Jacksonville Jaguars

Fine Print

By: Michael Spiers

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Is Trevor Lawrence’s new deal as record breaking as it seems?

When it comes to NFL contracts, the big numbers you see in the headlines are often misleading.

Take Trevor Lawrence’s new deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, for example. His five-year extension, worth $275 million, certainly grabbed attention. But, as usual with NFL contracts, the real story is in the fine print.

Trevor Lawrence, the Jaguars’ star quarterback, just signed a massive contract extension, but the numbers aren’t as straightforward as they appear.

The deal, which includes $200 million in guarantees and $142 million fully guaranteed, averages out to $55 million a year. This seemingly ties him with Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals for the highest annual salary in the league. Yet, when you dig deeper, the deal isn’t as stellar as it seems.

Former Packers executive Andrew Brandt explains that to understand an NFL contract’s true value, you need to focus on the yearly cash flow, not just the headline numbers.

In his analysis, Lawrence’s contract doesn’t compare favorably to other top quarterbacks. For instance, in the first year of his new deal, Lawrence will pocket $39 million. While that’s no small change, it’s much less than the $80 million-plus that quarterbacks like Jared Goff and Lamar Jackson will earn.

Even after two years, Lawrence’s $76.5 million trails behind guys like Jackson and Burrow, who will rake in $111 million over the same period.

Over three and four years, this trend continues, with Lawrence making $114 million and $155 million, respectively, while others are pulling in significantly more, such as Jackson, who will make $207 million, and Burrow, who will earn $181 million over the same periods.

So, even though Lawrence’s contract looks record-breaking at first glance, it’s actually on the lower end compared to other recent quarterback deals when you look at the cash he’ll earn in the first few years.

This deal ties Lawrence to the Jaguars until 2030, giving him a solid financial foundation but not as much upfront cash as his peers.

For 2023, under his rookie contract, he only made $1.5 million. From 2026, his new contract will start paying out more substantially. It includes a $37.5 million signing bonus and guarantees that balance his financial security with the team’s salary cap.

There’s also a $35 million guaranteed option bonus in 2025 and 2026. The deal includes a no-trade clause and a potential out in 2029, making it more player-friendly.

Lawrence, picked first overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, has been the face of the Jaguars and a crucial player for them. He’s racked up over 11,700 passing yards and 58 touchdowns, ranking fourth in franchise history for both stats. He’s been a team captain each year and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2022 after throwing for over 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. In 2023, he kept up his strong performance with another solid season.

The Jaguars clearly see Lawrence as their guy for the long haul, hoping he’ll lead them to future success, maybe even a Super Bowl.

For Lawrence, this big contract is both a financial win and a sign of his commitment to the team. Despite the pressure of such a huge deal, he’s focused on playing well and helping the Jaguars achieve their goals.

Ultimately, while the headline figures of Lawrence’s new contract seem huge, a closer look shows it’s less impressive when compared to other recent quarterback deals. The NFL’s funny money game continues, where contracts aren’t always what they seem at first glance.

It’s been a busy and eventful offseason for the quarterback. In addition to the recent news of the contract extension, Lawrence and his wife, Marissa, announce last week that they are expecting their first child.



By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Summer is the time of dreams for NFL fans.

Dreams of the upcoming season, of brilliant rookie performances, of notable veteran development, of free agent deals justified by on-field production. And if the fans truly dare to dream, there are dreams of championships.

Fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars are used to dreaming, and yes, having those dreams shattered.

For the 2024 season, there’s lots for DUUVAL Nation to ponder. Quite possibly the biggest item on the list is the recent multi-million-dollar contract extension for quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

This year was to be his last of his rookie contract, and the steps backwards he took last season had a growing minority of pundits questioning whether or not #16 truly is the “generational talent” we’ve been told that he is. General Manager Trent Baalke disagreed and rewarded Lawrence with the T-1st largest QB contract in the league.

I, like many Jags fans, have given Trevor a pass in the previous years due to his disastrous rookie year under Urban Meyer, but as the seasons mount, it becomes harder and harder to use that excuse. A healthy, productive, not-turnover-riddled season would be just what the doctor ordered.

Improved performance from the offensive line would help that tremendously. Cam Robinson, Brandon Scherff, and Anton Harrison are all returning, as is Ezra Cleveland, who re-signed with the team after coming over from the Vikings in a late-season trade.

The lone OL free-agent signing is ex-Bills center Mitch Morse, which means the pieces should be in place for a squad that needs to reduce the number of sacks allowed from last year (35) as well as improving run lanes for 1000-yard rusher RB Travis Etienne.

The flashiest additions come from the receivers. With Calvin Ridley putting up a less-than-expected one-and-done season, the Jags went heavy on the upgrades to the wideouts.

After signing field-stretching veteran Gabe Davis and using the 23rd overall pick in the draft to select LSU speedster Brian Thomas, Jr, the core starters (with returning WR Christian Kirk and TE Evan Engram) seem to be in place for a much more explosive air assault.

While many put a lot of the blame for the 2023 late-season collapse on the offense, the defense was greatly responsible as well, if not more so.

The front office saw that, overhauling most of the defensive coaching staff in the offseason, starting with bringing in former Falcons DC Ryan Nielsen. His four-man rush and press coverage heavy style will suit Josh Allen and Travon Walker well.

Adding former ‘Niners DT Arik Armstead in free agency will help the lackluster run defense of last season.

One area of concern on the defensive side is the secondary. CB Tyson Campbell spent most of last season battling a hamstring injury, and Coach Nielsen’s defensive style will expect a lot out of him as well as newly acquired undrafted free agent Ronald Darby.

While it’s true that last year’s squad continued to be among the best at forcing turnovers, the run defense has to get better in order to avoid the kind of collapse suffered in 2023.

Special teams are rarely a concern with the Jaguars, but that’s not the case this time around. After the PR disaster that is the Brandon McManus saga, Jacksonville decided to take the rookie route for their PK, selecting Razorback alum Cam Little in the 6th round of the draft.

All in all, the upcoming season is one of promise for the teal and black.

How the team delivers on those promises might mean it will be a season of dreams come true for a fan base far more familiar with nightmares over the last 20 seasons.

Missed Mark?

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I was underwhelmed by the Jaguars’ draft in Rounds 2-7, but I love what they did in Round 1 by trading back and adding a high-ceiling receiver.

After the Jaguars lost Calvin Ridley, they reexamined their options and were able to land Thomas, who has size and speed. His route running needs work, but that is due mostly to inexperience, not lack of ability .

Thomas may fit Jax’s offense better than Ridley did. As a rookie Thomas might not be as productive as Ridley, (2023 season:76 receptions, 1,016 yards), but Thomas gives the Jaguars a true big-body X receiver who can stretch the field. Ridley was miscast last season for a Jags team that needed a player like Thomas.

He struggled to get off press coverage on the outside and win consistently on fade routes — two skills that Thomas mastered at LSU.

The Jags needed a lot of defensive line help, but it was surprising that they took LSU’s Mason Smith with the No. 48 pick. The 6-5, 305-pound Smith is a former five-star recruit, but he was sidelined by injury for a big chunk of his career in Baton Rouge.

Making matters tougher, he had six defensive line coaches in his three years and four in the past year. Smith has intriguing potential, evoking some visions of Leonard Williams, right now Smith’s future looks cloudy with high risk.

It’s worth noting new Jaguars defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen is a protege of former LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, who recruited Smith to Baton Rouge.

Former Tigers defensive coordinator Matt House is also now on the Jacksonville staff too. One of the concerns about Smith is he plays with high pad level; he needs to get low and become more physical.

“He is a boom-or-bust,” an NFL D-line coach told me earlier this month. “In his defense, there is still a lot of football in him. He’s played 976 snaps in three years. 17 starts. He’s got everything you want.”

Javon Foster was a worthwhile swing to take, even if an offensive tackle isn’t a glaring need for Jacksonville. Foster needs to continue honing his footwork and technique, but he moves well with the length and play strength to match up in the NFL. He looks to be a valuable swing tackle and, down the line, maybe more.


Draft Picks:

Brian Thomas Jr.  WR.  LSU

Mason Smith.  DT. LSU

Jarrion Jones, CB. FSU

Javon Foster, OT, Missouri

Jordan Jefferson, DT. LSU

Deantre Prince, CB, Ole Miss

Keilan Robinson, RB, Texas

Cam Little K, Arkansas

Myles Cole, Edge, Texas Tech


The Jags will round out their rosters with undrafted free agents. The puzzles largely have been put together. The experimentation will begin when minicamps and offseason practices begin. And some questions will remain unanswered until training camp, the preseason, and opening weekend kickoff.

But for now, my evaluation is the Jags fell short in their quest to position themselves as championship contenders.

Moving Pieces

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Wednesday, March 13, after 4 p.m. Eastern Time NFL free agency will officially begin.

Let’s take a look at the AFC South to see what needs each team should address.

Indianapolis: The Colts were 9-8 last season and missed the playoffs.

They drafted quarterback Anthony Richardson (Florida) No. 4 in 2023. Richardson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 5, so backup Gardner Minshew played the remainder of the season.

The biggest goal should be building around Richardson.

Key Free Agents: WR Michael Pittman, Gardner Minshew, CB Kenny Moore, DT Taven Bryan, RB Zack Moss, S Julian Blackmon and DT Grover Stewart.

Indy should make it a priority to bring Pittman back since he’s their No. 1 receiver.

The biggest team needs are backup QB, safety, wide receiver, cornerback and D-line/ run stoppers.

If Pittman returns, they still need to add WR depth and another playmaker. The secondary struggled in 2023 and they could lose Moore, who is their most experienced player.

They ranked 24th against the run last season and they might lose Stewart in free agency.

They have $73.9 million in salary cap space.

Tennessee: The Titans were 6-11 last year and fired head coach Mike Vrabel. Former Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan was hired to replace him.

Veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill was benched so they could evaluate rookie Will Levis (Kentucky).

Derrick Henry had 1.381 yards and 12 touchdowns from scrimmage, making it to his fourth Pro Bowl in five seasons. Neither of these players are not expected to return next season.

Key Free Agents: Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, DE Denico Autry, LB Azeez Al-Shaair, C Aaron Brewer, CB Sean Murphy-Bunting and CB Kristian Fulton.

Pittsburgh is reportedly interested in Tannehill. Henry has been the most physical running back in the NFL for the last few years. He’s 30 years old and unfortunately a running back’s age should be counted in dog years. The Titans are rebuilding and I’m sure he wants to join a contender.

The key positions to address are offensive tackle, defensive end, cornerback and wide receiver. They have $80.7 million in available salary cap space, so they can add some talent.

Houston: The Texans were 10-7 in 2023, won the AFC South and won a playoff game.

They far exceeded expectations under first year head coach DeMeco Ryans.

QB C.J. Stroud was the Offensive Rookie of the Year and defensive end Will Anderson Jr. was the Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Key Free Agents: TE Dalton Schultz, DE Jonathan Greenard, DT Sheldon Rankins, CB Steven Nelson, WR Noah Brown, RB Devin Singletary and K Ka’imi Fairburn.

The biggest team needs are running back, tight end, cornerback, defensive tackle and defensive end.

Houston has over $70 million in available cap space.

Jacksonville: The Jaguars were 9-8 and missed the playoffs. They were expected to win the division and make a playoff run going into the season.

Key Free Agents: WR Calvin Ridley, Edge Josh Allen, LG Ezra Cleveland, K Brandon McManus, WR/return specialist Jamal Agnew and CB Tre Herndon.

The Jags declined to sign Allen to an extension of his rookie contract and he recorded a franchise-record of 17.5 sacks last season. Now his salary is set to drastically increase, whether they negotiate a new contract or use the franchise tag.

It should also be a priority to retain Ridley. He led the team in receiving yards (1,016) and touchdowns (8).

The biggest needs are interior offensive line, cornerback, wide receiver and D-line.

The Jags have $25.7 million in salary cap space.

A List Of Needs

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The 2024 NFL Draft is a crucial one for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jacksonville is slotted with nine picks in April’s draft, with extra picks in the fourth and sixth rounds. And after a disappointing 9-8 campaign in 2023 after beginning the season with an 8-3 record, the Jaguars will need to fill some gaps.

Jacksonville will have about $25 million in cap space available to spend in free agency.

Most of that will be dedicated to a Josh Allen extension or franchise tag. Josh Allen is not going anywhere so do not worry Jag fans.

Many believe that the Jaguars will cut Cam Robinson and that move could free up an additional $17-18 million to dabble in free agency, but if they make that move then offensive line becomes a huge position of need bigger than it already is.

Trevor Lawrence took a beating in 2023. Jacksonville fumbled the ball twenty-eight times last season which was the second highest total in the NFL. Yards per carry last season was 3.6 which was second to last in the league. Lawrence missed time last season due to injury which all points to offensive line struggles.

What happens with Calvin Ridley? If they re-sign Ridley before free agency officially starts, they will have to give Atlanta their No. 48 (second-round) pick as part of their trade for Ridley.

If they do not re-sign him or re-sign him after the start of free agency, then they give Atlanta their No. 79 (third-round pick). All indications are that Jacksonville wants to re-sign Ridley.

Ridley is currently a free agent, and it makes a ton of sense to bring him back to the River City. Ridley is not back to his pre-suspension form yet but showed signs later in the season of his old self. Ridley turns thirty this season, and still has some fuel left in the tank.

Biggest Needs ranked in order:

Offensive Line: Jacksonville needs help across the offensive line, but if Cam Robinson is gone then tackle is a huge need position. Amarius Mims from Georgia is the most athletic offensive lineman in this draft.

Mims is a freak athlete that would start from day one in Jacksonville and provide a much-needed upgrade in athleticism and youth for a high need position.

Most mock drafts have Mims going from pick 15-25 in the first round. Mims should be there when Jacksonville picks at 17.

Wide Receiver: If Brian Thomas Jr. from LSU is still on the board at 17 then how can Jacksonville pass him up?

Thomas can bring both size and big-play ability to take attention away from Ridley.

Thomas has a rare blend of size and speed, and the ability to challenge opposing defenses over the top, making him the ideal candidate. All Thomas did at LSU was catch TD passes.

Cornerback: Jacksonville needs a corner to pair with Tyson Campbell. That need must be addressed in this draft. Jacksonville picks at 17 in the first round. Based on the latest mock drafts where the elite offensive linemen and wide receivers could be gobbled up means the Jaguars could get better value at cornerback with their first-round selection.

Kool-Aid McKinstry from Alabama could be a value pick here if he is still on the board.

Jacksonville must get better at OL, WR, and CB in this draft. Houston is only going to get better moving forward. Jacksonville must keep pace with the Texans.

This draft is critical in Jacksonville.

To The River City

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Much like the end of the 2023 season, the lead up to the 2024 NFL Draft is not what Jaguar fans were expecting even as recently as six months ago.

Prior to the late season collapse that saw Jacksonville lose five out of their last six games and miss the playoffs thanks to a final week loss to their hated rivals from the Volunteer State, your average Jags fan thought the team was trending in the right direction.

Now, not so much. While the team is still considered upper tier, they’re not as close to “legitimate contender” status as we were hoping leading into the 2023 season. Once again, this year’s draft will prove to be vital, and that’s a situation Jacksonville fans are tired of being in.

At first glance, one would think the Offensive Line would be a top priority. Thirty-five sacks of your generational-talent quarterback would lend credence to that assumption.

Notre Dame’s Joe Alt is the top-rated prospect this year, but he’ll likely be long gone by the time the Jags finally get on the clock at #17.

Same thing for Penn State’s Olu Fashanu. UGA’s Sedrick Van Pran would likely be available, but he’s a Center, and Luke Fortner is looking pretty solid coming into his third year in the league. O-Line help, though desperate, may unfortunately be a second- or third-round target.

Crazy enough as it seems, Wide Receiver is another top concern for Baalke & company.

Calvin Ridley wasn’t as quick to recover from his suspension as some had hoped, and there’s still a chance he doesn’t get re-signed.

Personally, I think that would be a mistake. Thanks to his recent legal issues, Zay Jones might get cut, and Christian Kirk is on the last year of the deal that no one thought he could live up to but somehow did.

If they do go the receiver route, look for the Jags to call Bulldog-turned-Longhorn Adonai Mitchell’s name, possibly Brian Thomas Jr. out of LSU. If he’s available in 2nd or 3rd round, I absolutely would not complain if they brought Ladd McConkey to the banks of the St. Johns.

Cornerback is another area of need, and there’s a pair of Alabama products that wouldn’t be out of the question with the 17th overall pick.

Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold are both first-round worthy considerations, and to be honest, either of them falling to 17th would be hard to turn down.

If they go a different direction in the first, hope against hope that Clemson’s Nate Wiggins or Iowa’s Cooper DeJean are still out there in the second round. Admittedly this is a homer pick, but I’d love to see them bring Auburn’s Jaylin Simpson back this side of the Chattahoochee.

The one area that shouldn’t be a concern – but yet somehow is – would be the Edge/LB.

Josh Allen was tied for second in pressure rate, second in sacks and third in quarterback hits in 2023, and yet there’s still the chance he gets hit with the franchise tag.

Seriously, Mr. Khan, just pay the man. He’s earned it. Same for Travon Walker, who saw his sack total jump from 3.5 his rookie year to 10 in his sophomore effort.

If we’re going to look to the future, Texas A&M’s Edgerrin Cooper would be solid, as would the twin towers of the Bama defensive backfield, Dallas Turner & Chris Braswell.

In short, the Jaguars’ needs are more plentiful than we hoped at this point.

While the marquee players are pretty much in place, the needs in the trenches are still noticeable. General Manager Trent Baalke sees this and has commented as such in recent pressers.

Hopefully with the new assistant coaching staff in place and their eyes on the future, this year’s draft haul will be one that is seen as the difference maker, not one that sets the franchise back as so many in the last 20 years have done.


The Collapse

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I’ll be honest; this is not the time of year I expected to be doing a Jacksonville Jaguars “year in review” article. In previous years, sure. Perfect timing.

But after last year’s record-setting come-from-behind playoff win over the Chargers, followed by the closer-than-most-people-expected loss to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Chiefs, I honestly expected to be doing this in late January, maybe -if we dared to dream- mid-February. That’s the kind of expectations Jag Nation had coming into the 2023 season.

Those dreams were still within reach late in the season. After 11 games, the boys in teal were 8-3 overall and in first place in the AFC South with a 4-1 divisional record. Looking pretty strong.

That’s when the wheels came off.

Going into their first Monday Night Football game since 2011, the Jags were ready to fly high. Instead, the inevitable Duval crash occurred.

The Bengals, a week removed from losing superstar QB Joe Burrow for the season, beat Jacksonville 34-30 in overtime. Worse still was the ankle injury suffered by QB Trevor Lawrence that would arguably hinder his performance for the rest of the season.

This would be the first of four straight losses. Defeats at the hands of the Browns, Ravens, and Buccaneers not only had fans questioning their team’s playoff readiness but left the Jags on the brink of missing the playoffs.

The 27-0 thrashing of the hapless Panthers was satisfying, but the final week playoff-denying loss to the hated Tennessee Titans was a true gut punch to the Duval faithful. Almost but not quite as bad as 1999.

With the postseason suddenly no longer on the agenda, GM Trent Baalke wasted no time in firing Defensive Coordinator Mike Caldwell and his entire staff.

This was an understandable move, considering the defense allowed 28 or more points in four of the five stretch-run losses, wrapping up the season.

On top of the late-season collapse, the end-of-season stats didn’t do Caldwell any favors either. Defensively, the Jags came in 22nd in the league in Total Defense, 26th in yards allowed, 25th in scoring, and 17th in points allowed. Not playoff-worthy numbers, much less for a team that had Lombardi aspirations to start the year.

The defense, although aptly receiving most of the blame, are not by themselves. Trevor Lawrence made some big strides over last season, throwing for 4,000 yards and 21 touchdowns. Unfortunately, he also threw 14 interceptions – nine of which came in his last 5 games, and quite often while playing from behind.

His high ankle sprain and an additional shoulder injury down the stretch were more than likely contributors to that troubling stat.

Calvin Ridley in his first year back from a gambling suspension made his first season with the Jaguars a fairly productive one. He hauled in 8 TDs on 76 receptions and a little over 1,000 yards. Shy of what most were expecting, but nothing to sneeze at either.

TE Evan Engram, although limited to only 4 trips to the end zone, had a massive year with 114 catches and less than 40 yards from a 1,000 season.

Starting RB Travis Etienne was another bright spot, cracking the thousand-yard mark on the final week of the season, adding another 400+ in the passing game.

Offseason concerns include replacing the defensive coaching staff primarily and upgrading the offensive line to cut down on the ridiculous 35 sacks allowed this year.

And, of course, anything to make Trevor’s life (and ours) easier.

Moving On Up

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

For a team coming off a playoff win in 2023, Jacksonville’s handling of prosperity might be an issue. This season, expect the Jaguars to be in hunting mode.

Being a hunter is a mindset that shapes messaging within a team’s development and morale. Finishing last season in the top 10 in points per game and third down conversion is hefty proof of promise.

In addition, their franchise quarterback has shown serious advancement in his playmaking ability; a good QB1  should make most folks rest easy in Duval County, considering what they’ve been through the last decade. Their competitive fire should have them targeting the gap between them and the AFC elite – this year that target is realistic for Jacksonville.

The Jags defense has ‘more hard to block’ players than any other team in the league. General Manager Trent Baalke has shown an impressive management style by adopting the one simple philosophy that analytic teams despise: drafting the best player available when it’s time to select.

The Jags were known for being driven by numbers and analytics when team building in the past. This season’s build is proof that old-fashioned eyeball evaluation (football sense, some call), can pair successfully with the objective statistical approach that Jags owner Shad Khan instituted upon acquiring the team.

Jacksonville has multiple pass rushers, but outside linebacker Josh Allen and defensive lineman Travon Walker are elite.

At the inside linebacker spots, they have athletic ability that most teams only dream about, with under-the-radar Foyesade Oluokun and 2022 first-round pick Devin Lloyd. Both fly around at a frantic pace, but once the game slows down for them, they will rival 49ers Pro Bowler Fred Warner.

My worry is that the results Jacksonville posted in 2022 are much less than the individual parts are capable of. They do lack some cover skills in the secondary as evidenced by their ranking of 29th in the league in getting off the field on third downs, and their 35 sacks as a team, which tied for 25th most, is mind-boggling.

These are unacceptable results for a team that blitzed on a division-high 25 percent of snaps.

This defense needs to come together in its second year under coordinator Mike Caldwell. The rise of the Jags to a level needed to compete with the Bills, Bengals and Chiefs is predicated on getting more out of its talented crew on defense.

Oh yeah, and if I had a couple of extra bucks, I might just throw it down for giggles on Walker as the AFC Defensive Player of the Year. He’s that good.

With the four-game suspension Cam Robinson for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, the Jaguars must find way to protect their franchise quarterback.

This team will go as far as Trevor Lawrence can take them — and there’s potential for that to be pretty far — but it’s asking a lot of him to outduel some of the AFC’s premier quarterbacks if the defense doesn’t generate enough pressure.

No Longer Pretending

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Jacksonville Jaguars in a relatively short period of time have become an AFC Title contender.

In 2022 the Jags won a playoff game over the Chargers and lost a close divisional playoff to Kansas City on the road. KC went on to win the Super Bowl. The Jaguars won the AFC South in 2022.

Looking ahead to the upcoming 2023 season outside of Jacksonville it looks like a total rebuild for the AFC South.

Tennessee looks to be at a crossroads with age creeping in on a roster that folded down the stretch in 2022. QB is an issue for the Titans so they went out and drafted Will Levis from Kentucky. Well, Levis is no Trevor Lawrence and all Jaguar fans saw the struggle in Lawrence’s rookie season.

Houston has hired a new head coach and drafted C.J. Stroud at QB from Ohio State with the second overall pick.

They addressed the pass rush in trading back up into the top five and taking Will Anderson from Alabama.

This roster still needs a lot of work. Houston is still a couple of years away from competing for an AFC South Championship.

Indianapolis drafted the athletic ability of Anthony Richardson out of Florida as their future QB with the fourth overall selection in the first round.

Can Richardson’s gifted skill set be more effective in the NFL? He could wow you with great plays at Florida but that did not translate into winning big games or games in general.

With all three teams in your division drafting quarterbacks for the future then Jacksonville should be a heavy favorite in the AFC South, correct?

In the April draft Jacksonville was very active in the draft in trading down for additional picks. Most NFL draft experts graded Jacksonville in the B range overall, so the roster has improved. Look at the first four picks Jacksonville made all at position of need on their roster:


Round 1, Pick 27 (From BUF)

Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma: The Jaguars went into protect the franchise mode and drafted Harrison. Offensive line is a position of need for the team, and it got addressed in the first round.


Round 2, Pick 61 (From CHI via SF via CAR)

Brenton Strange, TE, Penn State: TE is also a position of need for the team that got addressed in the early rounds.


Round 3, Pick 88

Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn: I think Bigsby is one of the steals of this draft. Tank played on some bad Auburn teams in his three years on The Plains but was the SEC Freshman of the year in 2020. Now paired with Travis Etienne in the Jaguars backfield gives the offense another weapon.


Round 4, Pick 121 (From TB)

Ventrell Miller, LB, Florida: Miller was a bright spot on a bad defense at UF. This kid is productive and fills a need at the position.


If you look at the Jaguars offense you see:

QB: Trevor Lawrence: Lawrence is a top ten QB in the NFL and will continue to rise in those rankings.

WR: Calvin Ridley joins a dynamic group of WR’s.

RB: Etienne and Bigsby. This will be a dynamic pair of backs.

OL: Addressed in 2023 draft.

On defense the team has built this unit through the draft, and it can be a championship caliber unit.

Doug Pederson is an elite head coach roaming the sidelines in Jacksonville. He has this team in position to compete for a championship.

The schedule is tough. Two back-to-back games in London with the Falcons and Bills.

The home schedule is the best in years with Kansas City, Cincinnati, San Francisco, and Baltimore all coming to the River City.

I see this team winning 12-13 games in 2023. Get your season tickets Jaguar fans this will be a fun season. The Jacksonville Jaguars are AFC title contenders in 2023.

Pardon Our Progress

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry said renovations to TIAA Bank Field could force the Jaguars to play in a different venue for up to two seasons. Here’s what you need to know:

Curry, speaking on 1010XL radio, said the renovations could halt games in the stadium from 2025-26. He said they are looking into local options for that timespan, similar to how the Los Angeles Chargers previously played at Dignity Health Sports Park while waiting for SoFi Stadium to be completed.

On the college side, Lenny Curry explained how TIAA Field’s improvements  will impact two seasons of the Florida-Georgia rivalry game- historically, hosted in Jacksonville (est 1933).

The only exceptions were in 1994 and 1995 when the games were played on campus while TIAA Bank Field was originally renovated prior to the Jaguars’ inaugural NFL season.

Curry suggested both teams could play one game apiece at home before returning to the city in 2027.

For our cats in Jax, Curry stated the goal is a venue in Jacksonville. Here’s the catch- there are zero venues as large as 27,000-seats. The Chargers played in a stadium this size following their move to Los Angeles. In Jacksonville’s case, The University of North Florida, which has no football sponsorship, has Hodges Stadium with only 9,400 seats.

While Jacksonville doesn’t have large stadiums with luxury boxes or modern amenities, there is an option 74 miles away: The 90,000-seat Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville.

The critical question is can the university logistically handle seven UF home games and the Jaguars’ pro schedule (minus London games).

If the Jaguars need to search for a home away from home for two seasons- they will survive. It isn’t the first time a team has faced such a problem in the league, and it won’t be the last. The NFL has rode this rodeo many times.

After the roof in the Metrodome partially caved in, the Minnesota Vikings played the 2014 and 2015 seasons at the University of Minnesota’s stadium, then named after TCF. The team moved into the new US Bank Stadium in 2016.

The LA Chargers, after relocating from San Diego, played for three seasons in a 27,000-seat soccer stadium before SoFi Stadium opened, while the LA Rams played four seasons at the dated LA Coliseum before the teams’ shared venue was ready.

These temporary options were imperfect venues for each team. Assuming the Jaguars need a place to play in 2025 and 2026, it almost assuredly will not be a perfect solution.

Fans and VIPs will be missing many of the modern accouterments they’ve  grown to expect.

There is another possibility. The team already contests one home game a season in London, so perhaps the league will increase Jacksonville games for these two transient years?

As for Georgia and Florida, they have an agreement to play games in Jacksonville through 2023 with a two-year option to extend the contract after that. Prior to the game this past season, the two schools released a joint statement on the future of the game in Jacksonville.

“The annual game between our two universities is an important tradition. Currently, both programs are focused on our current seasons.”

“Typically, both schools begin conversations regarding future games in the series as the last contracted game nears. We anticipate following that timeline. When those discussions take place, we will consider a multitude of factors including tradition, finances, future SEC scheduling models with the addition of Texas and Oklahoma, and what is best for both schools’ football programs overall.”

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has called for a change to neutrality. His concern is the recruiting disadvantage that it puts the programs at playing the game at a neutral site.

Billy Napier has deflected questions about the future location until he has a chance to experience the game first hand.

I’ll throw out the possibility of a game in Tampa, Orlando, Atlanta, or Miami when Jacksonville is unavailable.

The idea of keeping the game at a neutral site makes some sense and cents, especially if one is in Florida and the other in Georgia.