Jaguars Free Agent Target- Eric Weddle

A new collective bargaining agreement and thus the beginning of NFL free agency appears to be right around the corner. We've already previewed the Jaguars position by position and we are going to explore some of the players who will be available to them via free agency. Find out how likely Jacksonville is to signing their top free agent target, safety Eric Weddle.

As everyone who watched the 2010 Jaguars knows, the safety position desperately needs a talent upgrade. Don Carey, Gerald Alexander, Anthony Smith, Sean Considine and Courtney Greene were historically awful a season ago and if the Jaguars enter the season with Carey, Greene and rookie Chris Prosinski it will be doubtful that 2011 will be any better.

The best safety on the market is Eric Weddle, formerly of the San Diego Chargers and previously Utah. Weddle is the perfect free safety as he has great range and is intelligent enough to diagnose plays.

CBS Sports columnist Pete Prisco believes that Weddle is the top target on the Jaguars wish list--

Chargers safety Eric Weddle to the Jaguars: The Jaguars were terrible in pass defense last season, finishing last in the league in net yards per pass play, and they had a revolving door at safety. They do like strong safety Courtney Greene, but they need a ball-hawking, rangy safety. Weddle is that guy. San Diego would love to have him back, and they might get him back, but look for Jacksonville to make a push to get him if he's on the market. He's the type of player Jaguars general manager Gene Smith loves: Hard-working and not a troublemaker in the locker room. Oh, by the way: He can also cover.

Now what are the odds that Weddle will actually become available to the Jaguars?

We asked SD Bolt publisher Michael Lombardo about Weddle's worth to the Chargers and what he believes the team will do.

Weddle is the team's top priority and will return; the Chargers are screwed at safety if Weddle departs and they know it. Weddle is an instinctive player who reads quarterbacks well and gets great breaks on the ball. He diagnoses plays quickly and makes his presence felt all over the field.

If the Jaguars are going to tempt Eric Weddle to change zip codes they will have to throw a significant amount of money his way. Somewhere in the $15-20 million guaranteed range and an annual salary of $6 million.

Jacksonville has historically not valued the safety position enough to make that type of financial commitment, but after witnessing last season and having Pro Bowl quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub in their division, that may have changed.

Charlie Bernstein is the host of "The Sports Crunch" on the Aquarius 7 Broadcasting Network (national), and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie

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