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USA Today Sports Media Group
Adam Stites

22 Jaguars players set to become free agents in March, ranked

The Jacksonville Jaguars spent much of the 2023 offseason retaining their own free agents.

While Jawaan Taylor, Arden Key, Marvin Jones Jr, and Chris Manhertz were among those who left the team, the Jaguars made sure to keep several players, including Andrew Wingard, Dawuane Smoot, Adam Gotsis, and Tre Herndon.

After a disappointing 2023 season, there aren’t as many tough calls to make regarding the more than 20 players set to become free agents in 2024.

Free agency will begin on March 13, but the first decision for the Jaguars will come about a week before that when the franchise tag deadline hits on March 5.

With about two months to sort out their plans, here are the 22 players the Jaguars currently have set to leave the team as free agents:

OLB Josh Allen

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union

A career year for Allen with 17.5 sacks made him one of the top players in the NFL set to reach free agency, but it’d be a surprise if the Jaguars allowed it to happen. Working out an extension could be tough, so the franchise tag will likely be used to keep the pass rusher.

WR Calvin Ridley

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The addition of Ridley wasn’t quite as dynamic as many expected. Still, the receiver finished the regular season with a team-leading 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns. The 29-year-old is finally through with his rookie contract, and the Jaguars may want to allow him more time to thrive with Trevor Lawrence.

The framework of the trade to acquire him makes the situation a little tricky, though. If the Jaguars sign Ridley to an extension prior to the start of the free agency, they’ll send a second-round pick to the Falcons. Any other scenario would mean a third-rounder goes to Atlanta.

G Ezra Cleveland

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars didn’t have a starting role available for Cleveland when they acquired him in a midseason trade from the Vikings, but a spot opened quickly when Cam Robinson and Walker Little both started struggling with injuries late in the year. Cleveland looked like an adequate starting guard, at times, and a liability at others.

K Brandon McManus

Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

McManus was reliable all season save for one brutal stretch late in the year when he missed five of six field goal tries. He finished 30-for-37 on the year on field goals. All seven of his misses were from 48 yards or longer and he was 35-for-35 on extra points.

CB Gregory Junior (ERFA)

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

In his second NFL season, Junior made significant strides and became a consistent contributor on defense. As an exclusive rights free agent, it’d be very cheap for the Jaguars to retain Junior for 2024.

CB Tre Herndon

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union

The veteran cornerback is one of the longest tenured Jaguars, but only recently found a home in the slot. Herndon was a reliable player in 2023 and proved to be a dynamic blitzer, but the team also has two rising young defensive backs in Gregory Junior and Antonio Johnson who took snaps from Herndon late in the season.

WR Jamal Agnew

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union

Injuries cost Agnew a lot of time in 2023, but he was a playmaker during his time on the field. A 48-yard punt return in Week 1 rescued the Jaguars, then as a receiver he had two of the longest plays of the season for the offense. His departure has felt inevitable, but Agnew went out swinging.

S Daniel Thomas

Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas had a viral moment this season when his stellar effort as a punt gunner was caught by Monday Night Football cameras. He may not bring much value as a defensive back, but the Jaguars may want to keep Thomas for his punt and kickoff coverage skills.

OL Tyler Shatley

AP Photo/Gary McCullough

Every year, it seems the Jaguars find a player to replace Shatley in the starting lineup but injuries throw him right back into the fold. He started another six games with the Jaguars in 2023 and is now the franchise record holder for consecutive games played.

LB Caleb Johnson (RFA)

Bob Self/Florida Times-Union

Johnson isn’t a well known name, but he’s a core special teamer and earns rave reviews from coaches and teammates.

DL Jeremiah Ledbetter (ERFA)

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union

A fantastic preseason earned Ledbetter a spot on the active roster, but he didn’t make much of an impact in the regular season. Still, he averaged more than 21 snaps per game and filled in with DaVon Hamilton missing for much of the year.

Tim Jones (ERFA)

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union

Jones made a couple plays on special teams, but he was almost a non-factor on offense. Despite being on the field for 339 offensive snaps, Jones had 89 receiving yards. Still, it’d be cheap to keep Jones for his special teams value.

EDGE K'Lavon Chaisson

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The good news is that Chaisson put together a career-best year in 2023. The bad news is that it just two sacks. While Chaisson also provides special teams value, the Jaguars waited as long as they could for the former first-round pick to develop into a serviceable pass rusher.

EDGE Dawuane Smoot

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union

Smoot’s return from an Achilles injury was pretty underwhelming. The veteran outside linebacker recorded a sack and a forced fumble in his second game back, but finished his year with just that one sack and four total quarterback hits.

RB D'Ernest Johnson

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union

At times, Johnson provided a boost for the Jaguars offense. But as Tank Bigsby finished the season strong, Johnson vanished into the background. He finished the year with 108 rushing yards and 140 receiving yards, but had only one yard on five touches in the last three weeks.

LB Shaq Quarterman

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Quarterman became a consistent special teams contributor, but never developed into the defensive player the Jaguars probably hoped for when they picked him in the fourth round in 2020. The team may have drafted his replacement in Ventrell Miller in 2023.

OT Blake Hance (RFA)

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union

Injuries forced Hance into the lineup for a stretch and it went pretty poorly. In his defense, it included a lot of snaps against the Browns’ Myles Garrett.

DT Angelo Blackson

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union

The Jaguars added Blackson at the end of August and he didn’t do a whole lot except recover fumbles. The veteran lineman fell on top of three fumbles, but ended the year as a healthy scratch in the Jaguars’ last four games.

Cole Van Lanen (RFA)

Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Jaguars acquired Van Lanen in a 2022 trade, but he’s played only 71 offensive snaps in two seasons with the team.

WR Jaylon Moore (ERFA)

Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

The former Ravens and Giants receiver spent the 2022 season on the Jaguars’ practice squad and all of 2023 on injured reserve. After four NFL seasons, Moore has yet to play a regular season game.

QB Matt Barkley

Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

A series of injuries for Trevor Lawrence forced the Jaguars to hunt for veteran help at quarterback. There’s not much reason for Jacksonville to bring the 33-year-old passer back in 2024.

CB Chris Claybrooks

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

With his court case ongoing, Claybrooks spent the entire 2023 season on the commissioner’s exempt list. It’s possible his contract will toll over and he doesn’t become a free agent at all. But if he is, it’d be a tough sell for the Jaguars to bring the special teamer back considering his domestic violence arrests.

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