Jawaan Taylor

Chiefs To Sign T Jawaan Taylor

9:17pm: As of now, the Chiefs are planning on shifting Taylor to left tackle, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. This will follow the team’s Brown blueprint, though Brown — primarily a right tackle in Baltimore — had taken some reps at left tackle after filling in for Ronnie Stanley in 2020. Brown also wanted to be traded due to the Ravens viewing him as a right tackle; no such mandate is known to have come from Taylor. The ascending pass protector also only started at left tackle twice while at Florida. While this plan is subject to change, Kansas City’s $20MM-AAV contract looks to be addressing Patrick Mahomes‘ blind side — rather than Taylor becoming the NFL’s highest-paid right tackle.

1:17pm: The Chiefs look to be shifting their financial balance to the right side of their offensive line. After not franchise-tagging Orlando Brown Jr. this year, Kansas City has agreed to terms with Jawaan Taylor.

The four-year Jaguars right tackle agreed to a four-year, $80MM deal with the Chiefs, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). This marks yet another splash move from Kansas City GM Brett Veach up front, and Taylor will join one of the NFL’s best O-lines.

Taylor, 25, will receive an $18.9MM signing bonus and earn a base salary of just $1.1MM in 2023, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. His 2024-26 bases each check in at $19.5MM, Yates adds. The latter three salaries stand to open the door for future restructures. Taylor will lock in $60MM in guarantees by March 2024, Breer adds.

Andrew Wylie, who served as Kansas City’s starting right tackle last season, just agreed to a Commanders deal. The Chiefs were aiming much higher, it turns out. Taylor, who has never missed a game in his pro career, has been the Jags’ right-side starter throughout his career. A 2019 Jacksonville second-round pick, the ex-Florida Gator will be expected to provide a big upgrade on Wylie.

Perhaps the more notable fallout from this signing: Brown appears headed out of Missouri. The Chiefs used their tag on the mammoth left tackle in 2022 but decided not to keep him off the market this year. Brown turned down a deal that would have made him the league’s highest-paid left tackle ahead of last July’s tag extension deadline. The former Ravens right tackle will now take a chance he can collect a better deal — presumably one with more guaranteed money, as he viewed that as the prime impediment toward re-upping with the Chiefs — on the market this week.

Right tackle doubled as one of the prize positions in free agency this year. The oft-derided free agency class carried Taylor, Mike McGlinchey and Kaleb McGary, however. Two of those blockers are now headed to the AFC West. McGlinchey agreed to a Broncos deal earlier Monday.

At $20MM per year, Taylor is now the NFL’s highest-paid right tackle. He profiled as the top right-side pass protector available this year, and a Chiefs team that two years ago authorized a guard-record contract (Joe Thuney‘s) in free agency is resetting the market at another blocking position. Taylor’s pact tops Ryan Ramczyk‘s 2021 Saints extension. Considering the profile gap between Ramczyk and Taylor, this is a massive bet on the latter’s best years coming in Kansas City. But the Chiefs now have their right tackle spot locked down. With Taylor, Thuney, Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith entrenched as starters up front, the team can shift its focus to determining its post-Brown solution on the blind side.

The Jaguars had attempted to keep Taylor, but given left tackle Cam Robinson‘s contract and the market that formed for Taylor, it is unsurprising the team was unable to keep him off the market. The Jags have Robinson coming back from a meniscus tear and could look to Walker Little to fill in on the right side.

OL Rumors: Taylor, McGlinchey, Pats, Powers

Right tackle will be one of this year’s top positional markets to monitor. One of the best players set to hit the market, Jawaan Taylor, is expected to do very well. The Jaguars blocker may move into position to command a deal worth at least $17MM on average, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes. The Jaguars used their franchise tag on Evan Engram, with that cost being $7MM cheaper than the O-line tag, but they are attempting to bring back Taylor. The former second-rounder has never missed a start as a pro and has earned plus grades for his pass protection. Although Pro Football Focus viewed Taylor as one of the league’s worst run-blockers last season, the advanced metrics site rates him as the eighth-best pass-protecting right tackle over the past two years.

The Jags already have Cam Robinson tied to a top-10 deal at left tackle, which will make keeping Taylor difficult. A deal at $17MM AAV would move Taylor into the top five at the position. Here is the latest from the O-line ranks:

  • Another of the top right-siders set to be hit the market, Mike McGlinchey is not expected to return to the 49ers. The Bears would be in position to outmuscle other suitors for the five-year starter’s services, holding a near-$30MM lead in cap space (at $94.7MM). McGlinchey should be expected to join Taylor on a deal north of $17MM per year, per Adam Jahns of The Athletic (subscription required). Kaleb McGary could profile as a slightly cheaper alternative, per Jahns, who notes Bears offensive line coach Chris Morgan was the Falcons’ O-line coach when they drafted the Michigan product in the 2019 first round. The Bears have gone through a few options at right tackle since releasing Bobby Massie in 2021. This represents a good year for the team to address the position.
  • Excepting their 2017 Stephon Gilmore payment and the 2021 spending frenzy, the Patriots are not known for deep dives into free agency pools. But they also look set to investigate the right tackle market. New England is seeking an upgrade here, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes, pointing out that the team is content on the interior (with center David Andrews and guards Michael Onwenu and Cole Strange). Trent Brown is still under contract on the left side. Beyond the top three RTs, Trey Pipkins, Kelvin Beachum and Andrew Wylie are ticketed for free agency. Isaiah Wynn is not expected back in New England, which is not exactly a surprise given his dismal contract year. The Pats hold more than $32MM in cap space, giving them some capital to use at this need area.
  • Currently carrying a $32.4MM Lamar Jackson franchise tag on their cap sheet, the Ravens should not be expected to retain their top free agent (now that Jackson is tagged). Ben Powers‘ quality contract year should lead to his Baltimore departure, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes. Powers needed to win a left guard competition in training camp. Upon doing so, the former fourth-round pick proceeded to rank in the top 10 in run and pass block win rates, per ESPN. Powers, 26, will be one of the best guards available next week. The Ravens’ Jackson tag has them $9MM over the cap as of Wednesday afternoon.
  • USC tackle prospect Andrew Vorhees suffered a torn ACL while doing drills at the Combine, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. While Vorhees still managed to perform 38 reps in the bench press after the injury, this setback will undoubtedly hurt the top-100 prospect’s draft stock.

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 NFL.com’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 ESPN.com’s Field Yates and NFL.com’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.

Jawaan Taylor Wants To Re-Sign With Jags

The Jaguars took over the early stages of the 2022 free agent market, doling out big contracts to infuse a downtrodden team with talent. Those moves made a significant impact, helping key a surprise run to the divisional round. Money is tighter this year, and the Jags retaining their own might be the mission.

Interested in re-signing Evan Engram, the Jaguars also will have an opportunity to retain Jawaan Taylor. Jacksonville’s right tackle starter since he was drafted in the 2019 second round, Taylor said he wants to remain with the team. The 25-year-old blocker has never missed a game as a pro.

Most definitely,” Taylor said, via the Florida Times-Union’s Tim Walters, on the subject of another Jaguars deal. “That’s the team that took the chance on me in the draft, and I’ve been there playing for four seasons now and I’m close to home. I’m two hours away from home, so being able to come back and play for Duval will be a lot of fun, so hopefully that will work out for me.”

After holding extensive cap space in 2022, the Jags are currently over the $224.8MM salary ceiling. Jacksonville is over by a substantial margin — $22MM-plus — and will need to make some roster moves to comply with the 2023 cap ahead of the new league year, which begins March 15. Taylor will likely be a player the Jags consider re-signing, given his consistent role on the despite the run of coaching changes. But a few complications exist.

Unlike Engram, however, this regime did not sign off on acquiring Taylor. The Trent BaalkeDoug Pederson duo signed Engram to a one-year deal in 2022; Taylor arrived during the Tom CoughlinDave CaldwellDoug Marrone years. Pro Football Focus has never viewed Taylor as a plus option at tackle, slotting him in the bottom quartile at the position this year (69th overall) and never ranking him inside the top 40. An Engram franchise tag, which would be the fourth tight end tag over the past two offseasons, could also tie up Jags funds.

Working under Urban Meyer during the 2021 draft, Baalke was with the team when it drafted Walker Little in the second round. Little finished the season as the starting left tackle, after Cam Robinson went down. Taylor beat out Little for the right tackle job in training camp last year. The Jags have Trevor Lawrence tied to a rookie contract — for one more year, at least — but Robinson is already signed to an upper-echelon tackle deal (three years, $52.75MM). No team tied to a top-10 left tackle contract also has a high-end right tackle deal on its payroll.

Spotrac slots Taylor in position to command a $12MM-per-year pact, so his market will be worth monitoring. While the Browns’ Jack Conklin extension took a right tackle option off the free agency board, blockers like Mike McGlinchey and Kaleb McGary are on track to be available. It will be interesting to see how teams value Taylor, should the Jags pass on an extension ahead of the legal tampering period.

Jaguars Featuring Position Battles At RT, C

Although the Jaguars spent wildly in free agency, it is possible four of their primary five starters from last year’s offensive line reprise their roles in 2022. But competitions are revealing themselves ahead of training camp.

Tyler Shatley, the team’s longest-tenured player, will attempt to hold off third-round pick Luke Fortner at center, while John Reid of the Florida Times-Union notes three-year right tackle starter Jawaan Taylor is not a lock to keep his job. Walker Little, a 2021 second-round pick, looks to have a good chance to unseat the ex-Florida Gator.

Third-year blocker Ben Bartch and big-ticket free agency pickup Brandon Scherff are set to be Jacksonville’s first-string guards, with the recently extended Cam Robinson in place at left tackle. Taylor has played opposite Robinson throughout his career, being one of the NFL’s most durable players in that span. The 24-year-old right tackle has not missed a game, and the Jags have turned to the 2019 35th overall pick as a starter in every one of those contests.

Pro Football Focus viewed Taylor as a slightly better blocker in 2021 than he was in 2020, but it still graded the 6-foot-5 lineman as the Jags’ worst regular up front. Taylor’s 12 penalties led all O-linemen last season. Little played 225 offensive snaps as a rookie, working as the swingman behind Robinson and Taylor, but Reid views the Stanford product as the likely favorite to be Jacksonville’s 2022 right tackle. This would relegate Taylor to a swing role, representing bad timing for him on that front. As a 2023 free agent-to-be, Taylor has an opportunity to audition for other teams this season.

Little missed nearly two full seasons, suffering an ACL tear early in 2019 and opting out of the COVID-19-altered 2020 Pac-12 slate. PFF graded he and Robinson as middling blockers, though the latter obviously played far more snaps.

Shatley, 31, filled in for the injured (and now-retired Brandon Linder) frequently during the past two seasons, starting 18 games. The Jags made Fortner their only O-line pick this year. The Kentucky product made 36 straight starts, using his additional eligibility year to vault onto the Day 2 radar. A former UDFA, Shatley would become the Jags’ interior swingman again if beaten out for the Week 1 snapping gig.

Jaguars Looking At OL Ekwonu With Top Pick

We wrote a bit in January about NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu potentially being the best offensive lineman in the draft. Well, he certainly thinks so, as he told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine Thursday that he’d “definitely deserve” to be drafted No. 1 overall, according to Darryl Slater of NJ.com

He’s not totally off base in his thinking. ESPN’s Mel Kiper mocked Ekwonu to Jacksonville in his latest mock draft just before the Combine. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, many at the Combine, including ESPN’s Todd McShay, expected Ekwonu to blow up in Indianapolis.

There’s already been a bit of talk connecting Ekwonu to the Jaguars. General manager Trent Baalke has a tendency to prefer explosive linemen and Ekwonu demonstrated his explosiveness in field drills including an impressive sub-5.00 second 40-yard dash. Baalke and new head coach Doug Pederson will be looking to put together a group at offensive line that can protect former No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence and create holes for running backs James Robinson and Travis Etienne.

Jawaan Taylor is expected to compete with Walker Little for the right tackle job. Captain Brandon Linder should return to form at center after MCL and ankle injuries forced him to miss a large part of the 2021 NFL season. Andrew Norwell is expected to hit the free agent market and Cam Robinson could join him if the team decides not to utilize their franchise tag on Robinson for the second straight year. Veteran sixth-man Tyler Shatley was recently re-signed and Ben Bartch could help out at guard. So the versatility of Ekwonu could line him up as the perfect choice for Jacksonville’s current situation, where lots of question marks surround the depth chart. Even so, the Jaguars could also fall in love with Evan Neal, who is largely seen as the top pure tackle in the draft.

Still, the redshirt sophomore out of Raleigh is a young, talented prospect with the ability to dominate at tackle or guard. Even if he slips past Jacksonville at No. 1 overall, don’t expect him to be available after both New York teams get a chance to draft. Ekwonu will aim to be only the third Wolfpack offensive lineman in history to be picked in the first round, the highest-drafted Wolfpack prospect since Bradley Chubb in 2018, and, above that, the first top overall pick out of NC State since Mario Williams in 2006.

Will Jags’ Tag Cam Robinson Again?

Almost five years ago, the Jaguars drafted Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson. Seen by many as a potential first rounder, Robinson fell to the Jaguars’ second-round pick with some red flags from a previous arrest and some injury issues that held him out of the Combine and parts of his Pro Day. 

Robinson immediately earned the starting left tackle position as a rookie and started 15 games in 2017. After suffering a torn ACL in Week 2 of the 2018 NFL season, Robinson missed the rest of his sophomore year in the league.

Once his rookie contract expired at the end of the 2020 season, it was rumored the Jaguars were going to allow Robinson to test the free agent market. Robinson was certainly not considered a top 5 offensive tackle, so tagging him and paying him the average salary of the top 5 players at his position seemed like a fairly large stretch. But with a lack of options to replace the young tackle and the price tag of what few options were available, the Jaguars bit the bullet and paid Robinson.

Now, a year later, Jacksonville is faced with a similar issue: Do they tag Robinson for a second straight year or trust the options available to them this year?

Tagging Robinson is a simple option. On the upside, it secures three sure starters for the 2022 season on the offensive line, they know exactly what it will cost them, and, while he wasn’t quite a top 5 offensive tackle, Robinson played the best football of his career this past season. The downside is that, when you tag a player two years in a row, you don’t pay the average of the top 5 players of the position in Year 2, you pay 120% of the previous year’s salary. With Robinson’s salary last year paying him $13.75MM, a 20% raise would net him $16.5MM in 2022.

If the Jaguars decide to let Robinson walk, they’re not bereft of options. Internally, they did draft Walker Little in the second round last year and saw him start three games in limited time this season. If they think Little can play up to or near the level of play of Robinson, he would be a much cheaper option. The Jaguars also hold the number one pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. Many mock drafts have seen fellow Alabama-alum Evan Neal mocked as the top draft pick, but few see Neal as a true homerun pick at the top of the draft.

There’s lots of work to be done on the Jaguars’ offensive line, and new offensive line coach Phil Rauscher will likely have a say in the game plan. Jawaan Taylor has started every game since being drafted in 2019 and is expected to start at right tackle. Veteran and captain Brandon Linder should return to form after MCL and ankle injuries forced him to miss a large part of the 2021 season. Tagging Robinson would secure another tackle position and leave the guards as the only questions. With Andrew Norwell expected to hit the free agent market, Ben Bartch could fill one of the open guard positions, but the other would be open to either an unproven back up or a rookie.

Regardless of where it comes from, Robinson’s next paycheck is expected to be a large one. If the Jaguars decide not to tag or extend him, a team hungry for offensive line help is sure to take a flier and pay out for the 26-year-old tackle.

AFC Notes: Stidham, Jags, Browns, Bolts

Although Tom Brady continuing to play at a high level into his early 40s has allowed the Patriots to table their need to identify a long-term successor for many years, their recent extension/2019 pay raise brings this issue back to the forefront. The Pats, however, are pleased with their latest quarterback draft pick. Fourth-round rookie Jarrett Stidham has “blown away expectations” this offseason, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes (subscription required), adding that he is ahead of where Jimmy Garoppolo was at this point during his first NFL summer. Stidham has taken first-team reps in camp and moved the Patriots to move Danny Etling to wide receiver. He finished 14-for-24 for 179 yards and a touchdown in New England’s preseason opener Thursday. While the Auburn alum does not profile as a classic Brady successor type, the Patriots certainly appear encouraged by their developmental prospect.

As we wind down preseason Week 1, here is the latest from the AFC:

  • A.J. Cann has served as the Jaguars‘ starting right guard since his rookie season in 2015. He is not a lock to reprise his role in 2019. Cann is battling converted tackle Will Richardson for the spot, with Doug Marrone indicating (via Hays Carlyon of 1010 XL, on Twitter) Brandon Thomas is also in the mix here. A 2018 fourth-rounder, Richardson looks like the favorite to win this job thus far, Carlyon adds (via Twitter). Richardson has yet to play an NFL down; he hit IR in October of his rookie year. Thomas has hung around for six NFL summers, with the 2014 third-round 49ers pick having never played in a regular-season game. He’s bounced on and off the Jaguars’ roster and practice squad since 2017. Cann has three years remaining on a contract he signed in 2018.
  • With Cam Robinson potentially set to have a delayed start to the season, Marrone said the Jaguars are considering free agent additions Cedric Ogbuehi and Leonard Wester at left tackle. Longtime Jags backup Josh Wells is vying for that temp job as well. Second-round rookie Jawaan Taylor is set to start at right tackle.
  • Had Antonio Callaway not received a four-game suspension, the second-year Browns wideout might not have been able to go in Week 1 anyway. Callaway suffered a high ankle sprain in Cleveland’s preseason opener, per Freddie Kitchens (via ohio.com’s Nate Ulrich, on Twitter). The Browns will now be without two of their 2018 pass catchers, with Duke Johnson having been traded and Callaway out until at least October. Fortunately, they acquired Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason.
  • Chargers tight end Andrew Vollert suffered ACL damage in the team’s preseason opener, and Anthony Lynn said (via ESPN.com’s Eric Williams, on Twitter) the second-year UDFA will miss the season. The Bolts signed Vollert in May.

Jaguars Sign Jawaan Taylor, Four Other Draft Picks

The Jaguars have signed second-round offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Meanwhile, Jacksonville has also announced the following rookie signings:

Taylor was a projected first-round pick, and many observers believed he’d be a fit for the Jaguars at No. 7 overall. However, the Florida product fell because of injury concerns, although Taylor has since blasted that information as “false reports.” Jacksonville traded up to acquire Taylor on Day 2, and he’ll immediately step in as Jermey Parnell‘s replacement at right tackle.

While Minshew is an interesting developmental option after succeeding in Mike Leach‘s Washington State offense, Oliver is the non-Taylor prospect with the best chance to contribute in 2019. A solid athlete, Oliver posted 709 receiving yards during his final season at San Jose State, and only needs to beat out veteran Geoff Swaim for playing time.

Jacksonville now has only two rookies left to sign: first-round edge rusher Josh Allen and third-round linebacker Quincy Williams.

Draft Notes: Bills, Jaguars, Bengals

The Bills selected Oklahoma offensive tackle Cody Ford in the second round, but it sounds like the team was willing to take him even earlier. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that Buffalo tried to trade back into the first round in order to draft Ford. Ultimately, the price proved to be “too rich.”

As we mentioned, the Bills still managed to land Ford at No. 38. The leaves the Bills with 14 offensive lineman on their current roster, so the team will surely have some intriguing competitions come training camp. The team has added five free agent linemen this offseason in Mitch MorseSpencer LongTy NsekheJon Feliciano, and LaAdrian Waddle.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor was expected to be a top-10 pick, but he ended up falling to the Jaguars at No. 35. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Taylor fell because of medical concerns, as teams were wary of the Florida product’s meniscus issue. Fortunately, Rapoport says the issue isn’t “structural.”
  • The Jaguars shocked most pundits when they selected Murray State linebacker Quincy Williams in the third round last night. As Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com points out, Williams (who is the brother of third-overall pick Quinnen Williams) wasn’t among the 400 players scouted by NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, nor was he on the list of 730 prospects compiled by The Athletics’ Arif Hasan. The linebacker wasn’t invited to the Combine and Murray State didn’t have a Pro Day, leading Williams to assume he was going to go undrafted. “For me coming from a small school and didn’t get a combine invite, yeah, I kind of did,” Williams said. “Then I had to go to Pro Day somewhere else, so most people thought I was a safety or a smaller linebacker, so yeah it was a thought in my mind. But then I know my abilities, and I believe in myself.”
  • The Bengals used the 11th-overall pick on Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams, leading some to wonder what would happen with Cordy Glenn. As Paul Dehner Jr. of The Cincinnati Enquirer points out (on Twitter), the veteran has started every snap of his career at left tackle, but he may be forced to move to right tackle or left guard. Furthermore, he gave up the most pressures and earned the worst Pro Football Focus grade of his career in 2018. Dehner ultimately wonders if a position change could rejuvenate the 29-year-old’s career.