JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars signed a franchise quarterback this week.
On Saturday, they signed a wide receiver who believes strongly in that quarterback – and who has close ties with him as well.
Chris Conley, a wide receiver previously with the Kansas City Chiefs, signed with the Jaguars early Saturday morning as an unrestricted free agent. Conley and new Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles spent 2016 as teammates when Foles was the backup in Kansas City.
“Nick Foles has been a friend of mine for a long time,” Conley said Saturday. “Three years ago, I said, ‘Hey, you’re going to be a starting quarterback someday. When you are, let’s make it happen. Let’s make this run.’
“There was opportunity here to begin with, but the addition of him at quarterback … that sealed the deal for me.”
Foles signed with the Jaguars early Thursday morning. Conley said Foles contacted him immediately thereafter about Conley signing with the Jaguars.
“He gave me a call and was like, ‘Hey, can we make this happen?’ ” Conley said. “I was like, ‘Let’s figure it out.’’’
Conley upon signing Saturday said Foles was “blowing my phone up” with “those little emoji videos, the little creepy ones.”
“There he goes again,” Conley said, looking at his phone. “I think he’s excited about what we can do this year and I am, too. Playing with someone you know is one thing, but seeing the talent that’s down here in Jacksonville – on defense and offense – is huge.”
Conley became the Jaguars’ fourth UFA signing of the 2019 offseason, all on offense. The Jaguars signed tight end Geoff Swaim of the Dallas Cowboys Friday and offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi early Saturday morning, with Foles already having signed.
Conley (6-feet-3, 205 pounds), a third-round selection by the Chiefs in the 2015 NFL Draft, started 34 of 53 career games in his first four seasons. He has caught 104 passes for 1,238 yards and six touchdowns, with his best season coming this past season when he played 16 games for a third time his career with 32 receptions for 334 yards and a career-high high five touchdowns.
Conley missed 11 games in 2017 with a torn Achilles.
“I had an injury, and my situation kind of just changed my situation on the team,” Conley said. “Coming back, it was more a contributing-where-you-can kind of role. You learn lessons in that, too. Down here, it’s a little bit different. I want to contribute in different ways.”
Conley said he brings to Jacksonville “the ability to strike and score from anywhere on the field” and “consistency.”
“Offenses have to be able to drive the ball down the field,” Conley said. “Sometimes, it’s not big plays. Sometimes, it’s extending drives. We want to bring that here.”
Conley caught a career-high seven passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams this past season. He played collegiately at the University of Georgia and holds the NFL Scouting Combine record for vertical leap by a wide receiver at 45 inches.
Conley, a fifth-year veteran, will join a wide receiver group that includes sixth-year veteran Marqise Lee, third-year veterans Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook, second-year veteran DJ Chark Jr. and second-year veteran C.J. Board. Veterans Donte Moncrief and Rashad Greene Sr. became unrestricted free agents Wednesday.
“There’s a lot of young talent here, and I want to come in as a guy who has some experience and help develop that talent – just contribute to bringing Jacksonville a championship,” Conley said.