While the most attention when it comes to the 2021 Jacksonville Jaguars will be on the new quarterback, new general manager, and likely new head coach, there is still an entire roster that is set to see some upheaval this offseason.
For the Jaguars, one side of the ball has the potential to lose more pieces than the other. The Jaguars currently have eight offensive players who have taken snaps this season that are in the final years of their contracts (whether restricted or unrestricted), while they have 11 defenders.
But when looking at just how much the Jaguars utilize each of their contract year players on each side of the ball, it is clear the Jaguars may have to make more significant changes to their offensive lineup rather than defense.
Nick Korte does fantastic work with putting together projections for compensatory picks (which never applies to the Jaguars, but nonetheless) and he has put out another valuable resource via Twitter by examining which teams are set to lose the most snaps to free agency on offense and defense in 2021.
While most would see the number of defensive free agents and assume the Jaguars are higher up the rankings in that area, it is actually the offense that could be losing significant pieces, Korte explained.
Note: Korte looked at players set to become unrestricted free agents. Restricted free agents like Tre Herndon, Dakota Allen, etc., do not apply.
When putting together the list of teams with the most offense snaps set to enter unrestricted free agency this offseason, the Jaguars came in at No. 7 with 31.5%. According to Korte, the only teams they trail are the Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, and Pittsburgh Steelers.
So which members of the Jaguars' offense is set to enter unrestricted free agency this offseason? Here is a breakdown below.
Offense (snaps in 2020)
LT Cam Robinson: 744 (90%)
Cam Robinson has started at left tackle for the Jaguars in all 12 games this season. He has had likely the best season of his career but his pass protection has still been hit or miss at times. He is the biggest contract-year decision the Jaguars have to make.
WR Keelan Cole: 596 (76%)
Jacksonville's No. 2 wide receiver in 2020, Keelan Cole has proven to be a consistent playmaker on offense and special teams. If the Jaguars don't pay him, someone will.
OG/OC Tyler Shatley: 394 (50%)
Jacksonville's top backup along the interior, Tyler Shatley has started six games at left guard and center this year and will likely start his seventh in Week 14.
WR Chris Conley: 238 (42%)
Jacksonville's No. 2 wideout in 2019, Chris Conley has seen his role diminish this season. He played just nine snaps in a 27-24 overtime loss in Week 13, so it would be hard to fathom he will return.
RB Chris Thompson: 159 (20%)
Brought in to be Jacksonville's third-down back, Thompson caught one touchdown pass and made no real impact as a rusher before a back injury put him on injured reserve in November.
RB Dare Ogunbowale: 47 (6%)
Dare Ogunbowale has been forced into a key backup role due to injuries but he is a special teams player who is unlikely to return.
WR Dede Westbrook: 16 (2%)
Dede Westbrook appeared in just two games for the Jaguars this year before suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 7.
The major names on this list are, of course, Robinson and Cole. Westbrook and Conley already look to be on their way out of Jacksonville, while there is no real reason to return Thompson. Shatley and Ellefson are two solid depth pieces that the Jaguars could return, but either way they have their starting left tackle and No. 2 wide receiver set to become free agents. Those are two big decisions the Jaguars will have to make in the coming months.
Defensively, though, the Jaguars don't really have any decisions that come close to the magnitude of the Robinson/Cole decisions in terms of financial impact.
As Korte would go on to show, the Jaguars have the fifth-fewest percentage of defensive snaps set to enter unrestricted free agency. Tre Herndon, who is set to be a restricted free agent, not counting against the figure does a lot of the lifting. But this also shows just how little the Jaguars are to lose on defense via expiring deals.
Just as we did with the offense, here is a breakdown of Jacksonville's unrestricted defensive free agents.
Defense (snaps in 2020)
SS Josh Jones: 590 (69%)
Has started nine games in his first year with the Jaguars, but has been outplayed at strong safety by fifth-round rookie Daniel Thomas.
DL Dawuane Smoot: 463 (55%)
Probably Jacksonville's best defensive lineman this year, Dawuane Smoot lead the team in sacks and tackles for loss. He hasn't ever really been an every-down player or a starter week in and week out, but he has terrific value against the run and the pass as a player who rotates in frequently.
DL Adam Gotsis: 416 (49%)
In his first year with the Jaguars, Adam Gotsis has made his presence known. He is well-liked by the coaching staff due to his maturity and ability to stop the run, and whether or not he stays likely depends on scheme fit.
CB Sidney Jones: 265 (31%)
Jacksonville's best cornerback this season, Sidney Jones could likely be had for cheap considering his injury issues have followed him to Jacksonville. But when healthy, Jones has been a breath of fresh air on Jacksonville's perimeter, leading them in interceptions and pass breakups despite playing significantly less than others on the team.
CB D.J. Hayden: 234 (28%)
D.J. Hayden was one of the team's best defenders for his first two years in Jacksonville, but the wheels came off in 2020. He played in just five games due to injuries, but he wasn't playing well when healthy this year, too often looking a step too slow.
NT Abry Jones: 159 (19%)
Jacksonville's elder on the defensive line is in the final year of his deal after spending eight years with the Jaguars. He still just 29-years-old so he has some left in the tank, but the Jaguars have two impressive young nose tackles in DaVon Hamilton and Daniel Ekuale who have stepped up in Abry Jones' role while he has missed most of the 2020 season.
LB Kamalei Correa: 158 (19%)
The Jaguars swapped late Day 3 picks with the Titans to acquire Kamalei Correa, but he has made no impact on the defense as its strong side linebacker since.
DE Aaron Lynch: 96 (11%)
Aaron Lynch has been mostly a rotational edge rusher in his four games with the team, but he has created six pressures and a sack in limited snaps. He is an interesting name to watch.
Smoot, Sidney Jones, and Abry Jones all present serious decisions for the Jaguars, but none of the three looks to be on the verge of pulling in the kind of money that Robinson and Cole are on offense.
But while the Jaguars have two major contributors on offense set to be free agents, the biggest defenders set to hit the market are the team's No. 2 corner on the depth chart, an aging nose tackle, and a rotational defensive lineman. All things considered, there isn't much to lose defensively.