The Jacksonville Jaguars took another step toward clearing cap space on Tuesday when it announced that guard Uche Nwaneri had been cut form the team, clearing $3.7 million in salary that could be added to the already $60 million I cap space the team is reported to have waiting for next week.
Whether the Jaguars plan to use all of that money and jump in the deep end with the other franchises remains to be seen.
The move may also have topped general manager David Caldwell’s hat as to where he plans to lean once the free agency period officially begins. While no players can be signed until a week from today, agents can negotiate with player agents beginning on March 8th. What that means is this weekend will prove to be a very busy time for franchises and player moment.
According to ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco, “Center and guard will sit atop general manager David Caldwell’s list when the signing period begins. Nwaneri’s release and Brad Meester’s retirement mean the Jaguars have to find a new starter at each spot, and Caldwell would like to add at least another guard to make a significant upgrade to the interior of the line.”
Nwaneri was drafted in the fifth round of the 2007 draft, and he played in 104 games with 92 starts. He started and played every snap in 2013.
The Jaguars must now decide which players to take a run at. The Jaguars may take a stab at Cleveland center Alex Mack, but the Browns placed the transition tag on him earlier this week. The Jaguars could still offer him a contract, but the Browns have five days to match the offer.
The Jaguars may also still have hoe that offensive linemen Mike Brewster could fit in at center or guard, but he is still recovering from a broken ankle and is going through rehabilitation.
In other news…
The Jaguars still have not made an offer to quarterback Chad Henne, or it is not officially known if an offer has been made.
The Jaguars want to try and work a deal out with their “starter” from last season when he throw for over 3,400 yards on the season. Henne’s knowledge of the offense, and the fact only a few teams may look to secure his services makes his return to Jacksonville probable. Caldwell stated publically signing Henne was one of the team’s most important tasks in the offseason.
The Jaguars have also made it known that they will look to draft a quarterback at some point in May’s NFL Draft. Maybe even more than one, if team owner Shad Khan has his way.
If Henne enters free agency, teams like Minnesota, Oakland, and Cleveland may be interested in his services.