The Jaguars have money to spend and a long road back to contention. They aren't wasting time using the former to help expedite the latter.
Jacksonville has agreed to terms with a collection of free agents in the first day of the negotiating window. Guard Brandon Scherff -- a first-team All-Pro in 2020 -- headlines the group, agreeing to move from Washington to Jacksonville on a three-year, $49.5 million deal with $30 million guaranteed, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported.
Scherff arrives as a desperately needed reinforcement to an offensive line that surrendered 32 sacks of rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence. When healthy, Scherff has proven to be a premier guard and should help protect Lawrence, who is going to need such support in order to develop at a rate expected of the former No. 1 overall pick.
Following Scherff to Duval County: receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, linebacker Foye Oluokun, defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi and tight end Evan Engram.
Kirk is next in the notability rankings among these additions, bringing big-play speed that the Jaguars lacked without D.J. Chark available for most of the 2021 season. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Pelissero reported the deal is four years in length and worth $72 million with a max value of $84 million. Kirk's contract includes a $20 million signing bonus, $37 million fully guaranteed and $39 million over the first two years with $12 million available in incentives, per Pelissero.
Oluokun is a signing that might end up flying under the radar more than the other two primarily because of a lack of significant name recognition. Oluokun has been a rising defender in Atlanta in the last couple of seasons and is being paid accordingly, moving to Jacksonville on a three-year deal with an average annual salary of $15 million.
That's significant money for a defender who was selected in the sixth round of the 2018 draft out of Yale and made just a little over $2 million in 2021. With Atlanta in a tight cap situation, the Falcons couldn't afford to retain him. Jacksonville pounced on the opportunity, adding a promising player to a defense that was disappointed by its last significant free-agent linebacker, Joe Schobert, whom the Jaguars traded to the Steelers for a sixth-round pick one year after signing him to a five-year deal worth more than $53 million.
Fatukasi comes to Jacksonville from New York, where the former sixth-round pick of the Jets became a productive interior defensive lineman, recording 42 or more tackles in each of his last two seasons.
Also joining the Jaguars is Engram, who is signing a one-year deal worth $9 million, per Rapoport and NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. The former first-round pick of the Giants reached the Pro Bowl in 2020 but the selection was peculiar, considering he caught 63 passes for 654 yards and just one touchdown. In all, Engram's time in New York was essentially summarized by two coexisting truths: flashes of tantalizing potential and struggles to remain healthy. Instead of working on a new deal to keep Engram, the cap-strapped Giants let the tight end walk. He found a fit in Jacksonville, where the Jaguars are opening their wallets in an attempt to rapidly improve their roster after finishing with the NFL's worst record in 2021.
Jones is a possession receiver who garnered a surprisingly large deal of three years for up to $30 million with $24 million guaranteed, Rapoport reported. The 26-year-old Jones is coming off his sixth NFL season and his third with the Raiders. He had 47 catches for 546 catches and should offer a dependable presence for Lawrence.
Jacksonville was one of the least talented teams in the NFL in 2021, placing Lawrence behind a leaky offensive line in a unit that was further weakened by Chark's absence. The Jaguars have since replaced Urban Meyer with Super Bowl LII winner Doug Pederson, and general manager Trent Baalke has approached free agency with urgency, adding notable players on each side of the ball in the first 24 hours of the negotiating window while also retaining left tackle Cam Robinson with a second consecutive franchise tag placed on him last week.
Baalke still has plenty of work to do, but he's made it clear the Jaguars aren't going to approach 2022 without some much-needed reinforcements.