The Jacksonville Jaguars made sure to get $88 million man, Nick Foles, some weapons as they locked up Chris Conley in NFL free agency.
As first reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Jacksonville Jaguars have signed a deal with former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley. The management pair of Dave Caldwell and Tom Coughlin have been very offensive-minded this offseason, finally addressing the Blake Bortles debacle once and for all.
Now that they have what they believe to be their franchise quarterback following the Nick Foles signing, they are now focused on revamping an offense that ranked 27th in the NFL last season.
I wrote about the possible signing of Conley last week, and believe this to be a great deal for the Jaguars. The receiving corps was thin at best and, while Conley hasn’t been a star in the NFL, the versatility and skill set he brings to Jacksonville is very intriguing.
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The move also reunites Conley with Foles, who spent the 2016 season as a backup in Kansas City. Conley is very fond of Foles, telling Jaguars.com after signing, “Three years ago, I said, ‘Hey, you’re going to be a starting quarterback someday. When you are, let’s make it happen. Let’s make this run.”
Both players were backups at their respective positions that season with the Chiefs, meaning they likely have a lot of familiarity with each other through shared practice reps. Ideally, this familiarity and close friendship will lead to good chemistry on the practice field and on Sundays. Conley cited Foles as the factor that sealed the deal for him signing with the Jaguars.
As for Conley the player, he was often inconsistent in the powerful Chiefs offense, becoming the odd man out in the receiving corps. Jaguars’ wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell should be thrilled to work with a player with an athletic profile like Conley and might just be the guy to unlock his full potential.
McCardell deserves a ton of credit for former undrafted free agent Keelan Cole’s rookie season, as well as Dede Westbrook’s production last season. Westbrook is primed for a breakout year in the slot and McCardell now has a long, explosive guy to play the X position alongside 2018 rookie D.J. Chark.
The former third-round pick from Georgia provides versatility in the Jaguars’ receiver sets, with the ability to play both the X and Z spots. Putting him at the Z allows Chark to get more reps at his best spot, the X. Westbrook, Cole, and veteran Marqise Lee will fill the slot roles with all three also having the ability to play the Z. Having Conley and Chark on the outside, putting Lee at the Z and Westbrook in the slot will be, in my mind, the best receiver set for the Jaguars in 2019.
While the financial details of the contract have not yet been released, it’s hard to imagine the Jaguars pledging more than $6-8 million annually for Conley. At that dollar amount, this deal is a win win for both sides.
The Jaguars added an extremely talented receiver that projects nicely in their offense and Conley gets a change of scenery and an opportunity to prove he can do more than he showed in Kansas City, all the while reuniting him with his good buddy Foles.
Final grade: A-