New Faces: QB Nick Foles, LB Jake Ryan, DE Josh Allen, OT Jawaan Taylor, WR Chris Conley, WR Terrelle Pryor, TE Geoff Swaim, TE Josh Oliver
They are absent: DT Malik Jackson, S Tashaun Gipson, LB Telvin Smith (at least for 2019), OT Jermey Parnell, WR Donte Moncrief, QB Blake Bortles, RB Carlos Hyde, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, G Chris Reed
Snapshot 2019: The Bortles era is finally over, and Foles will certainly offer an upgrade, but that doesn’t make his addition a slam dunk.
The price ($22 million annually, up to $25 million annually with incentives) was strangely high, considering there was no other obvious applicant. There is also not much evidence that Foles is a quality starter outside of Philadelphia, where his career score is 74.2 compared to 93.2 for the Eagles. Working with former Eagles QB trainer John DeFilippo could help, but the duo seems like a strange addition to Jacksonville’s run-of-the-mill identity.
If Foles is no more than an average starter, the Jaguars’ defense will have to return close to their 2016 form, but the group still has many holes. Jackson (released), Gipson (released) and Smith – who have announced that he will not play 2019 for personal reasons – were all key pieces of the dominant group from two years ago, and none has a proven replacement on the list. Ryan helps some, but is not nearly as fast as Smith.
On the plus side, the Jags had a great draft, benefited from Allen’s slide to 7th place overall, and then shoveled Taylor – seen by some as a top 10 perspective – into Round 2. Oliver needs fine-tuning, but has the talent to succeed as a receiver, and he could see a lot of work in a thin spot.
Was the investment worth it?
-Are the Jaguars closer to themselves in 2017 (10-6) than the group that was 5-11 last year? Vegas intelligently has the 2019 over/under smack dab in the area at 7.5.
-Even if you believe in Foles, it’s ambitious to kind him as a Long-Shot MVP at +6600. If you’re hoping to catch flashes in a bottle, you can have Kyler Murray for the same chances or Sam Darnold for better (+7500).
Bottom line: Foles is an upgrade, but he’s far from a savior. Likewise, the Jags should be better, but the difference might be marginal.