JagNation Rumor Mill

Which Jaguar will be looking for a bump in salary from Wayne Weaver? Who is poised to be a starter? Are the Jaguars out of the O.J. Atogwe sweepstakes? Find out what we've been hearing from our various NFL sources in this edition of the JagNation Rumor Mill.

Pay Now or Pay Later?

Jaguars wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker had a breakout season in 2009 as he was finally able to stay healthy. Sims-Walker led the team with 63 receptions for 869 yards and seven touchdowns, while being suspended for one game and not getting many reps in another. Sims-Walker appears to be the closest thing the Jaguars have had to a number one receiver since Jimmy Smith retired following the 2005 season.

Sims-Walker is entering the final year of his four-year deal which will pay him just over $1.1 million in 2010. Although he's not mentioned anything in the press, Sims-Walker reportedly switched agents and hired Kenneth McGuire, who was recently hired by Texans wideout Andre Johnson, who has made it public that he's searching for a new deal. If the Jaguars don't negotiate with Sims-Walker and allow him to play out the final year of his deal , it could be very costly for the team, as the franchise number for a wide receiver is likely to be in the neighborhood of $10 million, assuming that there is a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place.

The Jaguars could roll the proverbial dice, however, and bank of Sims-Walker not raising his value and/or there not being a new deal in place and their talented receiver could remain a restricted free agent, similar to the fate of San Diego Chargers leading receiver, Vincent Jackson.

Thomas Eyes Starting Role

Jaguars second-year wideout Mike Thomas has always overachieved, as he hasn't let his 5'8", 200 lb frame hold him back from being the Pac-10's all-time leading receiver while at the University of Arizona. Thomas' collegiate accolades caused the Jaguars to select him in the fourth-round of the 2009 draft, and after he healed up from hamstring issues, Thomas became a play-maker for the team.

"I just have a gift for making plays," Thomas told me on my radio show.

After striving to just "fit in" a year ago and learn the playbook, Thomas is back in Year Two with much bigger plans.

"I think I can be a number one or number two receiver in this league," Thomas said.

The way the Jaguars wide receiver rotation currently looks with Thomas, Mike Sims-Walker, Troy Williamson, Jarett Dillard, Nate Hughes and Tiquan Underwood (among others), it seems more than likely that Thomas will find his way into the starting rotation assuming he's 100% healthy.

Safety Help On the Horizon?

The Jaguars collection of safeties isn't going to put much fear into Peyton Manning or Matt Schaub, as Gerald Alexander, Reggie Nelson, Sean Considine, Courtney Greene and Anthony Smith combined for just four interceptions last season and had more negative plays than positive in most situations.

Jacksonville admitted without admitting that they needed an upgrade at the position when they went hard after Super Bowl champion Darren Sharper this offseason before he spurned the team to re-sign with the New Orleans Saints.

Rams safety O.J. Atogwe didn't come to terms with St. Louis, and he's on the open market. In five seasons with the Rams, Atogwe has collected 19 interceptions and has forced 14 fumbles, which is exactly the kind of playmaker the Jaguars need in the back end of their defense. Atogwe's right shoulder injury ended his season in 2009 and may keep his asking price down just a bit.

The Jaguars haven't admitted to having any interest in Atogwe, but unlike many teams, they haven't dismissed the idea. It will likely come down to money, and if the money is right, the Jaguars will have themselves a major upgrade in the back end of their defense.

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