After a 10-win season and AFC Championship appearance in 2017, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been sinking like the Titanic. They have won just 12 games since, including a dismal 1-15 campaign in 2020. Despite the downward spiral, the Jaguars have hopes for the future with the number one pick and great position with the salary cap.
The given to improve the Jaguars in 2021 is the top pick in which they will undoubtedly select quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars are also projected to have the most salary cap space this year. Because of the effects of COVID-19, the total salary cap for each team in the NFL has decreased more than 11 percent over last season. The decrease will amount to about $22 million less to sign players.
For the Jaguars, they are expected to have about $23 million in cap rolling over from last year and nearly $74 million in cap space. With a roster in need of an overhaul, that is just the kind of money the organization needs to start building a competitive roster.
According to NFL lines, there is even more potential to add high priced free agents with potential cuts in tight end Tyler Eifert and defensive tackle Taven Bryan. Removing them from the payroll would free up nearly $6.4 million in cap space. This extra cap space would help in the search for veteran players. The Jaguars had one of the most inexperienced rosters in league history and suited up an extraordinarily high number of players this season.
Taking a look at the needs on the team, where does one start? The Jaguars ranked third from the bottom in scoring and second from the bottom in most points allowed. Their pass rush was woefully inept, taking down opposing quarterbacks only 18 times. They also were dreadful in turnover margin at minus-eight.
In terms of individual statistics, running back James Robinson was solid with 1070 yards rushing, but there was no depth behind him. Dare Ogunbowale was the second-leading rusher among running backs with only 145 yards on 32 carries. No receiver reached 60 receptions of 800 yards, with DJ Chark leading with 53 catches and 706 yards. The big-play maker was non-existent, as the team averaged only 10.2 yards per reception.
Even the kicking game was suspect, at best. Five different kickers attempted a field goal with an overall success rate of only 72 percent on 25 attempts. The team is set at the punter position with Logan Cooke, who averaged 47.7 yards with a net of 43.2 yards on 56 punts.
Having a great deal of cap space available clearly is in the Jaguars favor in their attempts to draw veterans to the team. It could be difficult to draw the top names to a team that won only one game in 2020, but players know the addition of Lawrence is a start of a promising future. Some veterans may welcome being a leader and the chance to help build the team into a contender. Trades for a few top-tiered players, particularly on defense is a good way for the Jaguars to start taking advantage of their salary cap space.