So, now that the free-agency tampering period is here, who do we think the biggest spenders will be once the actual free-agency signing period begins on Thursday?
Well, it should come as no surprise that many, including NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal, believes the Jaguars will be one of them.
The Jaguars have long been big spenders in free agency. Since the arrival of owner Shad Khan in 2011 they have consistently taken that route in their attempt to make up for mistakes made on draft day.
Clearly the approach hasn’t worked but with $71 million in cap space and a general manager and head coach who have to impress the organization’s new headmaster, Tom Coughlin, the purse strings are open again.
The Jaguars are already said to be among the teams that will most heavily pursue Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell and no one should be surprised if they don’t stop there.
Despite the changeover at the top and at head coach the Jags are a team that is desperate to win now and re-energize a dwindling fan base and one way to try to do that is to build through free agency.
It’s probably not the smartest way, because it’s an expensive high-risk approach to go after players with little upside, but if the Campbell pursuit is any indication, the Jags are heading down that road again.
So, who could be coming to Jacksonville? Well, the Jags are ready to move on from the starters they’ve had at key positions such as left tackle, cornerback and safety so you can start there. They did trade for the Dolphins LT Branden Albert last month, but they line is still in flux.
Don’t be surprised if the Jags get into the Ricky Wagner sweepstakes or make a play for Riley Reiff to fix themselves at tackle or take a stab at T.J. Lang or Kevin Zeitler to step in at guard.
It’s almost certain they’ll make a play for cornerbacks, as wrote here last week. Those names are possibly A.J. Bouye, Stephon Gilmore or Logan Ryan and they’ll probably be in play for safeties such as Tony Jefferson and Micah Hyde.
Many others, including running back Latavius Murry and Eddie Lacy and maybe even tight ends Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook could get a call from the Jags as well.
As they usually do this time of year, the Jags are going to be looking to make a splash. Based on their track record, though, you really have to wonder how much of a splash it will create when it matters most.