The Jacksonville Jaguars are getting a Pro Bowl guard and an excellent rookie receiver. Brandon Scherff, who is going to the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency, joins Kirk on a team that already has signed two other receivers for 2020: Dede Westbrook and DJ Chark.
The “nfl free agency” is a time where NFL teams can sign players to contracts, without having to use their allotted draft picks. The Jacksonville Jaguars will be adding Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff and WR Christian Kirk in free agency.
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – The Jacksonville Jaguars wasted no time in making an impression during the free-agent signing season.
Sources tell ESPN that the club reached agreements with five-time Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff, wide receiver Christian Kirk, linebacker Foye Oluokun, and defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi all inside the first three hours of the permissible tampering period starting at noon ET Monday.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Kirk has agreed to a four-year agreement for up to $84 million.
According to Schefter and ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Jaguars struck an agreement with New York Giants tight end Evan Engram, who wants to sign a one-year, fully guaranteed $9 million contract that may increase to $10 million.
None of the agreements may be signed until Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. In one day, general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Doug Pederson addressed two of their major flaws — receiver and offensive line — and bolstered the defense by bringing in the league’s top tackler for 2021. (Oluokun).
Because free agent Andrew Norwell will not be re-signed, the Jaguars have an opening at left guard. Scherff could take over at right guard, or the Jaguars could shift third-year player Ben Bartch to left guard and Scherff to right guard. In 2021, as an injury substitute for A.J. Cann, Bartch started 11 games.
During his seven seasons in Washington, Scherff, the fifth overall choice in the 2015 draft, developed into one of the top guards in the NFL. He’s good in both the run and pass games, and he’s still one of the finest open-field blocking interior guys.
Scherff, 30, has reached the Pro Bowl in five of the last six seasons despite injuries. In 2020, he was an All-Pro.
Kirk, who turned 25 in November, rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first season of playing every game.
Last season, he set career highs in receiving yards (982), catches (77), and targets (103) for the Arizona Cardinals. Behind DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green, he also recorded five touchdowns as Arizona’s third receiver. Kirk’s success stemmed from his ability to stay healthy for a whole season and coach Kliff Kingsbury’s decision to shift him to the slot, his natural position, full time for the first time in his NFL career.
Oluokun led the NFL in tackles in 2021 with 192 for the Atlanta Falcons, 102 solo and 90 assisted. The youngster, who was drafted in the sixth round of the 2018 draft, had a breakthrough season.
Last season, Fatukasi, 27, started 15 games for the New York Jets and had 46 tackles.
A change of scenery should help Engram, whose career with the Giants started off well before fizzling out. Late in his time in New York, the persistent boos from Giants supporters started to get to Engram. This previous season, he only had 46 catches for 408 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games, tied for the team lead with five drops, and saw his targets decrease from 109 to 73.
Scherff hasn’t played a complete season since 2016, and he’s missed a total of 22 games in the last four years. This season, he missed six games, two due to COVID-19 and four due to an injured left knee.
Scherff has been on the franchise tag for the last two seasons, with Washington paying him $18 million last season. The label made it impossible for the two parties to reach an agreement on a long-term contract.
Kirk’s durability had been a problem during his first three seasons, but his ability to remain healthy looked to improve last season.
Kirk is also capable of returning punts and kicks. With the Cardinals’ signing of young receiver Rondale Moore, Kirk wasn’t required to do much of either last season, but he had at least 20 punt returns in 2018 and 2020.
Oluokun, a Yale graduate, appeared in 64 games for Atlanta, starting 41 of them. He had five interceptions for 145 yards and 11 pass defenses. He also forced seven fumbles, four of which were in 2020, and recovered one.
Oluokun, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 215 pounds, took on even more responsibilities as the middle linebacker in coordinator Dean Pees’ scheme past season, playing 98 percent of the defensive plays.
Engram, 27, was selected in the first round (number 23 overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft and had a promising rookie season. That year, the Ole Miss graduate appeared in 15 games (11 starts), catching 64 passes for 722 yards and six touchdowns. Since Jeremy Shockey in 2006, it was the most productive season for a Giants rookie tight end. Engram became the first rookie tight end to lead the club in receptions, and he came close to matching Shockey’s franchise record of 65 catches and 894 yards by a rookie tight end.
Things began to go apart for Engram in the 2020 season, when he was named to the Pro Bowl but led all tight ends with eight drops and became a source of discontent for a big percentage of the Giants’ fan base. He has 63 catches for 654 yards and two total touchdowns on the season.
This story was co-written by ESPN’s John Keim, Josh Weinfuss, Michael Rothstein, and Jordan Raanan.
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