The Champions of March
Its well known to any Jaguars fan out there that every offseason the team has more cap space than they know what to do with. They’ll sign at least two of the biggest name free agents available and most likely over pay them which is usually the case with free agency. At the beginning of March every year when the new league year begins and free agency opens the Jags are one of the most talked about teams every year. They’re always one of the most active teams in free agency because they always seem to have a lot of holes to fill on their roster. Once we agree to give these players millions of dollars over the next four, five, or six years they are then labeled the saviors of the team. Those are the players that are supposed to turn the team around and finally bring in some wins. Its the same narrative every year, we always win free agency and the offseason which is great and all but the team still encounters one big issue. After all the money and new players and excitement they still don’t win anymore games than the year before and in some cases they win less games. The hope that the team will finally not be one of the worst teams in the league always peaks right after free agency and without fail that hope is killed by week five when the team hasn’t won a game yet.
No Hope Peak This Year
The Jaguars again brought in a few big name free agents that are supposed to greatly impact the team and hopefully bring in some wins. A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell, and Barry Church are the three biggest names the Jags have signed so far and all three are instantly three of the best players on the team and will be starters week one if healthy. These are the types of players that would normally cause that annual peak in hope for the team that happens every March. These are the types of players that will have a huge impact on the team and should warrant a peak in hope but this year is different. Jaguars fans have had these offseason wins too many times to fall into that trap again this year. They’ve been let down after this peak time and time again and are beginning to have a much more rational view on the offseason. The team really will have to prove it on the field this year. Don’t get me wrong there is hope for the team next year with these new players but the Jaguars fan base has adopted more of an “I’ll believe it when I see it” mentality this offseason and rightfully so.
Could the Offseason Translate This Year?
Even if there isn’t as much hope during the offseason as their usually is that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be just as much hope as there usually is. Barry Church will be our strong safety next year and was previously with the Dallas Cowboys. This is a position the Jags have lacked in ever since they selected Johnathan Cyprien in 2013. I personally was always and still am confused as to how Cyprien was able to stay on the field. He couldn’t cover and other teams knew it and went after him constantly and exploited him every time they tried. Barry Church is exponentially better than anything the Jags have had at that position in a long time. This move is huge for the secondary finally bringing a consistent quality player to a position that has been one of the biggest weaknesses on the team. The other addition to the secondary is A.J. Bouye who’s signing instantly makes the Jaguars corner back duo one that will rival any in the league. With Jalen Ramsey on one side and A.J. Bouye on the other opposing teams will have a lot of trouble finding open receivers on the outside. I think the most interesting signing of the first wave of free agency was Calais Campbell. The defensive line definitely needs to produce more pass rush next year but it is not one of the weaker position groups on the team. This signing makes it a very strong unit and a group that opposing coaches will lose sleep over next year. Two of the team’s highest paid players and one of the brightest young stars on the team are on that defensive line. It seems that this off season the front office is looking to fill some holes on the team but also just looking to get as many quality players as possible. With more free agent visits coming in the next few days from running back Latavius Murray and defensive linemen Dontari Poe it doesn’t seem that the Jags are done in free agency yet. More big spending on multiple big names is a little unusual with the Jags as well as multiple big names even considering Jacksonville without having to give them all record breaking contracts. The only explanation for these two very important, and very positive, changes is the presence of Tom Coughlin not only being involved in the organization but running the organization.