire offseason was Zay Jones. Jones is a fine player, as he recorded only one drop in 2021 with the Las Vegas Raiders. He holds the NCAA record for most receptions in a career with 399 and the most receptions in a season with 158. The signing was an apparent response to one of the most significant issues on the team last year, drops. The Jaguars recorded 26 official drops – which seems a little low – and desperately need to fix that issue. Zay Jones fits that. However, $8M a year for a guy that hasn’t caught more than 56 passes in a season since 2018 seems like a reach and a miss when it comes to value. The hope is that he fits the scheme Pederson wants to run, and he may, but the money certainly was a head-scratcher.


                       Grade: C-


           Darious Williams – CB – 3YR/$30M


The Jags brought a Jacksonville native home by signing Darious Williams. Williams was CB2 for the Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams and had a good year, despite not recording an interception in 2021. Williams is an excellent addition to the cornerback room, though, as he joins Shaquille Griffin and Tyson Campbell, making this a solid trio. The only question is, who will play the slot corner position? Griffin is a solidified outside corner, while Williams only played 10.2% of his snaps at the slot position, and Campbell played 7.7%, per PFF. Regardless, this signing creates solid depth at the cornerback position.


                       Grade: B-



The Jaguars were never going to fix the roster overnight. This rebuild will take a while to complete, probably another off-season or two at the least. However, the Jags took a step towards that with this free agency class, even if the money wasn’t spent as efficiently as it could have been. The team got better, that’s the bottom line, and that’s what they should continue trying to do.



Written by: Taylor Doll

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