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How Will the Jacksonville Jaguars Improve at Wide Receiver in Free Agency?

June 10th, 2011 at 9:16 PM
By Brendan Sonnone

It’s no secret that the Jacksonville Jaguars will make an upgrade to their linebackers and safeties when free agency gets underway, but will the team look at adding a free agent wide receiver too?

And if so, what caliber of player will the Jaguars make a bid for?

It's definitely a position of concern but with other priorities looming, the Jaguars will have to get creative while exploring free agent wide outs.

Before breaking down the different receivers that are on the market, let’s dissect the team’s current group of receivers.

Jacksonville Jaguars' Mike Thomas (80) catches a pass as Denver Broncos' Champ Bailey (24) tries to grab him during the first quarter of their NFL football game in Jacksonville, Florida September 12, 2010. REUTERS/Daron Dean (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Mike Thomas is slated to be the team’s No.1 option once the Jaguars officially let go of Mike Sims-Walker. Thomas showed marked improvement in his second NFL season (went from 453 receiving yards to 820) and he should continue to progress. Whether or not he has the potential to be a top target is up for debate. 

Things get even shakier after Thomas. Jason Hill was brought on midyear as a free agent and proved to be the NFL’s equivalent of a waiver wire steal. 

The former third-round selection had 233 total yards in Jacksonville’s final four games, giving the front office hope that he can develop into a reliable No.2.

Jarrett Dillard has potential to be a quality slot receiver but he hasn’t been healthy his first two years in the NFL. Kassim Osgood is probably nothing more than a special teams stud. Rookie Cecil Shorts has potential but has a long ways to go. 

Yes the Jaguars will rely heavily on a solid tight end duo of Marcedes Lewis and Zach Miller to haul in a lot of passes and Maurice Jones-Drew will be a weapon in the passing game as well, but the team seems awfully thin at receiver.

There’s a good chance that Smith will not do much to alter what he has at the position. Or if he does it won’t be a significant move.

But I cannot fathom the Jaguars standing pat at wide receiver.  

Not if the goal is to break away from mediocrity anyways. Or not if the Jaguars want to have another reliable target for rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who will undoubtedly play this season. 

I will push forward with this article under the assumption that the Jaguars will indeed target a decent wide receiver in free agency.

But who exactly is out there?

Well the big names are Minnesota’s Sidney Rice and the New York Jets’ Santonio Holmes. Both will demand serious cash and it’s a reach to think the Jaguars will exert to too much money into the position.

So we must go down to the second tier of free agents, which is where I predict Jacksonville will look.

-Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers- Would provide a big target (6-5, 225) in an otherwise undersized group of receivers, but his first-to-third round tender and age (29) are negatives

-James Jones, Green Bay Packers- Is explosive after the catch and has decent size (6-1, 208). Jones could be a really good fit in Jacksonville but his case of the dropsies (17 in last two seasons) makes him a bit of the question mark. Expect the Jaguars to go with someone a little more reliable, even if they’re less explosive.

- Randy Moss, Tennessee Titans- Makes sense as a short-term plug in, but the inherent character risk makes this unlikely. 

- T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Baltimore Ravens- Was disappointing in 2010 but he would provide the Jaguars with the physical presence they need. Like Moss, he’d be more of a one-year rental.

-Brandon Stokley, Seattle Seahwaks- Again we are looking at an older (34) player but Stokley is a pro’s pro and would add toughness and experience to a younger receiving corps. He would fit in nicely as a slot receiver.

Other options- Greg Lewis, Brian Finneran, Devin Aromashodu

To sum it up, the Jaguars will have to look at receivers, but don’t expect the team to spend big on the position, especially with a more pressing need at safety and linebacker. Instead look for Jacksonville to acquire a proven yet over-the-hill type of guy who can contribute in a small, defined role. 

Tags: Football, Jacksonville, James Jones, Jason Hill, Malcom Floyd, Marcedes Lewis, Maurice-Jones Drew, Mike Thomas, NFL, Randy Moss, T.J. Houshmandzadeh

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