Following a surprising 4-4 start, the Jaguars staggered to the finish line in 2019, winning just two of their final eight games to finish with a 6-10 record. 2019 marked the second consecutive losing season for the Jaguars, who are now three years removed from nearly representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. The Jaguars selected a dozen new players during the 2020 NFL Draft. While Jacksonville's youth moment may result in some growing pains, the Jaguars should be considered a team on the rise one year from now, when their current rookies get a season under their belts.
With training camp on the horizon, we decided to take a look at the team's top-five salary cap bargains heading into the season.
5. DaVon Hamilton, defensive tackle
2020 salary cap hit: $876, 459
Hamilton may not be as heralded as CJ Henderson and K'Lavon Chaisson (the two Jaguars defensive players selected before Hamilton was taken with the 73rd pick), but Hamilton's tremendous value and considerably cheap price tag made him the lone Jacksonville rookie that made the list. During his final season at Ohio State, the 6-foot-4, 320-pounds Hamilton recorded six sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. And while he may not start right away, Hamilton should be expected to receive significant reps in 2020.
"We think he is going to get a lot better even though he is really good right now," Jaguars coach Doug Marrone recently said of Hamilton, via John Reid of Jacksonville.com. "You can see him on the move. He has such great strength at the holding point. I think he is going to help us on the inside."
4. Joe Schobert, linebacker
2020 salary cap hit: $5,400,000
The team's biggest free agent signing, Schobert, who inked a five-year, $53.75 million contract with the Jaguars following four productive seasons with the Browns, actually doesn't count much against the Jaguars' cap in 2020. A 2017 Pro Bowler (he led the league with 144 tackles that season), Schobert filled the stat sheet in 2019, when he recorded 133 tackles, four interceptions, nine passes defensed, two sacks and two forced fumbles. Schobert will also be a welcomed veteran presence on a young Jacksonville defense that has lost several key pieces over the last few seasons.
3. DJ Chark, receiver
2020 salary cap hit: $1, 212, 881
The team's second-round pick in the 2018 draft, Chark enjoyed a breakout season in 2019, when he caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns while earning his first Pro Bowl selection. He started the season on a high note, catching all four of his targets for 146 yards and a touchdown in the Jaguars' season-opener against the Chiefs. Four weeks later, he enjoyed another standout performance, catching eight passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns against the Panthers. Chark is being tabbed as one of the NFL's top fantasy football "bargains" heading into the upcoming season.
2. Josh Allen, linebacker
2020 salary cap hit: $5,168, 781
The new face of the Jaguars' defense, Allen's play on the field showed why he was the seventh overall pick in the 2019 draft. A Pro Bowler last season, Allen racked up 10.5 sacks and two forced fumbles despite receiving just four starts. Jags defensive line coach Jason Rebrovich recently called Allen "an eager, gritty man who wants to become the best."
"That's what you want as a coach," Rebrovich said of Allen, via the team's official website. "Josh has that every day. He's ready to go. I'd be late in the office last season and I'd have Josh calling saying, 'Hey, I'm watching this [offensive] lineman … did you see his set?' It started to click with him more and more and more.
"You hear everybody talk about the game slowing down. Is it there with Josh? No. Is it coming? Yes, there's no doubt about it. To have a guy like that who has that drive, who wants that push … those guys make it exciting."
1. Gardner Minshew, quarterback
2020 salary cap hit: $722,904
Minshew is not only the NFL's lowest-paid starting quarterback, but he's also making less than Josh Dobbs and Mike Glennon, his backups for the 2020 season. A sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft, Minshew made the most of his opportunity to play last season when Nick Foles went down with an injury in Week 1. In 14 games, Minshew threw 21 touchdowns against just six interceptions while winning half of his 12 starts.
This offseason, Jacksonville has surrounded Minshew with a formidable group of teammates at the skill positions. While his top two receivers from last season -- Chark and Dede Westbrook -- are back for 2020, Minshew will also have rookie receivers Laviska Shenault and Collin Johnson, former Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert and rookie tight end Tyler Davis to throw to this fall. The 42nd overall pick, Shenault caught 142 passes and 10 touchdowns during his final two seasons at Colorado. A fifth-round pick, the 6-foot-2, 222-pound Johnson caught 188 passes and 15 touchdowns in four seasons with the Longhorns.