While many (including this beat writer) expected the Jacksonville Jaguars to hand out a large contract to at least one skill player during free agency, the Jaguars elected to instead attack the offense with value signings.
The most significant of those value additions? Far and away the team's two-year deal with veteran receiver Marvin Jones, the definition of value. Jones, 31, was among the more underrated receivers available this March but the Jaguars landed him with just a $14.5 million deal with $9.2 million in guarantees.
Adding Jones for that kind of value isn't just a move the Jaguars were ecstatic about, either. Meyer remarked on Friday that signing Jones has especially stood out among the team's insertion of 12 new players when it comes to what he hears from others in the sport.
"Of all the guys we signed, there were two—he’s one that my phone has blown up over the last few days from colleagues and friends that I’ve known that tell me about what kind of—not only player—but leader," Meyer said Friday.
For all of the talent the Jaguars have at the receiver position, and they have a good bit, they were badly missing experience entering March. For context, none of the team's primary four receivers on the roster before March (DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault, Collin Johnson, Terry Godwin) are even 25-years-old yet.
Add in the fact that Jacksonville's two oldest and most experienced receivers from last year, Keelan Cole and Chris Conley, left the team in free agency, and adding a player like Jones was a key move for the Jaguars.
Combine all of this with Meyer's and the Jaguars' strategy to not target a big-money receiver target like Kenny Golladay, along with Jones' two years of experience playing for offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, and it is clear why the Jaguars and Meyer are over the moon with the addition of Jones.
"I hired an excellent receiver coach in Sanjay Lal. That position is going to be a huge part of our offense and we felt—we didn’t make a run or at least look at that whole, because there’s a lot of good players out there—but once again, you start looking at the value which is a term that I’ve learned to really appreciate, value, the value player. And I think Marvin [Jones] is at an extremely high value for how we came across that," Meyer said.
In the last two seasons alone, only five players have caught more touchdowns than Jones, who recorded 138 catches on 206 targets for 1,757 yards (12.7 yards per catch) and 18 scores in two seasons in Bevell's offense. By comparison, DJ Chark is the only Jaguars receiver with double-digit touchdowns in the last two seasons with 13.
Jones isn't the splash addition many thought the Jaguars would make, but he is a safe and reliable veteran who is still one of the best contested-catch receivers in the NFL. When factoring in the minimal deal the Jaguars signed him too, as well as the team's massive need for experience in the receiver room, and it doesn't take a lot of guesses as to why Meyer's phone hasn't stopped buzzing about Jones.
"So, he’s got to be a leader in that room and Sanjay feels very strongly that he can do that. [He’s a] heck of a player, too. I mean, on video tape, I really love watching that guy play," Meyer said.