Will the Jaguars Re-Sign Evan Engram in 2023? Jacksonville’s Options at TE in 2023

After spending one season in Jacksonville, will the Jaguars re-sign Evan Engram to a contract, or will his 2023 market value be too high?

After five productive seasons in New York, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed Evan Engram to a one-year deal last summer. But did Engram, 28, do enough for the Jaguars to re-sign him this offseason, or will they let him test his 2023 market value?

Evan Engram’s Career Production

Engram’s career has endured more highs and lows than an elevator since the Giants drafted him 23rd overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. The former Ole Miss TE nearly hit 1,000 yards with eight touchdowns in his final collegiate season, but his NFL Combine performance pushed him into the first round.

There just aren’t many tight ends in the NFL, even today, that can put up the athletic testing numbers Engram did: 4.42 40-yard dash, 6.92 three-cone, 4.23 20-yard shuttle, 36″ vertical, and 125″ broad.

But Engram’s glaring areas for improvement during the scouting process — run blocking, strength at the catch point, and dropped passes — have reared their ugly heads during his career. He owns a 35% contested-catch rate and a 9.2% drop rate (11 drops as a rookie), and he has been little more than a body in the run game.

MORE: Will the Dolphins Re-Sign Mike Gesicki? Why Gesicki’s Contract Won’t Work for Miami

Yet, while many Giants fans weren’t necessarily upset the team let him walk in free agency, Engram was productive in his time in the Meadowlands. Despite mediocre play-calling and less-than-stellar QB play, he amassed 262 catches for 2,828 yards and 16 touchdowns across five seasons.

And in his first year with Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville, Engram has enjoyed a resurgence — one he expected in Doug Pederson’s system. He has hit career highs in catch rate (71.6%) and snap rate out wide (25.3%) and has remained a yards-after-catch threat (5.7).

Evan Engram’s Current Contract

Following consistency issues in New York, Engram bet on himself and signed a one-year, $9 million contract ($8.25 million guaranteed) with the Jaguars last offseason. By all accounts, the move has paid off, as the former Pro Bowler could receive a lucrative long-term deal as an unrestricted free agent in 2023.

Engram’s 2023 Market Value

According to Spotrac, Engram’s 2023 market value is worthy of a two-year, $15 million contract ($7.5 million per year). But it wouldn’t be surprising if he received a pact with a higher annual average value. Engram isn’t your typical tight end — especially in Pederson’s system, he has continued to blur the line between tight end and wide receiver.

Similarly-utilized TEs such as Dawson Knox (four years, $52 million) and Darren Waller (three years, $51 million) agreed to contracts worth $13 million and $17 million, respectively, in AAV.

MORE: Who Are the Highest-Paid Tight Ends in the NFL in 2022?

While each player seemingly holds greater public appeal and career ceilings, this is a “what have you done for me lately?” league, and Engram has outproduced both this season.

With the Miami Dolphins’ Mike Gesicki and the Dallas Cowboys’ Dalton Schultz also hitting free agency in 2023, the trio will likely set the Tier 2/3 TE market. And although Engram bet on a prove-it year in 2022, he will likely want more long-term security with his next contract.

Fit on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Depth Chart

Last week, Engram told ESPN’s Michael DiRocco, “I would like to be back. I’ve grown a lot in this year, on and off the field, and give credit to God for that, for putting the right people in my life, putting me in the right situations, the right place. It’s been a blast.”

Obviously, he would love to plant his roots in Duval, and I’m sure Lawrence would appreciate his safety blanket back in 2023 and beyond. But can the Jaguars afford it?

With back-to-back free agency splurges (ranked top three in spending), Jacksonville is currently projected to be $17 million in the red next season. Even if they free up some space with restructures and cuts, 25-year-old right tackle Jawaan Taylor, WR Marvin Jones Jr., and EDGE Dawuane Smoot are all up for new deals.

Of course, the Jags could go the route of giving Engram a significant signing bonus and spreading it across the duration of the extension — a move GM Trent Baalke is no stranger to.

Fellow TEs Dan Arnold and Chris Manhertz are also on expiring contracts. And with eight picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, it’s more probable Jacksonville addresses the position on Day 3 to refill depth rather than target a new TE1 in Rounds 1-3.

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