JACKSONVILLE – Tight end mattered to the Jaguars entering the offseason. A lot.
"That was a high priority," Head Coach Urban Meyer said.
So far, so good.
Meyer during a Friday morning videoconference discussed the Jaguars' personnel moves around this week's opening of the 2021 NFL League Year, and first among those topics was tight end – an area that Meyer had said entering free agency needed to be built this offseason.
The Jaguars on Wednesday announced they had agreed to terms with former Carolina Panthers tight end Chris Manhertz, who Meyer Friday said will play "Y" tight end – a position Meyer called an "on-the-line" player and an extension of the offensive line, a player who must be a very good blocker and functional receiver.
"We all are extremely excited about him," Meyer said of Manhertz, who is considered one of the NFL's top young blocking tight ends and who has 12 receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown in six NFL seasons. "He was exactly what we wanted, and we got him.
"We all feel extremely strong about Manhertz."
Meyer said the team is not done addressing the "F" tight end, having re-signed veteran James O'Shaughnessy at a position Meyer called "the primary pass catcher and a functional blocker." O'Shaughnessy caught 28 passes for 262 yards and no touchdowns this past season, having sustained a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 5 of the previous season. He has 88 career receptions for 864 yards and three touchdowns in six seasons.
"I've gotten to know him, and really enjoy being around him," Meyer said of O'Shaughnessy. "So, we're counting on him, but we have not finalized that piece of the puzzle yet."
The Jaguars' other tight ends are Ben Ellefson and Tyler Davis, both of whom were rookies last season. The team on Wednesday reportedly traded tight end Josh Oliver – a third-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft who missed all but four games in his first two seasons with injuries – to the Baltimore Ravens.
"I didn't know Josh," said Meyer, hired in January as the Jaguars' head coach. "That was our personnel side that made that decision and ran it by me before we did it – and I agreed. I just didn't know a lot about him. I know he has had some injuries since he has been here, and we decided to make that move."
Meyer on Wednesday extensively discussed the acquisition of wide receiver Marvin Jones, a 10-year veteran who played the last five seasons with the Detroit Lions. "My phone has blown up the last few days from colleagues and friends who tell me what kind of not only player, but leader," Meyer said of Jones, who caught a career-high 76 passes for 978 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020. "He's going to have to be a leader in that [wide receiver] room. [Wide receivers coach] Sanjay [Lal] feels very strong that he can do that. Heck of a player, too … on videotape I really love watching that guy play."
Meyer said the team is not currently fielding trade offers for quarterback Gardner Minshew II. "At this point, no," Meyer said. A third-year veteran, Minshew started 20 games for the Jaguars the past two seasons – including eight this past season. Reports this week were that teams had contacted the Jaguars about trading for Minshew. "I know Gardner a little bit," Meyer said. "He came in yesterday. We had a good visit. That's the second time I've spent time with him. This is all kind of new to me. I'm used to spending about five, six hours a day with our quarterback. January and February are the days that get your quarterback ready to go and you can't do that in the NFL. There is a lot of anticipation about the first pick [in the 2021 NFL Draft] and I understand there's a lot of conversation out there, but there have been no decisions made. Gardner has done some good things here in Jacksonville and he's a competitive maniac, which I really appreciate that about him. [Thursday] was the first lengthy meeting we've had, and we're going to continue that here for the next few weeks."