Jags retain Lowery and Allen, visit Robinson
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The Jacksonville Jaguars began free agency by retaining a starting safety, cutting a former Pro Bowler and scheduling a visit with receiver Laurent Robinson.
The Jaguars and safety Dwight Lowery agreed to a four-year contract Tuesday night after his agent talked to several teams during the first few hours of free agency. The Jaguars also signed versatile backup linebacker Russell Allen to a three-year contract. Allen was a restricted free agent.
Jacksonville released receiver Kassim Osgood, a three-time Pro Bowler on special teams, and reserve offensive lineman Kevin Haslam. Osgood's contract would have cost the Jaguars nearly $3 million against the cap this season, too much for a fifth-string receiver and a special teams ace whose talents have become less important since the NFL changed the kickoff rules.
Jacksonville also signed veteran punter Nick Harris and tendered contracts to two restricted free agents, safety Courtney Greene and cornerback Will Middleton. The Jaguars offered Greene a seventh-round tender, and offered Middleton a fifth-round tender.
But the biggest news could end up being about Robinson, who arrived in Jacksonville for an interview Tuesday night. The former Dallas Cowboys receiver caught 54 passes for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, and has been considered one of the top receivers on the market. Dallas, San Diego, Miami and St. Louis also are hoping to woo Robinson, who made Jacksonville his first stop.
The Jaguars lost out on top receivers Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston, Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan and Reggie Wayne.
Jacksonville opened free agency looking to upgrade a receiving group that lacks a No. 1 target and big-play ability. General manager Gene Smith wants to add at least two receivers between free agency and next month's NFL draft. Many believed free agency would be the best spot to provide quarterback Blaine Gabbert with an offensive weapon. But the Jaguars hardly made a splash, even though new owner Shahid Khan said he had no problems spending to the $120.6 million salary cap.
The Jaguars also brought in former Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne for a visit. Jacksonville is looking for an experience backup to play behind Gabbert. Luke McCown filled the role last year, but failed when given a chance to opener the season as the starter.