The Jacksonville Jaguars aren't keeping their plans for next year secret. If Blake Bortles is the real deal, he'll need to prove it. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Jaguars are reportedly releasing wide receiver Allen Hurns, who would have carried a $7 million cap hit this season. That's a hefty price for a receiver who had 39 catches in 2017 for 484 yards, although it does take away another weapon that Bortles is familiar with.
Jaguars are releasing WR Allen Hurns, per source. Strong market expected for him.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 20, 2018
The signing of Donte Moncrief casts some questions -- although it also ushered in Hurns' release -- as Moncrief signed a one-year deal worth $9.6 million for this season, fully guaranteed. Moncrief had 26 catches for 391 yards last year, and his career-high for receptions is 64 in 2015. The Colts' utter lack of a passing game may have contributed, but it's still a shaky trade-off.
Hurns joins Allen Robinson as the latest receiver to leave the Jaguars' fold, as they prepare to devote their resources to guys like Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook and Marqise Lee, whom they worth up to $38 million earlier this offseason. Hurns played four years for the Jaguars, racking up 189 catches, 2,669 yards and 21 touchdowns. His best season came alongside Robinson in 2015, when both players had career years. Hurns had 64 catches for 1,031 yards and 10 touchdowns.
In addition to Hurns, the Jaguars are reportedly releasing tight end Marcedes Lewis, per Schefter. Lewis has been with the Jaguars since 2006, and has amassed 375 catches for 4,502 yards and 33 touchdowns. While his receiving numbers were hardly mind-boggling, he's long been a staple of the Jaguars' franchise. James O'Shaughnessy will likely see his targets increase next year.
Hurns should have a decent market for teams in need of a receiver, although he may not get paid what he was paid in Jacksonville. His production dropped off from his ridiculous 2015 season, but he's still a solid complementary guy. He also brings a lot of grit. Perhaps his biggest moment in Jacksonville came after a catch for six yards against the Chargers, when he was upended and crawled to the sideline so the Jaguars could stay in their two-minute offense.
They went on to win that game in overtime, 20-17. The heads-up play saved the Jaguars a 10-second runoff. The only concern with Hurns is the physical nature of his style. He takes a lot of hits over the middle, and has been concussed several times in his career. Teams that sign him would be getting a solid, physical slot receiver. They likely wouldn't be getting his 2015 production.
The Jaguars are establishing a completely new look top to bottom after making the AFC Championship Game last year. For better or for worse, they're hoping that that new look can get them over one more hurdle and propel them to the franchise's first Super Bowl appearance.