JACKSONVILLE – Nine Jaguars experts – Rick Ballou, Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Ashlyn Sullivan – examine the coming months and issues facing the team:
Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter
What the Jaguars must do offensively in the offseason: Figure out left tackle. Is Cam Robinson the future, or does he move inside to guard? The Jaguars have several holes but could use one of their first-round draft picks on a left tackle. Jacksonville also must upgrade at tight end and wide receiver.
What the Jaguars must do defensively in the offseason: Signing defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is the first priority. They will have to overpay to keep him. Jacksonville also must decide where Myles Jack is going to play, with most believing he's more productive as an outside linebacker than in the middle. Losing defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and cornerback A.J. Bouye will be costly and the Jags must find help at those positions.
Offseason key: Quarterback remains the Jaguars' biggest question. The development of Gardner Minshew II is a must if the team is to move forward in 2020. The Jaguars also need to provide more weapons for Minshew. They should attempt to trade quarterback Nick Foles, but that will be difficult. The team can't afford to release him and eat $33.8 million in salary-cap space. Finding a way to keep defensive end Calais Campbell also will be difficult under his current contract.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars left tackle
What the Jaguars must do offensively in the offseason: The Jaguars struggled to score and run consistently. They must address tight end and find more playmakers. I would also look for them to try to upgrade the offensive line through the draft with one of the two first-round selections. Tight end has been an issue for a couple years; they must find one in free agency and draft one as well. This will help the run game and red-zone offense.
What the Jaguars must do defensively in the offseason: The defense could not stop the run in 2019; they must rebuild the middle of the defense. Jack should be moved from middle to weak-side, and the offseason focus must be defensive tackle and middle linebacker. They must find two big-bodied individuals in free agency and the draft on the defensive line. They also must get Campbell back at a discounted price; it will be Campbell's decision, but they need to work hard to make it happen because the defense needs his leadership. A secondary concern for the defense is cornerback; I do not see Bouye back and they will need to find a corner opposite Tre Herndon.
Offseason key: The main focus is finding a new offensive coordinator and determining who will start at quarterback. Assuming Minshew has the upper hand in the competition, his continued development will be critical if the Jaguars want to get back to the playoffs in 2020.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
What the Jaguars must do offensively in the offseason: They must find a tight end, but also continue to build what was a very average offensive line. They need to add at least one guy, maybe two, who can bring a physical presence: a right guard, and maybe someone to compete at left tackle. They also must decide on quarterback -- although I believe the decision will be to let Minshew and Foles battle it out in camp. They could use one more weapon out wide receiver, but first and foremost, a tight end and a more physical line.
What the Jaguars must do defensively in the offseason: Primarily, they must get Ngakoue signed. Also, they must get more physical up front. The run defense hurt the cause this past season; they can't get moved off the ball the same way next season. The Jaguars also must find a cornerback and a linebacker who can compete immediately.
Offseason key: Two main things for me – to get more physical on both sides of the line and to figure out quarterback. I like the quarterback room; I believe they can win with either guy with enough around them. But at some point, maybe even during camp, they must pick a starter. Regarding player procurement, the big thing is just getting bigger and more physical. I hope a high percentage of the players they bring in during free agency and the draft are big people.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
What the Jaguars must do offensively in the offseason: The search for a franchise quarterback must continue until there is no doubt you have one, and the position should be considered early in the draft. Minshew has shown encouraging signs, but not enough to warrant an end to the search. More playmakers are always needed – be it tight end, running back or wide receiver. Tight end probably has the highest priority of those positions with the NFL game having such a reliance on matchups that can be won with a dominant player there. Identifying a starting quarterback between Minshew and Foles must be done sooner rather than later.
What the Jaguars must do defensively in the offseason: Determining where cap savings is going to come from is Priority No. 1 on this side of the ball. Dareus, Bouye and Campbell all have significant cap numbers for 2020, and all can be significant savings for a team that will be up against the cap. Saying goodbye to all three is possible, but would open more holes to be filled; engaging in talks to "redo" deals is needed. Finding a way to keep Ngakoue is imperative, but not at all costs.
Offseason key: The Jaguars must improve defensively; after addressing the cap issues, there may be more to address. The Jaguars struggled against the run and must improve the middle of their defense. Both defensive tackle positions and linebacker need upgrading. Cornerback is always a key position, but even more so with the recent departure of cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The Jaguars have extra draft equity from the trade of Ramsey and must choose wisely to improve this football team.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
What the Jaguars must do offensively in the offseason: The Jaguars need to be more dynamic on offense, which means they need weapons. Sure, they could always beef up the offensive line, but I don't see a whole lot of change up front. Maybe consistency will create better play with that unit. I think the Jaguars need another weapon on the outside. They need to sign every tight end available so that position can impact games, and they need to get a change-of-pace back to join running back Leonard Fournette.
What the Jaguars must do defensively in the offseason: This defense has been fast, athletic and filled with playmakers when at its best in recent years. The Jaguars defense going into 2020 is a shell of those defenses and they must find an identity. They have building blocks with Ngakoue (sign him), defensive end Josh Allen and Jack. The Jaguars must ask themselves if those three players would thrive more in a 3-4 scheme; if so, they should make that change. Regardless, defensive line and linebacker help is at the forefront of the offseason. Pending the future of Bouye in Jacksonville, the Jaguars likely need a cornerback, too.
Offseason key: The offseason key is to figure out the Ngakoue situation. The on-field record, grievances against the Jaguars and recent history of losing players such as wide receiver Allen Robinson and Ramsey make the Ngakoue situation important. The young pass rusher is not yet 25 years old and already second in franchise history in sacks. He is the only blockbuster deal the Jags will have to give to a young player in the next couple of years – and if they keep Ngakoue, they can build around him and Allen.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
What the Jaguars must do offensively in the offseason: Upgrade personnel – and determine the starting quarterback. The Jaguars must improve at tight end, add a receiver and add at least one starting-level player on an offensive line that hasn't always played to its potential. Mostly, they must figure out who will be the starting quarterback. The guess here is it will be Minshew, with the team perhaps seeking a trade for Foles.
What the Jaguars must do defensively in the offseason: Upgrade personnel – at every level of the defense. The defense must find a starting cornerback, starting defensive tackle and a starting linebacker – and that may be only the start. Mostly, they must upgrade the interior of the defense. This team can rush the passer, but only if it stops the run first.
Offseason key: Resolve Ngakoue's contract situation. This figures to remain a tricky situation, and the Jaguars likely will have to overpay and come very close to making Ngakoue the highest-paid pass-rusher in the league to reach an agreement.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
What the Jaguars must do offensively in the offseason: Now that General Manager Dave Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone are both set to return, their first order of business should be to declare Minshew the starting quarterback for 2020. Once that's accomplished, the next order of business is finding a way to unload Foles' contract. You can't have a $22 million quarterback sitting on the bench, and the Jaguars should be willing to trade him with a reasonable pick for only a conditional seventh rounder if that's what it takes. There must be clarity at the most important position. It's time for Minshew to focus on what it will take to improve and get ready for next season.
What the Jaguars must do defensively in the offseason: They must get bigger up front and faster in the back end. They struggled against the run this season because once Dareus was lost, they were small. Once Jack went down, they were slow. It won't be easier if Dareus and Campbell depart for salary-cap reasons as is widely expected, and those same cap considerations are going to limit their aggressiveness in free agency. By my count, there are six guys they can count on defensively, which means finding five new starters. That's kind of like climbing Everest without an oxygen tank; it can be done but it takes the right man and a superior effort to do it.
Offseason key: The key to the offseason will be improving the offensive line. They weren't as bad as they seemed this season, but they weren't nearly as good as expected. There wasn't enough room for Fournette in the running game. Minshew too often had to get rid of the ball before his receivers were open. A good tight end is part of this equation; those guys are worth their weight in gold as part of the run scheme. If they expect Minshew to be better, they must get better up front.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com reporter/editor
What the Jaguars must do offensively in the offseason: Figure out the future of the quarterback position. Foles did not work out as planned, but he still feels he has plenty of good football left. Minshew showed grit in his rookie season to do everything in his power to get the team to six victories. Is Foles around? What is Minshew's ceiling? Joshua Dobbs hasn't touched the field for the Jaguars. Figure out the plan – for the 2020 season and beyond.
What the Jaguars must do defensively in the offseason: Bolster the middle of the defense to be able to stop the run: get a big body on the interior of the defensive line, figure out the linebacker positions and see if you like what you have at safety. Too many times last season teams ran right up the middle on this defense. That must stop to find any success.
Offseason key: Caldwell and Marrone are back in 2020, but the day-to-day working order between coaching and scouting to select players to help the scheme must be re-established. There will be some salary-cap casualties to get the Jaguars where they have money to spend, but when they find salary-cap dollars available, they must spend wisely. There are a lot of places where this team could improve, but how many positions can you address in one offseason? What's the balance of winning this coming season and still building for the long-term?
Ashlyn Sullivan, Digital reporter and host
What the Jaguars must do offensively in the offseason: First things first: The Jaguars must decide their quarterback. Regardless of who the guy is, they must find more weapons, especially at tight end. Guard must be addressed on both sides of the line. Mostly, this team must find a reliable threat in the middle of the field, which they did not have this season.
What the Jaguars must do defensively in the offseason: This team MUST figure out how to stop the run next season. The struggling run defense was a major problem we did not expect to be talking about in 2019. The Jaguars must address the lack of production at linebacker and figure out who they are bringing back on the defensive line. We all realized the impact Dareus had on the interior of the defense once he was injured, but his cap hit is too big. What they do with the nose tackle position is something we all should be paying attention to.
Offseason key: All eyes will look at the quarterback this offseason. Do the Jaguars keep both Foles and Minshew, creating a training camp battle? We all know the saying: if you have two quarterbacks you don't have one. Maybe the Jags are the exception to that rule. More importantly, the Jaguars must figure out who they want to be on offense. This is no longer the run-first, pound-the-ball offense we saw in 2017 with Fournette leading the way. This team must find an identity on both sides of the ball in the coming months. There are far too many questions going into this offseason. That's not a good thing.