An Early Look at the Jaguars’ Projected Free Agents in 2021
While the 2020 offseason is currently the full focus of all 32 teams in the NFL, there are still major questions in the forthcoming seasons for each club. For the Jacksonville Jaguars particularly, 2021 holds a number of key looming decisions.
Like 2019, in which the Jaguars are currently having to figure out expiring contracts such as defensive end Yannick Ngakoue's, next year's offseason will have its own fair share of major contributors playing in the final year of their deals. From veteran defensive lineman to members of the 2017 draft class who are entering the final season of their rookie contracts, the Jaguars have players up and down the roster who are set to hit free agency in 2021.
Some of the names on this list may change after the team makes other decisions during 2020, but here are each of the Jaguars players who are currently on contracts that expire after the 2020 season.
DL Calais Campbell
Next season, Calais Campbell will be entering the final season of the four-year, $60 million deal he signed with the Jaguars in 2017. Campbell has been considered by some a potential release by the Jaguars this offseason due to his high cap figure in 2020 ($17.5 million), but it is hard to foresee the Jaguars not having Campbell on their roster next season. He has 31.5 sacks with the Jaguars, including 6.5 last season.
DT Marcell Dareus
This could obviously change considering Marcell Dareus is a candidate to be released or have his contract restructured this offseason, but as now Dareus' current contract ends in 2021. He only played in six games last season due to a core muscle injury.
RB Leonard Fournette
This scenario would change if the Jaguars decide to pick up Leonard Fournette's fifth-year option later this offseason. If the Jaguars decline it, then Fournette will be playing on the last season of his deal in 2020 and would be eligible to be a free agent next March. Fournette rushed for 1,152 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and three touchdowns last season.
CB D.J. Hayden
Arguably the best defender on the Jaguars' defense last season, nickel cornerback D.J. Hayden will be in the final year of the three-year, $19 million contract he signed in 2018. Hayden played 61.4% of the defensive snaps last year and recorded two sacks, five tackles for loss, six pass deflections, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in 2019.
LB Jake Ryan
Jake Ryan has a $6.25 million cap hit in 2020 so he may find himself on the cut list this offseason, but if he returns it will be for only one more season on his current deal. He played in two games in 2019 and didn't record a tackle.
DT Abry Jones
The current longest-tenured Jaguars player, nose tackle Abry Jones will play in the final year of his deal in 2020. A member of the team since 2013, he has started 36 games for the Jaguars in the past three seasons.
TE Geoff Swaim
The former Dallas Cowboys tight end signed a two-year, $6.6 million contract with the Jaguars in 2019 and will see his deal end after next season. He caught 13 passes for 65 yards in six games last year.
WR Chris Conley
Chris Conley signed a two-year, $4.595 million in 2019 and proceeded to have the best statistical year of his career while in Jacksonville. He caught 47 passes for 775 yards and five touchdowns in 2019, all either career-best or tied for career-best single-season numbers from the veteran wide receiver.
LT Cam Robinson
2017 second-round pick Cam Robinson will be in the final year of his rookie contract in 2020, joining Fournette and others as members of the 2017 draft class on expiring deals. He dealt with an ACL injury that ended his 2018 season, but has started 31 games at left tackle for Jacksonville since being drafted.
TE James O'Shaughnessy
Despite suffering a season-ending ACL injury in Week 5, James O'Shaughnessy had the best numbers of any Jaguars' tight ends in 2019. He has a low cap figure in 2020 (less than $1 million), so should be a lock to return to the team in the final year of his contract.
DL Dawuane Smoot
The Jaguars' third-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Dawuane Smoot had the best year in his career in 2019, recording six sacks as a rotational interior pass-rusher. Smoot's trajectory is trending up after his successful 2019, so a team-friendly extension could be on the horizon.
WR Dede Westbrook
Jacksonville's fourth-round draft selection in 2017, Dede Westbrook has been the Jaguars' top dog at slot receiver since he has arrived and this is expected to continue in 2020. Westbrook recorded 66 catches for 660 yards and three touchdowns in 2019.
CB Tre Herndon
A restricted free agent, cornerback Tre Herndon is one of the Jaguars' best undrafted success stories in recent season. Recording three interceptions in 14 starts in 2019, Herndon could be in line for a starting role again in 2020.
QB Josh Dobbs
Originally a fourth-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017, Jacksonville shipped a fifth-round selection to the Steelers in 2019 after Nick Foles was injured in Week 1. Dobbs was Gardner Minshew's backup for the first half of the season but was inactive each week once Foles returned from injury.
Other Jaguars' free agents in 2021 include the following players:
WR Charone Peake
S Josh Jones
S Doug Middleton
CB Parry Nickerson
CB Jayson Stanley
OT K.C. McDermott
LB Dakota Allen
C Tyler Gauthier
WR C.J. Board