JACKSONVILLE – The tampering has begun.
With the 2023 NFL League Year beginning Wednesday at 4 p.m., one of the busiest and highest-profile periods of the offseason began Monday at noon.
It's the NFL's "legal tampering" window, during which teams can negotiate with the agents of players projected to become unrestricted free agents in 2023. While teams can negotiate beginning Monday at noon, deals are not made official – and therefore cannot be announced by teams – until Wednesday at 4 p.m.
What to expect from the Jaguars in the coming days?
General Manager Trent Baalke during the recent 2023 Scouting Combine said it will be a different free agency than recent offseasons for the Jaguars. Whereas the team was aggressive in free agency in 2021 and 2022, Baalke said this offseason is more about retaining their own free agents and focusing on the draft.
"The last two years, we've delved heavily into free agency, and we're at the point now where it's draft and develop," Baalke said. "We've got a nice core, a nice core of young players. I feel really good about that group, with a good mix of veteran guys with a lot of experience. The whole thing for us now is about the locker room, making sure we keep the locker room where we've got it."
The Jaguars enter the week with 10 players projected to become unrestricted free agents:
- Right Tackle Jawaan Taylor
- Outside Linebacker Arden Key
- Defensive Lineman Dawuane Smoot
- Wide Receiver Marvin Jones
- Tight End Chris Manhertz
- Tight End Dan Arnold
- Safety Andrew Wingard
- Cornerback Tre Herndon
- Defensive Lineman Corey Peters
- Defensive Lineman Adam Gotsis
The Jaguars placed the franchise tag on tight end Evan Engram, last Monday, preventing him from becoming an unrestricted free agent. If Engram signs the tag, he will play for the Jaguars on a one-year deal – or he and the team can agree to a long-term extension before July 15.
The team also last week released veteran cornerback Shaquill Griffin, making him a free agent who can sign with any other team.
Taylor, a second-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, has started every game each of the last four seasons. Key, who joined the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent last offseason, had 4.5 sacks in 2022. Smoot, a third-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2017 NFL Draft, registered five sacks last season before sustaining a torn Achilles in a Week 16 victory over the New York Jets.
Jones, who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in the 2021 offseason, has caught 119 passes for 1,361 yards and seven touchdowns in two seasons with the team.
Arnold played 17 games in 2022 with nine receptions for 135 yards in 2022. Wingard played 17 games, starting three, with an interception and 19 tackles on defense – and 14 special teams tackles. Manhertz played 17 games, starting 11, with six receptions for 42 yards.
Herndon played 15 games, starting one, with 27 tackles and five passes defensed. Gotsis played 15 games, starting one, with 17 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Peters played 12 games, starting three, with 11 tackles.
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