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Moeller: In Some Ways, Allen’s Signing a Surprise and in Other Ways, it Wasn’t

(File photo by Nancy DeLander Beecher/Florida Sports Wire)

By Jeff Moeller, Florida Sports Wire

JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars locked up edge rusher and team leader Josh Allen for the next five years with a $150 million check.

In some ways, it was a surprising move, and in other ways, it wasn’t.

It does appear to have the time for the franchise to start building a foundation toward one of the league’s elite. It should and does start with the defense.

Allen had the franchise tag placed on him, and the negotiations began. There always was the chance that Allen would try to walk.

But the Jags made a major move forward by keeping Allen under wraps. He’s a cornerstone for the defense and the team.

The team has reached the stage of being a legitimate perennial contender for the AFC South crown as well as an annual playoff participant. Allen’s development has reassured them.

He set a new rookie sack record (10.5) in 2019, and broke the overall mark (17.5) this past season. He and Travon Walker combined for 27.5 sacks,establishing themselves as one of the league’s most effective duos.

This season, Walker, the 2022 top pick will be in the spotlight this season. The former Alabama standout picked up his game last season, and began to produce as expected. But he still needs to turn it up a notch.

There was plenty of speculation that the Jags would try to bring aboard edge rusher Saqu Barrett or Jadaveon Clowney to further solidify the rush. Yet, the Jags made a major move by signing former 49ers standout Arik Armstead to handle the middle.

Davon Hamilton and Roy Robertson-Harris will be back across the line for added veteran depth.

With Allen, Walker, and Armstead along with leading tackler Foye Oluokun and Devin Llyod, the Jags have the making of a top-10 unit up front.

It is the matter of the secondary that will be the opening questions of the new season. But an increased pass rush will take some of the secondary load off.

Newcomers Ronald Darby and Darnell Savage will join incumbents Andre Cisco and Tyson Campbell in the back end.

How long will it take for the unit to jell can be a burning and consequential question. The Jags have tended to lay an egg or two over the first eight weeks of the season.

However, Allen’s long-term deal should be a sign of a long-term commitment ahead for an anticipated contender.

 

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