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Jaguars Mailbag: Where Does Jacksonville's Season Go After the Bye Week?

In this week's mailbag we talk NFL Draft, the Jaguars' bye week and much more.

Each week during this year's season, Jaguar Report will take Jacksonville Jaguars-related questions from our readers across social media and answer them in a question-and-answer format, giving readers a chance to have their voices heard.

You can submit your questions every week by tweeting them to the Jaguar Report Twitter handle or by submitting them here.

This week we take questions on the Jaguars' Week 10 loss to the Chiefs, the NFL Draft and more.

Q: Do you think the Jags will take a receiver in this next draft on day 1 or 2? I’d love it if they did, but that doesn’t seem like a move Baalke and the front office would make?

A: Honestly, no. I think the Jaguars will have some obvious needs on defense and offense next year but will enter the offseason with three starters at wide receiver in Christian Kirk, Calvin Ridley and Zay Jones. Trent Baalke doesn't seem like a general manager who would spend an early pick on the No. 4 receiver, especially when the Jaguars have already shown us how they view the 2023 draft class at receiver.

Q: What are the odds we make the playoffs this year?

A: Low. The Jaguars have the fourth-toughest schedule left moving forward according to Football Outsiders, largely because they play playoff teams in the Jets, Ravens, Cowboys, and Titans twice. Plus, the Lions are at least frisky. Losses to the Texans, Broncos and Colts helped doom the Jaguars' playoff chances.

Q: Which players do you think are going to be the cap casualties for this offseason?

A: As things stand today, the Jaguars are set to be $-23,239,702 in terms of cap room for the 2023 offseason. That means some contracts are going to have to be shaved one way or another. A few that make sense to me financially:  

  • Cornerback Shaquill Griffin: $13.5 million saved
  • Defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris: $7.8 million saved
  • Wide receiver Jamal Agnew: $4.75 million saved
  • EDGE K'Lavon Chaisson: $2.429 million saved
  • Safety Rayshawn Jenkins: $6.25 million saved

If the Jaguars make those moves, then they have about $11.5 million in cap space. It would lead to some pretty significant roster holes, but that is where the money can be found. Jenkins and Agnew would be two particularly tough releases, but it may come to it.

Q: Do you pay Josh Allen, if so how much?

A: Spotrac has Josh Allen's market value at four years, $58,858,814. That comes out to $14,714,704 per year. In terms of current average annual value among edge rushers, this would put Allen at No. 21 overall. Is Allen an elite talent? The production hasn't come yet. But is he good enough to pay like the 21st best edge in the NFL when you factor in his youth and locker room impact? I think so.

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Q: Should Bill Shuey be on the hot seat right now? We know Walker is a work in progress but has he shown any improvement with hand usage and technique? And Josh Allen has clearly regressed.

A: I don't think he should be on the hot seat. The Jaguars' scheme calls for every level of the defense to be able to provide pressure, and it is each level that has failed at that so far, not just the outside linebackers. With that said, I do think the outside linebackers have underperformed and there should be some kind of emphasis or shift in coaching from Shuey after the bye. Travon Walker and Josh Allen have recorded just 5.5 combined sacks. Out of 105 edge rushers with at least 100 rushes, they are ranked No. 84 and No. 32 in pass-rush win rate, per PFF. Out of 11 rookies, Walker is No. 8. That isn't good enough moving forward.

Q: Seems like Trevor is improving drastically in his sophomore season, and all that’s missing is a deep ball in the arsenal. Can we get that with the current WR room or do we need to draft a big-bodied downfield threat?

A: I think the answer to that question is Calvin Ridley. Ridley isn't a "big" receiver, but he doesn't have to be to be the kind of receiver who can unlock the vertical aspect of Lawrence's game. Ridley is a big-play machine and a prototypical X-receiver thanks to his ability to win isolated matchups, especially against press coverage. I think Lawrence needs to improve as a downfield thrower -- and passes like his Week 10 completion to Marvin Jones indicates he is on his way -- but also think Ridley is the solution to the Jaguars' deep ball issues.

Q: I realize we never would have passed on Trevor, but am i crazy to wish we had Fields? His ceiling seems way higher even with worse talent around him

A: I had Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields as the two best prospects in the 2021 class, though in hindsight that was likely a bit too inflated by them being quarterbacks and was ultimately a miss on Micah Parsons and Patrick Surtain Jr. So, you don't have to sell me on Fields at all. I think he is showing now what kind of weapon he can be in the NFL, and that is even with arguably the worst passing offense skill-wise in the entire NFL.

With that said, I do not think anyone should have any regret over the direction the Jaguars went in quarterback. Fields is a great talent who is improving each week, but Lawrence has been the better passer numbers-wise.

Q: How big of a need is CB? On the surface it looks like a glaring hole, but considering they are misplaying Darious Williams they are really only lacking a slot corner. Which doesn’t seem like a wise investment for a top-15 pick.

A: I don't think it means much whether they are a nickel cornerback or not when it comes to the modern NFL. Darious Williams was still playing about 70% of the Jaguars' snaps when he was strictly the slot cornerback, so this play is still more or less a starter. And if the Jaguars think Williams is best in the slot today when the cornerback group is having the issues it is, then it is hard for me to imagine they feel any differently when they actually add more talent to the room.

Q: What would help this pass defense more - a cover CB opposite Tyson Campbell or a penetrating and space-eating defensive lineman?

A: This is a great question, and one the Jaguars just may have to ask themselves this offseason. As of this second, I would probably lean cornerback. The Jaguars need help along the interior next season, but DaVon Hamilton and Foley Fatukasi are at least a strong enough starting point. As for the outside cornerback position, the Jaguars have lost games this year entirely because they don't have the same kind of depth.

With that said, we have seen a major shift in NFL defenses in recent years in terms of shifting to two-high defenses. The Jaguars have followed the trend, too, because that is what you need to do to limit the explosive offenses of today. But when you play with a light box, you need a dominant interior player to command blocks and erase gaps. The Jaguars have some good defensive linemen, but they don't yet have a dominant one.