Jacksonville Jaguars sign OLB Dan Skuta

What?!?! This deal has to be easily the most surprising deal of the off-season, as I never expected Skuta to get anything close to 20.5 million over 5 years and it’s hard to imagine the Jaguars were bidding against any team willing to offer Skuta even half of this money. I like Skuta as a player. The amount of different positions Skuta has played in the NFL is incredible. He’s played 4-3 defensive end, fullback, 4-3 outside linebacker, 4-3 middle linebacker, 3-4 outside linebacker, and 3-4 middle linebacker, while excelling on special teams.

In Jacksonville, he’ll probably play the Bruce Irvin role in Jacksonville’s Seattle style defense, playing as a base 4-3 outside linebacker who rushes the passer from the edge in sub packages occasionally. Skuta has graded out above average in 3 of the last 4 seasons, including 2 straight, including a 2013 campaign in which he was Pro Football Focus’ 16th ranked 3-4 outside linebacker on just 304 snaps in San Francisco, with no one playing fewer snaps and grading out better at the position. However, he’s never played more than 398 snaps in a season (setting that career high in 2014) and he’s already going into his age 29 season.

I don’t think this move is quite as bad as it looks at first glance and quite as bad as a lot of people are making it out to be. Skuta is a solid role player who could breakout as a solid starter in 2015 and beyond and, while this is an overpay, the Jaguars have cap space, need to spend to hit the salary floor, and need to kind of overpay to get people to come join a team that’s struggled so much in recent seasons. However, it’s still a pretty big overpay by the Jaguars. He’s a projection to an every-down role. He’s not that young. And the list of guys who break out as starters for the first time in their 7th season in the league isn’t very long. The league is generally smart enough for guys not to fall through the cracks that many times.

Grade: D

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