The good news: Marqise Lee has become the No. 1 receiver in Jacksonville. The bad news: The Jaguars are a run-focused offense and Blake Bortles is still his quarterback. Expected to teeter around 100 targets in 2018, Lee has just enough speed to threaten defenses deep and the quicks and route-running skills to be effective in the short- and mid-range. Unfortunately, his touchdown production appears to be stilted (no more than three scores in any season) and his injury history suggests he'll miss at least a couple of games in 2018. Tack on any matchups where the Jaguars figure to win on the strength of their defense and run game and Lee is likely to be a disappointment often. He has two career games with over 100 yards and failed to rack up even 90 yards in his last 20 games including the playoffs. He's a decent bench receiver worth a pick in Round 10 or later. Josh Doctson, DeVante Parker and Marquise Goodwin have more upside.
The Jaguars selected D.J. Chark at No. 61 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, adding another body to a wideout group that already included Lee, Donte Moncrief, Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole, The Associated Press reports. Jacksonville let Allen Robinson leave for Chicago and later released Allen Hurns, but the team nonetheless finds itself with quite a crowd at wide receiver. Lee led the Jags in targets (96) last season and is the favorite to do the same in 2018, after re-signing in March on a four-year, $34 million contract that includes $16.5 million guaranteed, per OverTheCap. However, there's no denying that he'll have serous competition for Blake Bortles' attention in a run-heavy offense, as the team also made a significant investment in Moncrief and now has a trio of promising young receivers. Furthermore, the Jaguars signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins to replace Marcedes Lewis as the starting tight end, hinting at a desire to get more out of the position in the passing game.
Lee will re-sign with the Jaguars, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Lee's deal is reportedly worth up to $38 million over the course of the next four seasons. With fellow free agent Allen Robinson headed to Chicago and Allen Hurns a candidate to be released, the Jaguars unsurprisingly ramped up their interest in retaining Lee, a 2014 second-round pick who averaged four catches for 52 yards over 30 games the past two years. He only had six touchdowns and two gains of 40 or more yards in that stretch, but he'll at least give Blake Bortles a dependable target on short and intermediate routes while second-year receivers Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole provide speed downfield. Jacksonville's decision to spend big on guard Andrew Norwell instead of Robinson suggests the team will stick with a run-heavy approach led by Leonard Fournette. The circumstances will make it difficult for Lee to take a big step forward from what he did the past two years.
Lee led the Jaguars with 56 catches and ranked second in receiving yards (702) while appearing in 14 regular-season contests during the 2017 season. After the Jaguars lost Allen Robinson (knee) to a torn ACL in Week 1, Lee became the de facto No. 1 option and enjoyed a relatively productive season in what was a conservative passing attack. Lee was targeted 96 times across his 14 games, just nine fewer than he saw in 2016, when he appeared in all 16 contests. Lee will be a free agent this offseason but the prevailing belief is that the Jaguars would like to bring him back at the right price. The question is whether another franchise in need of a playmaker at receiver will be willing to pay up for Lee's services.
Lee brought in three of six targets for 28 yards in Sunday's 45-42 AFC divisional-round win over the Steelers. Lee's reception total, modest as it was, still paced the Jaguars' wideouts on the afternoon. Blake Bortles also hit running back T.J. Yeldon on three occasions and no other pass catcher more than twice, so it was a generally underwhelming afternoon for Jacksonville's air attack overall. Lee and his fellow receivers will likely need much more productive efforts in next Sunday's AFC championship showdown in New England in order for the Jags to have any chance of upsetting the Patriots.
Lee (ankle) is listed as active for Sunday's playoff game against the Bills. While it's still possible that Lee's snaps could be limited to a degree, by design, or relative to how his ankle responds in-game, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com indicates that the wideout is slated to start the contest. The return of Lee -- who last suited up on Dec. 17 -- provides QB Blake Bortles with another viable option in the team's passing attack Sunday to work along with the likes of Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook and Allen Hurns.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/09||@New York Giants||25||20.75|
|2||09/16||New England Patriots||27||22.58|
|4||09/30||New York Jets||19||20.00|
|5||10/07||@Kansas City Chiefs||30||23.35|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||78||45||581||2||32||12.91||73|