The 2018 NFL league year is upon us and with that, the hustle and bustle that was the legal tampering period is over and teams can make their reported free agency signings official. With the dust settling from a few hectic days of reports, we at Pro Football Focus take an in depth look at some of free agency's biggest deals in our exclusive 2018 Free Agency Deal Grader.
Taken into our deal grades here are many contributing factors, including but not limited to scheme fit for the player signed, contract value and salary cap hit, PFF's overall grades for both player and team, and several other facets.
For more in depth insight all the league's free agents, check out the 2018 PFF Free Agent Guide, a part of your PFF Edge or Elite subscription.
Andrew Norwell signs with the Jacksonville Jaguars
Contract details: 5-year, $66.5-million
What it means for Norwell:
The Jacksonville Jaguars‘ signing of Andrew Norwell means he joins center Brandon Linder as the highest-paid player at his position league wide. The guard-center duo immediately becomes one of the best in the NFL and is on par with other dynamic combo’s seen in Dallas and Philadelphia. Norwell’s 2017 88.0 overall grade and Linder’s 84.7 both ranked inside the top five at their respective positions.
What it means for Jacksonville:
The Jaguars entered the offseason with the offensive line easily being their biggest need and addressed it by replacing struggling Patrick Omameh (53.6 overall grade) with the top free agent offensive lineman in Norwell. As a unit in 2017, the Jaguars offensive line generated just 1.2 yards before contact per carry and Jaguars' runners had just 10 break away runs (carries of 15 or more yards), both low marks. Also, the Jaguars guard tandem surrendered 55 pressures, including four hits and four sacks.
Enter Norwell, who not only brings top-10 run-blocking prowess (83.4 run-blocking grade) but also elite pass protection skills. On 651 pass-blocking snaps including the playoffs, Norwell surrendered just 15 pressures, zero of which were sacks or hits.
The Jaguars took a huge step in fixing what was clearly their biggest need. Their offensive line now features three above average to very-good starters who should help propel the Jaguars' rushing attack into a more efficient version of itself.