As the Jaguars segue into a new era, how they approach free-agency in 2017 will give us some clues about what new Executive Vice President Tom Coughlin thinks the team needs to change to win. We know from his previous stint in Jacksonville and how he helped build the New York Giants that Coughlin likes big, tough teams.
“This team needs to be mentally and physically tougher,” he told us just two weeks ago before the NFL Combine. That means he’ll follow the philosophy he outlined in his book “Earn the Right to Win,” building from the inside out, starting with the offensive and defensive lines.
About to acquire Branden Albert, a left tackle from Miami, the Jaguars intend to plug him in as a starter. They seem committed to Jeremy Parnell at right tackle for now and Brandon Linder at center. A.J. Cann will get a shot again at guard but the other guard spot, either right or left, is one of the places they’ll be looking in free-agency. Kevin Zeitler, a free-agent from the Bengals is considered the top guard available. The Jaguars have interest in him as well as three other “20-something” starters who they could plug into their offensive line. T.J Lang, Larry Warford and Ronald Leary are all expected to command big money. One of them will end up in Jacksonville.
With Jalen Ramsey anchoring one cornerback spot, the team parted ways with Devon House and haven’t shown interest in Prince Amukamara so they’ll be looking to fill one of those spots through free agency. A.J. Bouye from the Texans has drawn a lot of interest from several teams around the league. The Jaguars will open their checkbooks to land the right player to play opposite Ramsey so if Bouye is just looking for money, he’ll come to Jacksonville. Stephon Gilmore is another corner the Jaguars could target. Head Coach Doug Marrone knows Gilmore from his days in Buffalo. The Patriots Logan Ryan is another possibility.
They’ve been able to negotiate with agents since noon on Tuesday with the signings becoming official on Thursday at 4pm. The Jaguars might spend some money early to grab a couple of starters but don’t be surprised if they also fill parts of the roster with later signings, somewhat under the radar.