A breakdown of the Jacksonville Jaguars' 2019 free-agent signings.
Nick Foles, quarterback
The Jaguars signed Foles to a four-year deal worth up to $102 million on Wednesday. Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, his guaranteed money is $50.125 million. Here's a closer look at the signing:
What it means: The Jaguars now have their starting quarterback and can concentrate on shoring up other holes on offense. Tight end and offensive line -- specifically right tackle -- should be the priorities, followed by receiver and a complementary running back to Leonard Fournette. Foles isn’t an elite player, but he is an upgrade from Blake Bortles. Foles got hot in the 2017 playoffs and he did again late in the 2018 regular season, but almost as important is the fact that his low points are significantly higher than Bortles’ low points. When Bortles really struggled, the Jaguars had no chance. Foles won’t put as much pressure on the defense, as the Jaguars essentially needed a shutout to win during the last five weeks of the 2018 season.
What’s the risk: Foles put up much better numbers when he played for the Eagles (62.9 percent completions, 58 TDs, 23 INTs, 21-11 record as a starter) than when he didn't (61.1 percent completions, 10 TDs, 10 INTs, 5-7 record as a starter). Foles had a much better supporting cast with the Eagles (LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Darren Sproles, Jeremy Maclin, Alshon Jeffery) than he did elsewhere. His one start in Kansas City in 2016 came without Spencer Ware and Maclin, and Travis Kelce was ejected, but the Chiefs were still able to beat a Jaguars team in disarray. Foles’ supporting cast in Jacksonville needs a lot of work, so he may be asked to carry a big load.
Chris Conley, WR
The Jaguars signed Conley on Saturday, March 16. Here’s a closer look at the receiver who spent the past four seasons with Kansas City:
What it means: The Jaguars needed to give newly signed QB Nick Foles some help and Conley can slide into the No. 3 spot behind Marqise Lee and Dede Westbrook -- and possibly higher depending on how Lee performs in his return from a severe knee injury. Conley had a career-high five TD catches last season and has 104 catches for 1,238 yards and six touchdowns in four seasons with the Chiefs. That makes him the Jaguars’ second-most experienced receiver.
What’s the risk: Conley played in a career-high 13 games last season as he rebounded from a torn Achilles, but he has played in double-digit games in just two of his four seasons. He had some issues with drops (four drops on 50 targets, making him one of seven players in the NFL to have a drop percentage of 8 percent or higher, per ESPN Stats & Information).
Cedric Ogbuehi, OT
The Jaguars signed Ogbuehi on Saturday, March 16. Here’s a closer look at the offensive tackle who spent the past four seasons with Cincinnati:
What it means: The Jaguars don’t have a starting right tackle and Ogbuehi will be in the mix with 2018 fourth-round pick Will Richardson and potentially a high draft pick. Ogbuehi, the 21st overall pick in 2015, struggled during his time in Cincinnati -- Pro Football Focus ranked Ogbuehi among the bottom 10 of qualified offensive tackles in pass-blocking efficiency in 2016 and 2017 -- and was a healthy scratch for much of the 2018 season. It’s the second year in a row the Jaguars are taking a shot at an offensive lineman drafted in the first round who failed to meet expectations (Ereck Flowers was signed in 2018) and giving him a chance to compete.
What’s the risk: As long as the deal includes no guaranteed money, there’s really not much risk here. The Jaguars are likely going to address the position in the draft – maybe with the seventh overall pick – and they do need a backup swing tackle in case of injury since it doesn’t appear the team isn’t re-signing Josh Wells. Richardson was not even close to being ready to compete for playing time last season and Ogbuehi at least has some experience (25 starts).
A.J. Cann, offensive guard
The Jaguars have agreed to a contract extension with Cann, who was going to become a free agent. Here’s a closer look at the guard who was the team’s third-round pick in 2015:
What it means: The Jaguars now have four of their starting offensive linemen from last year back in the fold, which leaves the team searching only for a new starting right tackle. That’s a spot that could still be addressed in free agency, but if not then the position is very much in play with the seventh overall pick. Cann had his best season in 2018 thanks to the work he did with offensive line trainer Duke Manyweather in the offseason.
What’s the risk: Pretty minimal risk. The money is reasonable and Cann has been pretty durable since the Jaguars drafted him in the third round in 2015. He’s missed just four games in four years and started all but one of the 60 games in which he has played. The Jaguars are counting on him to build on the improvement he made last season but they at least have a good idea what they’re going to get each week.
Geoff Swaim, TE
The Jaguars signed Swaim on March 15 to a two-year contract. Here’s a closer look at the tight end who spent the previous four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys:
What it means: Swaim became the Cowboys’ starter last season and was putting up solid numbers (26 catches, 242 yards, one TD) before a wrist injury. But even with those modest numbers, he's still the Jaguars' most accomplished tight end on the roster. Ben Koyack (24 catches for 199 yards and one touchdown in 37 career games with the Jaguars) is the only other tight end who has caught an NFL pass. Pharoah McKever spent time on the practice squads in Cleveland and Jacksonville last year as a rookie. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Swaim is a solid blocker, too, which is something the Jaguars really missed after Marcedes Lewis’ departure and Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ injury.
What’s the risk: Swaim has had trouble staying healthy. He missed seven games last season with a broken wrist (which required surgery) and missed seven games in 2016 because of a pectoral tear. Injuries were a large factor for the Jaguars’ awful 2018 and losing Seferian-Jenkins after five games left the Jaguars short-handed. The Jaguars have to add more at the position, whether that’s in free agency or the draft (which is almost a certainty, since it’s a deep class).