The Jacksonville Jaguars are set to harpoon the top offensive lineman in free agency.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports former Carolina Panthers guard Andrew Norwell is expected to sign with the Jaguars, according to sources informed of the deal. The deal is set to count five years and $66.5 million, with $30 million fully guaranteed.
Norwell’s deal sets new highs for guards in total value, average per season and guarantees, per Over The Cap.
The deal cannot be finalized until the new league year opens at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
The Panthers would have liked to keep the 2017 first-team All-Pro, but couldn’t afford to pay another guard huge money. Carolina eschewed the franchise tag money that paid offensive tackle money.
Norwell immediately upgrades the interior of Jacksonville, which struggled much of last season. The addition of the undrafted 26-year-old will immediately improve Leonard Fournette‘s outlook for 2018. Norwell should also make life easier for Blake Bortles protecting the QB from pressure up the gut.
After focusing on building up the defensive side of the ball last offseason, the Jags begin this new league year letting receiver Allen Robinson walk to the Bears and upgrading their offensive line. The game plan heading to 2018 is clear: Play D and pound the rock. Norwell’s signing is the biggest key to that plan thus far.