The Jaguars signed center Jeff Smith yesterday to a one-year contract worth $700,000, of which $200,000 is signing bonus. Smith's $700,000 salary cap hit this season leaves the Jaguars with $900,000 of salary cap room heading into this weekend's NFL draft. The Jaguars, who are scheduled for nine picks this weekend, are expected to need an additional $3 million to sign their draft class.
Cap figures are such that the Jaguars will have to either sign linebacker Kevin Hardy to a new deal, cut at least one player after June 1, or both, to find the cap room they'll need to sign their draft class.
Smith came to the Jaguars last summer off waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs. He established himself in the second half of last season, after starter John Wade was lost for the season to a foot injury, as a player the Jaguars wanted to retain, though Smith entered unrestricted free agency as the Jaguars were dealing with the most massive salary cap problems in NFL history.
Signing Smith solidifies three of five positions on the Jaguars offensive line. Tony Boselli at left tackle and Brad Meester at left guard are the other fixtures. Right tackle/right guard Zach Wiegert is recovering from knee surgery at midseason last year. Coach Tom Coughlin yesterday said that Wiegert is currently on the depth chart at right tackle, which might indicate the Jaguars are leaning toward drafting Michigan guard Steve Hutchinson in the first round Saturday.
Vic Ketchman is the Senior Editor of Jaguars Inside Report, the official team newspaper of the Jacksonville Jaguars. One-year subscriptions may be purchased by calling 1-888-846-5247.