The Jacksonville Jaguars are entering a crucial offseason this spring. Not only are they making the No. 1 overall pick for the second time in two years, but they’re also looking to completely retool their roster around new head coach Doug Pederson. The former Philadelphia Eagles HC is used to competing every year. He’s presumably expecting Jaguars’ ownership to cough up some money this offseason.
The excellent news for Pederson is that the Jaguars have over $56 million in cap space. They have plenty of money to spend on key free agents, and former Eagles and Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz should be at the top of their wish list.
Zach Ertz is an underrated receiving weapon in free agency
Jacksonville needs pass catchers moving forward. There’s no debating that. Most of quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s issues in his rookie season stemmed around wide receivers dropping passes or failing to get open.
With this in mind, most analysts and experts frequently link the Jaguars to some of the top free-agent wide receivers. Davante Adams, Chris Godwin, and Michael Gallup have all been mentioned as likely Jacksonville targets. However, another name that shouldn’t be forgotten is Zach Ertz.
Ertz is a tight end. However, the pass-catching value he adds to an NFL offense is immense. He was the Eagles’ best receiver for three straight seasons from 2017 to 2019, and immediately transformed the Cardinals’ offense upon joining them halfway through the 2021 season.
Ertz has 635 career receptions for 6,841 yards and 41 touchdowns. This is a player who knows how to get open and catch the ball consistently.
Trevor Lawrence needs a safety blanket in the Jaguars offense
Acquiring a flashy WR who can burn defenders on the outside is essential. However, what Lawrence and the Jaguars really need is a safety blanket.
Too often in 2021, Lawrence found himself in a collapsing pocket with no one to throw the football to. This is where Ertz becomes immensely valuable.
Ertz was Carson Wentz’s safety blanket for the first four years of his career. Whether it was a crucial fourth-down or in the red zone, Wentz (or Nick Foles) could always rely on Ertz to get open and make the reception. After all, Ertz is the guy who caught the game-winning TD in Super Bowl 52.
The Jaguars would be wise to give Doug Pederson a familiar face
Pederson needs Jacksonville to give him some talent this offseason. However, he also needs Jacksonville to provide him with some familiar faces. Pederson was hired to fix the team’s culture just as much as he was hired to fix the X’s and O’s.
That’s where Ertz serves two purposes. Not only is he the perfect veteran TE to pair alongside a developing Trevor Lawrence, but he’s also a calming presence who’s been around winning locker rooms for most of his NFL career. Ertz will play a massive role in coaching up some of the team’s younger players who’ve yet to reach his level.
No matter how you slice it, this is a move the Jaguars need to make happen.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.