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Jacksonville Jaguars give Dan Skuta $20.5M contract

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It's a good year for a free agent to find himself listed as a second-tier option on the Jacksonville Jaguars' offseason shopping list.

Positional breakdowns

General manager David Caldwell disclosed Wednesday that he landed three of his top five targets in tight end Julius Thomas, defensive lineman Jared Odrick and offensive tackle Jermey Parnell.

When the Jags missed out on safety Devin McCourty, Caldwell explained, that left money to spend on cornerback Davon House, special teamer Sergio Brown and linebacker Dan Skuta.

The other missed target was Randall Cobb, per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

If the inflated salaries for House and Parnell, a pair of part-time players to date, raised eyebrows around the league, Skuta's deal is even more surprising.

A backup in Cincinnati for four years before starting 18 games as an injury fill-in with the 49ers, Skuta is set to collect $20.5 million on a five-year contract with the Jaguars, Rapoport reports.

Skuta, 29 next month, registered five of his 5.5 career sacks last season. He should be ticketed for the "Otto" strong-side linebacker spot that mixes pass rushing with coverage responsibilities in Gus Bradley's defense.

Caldwell gave us a glimpse at how the sausage is made in NFL free agency.

With more available salary-cap space than any team in the league, Caldwell overpaid his fallback options once his initial targets fell by the wayside. The money was there to spend, so he spent it.

While the Jaguars landed just one big-ticket item in Thomas and a proven starter in Odrick, they did well to add much-needed depth that will allow them to take a "best player available" approach to the draft.

More importantly, with pressure mounting in the third year of a regime that has thus far yielded disappointing results, Caldwell and Bradley will enter the 2015 season with their strongest roster yet.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast analyzes early free agency news, including Ndamukong Suh to Miami, Devin McCourty's new deal and much more. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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