Cooper Hodges

Jaguars Place DT DaVon Hamilton On IR, Sign DL Angelo Blackson

Two of the Jaguars’ pass rushers will be out of the mix to start the season. In addition to Dawuane Smoot staying on the PUP list, the Jags will be without DaVon Hamilton, who landed on IR on Thursday.

Jacksonville shifted Hamilton and offensive lineman Cooper Hodges to IR, sidelining each for at least four games to start the year, and signed veteran D-lineman Angelo Blackson and O-lineman Blake Hance.

A back issue sidelined Hamilton late in training camp. The Jaguars had given the former third-round pick a lucrative extension — three years, $34.5MM — this offseason. But both he and Smoot, who re-signed late this summer, will make delayed debuts for the defending AFC South champions. Neither can return until at least Week 5.

Hamilton moved into the Jags’ starting lineup on a full-time basis last season, starting 14 games. Pro Football Focus rated Hamilton as a top-30 interior D-lineman in 2022, but his status will be worth monitoring ahead of his fourth NFL slate. The Jags announced recently Hamilton’s back trouble is a “non-football-related medical issue.” Doug Pederson said recently Hamilton does not have a return timetable. The Jaguars guaranteed the Ohio State alum $20MM at signing.

While teams often use post-cutdown-day IR moves to bring back veterans who went through training camp with the squad, the Jags are adding Blackson, who went to camp with the Ravens. Baltimore released the interior D-lineman on cutdown day, doing so after signing him in the offseason. Blackson, 30, is going into his ninth NFL season.

The Jaguars move Blackson closer to an AFC South career sweep. The former Titans draftee spent two seasons in Tennessee and three in Houston earlier in his career. Blackson migrated to Arizona and then Chicago, playing the past two seasons with the Bears. With Hamilton out indefinitely, the Jags have some insurance in Blackson, who has made 42 career starts. The eight-year veteran finished the 2021 season with 2.5 sacks and nine quarterback hits. In 15 games last year, Blackson did not register a sack and tallied one QB hit.

Jaguars Sign Round 2 TE Brenton Strange, Several Others

The Jaguars used their franchise tag on Evan Engram in March, and while the parties have until mid-July to finalize an extension agreement, the team added another tight end in the draft. Brenton Strange, Jacksonville’s second-round pick, agreed to terms on his rookie deal Friday, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 tweets.

Strange will head to Florida after a career at Penn State. Scouts Inc. slotted the ex-Nittany Lions pass catcher as this draft class’ seventh-ranked tight end. He went to the Jags at No. 61 overall. Jacksonville moved down from its No. 56 overall slot, sliding five spots and picking up a fourth-round pick (No. 136) from Chicago to do so.

In Strange, the Jags will pick up a 253-pound pass catcher who totaled 32 receptions for 362 yards and five touchdowns last season. Strange earned third-team All-Big Ten honors for his senior-year work. This is the highest the Jaguars have drafted a tight end since taking Marcedes Lewis in the 2006 first round.

Prior to Engram’s promising 2022 season, the Jaguars had encountered steady trouble generating much production from the tight end spot. The former Giants first-rounder’s 766 receiving yards represent a franchise single-season record. Engram has said he wants to stay with the Jags on a long-term deal, but the sides were not believed to be close on terms yet. If Engram does not sign by July 17, he will play the 2023 season on the franchise tag.

In addition to Strange, the Jags also inked third-round running back Tank Bigsby (Auburn) to his four-year rookie contract. They also signed fourth-round linebacker Ventrell Miller (Florida), sixth-round cornerbacks Christian Braswell (Rutgers) and Erick Hallett (Pittsburgh), seventh-round offensive lineman Cooper Hodges (Appalachian State) and seventh-round defensive tackle Raymond Vohasek (North Carolina). The Jags began their rookie minicamp Friday.