At the Jaguars’ “Evening with the Coaches” event on Wednesday, coach Del Rio and his assistant coaches addressed fans. Del Rio let it slip that to the Florida Times Union owner Wayne Weaver is opening the vault in free agency, despite a history of free agent busts.
“Wayne made very clear he is going to be a player going into the free-agent market,” he said.
But they are not deterring away from the Gene Smith mentality of building through the draft with the Best Available Player theory.
“We also believe until we have established ourselves, we’re going have to use free agency to fill some holes,” he added.
There are a number of holes to be filled, including safety, defensive end and linebacker. Whenever free agency happens, expect the Jaguars to make a big splash.
If the lockout had not happened, mini-camps would be starting next month. And with the league and NFLPA* in secret talks over the last few weeks, the prospect of a deal getting done soon is looking better each day.
If a deal is struck, free agency would begin and there would be a rush to sign top level players to contracts. But that is one big IF.
Some names to look out for: Kirk Morrison, Stephen Nicholas (whom I have a good source on saying the Jaguars wanted to draft in 2007, but Atlanta picked him 4 picks prior) Osi Umenyiora, Paul Posluszny.
Wayne Weaver shows commitment to the city of Jacksonville
On June 14, Mr. Weaver spoke to the TU and reiterated that he has “no interest” in moving the team to Los Angeles. Coming a week after a Los Angeles official the Jaguars as one of the handful of teams they have contacted about interest in moving the team to California.
Jacksonville is constantly mentioned with teams who could make the move out west, mainly because of the small market and ticket sales problems.
Fortunately, the Jaguars avoided all TV blackouts last season largely in part to the Team Teal imitative. Tony Boselli mentioned a few weeks ago that sales are not on par with last season, but how could they be with nearly 100 days of a lockout?
When the lockout has been lifted, expect ticket sales to soar. Especially if the Jaguars make a splash in free agency.