There was a ton of action in the NFL offseason and many top free agents cashed in with big-money contracts, especially in the AFC South. These free agent signings can be the difference between winning and losing. They set teams up for the immediate future and can make or break multiple seasons. With that being said, the AFC South was heavily involved with some of the biggest name free agent moves of the offseason and some sneaky major ones. These are the free-agent signings that will have the biggest impact on the AFC South in 2019.
Nick Foles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
For any team in need of a quick fix at QB this past offseason, they were looking at Nick Foles. Foles has quite the resume for a QB that has never been considered “the guy.” He has a Super Bowl ring, a Super Bowl MVP, and a Pro Bowl under his belt.
When he hit free agency this offseason the clear team in the lead for Foles was Jacksonville, and they got him. Is Foles worth the four-year $88 million deal the Jaguars gave him? No, probably not, but he’s a massive upgrade for them at the most important position in football.
The Jaguars made perfect sense as Foles landing spot. They’re a veteran team with a playoff-caliber defense, a top 10 pick at running back, and a rebuilt O-line. In theory, their lackluster offense can finally find an identity with Foles behind center. There’s also the bonus of Foles reuniting with John DeFilippo. DeFilippo, in his first year as the Jaguars offensive coordinator, was the Eagles QB coach when Foles won them the Super Bowl.
Even if Foles is just average this season it’ll help the offense make huge strides. With Blake Bortles running the show they rarely found any consistency moving the ball. Adding Foles alone will help Leonard Fournette and the O-line run the ball with defenses having to defend the pass to some extent. Also, Foles will help in the development of young wide receivers like Dede Westbrook, DJ Chark, and Keelan Cole.
The upgrade at QB is shown pretty clearly in the number. Per PFF Nick Foles ranked sixth in the league among QBs with at least 100 attempts in adjusted completion percentage at 78.3% while Blake Bortles ranked 24th at 74.5%. The accuracy difference will be the biggest factor in the Jaguars offense being more productive. Sustained offensive drives are on their way to Jacksonville.
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