JACKSONVILLE – Andre Norwell put it simply.
“I’m a brawler,” he said.
The Jaguars on Thursday officially signed that brawler as their top 2018 unrestricted free agent, in the process making a dramatic move to get stronger – and more dominant – in a critical area on offense.
Norwell, a first-team Associated Press All-Pro left guard for the Carolina Panthers this past season, on Thursday morning signed a contract with the Jaguars. Norwell became an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday, the first day of the NFL’s 2018 League Year.
Norwell, who agreed to the contract earlier this week, signed with the team officially around 11:30 a.m. at EverBank Field.
Norwell, who originally signed with Carolina as an undrafted free agent following the 2014 NFL Draft, started 54 games for the Panthers over four seasons. He started all 16 games each of the past two regular seasons after starting 13 in 2015 and nine in 2014.
“Just take the brakes off and go – leave it all out there on the field every Sunday,” Norwell said when asked his mindset as an undrafted rookie.
Norwell was considered the top available linemen in the NFL in 2018 free agency, and one of the top available players regardless of position.
“I’m blue collar,” Norwell said. “I’m very blessed and honored to be a Jacksonville Jaguar. It’s a class organization and I couldn’t be happier. I’m ready to go to work.”
Norwell’s signing gives the Jaguars a clearer idea of their offensive line for next season. Cam Robinson started 15 games at left tackle as a rookie, and Brandon Linder started 12 games at center and one at right guard. Jermey Parnell started 13 games at right tackle and A.J. Cann started 15 games at right guard.
Linder last offseason re-signed a long-term extension shortly before the start of training camp, and the team selected Robinson in the second round of the ’17 draft.
The Jaguars led the NFL in rushing last season, but were less effective in the area in the second half of the season. They rushed for 166.5 yards per game in the first eight games of the season and rushed for 116.25 yards per game in the final eight games.
“I’m excited for everything,” Norwell said. “My strong suit is run power,* *zone power – I can do it all. When they said they really want to run the ball, I couldn’t be happier. I’m an old-school-type player. I bring energy and toughness every day to practice. I couldn’t be happier to hear that from the coaches.”
Welcome free agent LG Andrew Norwell to Jacksonville.