Christian Kirk

Jaguars Optimistic On Evan Engram Deal, Want To Retain Jawaan Taylor

As the Jaguars transition from spending wildly in 2022 to a 2023 free agency period featuring little action in terms of outside hires, they are going down to the wire with two priority players.

The Jags’ interest in re-signing Evan Engram has been on the radar for a while, but Jawaan Taylor is also a keeper candidate for the resurgent team. GM Trent Baalke confirmed Engram and Taylor talks are ongoing, as the Combine annually ignites discussions between teams and key free agents.

Engram has joined Taylor in indicating he would like to stay in Jacksonville, and’s James Palmer points to optimism a deal will be reached (Twitter link). Particularly with Engram, this will be a time-sensitive matter. The Jags have not ruled out tagging either Engram or Taylor, but with the tight end tag checking in at barely $11MM, Engram profiles as the likelier candidate to be cuffed. It would cost the Jags $18.2MM to tag Taylor.

I think with Jawaan and Evan, I don’t want to speak for them, they know how we feel about them, and I think we know how they feel about us, and there’s a win-win in there somewhere. We’ve just got to get to that,” Baalke said, via the Florida Times-Union’s Demetrius Harvey. “We’ve got a nice window here before free agency starts, and our goal is to try to close those deals within that window.”

Given Engram’s interest in coming back, it should not be considered a lock the Jaguars will lose the seventh-year veteran if they pass on tagging him by the March 7 deadline. But that is the failsafe point for the Jags, who gave the ex-Giants first-rounder a one-year deal worth $9MM in 2022 and saw him produce a single-season franchise record for tight end receiving yards (766). Engram, 28, staying would further strengthen Jacksonville’s receiving corps, which has Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Calvin Ridley under contract.

Taylor’s path is a bit more complicated. The Jags already tagged left tackle Cam Robinson twice, eventually extending him last year. The tackle landscape reveals the either/or decisions teams have made recently regarding payments; clubs with big-ticket left tackle deals on their respective payrolls have not doled out much money to right tackles. Robinson’s $17.9MM-per-year pact ranks seventh at left tackle. The Jags have Walker Little as a possible option to succeed Taylor, who would be poised to do well on the market, with dependable O-linemen being coveted commodities annually.

Robinson’s meniscus tear, however, clouds the Jags’ plans here. Robinson would tentatively be on track to return by Week 1, but Doug Pederson confirmed his potential unavailability factors into the Taylor talks. Taylor, 25, has never missed a game as a pro.

The Jags do have more money to work with as they navigate these negotiations now. They recently restructured the contracts of Kirk, Jones, Brandon Scherff and Foye Oluokun, according to’s Field Yates and’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter links). Altogether, this created $36MM-plus in cap space. Jacksonville has boosted its total to $16.1MM, as of Wednesday afternoon.

The team has re-signed Roy Robertson-Harris to a three-year, $30MM deal, keeping the D-line starter off the market. That contract is already factored into the team’s updated payroll. Engram and/or Taylor may follow suit; each would be free to negotiate with other teams beginning March 13.

Notable Incentives Still In Play For 2022

As we head into Week 17, a number of players still have key incentives available. Here is a handful of the notable escalators in reach — many involving Smiths — courtesy of’s Albert Breer.

  • Justin Houston, OLB (Ravens): Already collecting $1MM by reaching 7.5 sacks, the 12th-year pass rusher (nine sacks) can move that number to $1.5MM by getting to 10.
  • Christian Kirk, WR (Jaguars): The big-ticket Jags signing can collect $500K by hitting 80 receptions, with another $500K available if he reaches 90. Kirk has 76 catches. The ex-Cardinal (988 receiving yards) can also collect $1MM by surpassing 1,100.
  • Raheem Mostert, RB (Dolphins): The offseason addition will almost certainly add $1MM to his 2022 earnings. By clearing 900 scrimmage yards, Mostert needs only the Dolphins to stay in the top 25 in total offense. Considering Miami ranks ninth, it is a good bet the ex-49er — who signed for one year and $2.2MM — will cash in.
  • Geno Smith, QB (Seahawks): After already collecting $1MM for hitting playing-time incentives and $500K by making the Pro Bowl, Smith is likely to add another $1MM by eclipsing 4,000 passing yards for the first time. Smith, who signed for one year and $3.5MM, has 3,886 yards through 15 games.
  • Preston Smith, OLB (Packers): Sitting on 8.5 sacks, the veteran edge rusher can collect $1MM by ballooning that number to 10. Another $1MM would be in play for Smith if he reached 12 sacks this season.
  • Za’Darius Smith, OLB (Vikings): The 2022 Minnesota signee can up his incentive package to either $750K by hitting 10.5 sacks or $1MM by reaching 12.5. The veteran edge has 10 sacks through 15 games.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR (Chiefs): Leading Chiefs wideouts in receiving yards (877) by a wide margin, Smith-Schuster is likely to enhance his already-impressive incentive collection by topping 900 receiving yards. That would put the ex-Steeler at $3MM in total incentives earned. Signing a one-year deal worth $3.76MM, Smith-Schuster has already collected $2.5MM in escalators.
  • J.J. Watt, DL (Cardinals): Lastly, the retiring D-lineman collected $900K by reaching nine sacks (9.5); he can bump that number to $1MM by tallying a 10th sack over the team’s final two games.

Trade Market, Draft Factored Into Jaguars’ Christian Kirk Signing

The Jaguars shocked the NFL world with a four-year, $72MM deal for Christian Kirk, but the former Cardinals receiver checked a lot of boxes the team sought this offseason.

Kirk’s speed profile, durability and being 25 — an age the Jags believed would allow him to grow and develop alongside Trevor Lawrence — made him appealing for the rebuilding team, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports notes.

Only one Jaguar pass catcher (D.J. Chark) has topped 1,000 yards since the team’s tag team of Allens (Hurns, Robinson) each did so in 2015. While Chark narrowly got there (1,008 yards) alongside Gardner Minshew and was coming off a season-ending broken ankle, Doug Pederson still expressed interest in re-signing the former second-round pick. But on Day 1 of the legal tampering period, the Jags handed out contracts to Kirk and Zay Jones on a big-spending day for the franchise. That led Chark to Detroit.

Of course, Kirk’s next 1,000-yard season will be his first. That helped lead to the surprise factor when he inked his deal, which is effectively a two-year, $37MM agreement. Kirk has been a nice addition for Jacksonville thus far, having caught 20 passes for 327 yards and three touchdowns through four games.

Flush with cap space, the Jags decided to make their No. 1 receiver bet in free agency. Jacksonville’s draft position and uncertainty of landing a top weapon in a trade factored into this decision. The team viewed its draft position — Nos. 1 and 33 at the draft’s outset — as unideal to land a wideout that would be ready to contribute immediately, Jones adds, and it was not especially high on Amari Cooper. The Jags were involved in the Cooper sweepstakes, but considering the Browns acquired him for a fifth-rounder and a sixth-round pick swap, it is clear the AFC South team was not offering much.

Kirk’s contract helped drive the receiver market’s ensuing boom; 11 wideouts have since passed or matched Kirk’s $18MM-AAV accord. This makes the Jags’ thinking somewhat prescient. The Jags expected Samuel to score a payday north of $20MM per year, Jones adds. Samuel reached $23.85MM per annum during an offseason that also saw Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, A.J. Brown, Stefon Diggs, D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin, Chris Godwin, Brandin Cooks and Diontae Johnson surpass Kirk’s contract between free agency’s outset and the preseason. The run of big-ticket wideout deals led to Kirk’s AAV dropping from seventh to 18th at the position.

Another team was prepared to offer Kirk $13MM per year, but Jones adds that squad was quickly told it was not in the ballpark. The Eagles pursued Kirk briefly but were not prepared to go near where the Jaguars did for the ex-Cardinal second-rounder. Philly soon pivoted to Allen Robinson but saw the Rams blow that offer away, leading the Eagles to set the market for fully guaranteed money by trading for Brown and giving him $56MM at signing. The Jaguars’ focus on landing a high-end target in free agency helped lead to the domino effect that sent Brown to Philly.

Eagles Made Several Efforts To Acquire Veteran WR In Offseason

After using first-round picks on wide receivers in each of the previous two drafts, the Eagles were focused on veterans this year. Their pursuit eventually led to a monster A.J. Brown contract, but the team only shifted to the former Titans second-rounder after missing on a few other vets.

The Eagles moved down the line at the position this offseason. After initially pursuing Calvin Ridley, in a trade that was close to completion before the Falcons wideout’s gambling suspension surfaced, the Eagles set their sights on a free agent pass catcher. We heard about the Eagles’ pursuits of Christian Kirk and Allen Robinson, but it appears the team was closer with one of these two.

Philadelphia and Robinson discussed a deal, but Adam Caplan of notes the Rams’ offer “blew him out of the water.” Robinson committed to the Rams, who proposed him a three-year, $46.5MM deal — a pact that includes $30.25MM fully guaranteed. The Rams-Robinson connection came as somewhat of a surprise in March, with the team being connected to re-signing Odell Beckham Jr. for several weeks prior to free agency. But Beckham remains on the defending Super Bowl champions’ radar, even with Robinson and Cooper Kupp‘s contracts on the payroll.

Philly was closer with Robinson than it was with Kirk, per Caplan, who adds the team moved out of the conversation for the former Cardinals wideout after learning what it would take to acquire him. The Jaguars came in with a four-year, $72MM deal ($37MM fully guaranteed) for the former second-round pick. This stalled the Eagles’ wideout pursuit for a stretch, though they did add ex-Nick Sirianni Colts charge Zach Pascal and took a flier on Olympic 110-meter hurdler Devon Allen.

It is interesting how the Eagles’ price changed for Brown, who followed Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill by signing a whopper extension (four years, $100MM) after being traded. While Hill and Adams’ AAVs surpass Brown’s, the ex-Titan’s $56MM fully guaranteed tops all wideouts in that rather important category.

Brown will be expected to anchor a receiving corps that includes DeVonta Smith, whose rookie deal can run through 2025 via the fifth-year option. Had the Rams not come in with their Robinson offer, however, the former Jaguars and Bears pass catcher may well be leading Philly’s receiving corps. The Titans were not prepared to pay Brown what he sought, making an offer of less than $20MM annually, so the team would have needed to move to other options with its contract-year wideout if Robinson had committed to the Eagles. The Jets were the only other team connected to Brown this year, but in a reality in which Robinson chose the Eagles, other teams surely would have been in the mix for Brown.

Eagles Notes: Cox, Lurie, Kirk

The Eagles released longtime DT Fletcher Cox last month to avoid having $18MM of what he was due under his prior contract becoming fully-guaranteed. The club then re-signed him to a one-year, $14MM contract several days later, which, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, is “real” (meaning that Cox will actually earn that money and that the $14MM figure is not inflated by incentives). However, the deal does include two void years to flatten the cap charge, which was especially important since the release already created considerable dead money on the Eagles’ books for the 2022-23 seasons.

Even though Cox is coming off a season in which his play showed noticeable signs of decline and in which he publicly complained about the club’s defensive scheme, his $14MM payout is still $4MM more than what any other free agent interior D-lineman received on a per-year basis this offseason. That has led to plenty of questions about why the Eagles authorized such a contract, but owner Jeffrey Lurie suggested other clubs were willing to pony up for the six-time Pro Bowler, thereby necessitating the financial outlay.

McLane reports that the Eagles did call at least three teams in March to discuss a Cox trade, but just like their in-season trade talks in 2021, the more recent discussions were undermined by Cox’s prior contract and GM Howie Roseman‘s high asking price.

Now for more out of Philadelphia:

  • In the same piece linked above, McLane details the growing role of Lurie’s son, Julian Lurie, within the organization. Now 26, the younger Lurie participated in the NFL’s two-year program for prospective executives upon his graduation from Harvard, he took part in the Eagles’ head coaching interviews in 2021 — ultimately advising his father as the team transitioned from Doug Pederson to Nick Sirianni — and even spearheaded the interviews for the team’s analytics department. Assuming he wants to take up the mantle, it seems that Julian Lurie will someday succeed his 70-year-old father at the top of the franchise.
  • In a piece exploring whether Jeffrey Lurie is too involved in his team’s personnel decisions, which will be of particular interest to Eagles fans, McLane reports that, in 2018, the team was prepared to select one of two receivers in the second round: Ohio State’s Parris Campbell or Stanford’s JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Roseman and then-VP of player personnel Joe Douglas wanted Campbell, but Lurie preferred Arcega-Whiteside, and after Lurie successfully curried Pederson’s support, Roseman and Douglas felt compelled to go along with their wishes. That has led to broader questions about whether Lurie really values Roseman as a GM as much as he says he does, or if he simply likes that he can use Roseman as a “conduit” to the team.
  • The Eagles have not yet acquired a cornerback this offseason, and while Sirianni hyped the unproven contingent of players behind CB1 Darius Slay on the current depth chart — a group that includes Zech McPhearson and Tay Gowan — McLane says the team will almost certainly add a CB or two at some point. The Eagles will hold a “30” visit with top CB prospect Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, and while Gardner may be off the board by the time Philadelphia is on the clock with its No. 15 overall pick, a player like Washington’s Trent McDuffie or LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr. could be an option should Roseman decide to select a first-round corner for the first time in his history as a GM.
  • The Eagles have taken some swings at high-profile FA targets this offseason but have mostly come up short (with all due apologies to Haason Reddick and Zach Pascal). In addition to his pursuit of receivers like Allen Robinson and Robert Woods, Roseman also made an offer to former Cardinals wideout Christian Kirk, as McLane writes in a separate article. Kirk, though, received a four-year, $72MM deal from the Jaguars, a move that many have decried as more desperate spending on the part of Jacksonville. Though Kirk would doubtlessly have been an asset to Philadelphia’s WR corps, his $18MM AAV presently looks like an overpay.

Jaguars To Sign Christian Kirk

The Jaguars are set to sign former Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (Twitter link via’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero). 

[RELATED: Jaguars To Sign Fatukasi]

The Jaguars are giving Kirk a four-year, $72MM deal, one that Ian Rapoport of indicates (via Twitter) can max out at $84MM. A lot will be on the former second-round pick’s shoulders, as the Jaguars will expect him to be Trevor Lawrence‘s No. 1 target.

Kirk will collect a $20MM signing bonus, with’s Aaron Wilson tweeting his 2022 and ’23 base salaries ($1.5MM and $15.5MM, respectively, are guaranteed). The deal comes with $37MM fully guaranteed, Pelissero tweets. Each year contains $3MM in incentives, creating the $84MM ceiling. Kirk is now among the NFL’s top 10 for receiver contracts, something that has not gone unnoticed among the wideout community Monday.

Kirk, 26 in November, put up solid complementary numbers in his first three seasons in the desert. His best campaign of that stretch came in 2019, when he posted 69 catches for 709 yards. The 2018 second-round pick took a big step forward in 2021, however, notching career-highs in receptions (77) and yards (982) while finding the end zone five times. That was Kirk’s first full slate as a pro and his first where he truly lived up to his pre-draft hype.

The cash-strapped Cardinals didn’t have the space to keep him, but the Jaguars were happy to put him on their books. He’s just the latest high-priced addition for Jacksonville, joining offensive lineman Brandon Scherff, linebacker Foye Oluokun, and defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi.

Without Kirk, the Cardinals will have to find more pass-catchers to support DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore. On the plus side, they’ve re-upped tight end Zach Ertz on a three-year contract.

Cardinals, TE Zach Ertz Closing In On Deal

After acquiring tight end Zach Ertz in a trade with the Eagles in mid-October of last year, the Cardinals are finalizing a new multi-year deal for the nine-year veteran, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. The three-year deal is set to keep the 31-year-old among the top-10 highest-paid tight ends in the NFL. 

Ertz is a three-time Pro Bowler who set the NFL-record for single-season receptions for a tight end in 2018 with 116 catches, which trailed only Saints’ receiver Michael Thomas for the league lead among all pass-catchers. Ertz was consistently productive in Philadelphia, recording five-straight seasons with at least 800 receiving yards.

After taking a back seat role to the Eagles’ younger tight end Dallas Goedert, the Cardinals made the move to acquire Ertz and watched him thrive in the new system. Ertz’s 11 games in Arizona in 2021 showed far more production than the 11 games he played in Philadelphia the year prior. With wide receivers Christian Kirk and A.J. Green set to hit the free agent market this week, locking down their tight end was a must.

The three-year deal will be worth $31.65MM with a guaranteed amount of $17.5MM. The annual average value of $10.55MM ranks 10th among NFL tight ends, just below David Njoku, Mike Gesicki, and Dalton Schultz, who got franchise tagged for $10.93MM. With this deal Ertz is now off the crowded tight end market, along with the three who were tagged. Remaining options for those looking for tight ends are C.J. Uzomah, Robert Tonyan, Evan Engram, and Will Dissly.

Texans Re-Sign Christian Kirksey

The Texans have agreed to a brand new deal with linebacker Christian Kirksey (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network). Financial terms are not yet known, but it’ll be a two-year pact to keep him under contract through the 2023 season. 

[RELATED: Steelers Don’t Want Watson]

Kirksey, 30 in August, joined the Texans on a low-cost one-year deal last year. He went on to suit up for 13 games with 12 starts, emerging as one of the more productive defenders in Houston. In total, Kirksey finished 2021 with 93 stops, eight passes defensed, two quarterback hits, and a pair of fumble recoveries. The Texans were said to be prioritizing him and that was indeed the case — his deal is done before the start of free agency next week.

Kirksey came into the league as a 2014 third-round pick of the Browns. He went on to play a key role on some otherwise bad Browns teams, earning a fat extension worth upwards of $10MM/year. Unfortunately, injuries derailed him in 2018 and 2019, leading to his release. His eleven-game 2020 with the Packers — which featured 77 tackles and two sacks — was an improvement, but not in line with his early work. Now, Kirksey seems to have found a home in Houston.

Christian Kirk In Line For Sizeable Free Agent Deal?

The Cardinals have been a topic of conversation largely due to the Kyler Murray situation. They have a number of other pressing matters on their roster, though, including some key decisions in the wide receiver room. NFL Network’s Tom Pelisseo lists Christian Kirk as someone who could fetch a large offer on the open market if he leaves Arizona. 

[RELATED: Cardinals Shopping WR Andy Isabella]

Specifically, Rapoport states that “it wouldn’t be a shock” if Kirk, 25, were to land a contract of $15MM per year or more. That figure far outweighs the cap space Arizona currently has (just under $5.5MM), which – coupled with the other moves the team figures to make in the coming days and weeks – points to Kirk hitting the open market.

A second round pick in 2018, Kirk put up solid complimentary numbers in his first three seasons in the desert. His best campaign of that stretch came in 2019, when he posted 69 catches for 709 yards. He took a step forward in 2021, however, notching career-highs in receptions (77) and yards (982) while finding the endzone five times. This season was the first in which Kirk played a full campaign.

While the Cardinals may be inclined to let Kirk walk if he received sizeable offers from other teams, doing so could leave them surprisingly short on pass catchers. Behind DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore, the next wideout under contract for 2022 (assuming Andy Isabella is traded) is Antoine Wesley. Veteran A.J. Green, along with tight end Zach Ertz are both pending free agents, though they could each conceivably be brought back considering their production last year.

If Kirk does sign a lucrative contract as Pelissero suggests, it would be one of the most notable deals within a free agent class which has, in recent days, shrunk in size to include the likes of Allen Robinson, JuJu Smith-Schuster and DJ Chark. It would also likely leave the Cardinals in search of a less expensive complementary piece to maintain one of the league’s most potent passing attacks.

Cards’ Owner Bidwill On Kyler Murray

With everything starting to appear copacetic between the Cardinals and quarterback Kyler Murray, the team’s owner, Michael Bidwill, addressed the 24-year-old’s future in Arizona, as reported by Jeremy Cluff of The Arizona Republic. As Murray heads into the fourth year of his rookie contract, Bidwill discussed the possibility for an extension. 

“The window has just opened for a contract extension. Certainly he’s part of our long-term plan,” Bidwill said of Murray. “Most of the big ones are done further down the road, I think Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen were done in the summer time. Others were done in the summer time. So we’ve got time, but they’re complicated.”

In respect to the turmoil surrounding the quarterback, Bidwill claimed he and Murray have had “good conversations non-stop.”

While expressing the desire to give Murray an extension out of his rookie contract, Bidwill also acknowledged that the team has other priorities, as well, namely bringing back some key free agents. He recently expressed his wishes to retain two-time All-Pro linebacker Chandler Jones, which Jones appeared scoff at. Newcomers to the desert, running back James Conner and tight end Zach Ertz, have both made it known that they would be more than happy to consider re-signing.

Other Cardinals headed to free agency include running back Chase Edmonds, wide receiver Christian Kirk, veteran wideout A.J. Green, and tight end Maxx Williams. While the Cardinals’ owner is looking forward to finding a way to keep Murray long-term, he and his front office have some work to do in the meantime.