The Jacksonville Jaguars have something in 2023 that they have not had in years, an elite pass rusher. Edge rusher Josh Allen has accumulated 13.5 sacks through 12 games which puts him tied for third in the NFL. He has already eclipsed his previous high with five games remaining. Allen is having an incredible year which is great for the 8-4 Jaguars as they try to make the playoffs. At the same time, his productivity thus far will make his upcoming contract one of the biggest in the NFL. For a Jaguars team with a lot of people to pay in the next couple of years, Josh Allen’s contract could be a problem.
Signing Josh Allen Is a Risk, It Is Also a Necessity
Allen has been great this year, but what about his previous four years in the NFL? Does one statistically good season warrant the type of money Allen will be asking for this offseason? Should a 15+ sack season be the expectation or is it an aberration? There are almost as many questions as answers are waiting for the Josh Allen contract situation at the end of this year. Even with the questions and the risk, the Jaguars have to sign him before he hits free agency. Here are some pros and cons of signing Allen to a long-term, offseason deal.
Pro: Allen Is a Rare Jaguar Draft Success Story
The Jaguars have far more busts in their draft history than they do stars. Trevor Lawrence was a no-brainer at the time, but you would be hard-pressed to find many more stars who were drafted by the team. Going back to 2007 the first-round picks of the Jacksonville Jaguars are almost laughable. These are the first-round draft choices for the Jaguars from 2010-2020 (anything after 2020 is too early to tell): Tyson Alualu, Blaine Gabbert, Justin Blackmon, Luke Joeckel, Blake Bortles, Dante Fowler, Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Fournette, Taven Bryan, Josh Allen, C.J. Henderson, and K’Lavon Chaisson. Of those first-round picks, only Josh Allen is worthy to even ask for a second contract.
Con: He Averaged Seven Sacks Per Season in 2021-2022
The biggest red flag to re-signing Josh Allen is his sack output in the two years before his contract season. Allen averaged 16.5 games and 7 sacks over those two seasons. He will have more sacks in 2023 than he did in the two years prior. Allen is having the best season of his career and the team has to decide whether or not he will come back to earth next season.
Pro: Good Teams in the NFL Get To the Quarterback
Josh Allen gets to the quarterback…often. A sack can change the momentum of a game, knock a team out of field goal position, or put them in uncomfortable situations. Good teams in the NFL protect their quarterback and sack the other teams. Allen is the only player on the current Jaguar roster that consistently hits the other team’s quarterback.
Con: Josh Allen Does Not Have the Same Impact As Bosa/Donald/Watt/etc.
This question has to be asked: “Is Josh Allen an elite defensive player?” The answer to this question should be a primary determinant of Josh Allen’s new contract. This year, the stats are there. Allen has 13.5 sacks already along with two forced fumbles and an interception. Even with those stats, Allen does not have the same impact on a game that players like Aaron Donald and Nick Bosa do. There are no advanced stats that show this, but simply watching the games and seeing the plays that these players make. Allen will be paid as much or more than every player listed above, but he does not seem to have the same impact on a game. Josh Allen is a very good, second-tier pass rusher.
Pro: Without Allen, the Jaguars Do Not Have a Pass Rush
The Jaguar’s second-best pass rusher is either Dawuane Smoot or Travon Walker. They have a couple of decent blitzing options as well with Tre Herndon coming from the outside and Foye Oluokon from the inside. The bottom line, however, is that they have Josh Allen and not much else. After 12 games, the Jaguars have a total of 26 sacks, 13.5 of those are from Josh Allen.
Con: The Jaguars Have a Lot of Contracts to Worry About
Trevor Lawrence is about to get paid…a lot. The team also has to decide if LT Cam Robinson is worth bringing back with a cap hit of close to $22 million. Brandon Scherff could also be a cap casualty at $25 million and the team will try to keep Christian Kirk ($25 million) and Zay Jones ($11 million) as well. Some of the unrestricted free agents include Calvin Ridley, Ezra Cleveland, Tre Herndon, and Smoot. Allen is a priority, but there are a lot of decisions to be made by GM Trent Baalke. Many of those decisions are a result of building this team more through free agency, which is expensive, than through the draft, a much cheaper option. Before this season started, “Spotrac” estimated a new Josh Allen contract to be worth around $15.3 million. Who knows what number he might get after the season he is enjoying?
Main Photo: [Kirby Lee] – USA Today Sports