One of the biggest players in NFL free agency last year, the Jacksonville Jaguars hope they’re spending well again this year: the team has reportedly agreed to a five-year deal with left guard Andrew Norwell.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Norwell, who spent the first four years of his career with the Carolina Panthers, will sign a $66.5 million deal, including $30 million fully guaranteed. At $13.3 million per year, he’ll be the NFL’s highest-paid guard.
Norwell wasn’t invited to the combine in 2014 and went undrafted out of Ohio State, but started nine games (playing in 10) for the Panthers as a rookie, earning a starting job midway through the year. He was a full-time starter in 2015-17, and named first-team All-Pro for this past season.
It’s a move that makes an anlready-solid offensive line for the Jaguars even stronger: led by rookie Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville had the top rushing offense in the league last year (2,262 yards, 4.3 yards per carry), and quarterback Blake Bortles had the best season of his career by far in terms of sacks.
Bortles was sacked just 24 times last season; in 2016, that number was 34. He was sacked 55 and 51 times in his first two seasons.