JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Free agency feels a lot like recruiting to new Jaguars coach Urban Meyer. Watching film. Wooing players. Finding the right fits.
Given Meyer’s penchant for landing five-star prospects at Florida and Ohio State, Jacksonville could be a popular landing spot for some of the NFL’s top free agents next week. It certainly should help that the Jaguars have more salary cap space (nearly $73 million) than any other team.
Having the ability to spend big and rebuild quickly were among the top reasons Meyer chose to leave the TV studio and return to the sideline after a two-year coaching hiatus. It's presented a welcome and daunting challenge for the three-time collegiate national champion.
“I’m waking up in the middle of the night staring at the ceiling trying to put this thing together,” Meyer said. “Just looking through the history of the NFL, how many chances do you get to build a roster like we are?
“You can’t screw it up, man. You’ve got to get the right people.”
Meyer has made it clear that Jacksonville’s restoration project starts at quarterback, a spot he will fill with the No. 1 draft pick next month. Clemson star Trevor Lawrence is the presumptive choice, and the Jaguars will use free agency to build around him.
Tight end and receiver are Meyer’s top priorities on offense. He plans to completely revamp the tight end room, which has been among the worst in the league in recent years.
Jacksonville whiffed in free agency on Tyler Eifert (2020), Geoff Swaim (2019), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (2018) and Julius Thomas (2015) and was equally ineffective in the draft by missing on 2019 third-round pick Josh Oliver, who has missed 28 games in two seasons.