Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars - jaguars.comby John Oehser & Bucky Brooks
JACKSONVILLE - Senior writer John Oehser and Jaguars analyst Bucky Brooks examine the Jaguars' tight ends in this position-by-position look at the '23 offseason:
Position: Tight Ends
Position coaches: Richard Angulo.
TE Chris Manhertz (11)TE Evan Engram (14)
Dan ArnoldLuke FarrellGerrit Prince
2022 at a glance: This position in a statistical sense largely was about Engram, who joined the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in the 2022 offseason then turned a one-year contract into a career season - and one of the best seasons for a tight end in franchise history. Engram, who played his first five NFL seasons with the New York Giants caught 73 passes in 2022 for 766 yards and four touchdowns, emerging as a key part of an offense that improved from last in the NFL in scoring in 2021 to 10th in 2022. Arnold played in all regular-season and postseason games, catching nine passes for 135 yards. Manhertz in his second season with the Jaguars continued to be a strong presence in the running game, also catching six passes for 42 yards. Farrell in his second NFL season also played in all games, catching four passes for 40 yards. This was a remarkably healthy season for this group, with all four tight ends active for all regular season and postseason games.
Offseason storyline: The storyline here revolves first around Engram, who signed a one-year "prove-it" deal as a UFA in the 2022 offseason. He absolutely "proved it," becoming a go-to target for quarterback Trevor Lawrence and improving as the playoffs approached. Engram was originally scheduled to become UFA again on the March 15 start of the 2023 League Year, but the team placed the NFL's franchise tag on him on March 6. He and the team could still reach a long-term agreement, and they have until July 15 to do so. If Engram plays under the franchise tag, he will play for a one-year contract worth $11.35 million. Manhertz, who never missed a game in two seasons with the team, signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Denver Broncos on March 15. Arnold, who joined the Jaguars from the Carolina Panthers in an early-season trade in 2021, became an unrestricted free agent March 15.
Free agents as of March 15: Manhertz, Arnold.
Bucky Brooks' top three free agent tight ends:
Mike Gesicki, Miami DolphinsDalton Schultz, Dallas CowboysAustin Hooper, Tennessee Titans
Bucky Brooks' top three collegiate tight prospects:
Mike Mayer, Notre DameDalton Kincaid, UtahDarnell Washington, Georgia
Oehser analysis: This position emerged as a team strength in 2022, with Engram quickly developing rapport with Lawrence and becoming a focus of the Jaguars' offense. While Engram currently is on the franchise tag, both sides appear to want to reach a long-term deal done. The question now is how this group will look moving forward. Engram figures to be the No. 1 receiving option in 2022. The team likes Farrell and believes Prince could have a bright future after signing with the Jaguars as a collegiate free agent in 2022 and spending the season on the practice squad. Can the Jaguars address the position in second-tier free agency? Could they select a tight end early in the 2022 NFL Draft to complement Engram in the passing game? Could they address it later in the draft? Either way, this figures to be a position of interest in the coming weeks.
Brooks' analysis: The re-emergence of Engram as an all-star caliber playmaker helped the Jaguars earn a playoff berth in Head Coach Doug Pederson's debut season. The veteran tight end routinely created and exploited mismatches on the perimeter while showcasing dynamic skills as a playmaker in space. With Engram thriving as one of the interchangeable No. 1 options in the passing game, the Jaguars were able to torch opponents with a diverse approach that led to sleepless nights for plenty of defensive coordinators around the league. Arnold and Farrell did not rack up impressive catch totals but contributed as extra blockers in multiple tight end sets. Considering how well the group performed within their roles, the Jaguars have a solid foundation for an offensive expansion.