After failing to live up to his potential in New York, former first-round pick Evan Engram shed his “bust” label in emphatic fashion this past season, breaking out for career-highs in both catches (73) and receiving yards (766) while helping Jacksonville win its first playoff game in five years.
Engram’s preference is to sign a long-term extension, though the tight end would also be amenable to the franchise tag, which would pay him a salary of $11.35 million next season while delaying his free agency until 2024. With the franchise tag window open through March 7th, a decision could come at any moment, which is why Engram’s blood pressure spiked when this tweet came across his timeline, scared half to death the Jaguars had made a determination on his future without anyone bothering to clue him in.
Engram’s panic was obviously misplaced—the tweet had nothing to do with his contract but was rather an evergreen graphic chronicling some of his statistical accomplishments from 2022. Still, you can understand Engram, in his haste, coming across a photo of himself and immediately expecting the worst, experiencing in real time the agonizing uncertainty of NFL free agency.
While you can’t blame Engram for wanting clarity on his situation, refreshing his phone and computer every 30 seconds for updates isn’t the answer, only serving to heighten his anxiety. You can forgive Engram’s relative impatience, likely seeing this as his best and last chance to cash in (not that $25.9 million in career earnings is chump change) after having to settle for a one-year, prove-it deal when the Giants let his contract expire last offseason. Of course, Christian Kirk would contend his teammate has nothing to worry about, anticipating that Engram will be just as big a contributor to the Jags in 2023 as he was this past season.