Jaguars begin revamping defense by landing Robertson-Harris
New Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer said last week the team's rebuild would start on the defensive line. It did, although not with quite the splash many expected.
The Jaguars and former Chicago Bears defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris agreed Monday on a three-year, $24.4 million deal that includes $14 million guaranteed, a person familiar with negotiations said.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because neither side can confirm free agent agreements until the new league year begins Wednesday.
Robertson-Harris confirmed his new team by tweeting “DUUUVAL,” the city’s rallying cry.
The 6-foot-5, 292-pound Robertson-Harris is expected to be a 3-4 defensive end in new coordinator Joe Cullen's scheme.
Jacksonville has 2019 Pro Bowl pass rusher Josh Allen and nose tackle DaVon Hamilton, a third-round draft pick a year ago, but is looking to make significant additions around those two. K'Lavon Chaisson, the 20th overall pick in 2020, could make a jump while moving from defensive end to a more natural fit at outside linebacker.
Robertson-Harris started just 13 games over four seasons with the Bears. He injured a shoulder last year and missed the final seven games. He had surgery in November and has been cleared to work out beginning next month.
The addition of Robertson-Harris didn't provide the kind of buzz Jaguars fans were hoping for with the start of the NFL's “legal tampering” period. They were hoping for Dalvin Tomlinson of the New York Giants or possibly Baltimore's Matt Judon, Tampa Bay's Shaq Barrett or Cincinnati's Carl Lawson. Judon signed with New England and Barrett stayed in Tampa.
Jacksonville, meanwhile, landed a guy who spent much of his first contract as a backup.
The Jags began the day with more salary-cap space (nearly $73 million) than any other team and holes everywhere. General manager Trent Baalke stressed finding value, and that could be Robertson-Harris. An undrafted rookie in 2016, he notched 75 tackles, including 7 1/2 sacks, during his time in Chicago.
Meyer also showed his commitment to special teams by agreeing to terms with safety Rudy Ford and receiver Jamal Agnew.
Ford led Philadelphia and ranked fifth in the NFL with 10 solo special teams tackles last year and should compete for playing time in the defensive backfield.
Agnew averaged 28 yards a kick return and 12.7 a punt return with Detroit last year and reunites with former Lions and current Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who could use his speed in what's expected to be a wide-open offense featuring presumptive No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence.
“DUUUVAL!!! Ima give y’all everything I got and more,” Agnew tweeted.
Ford agreed to terms on a two-year, $4.2 million deal, according to NFL Network. Agnew agreed to terms on a three-year deal that could max out at $21 million with incentives, according to NFL Network.
Also Monday, Jacksonville re-signed reserve guard/center Tyler Shatley and reworked guard Andrew Norwell's contract.
Shatley has started 25 games in seven seasons in Jacksonville, including 10 last year.
Norwell's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirmed that Norwell will get $9 million fully guaranteed this year and could earn up to $12 million with incentives. Norwell signed a five-year, $66.5 million deal in 2018 that included $30 million guaranteed.
Norwell played for Meyer at Ohio State.
“He’s one of my favorite players I’ve ever coached," Meyer said. "He’s a guy that was the underdog when we got there at Ohio State. ... He's a grinder. He's a worker. He's a team guy. He's a locker room guy.
"I see him being part of the Jaguars and I want him to be part of the Jaguars. For me personally, I love the guy because I know him better than most.”
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL