The NFL Lockout is over.
Certainly, this is a moment for celebration for football fans across the country. But as we celebrate, NFL executives will be furiously working to fit months of dealing into a reduced offseason.
Gene Smith, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ general manager, will be one of the busiest front-office folks in the entire league, as the Jaguars will have a lot of cap room to fill up in the near future.
Here is what to expect from your Jaguars, Jacksonville fans…
Tuesday- Players can begin reporting to practice facilities. Teams can also begin signing rookies and undrafted free agents. Look for a lot of signings to go through very quickly, including rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert. There isn’t a whole lot of room for rookies to wiggle with in terms of negotiating in the new CBA. Also, teams can begin trades talk and negotiating with all free agents, including their own players.
Wednesday- Players will report for training camps.
Thursday- Teams can cut players.
Friday- Teams can officially make personnel moves like free agent signings.
Gabbert in Camp- Getting the franchise rookie quarterback in camp is huge for the Jaguars but like stated above, there shouldn’t be any lengthy lockouts. Expect for him to compete with David Garrard for playing time almost immediately.
Deep Cuts- Will guard Justin Smiley and defensive end Derrick Harvey be some of the players that the Jaguars axe? Smiley is owed $3.2 million this year and definitely isn’t worth that much. Harvey (owed $1.6 million) has been a bust and might not be back either.
Taking Care of their Own- The Jaguars will have the same amount of time to negotiate with their own free agents as every other team in the league will. Punter Adam Podlesh could be retained if the Jags don’t find an upgrade. Linebackers Justin Durant and Kirk Morrison may not be back, although Morrison has a shot at returning.
Paying Marcedes- Tight end Marcedes Lewis is under the franchise tag but expect the Jaguars to try to ink him to a long-term deal as soon as possible.
Good on Garrard- Will the incumbent starting quarterback be asked to take a pay cut? If so, will he accept it or be cut? This is a definite possibility and should be intriguing to watch.
Free Agency- Rumors might swirl around this week but by Friday players can start signing contracts. The Jaguars will definitely target at least one safety, possibly two linebackers and a defensive end. The Jaguars have around $35 million to spend.