Keelan Cole to join Jets on a 1-year deal

One of the players many Jags fans wanted to see back in Jacksonville this season, Keelan Cole, is signing with the Jets on a one-year deal.

One of the players many wanted to see return to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roster in 2021, Keelan Cole, has found a new team. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Cole will be joining the New York Jets on a one-year deal worth $5.5 million.

Cole, 27, had been with the Jags since 2017 when he joined them as an undrafted player out of Kentucky Wesleyan. Throughout his tenure, he wowed the fan base with highlight catches and his speed, but due to the Jags adding several receivers in the draft and free agency, he was never really able to become a top-3 option for them.

Cole will enter his time with the Jets with 274 career receptions for 2,242 yards and 12 touchdowns. He will also enter his time there with 356 yards and a touchdown to his name as a returner.

Cole will join a Jets team that has also made a lot of changes like the Jags this offseason. They named former Jags assistant Robert Saleh their head coach in January and have started the free agency period off hot by acquiring him weapons on the offensive side. Those weapons include receiver Corey Davis in addition to Cole on offense and defensive end Carl Davis on defense.

Keelan Cole listed as 1 pending free agent who Jags should let walk

In a list of the free agents each team shouldn’t retain, Bleacher Report thinks the Jaguars need to move on from receiver Keelan Cole.

With Trevor Lawrence almost certainly coming to town, the Jacksonville Jaguars need to think very hard about how they plan to build an offense of weapons around him. Free-agent receiver targets like Curtis Samuel and Allen Robinson (or tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith) are potential options, but Jacksonville also has receivers with an expiring contract already on the team.

Keelan Cole, who is among the group with expiring contracts, hasn’t been able to replicate the success from his rookie season in 2017. After notching 748 yards and three touchdowns during the Jaguars’ AFC Championship run, he didn’t reach 500 yards the following two seasons. He improved in 2020, scoring a career-high five touchdowns to go with 642 yards. But he also had a career-high in catches while his yards per catch were the lowest of his career.

In a list from Bleacher Report of one free agent each NFL team shouldn’t retain, Cole was listed for the Jaguars, and it’s easy to understand why.

The Jags can afford to part with Keelan Cole during free agency. The wideout has been dependable, if unspectacular, in four NFL seasons. An undrafted free agent out of Kentucky Wesleyan, Cole caught the most passes (55) and scored the most touchdowns (5) of his career in 2020, just in time to hit the open market.

While there may be mutual interest from the team and player to keep working together, other organizations will be hungrier than Jacksonville to acquire receiving depth. If Cole is offered upward of $7 million per season to be a No. 2 receiver in an offense with a more stable quarterback situation, the Jaguars would be wise to let him walk and prioritize more pressing positions of need with their free-agency moves.

Though the Jaguars could afford Cole, he may want a deal bigger than the value of his production over the last few seasons. Given the amount of cap space Jacksonville has and the multitude of options at receiver in this free-agent class, it’s looking like Cole isn’t getting a new deal with the Jags this offseason.

D.J. Chark expresses that he wants pending free-agent WR Keelan Cole to return to Jags

Keelan Cole is a favorite amongst Jags fans and is a player they want to see re-signed in 2021. D.J. Chark shared those feelings Monday.

Once they get their head coaching situation sorted out, the Jacksonville Jaguars will have to decide what to do with their 27 free-agents. One of the most popular names amongst the group is that of receiver Keelan Cole, who will be an unrestricted free-agent if the Jags don’t re-sign him.

With Cole’s situation pending, many fans have expressed that they want to see him back. His good friend and fellow receiver, D.J. Chark Jr., echoed those sentiments on social media Monday by asking Cole if he would like to spend another year in Jacksonville, to which Cole responded “”Yesssir!! Run it,” via Instagram story.

Cole finished the season with a total of 55 catches for 642 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He also had 140 yards as a punt returner (with a touchdown) and three kick returns for 80 yards.

While the future isn’t clear, Cole himself has expressed that he would like to be back in November.

“When it comes to being in Jacksonville, I’m not really a party guy or anything and apparently Jacksonville doesn’t have that, so I feel really good here,” Cole said. “I like the warm weather, hate the cold, shoutout to Green Bay. I like the warm weather. I like being here, I like being a Jaguar. I’d rather be a Jaguar than a Falcon or a bird or some s*** like that.”

Ultimately, Cole’s future will depend on how the next regime views him. One thing in his favor is that the team will lead the NFL in salary cap, so there is certainly enough room to retain him.

Browns vs. Jags: 3 keys to a Jacksonville victory

The Jags are dealing with several injuries, but have a chance to beat the Browns if their interior defensive line holds up against the run.

The Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) limped out of their Week 11 battle against the Pittsburgh Steelers and will now be tasked with defeating another AFC North team that is playing well in the Cleveland Browns (7-3). When considering the fact that Cleveland is dealing with personnel issues of their own, too, the game is one that could be close.

If the Jags are to win, they will need several things to go their way. Here are a few keys we think could help them upset Cleveland at TIAA Bank Field Sunday:

Play keep away and get the offense going through RB James Robinson

Both the Browns and Jags will be down several key members of their rosters due to either the league’s COVID-19 protocol or injuries. That’s especially the case on defense, which oddly enough means the Browns and Jags have a chance for a shoot out.

In Jacksonville’s case, it just wouldn’t be smart to shy away from running back James Robinson Sunday afternoon, because when they do, the results aren’t all that great. He’s been phenomenal for the team, routinely breaking undrafted rookie records, and has also been the most consistent weapon for the Jags.

Robinson will enter the game with 172 carries for 762 rushing yards and five touchdowns, which is good for the highest rushing total amongst rookies and is the third-highest in the NFL. That means Sunday needs to be a 20-plus carry day for him as the Jags will be starting a new quarterback in Mike Glennon while their wounded defense is expected to allow a lot of points.

Don’t forget about the tandem of Keelan Cole and Laviska Shenault Jr.

The Jags’ receiving corps was hit hard with injuries this week as D.J. Chark Jr. (ribs) and Chris Conley (hip) were ruled out. As a result, the Jags’ receiving corps will be a group that consists of Keelan Cole Sr., Laviska Shenault Jr., Trey Quinn, and Collin Johnson.

Due to being the most experienced member of the group, Cole is going to have to rise to the occasion and lead the way — something he’s thrived at during a contract year. That shouldn’t be all that hard to do with the Browns’ pass-rush situation as Myles Garrett and Porter Gustin both are on the Reserve/ COVID-19 list.

The Jags will also need Shenault, who is coming off a hamstring injury, to help in the short passing game. Chances are Glennon will need to get the ball out of his hands quickly due to being without Andre Norwell. Who better to go to for that than Shenault, who is a monster after the catch.

The Jags interior rotation needs a strong day

The Browns’ bread and butter on offense is their run game and they will come into Sunday’s game ranked third in the league in rushing. Nick Chubb is one of the best rushers in football and will come into the game with 96 attempts for 575 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Meanwhile, his partner in crime, Kareem Hunt, will come into the game with an even higher rushing total of 644 yards.

Simply put, this means the Jags have a chance if they can stop the run. It will fall on rookies DaVon Hamilton and Doug Costin, as well as Taven Bryan. However, the trio will have their hands full with an impressive interior offensive line as Joel Bitonio, J.C. Tretter, and Wyatt Teller have Pro Football Focus grades of 83.8, 79.1, and 95.6, respectfully. Simply put, that means fans would be hard-pressed to find a better group.

Hamilton and Costin certainly won’t be intimidated, though, as Hamilton looks like the Jags’ nose tackle of the future and Costin has a 71.9 PFF grade, good for 32nd at his position. If the pair can have a day much like we saw against the Houston Texans Week 9 and avoid wearing down in the fourth quarter, this game definitely could be a close one.

Keelan Cole discusses his pending contract situation

While Keelan Cole isn’t worried about potentially hitting free-agency, he is open to remain with the Jags after growing used to Jacksonville.

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ front office has disappointed many fans with their ability to retain players, which is going to make the 2021 offseason interesting. One player who will be a free-agent in the process is receiver Keelan Cole, who is having a great season and has the fan’s support in terms of banging the table for a new contract.

While the future is uncertain, Cole was recently asked about his future in Jacksonville and he let it be known that he’d be fine with remaining in Jacksonville. Cole also stated that the warm weather and laid back vibe of Jacksonville was something that he’s grown use to.

“When it comes to being in Jacksonville, I’m not really a party guy or anything and apparently Jacksonville doesn’t have that, so I feel really good here,” Cole said. “I like the warm weather, hate the cold, shoutout to Green Bay. I like the warm weather. I like being here, I like being a Jaguar. I’d rather be a Jaguar than a Falcon or a bird or some s*** like that.”

With injuries occurring in the receiving corps, Cole has helped the Jags tremendously this offseason, especially on the scoring end. He leads the team with four receiving touchdowns (with 34 receptions for 427 yards) and has been a weapon for both Gardner Minshew II and Jake Luton. He’s also proven to be more than a receiving threat, too, garnering a 91-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers.

When taking into account Cole’s versatility and the amount of cap space the Jags will have next season (they will lead the NFL), Cole definitely deserves to get locked up to a long-term deal. However, it clearly isn’t something that’s distracting him at the moment, so expect him to continue grinding hard while letting the rest iron itself out.

The good, bad, and ugly from the Jaguars’ 24-20 loss against the Packers

The Jags got solid contributions from their special teams, but their struggles to stop explosive plays still surfaced against the Packers.

For the third-straight game the Jacksonville Jaguars have stayed competitive late into the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, against the Green Bay Packers this squad wasn’t able to put together a game-winning drive. Despite another loss this was arguably their strongest performance since opening weekend.

Looking back on this game the team will understand they need to improve across all three phases of play, but it seems the coaches will enjoy watching the game tape a little more as we get deeper into the season.

In the wake of yet another loss, here are the good, bad and the ugly from the latest Jaguars defeat:

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The good: Special teams love

There could be a whole host of shoutouts here as James Robinson was spectacular again, and rookie Davon Hamilton is quickly out-performing his overall selection figure. When taking the help both rookies provided into account, it’s easy to overlook the impact that special teams had so I’ll show them some love here.

The tribulations at the kicking position have been well documented, but Chase McLaughlin came out and kicked 100% on a pair of field goals and extra points. His special teams comrade, Logan Cooke, also came out and ripped the ball through the windy Wisconsin air. In fact, three of Cooke’s punts from Sunday afternoon finished inside the 10-yard line, one of which was even inside the Packers’ 3-yard line.

Special teams highlights weren’t just limited to the kicking/punting this week,  though. Receiver Keelan Cole peeled off for a franchise record 91-yard punt return touchdown, which kept the Jaguars in the game in the first half. All in all Sunday was a phenomenal day for the special teams unit and plenty to make Joe DeCamillis happy.

Mandatory credit: Dan Powers/USA TODAY

The bad: Big play defense

For the second-straight week, the Jaguars have given up a touchdown of 70 yards or more. This week it was Sidney Jones IV, who got beaten by Marquez Valdes-Scantling at the start of the second quarter.

The Jaguars’ defense came to play this week, limiting the Packers to just 51 yards and 0 points in the first quarter. However, their momentum began to slip away as the team gave up the huge touchdown strike in the opening play of the second period. If the team is to win any of the tough slate of games toward the end of 2020, they need to keep the ball in front of them much better than they have been.

Mandatory Credit: Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK

The ugly: That two-minute drill

Lets not say too much about it, but whoosh. Rookie quarterback Jake Luton had a wobbly start to the game, but still managed to find his feet and lead three scoring drives as the Jaguars hung around far longer than anyone expected them to. In fact, the sixth-round rookie had the opportunity to lead his team downfield and win in Green Bay in only his second career start.

Unfortunately, the drive stalled out in ugly fashion. Luton went 1-of-4 for eight yards and two disappointing sacks. Still, the game was largely enjoyable for Jacksonville fans, especially those who want the team to draft Justin Fields.

Stock up, stock down from Jaguars’ 24-20 loss vs. Packers

Keelan Cole continues to show up for the Jags regardless as to who is behind center and had a big game against the Packers.

The Jacksonville Jaguars came away from Week 10 with yet another loss after traveling to Lambeau Field and falling to the Green Bay Packers by a score of 24-20.

The Jags made it an extremely close affair from start to finish but were unable to pick up the victory against Aaron Rodgers and company. Jacksonville came into the game as heavy underdogs and had many chances to win the game but unfortunately fell short, which has been the standard procedure for every Jags game this season.

Against the Packers, some Jaguars saw their stock on the rise, while some saw their stock fall. Here are the candidates for two Jaguars whose stock is up and two others whose stock is down:

Stock Up: WR Keelan Cole

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole Sr. may not be the star of the team, but he is arguably one of the most consistent players to wear the black and teal.

Cole had a tremendous game as he scored two touchdowns on the day, one of which was an incredible 91-yard touchdown in the second quarter, which was the longest in Jaguars history. He would then follow that up with a 12-yard touchdown in the third quarter and ultimately finished the game with five receptions for 47 yards with his two total touchdowns.

Cole has played well as a “safety valve” type of receiver as he displayed the same amount of solid chemistry with former starting quarterback Gardner Minshew II as he did today with rookie quarterback Jake Luton.

Stock down: LB Josh Allen

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars pass-rusher Josh Allen was drafted with the No. 7 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft to be one of the franchise cornerstones on the defense. He had a very promising rookie season as he earned a Pro Bowl nomination and finished with 10.5 sacks with only 60% of the defensive snaps played.

The success of last season has not translated to this season as he didn’t record a sack on Aaron Rodgers and has only 0.5 sacks in his last three games. He had two tackles and couldn’t get much pressure on the Packers signal-caller.

Around this time last season, Allen had five sacks already but only has 2.5 at the nine-game mark. While he is still a skilled player, he has not made much of an impact on the quarterback this season, especially with more of his snaps predominantly coming from three-point stance as a traditional defensive end.

Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash has come under a lot of fire for not properly being able to utilize talented players properly and put them in better positions to make plays. This could be the case for the former Kentucky Wildcat star.

Stock Up: DT DaVon Hamilton

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive tackle can be a tough position to grade at times, but rookie defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton has had a solid string of games.

Against the Packers, he had four tackles including a sack and a pass deflection. Hamilton truly made his presence felt from the interior against one of the better lines while being matched up against Packers center Corey Linsley, who is Pro Football Focus’ top-graded center in the NFL.

While the former Ohio State Buckeye hasn’t had a noteworthy season overall, his disruptive play in the past few weeks and against the Packers has put fans and coaches on notice. A game like this one could lead to an encouraging back half on the season for the rookie.

Stock Down: QB Jake Luton

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

While Luton had an encouraging performance against the Houston Texans last Sunday, reality set in for the rookie signal-caller against the Packers. He had a tough day at the office, going only 18-of-35 on his passing attempts (51.4%) with 169 passing yards, one touchdown, and an interception en route to a 33.5 QBR.

Luton missed a lot of key throws as the offense was 4-of-13 on third-down, three of which were where first-down distance was five yards or below. The passing offense as a whole only averaged 4.8 yards per pass as many of the intermediate routes were heavily inaccurate.

The weather conditions were not very favorable for the Jags in this game, but there were many points and easy throws that were left on the field no matter the conditions. Jake Luton hasn’t provided a noticeable upgrade at the quarterback position, which makes his stock drop just slightly. The rookie has fared well in only his second start but the Jaguars’ offense has still seen its fair share of problems regardless of the quarterback.

Jags come up short after taking Packers to the limit in 24-20 loss

The Jags took one of the league’s best teams in the Packers to the limit Sunday, but ultimately came up short in a nail-biter.

The Jacksonville Jaguars dropped their eighth consecutive loss Sunday against the Green Bay Packers by a score of 24-20, but once again made their performance a very watchable one for their fanbase. They started the first half with some fire and even tied the score up in the second half at 17-17.

The first quarter was a bit of a shocker as Aaron Rodgers and company struggled to get going, leaving it scoreless and trailing the Jags — although it was just by a field goal. The Packers ended up punting the ball three times in the first quarter, which marked a solid start for the Jags’ defense as they continued their progress from Week 9 against the Houston Texans.

However, when the second quarter rolled around, it didn’t take long for Green Bay to get cooking. In fact, the team was able to get on the board during the very first possession of the quarter thanks to a deep 78-yard connection between Rodgers and receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

The Packers didn’t stop there, however, scoring another touchdown on a Rodgers rushing attempt and a field goal from Mason Crosby before the half could end.

As for the Jags, they had arguably their biggest highlight play of the game, which was a 91-yard punt return for a touchdown by receiver Keelan Cole. After fielding a punt deep in the Jags’ territory, he gutted their punt team and found himself in a one-on-one foot race with punter JK Scott. Cole gave the third-year punter a juke move and put him on skates, then proceeded to blaze past him for the end zone.

As a result of the return, the Jags jumped to a 10-7 lead, though Crosby’s field goal and Rodgers’ rushing touchdown put them in the lead by a score of 17-10 before the half.

In the third quarter, the Jags’ defense stepped up once again garnering a fumble and a recovery during the Packers’ first possession of the second half. The turnover came on a hustle play by first-round pick C.J. Henderson, who allowed Davante Adams to get a catch on him, then advance the football up the field. The rookie cornerback continued to hustle though, sneaking up behind Adams and stripping the ball away. Linebacker Myles Jack then scooped up the ball in Green Bay territory and advanced it up the field to their 16-yard line.

The Jags’ offense, which had previously struggled under rookie quarterback Jake Luton, then took the field and took advantage of the good field positioning with a touchdown pass. Luton was able to thread the needle and throw a strike in the middle of the Packers’ goal-line defense, hitting Keelan Cole on a 12-yard slant pattern. As a result, the score was knotted up at 17-17 at the 10:30 mark in the third quarter.

However, the Jags’ momentum continued throughout the third quarter as the defense caused a turnover on downs and also garnered an interception courtesy of cornerback Sidney Jones IV, who made several other plays for the Jags.

The offense was also able to add another field goal early in the fourth quarter, putting the score at 20-17, but the Packers ultimately were able to get a touchdown roughly at the nine-minute mark, moving the score to its final figure of 24-20.

Ultimately, it appears the game came down to the struggles of Luton, who was only 18-of-35 for 169 yards, one touchdown, and a pick. Of course, he should probably get the benefit of the doubt because it was only his second start, but there was simply little margin for error against a great like Rodgers. At the same time, the rookie definitely should remain the starter if Minshew isn’t ready to return, as there have been some solid plays made on his part.

As for the Jags in general, they fell to 1-8 as Doug Marrone continues to fight for his job. Oddly enough, this is a loss that Jags fans can once again live with as there is a bigger goal at stake: acquiring a top-2 pick and having a shot at Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields if the front office wants to take one. To be competitive in the process is a bonus the fans will gladly take — and it also further proves they are a signal-caller and a few other pieces away from being a solid team.

The Jags’ next game will take place at TIAA Bank Field against their old rivals in the Pittsburgh Steelers. With the Jags being competitive dating back to Week 7, it won’t be shocking if it remains that way again though the Steelers are rightfully viewed as the favorites.

Watch: Gardner Minshew hits Keelan Cole for a toe-drag touchdown reception

The Jags offense was able to get on the board in the second quarter of Week 5’s game against the Texans with a highlight TD from Keelan Cole.

The Jacksonville Jaguars went through the first quarter of Week 5’s game against the Houston Texans scoreless, but were able to turn it on in the second quarter with a touchdown reception to Keelan Cole.

At roughly the six-minute and 40-second mark, quarterback Gardner Minshew II was able to connect with the speedster for a touchdown by the right boundary line. Cole was able to show tremendous concentration, bringing down the 13-yard pass for a toe-drag touchdown.

The reception marked Cole’s first and only reception of the game, but fans can bet their bottom dollar that Minshew will come back to the fourth-year receiver who is one of his favorite targets.

Unfortunately, the Texans answered back with a touchdown through tight end Darren Fells, putting the score at 10-7 in favor of the them. However, with the Jags’ offense rolling and plenty of football left to be played, the Jags could close the gap if their defense can put together a serviceable game.

Watch: Keelan Cole adds to impressive camp showing with a nice toe drag reception

Keelan Cole added another crazy catch to his name in Monday’s practice courtesy of a dime by Mike Glennon.

When looking at how training camp has gone for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the receivers have had the most standout moments. Veteran Keelan Cole, whose established himself as a circus catch king, added to that during Monday’s practice.

In 1-on-1 drills, Cole made another highlight catch which was caught on video by the Jags social media account. With Parry Nickerson in coverage, Cole ran a fade to the back corner of the end-zone, and with the help of a perfect pass from Mike Glennon, he was able to reel it in for this toe drag reception seen below.

Talk about concentration.

As mentioned above, these type of catches have become routine for Cole as we’ve seen him snag one-handed grabs in clutch game time situations. Of course, his most notable one came in 2018 when he hauled in a one-hander on the New England Patriots in front of their head coach Bill Belichick.

Cole’s highlight catch from Monday just further adds to the under-the-radar camp he’s having. There were some who felt the depth was so good at receiver that he’d be the odd man out for the Jags, but he’s simply been so good that it probably won’t be a thought for the staff.