Bring Them Home?

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The Jacksonville Jaguars are not going to be big spenders in free agency this year, but that doesn't mean they will not be active. The Jaguars will likely be looking for stopgap players similar to last season when they brought in players like Torry Holt, Tra Thomas, and Sean Considine. There were two players released yesterday that make some sense at the right price, and are home town favorites.

Yesterday the Cincinnati Bengals released wide receiver Laveranues Coles, a former Ribault high school and Florida State product out of Jacksonville, Florida. Coles has been productive in his NFL career, but he is clearly on the decline. He suffered a drop in numbers after signing somewhat of a big contract with the Bengals last off season, but many speculate he didn't fit what the Bengals did offensively. Coles is on the wrong side of 30 and will be entering his 12th season, but Jacksonville does have a hole at the No. 2 wide receiver spot. Coles, who should come relatively on the cheap, would seem like a nice stop-gap fit for that role. Coles lives in Jacksonville and wanted to be drafted by his hometown team the Jaguars, who instead chose former USC wide receiver R.J. Soward. Soward, as many Jags fans know, turned out to be the biggest bust in Jacksonville's history. A signing of Coles would be similar to that of Torry Holt last season, that is a stop-gap receiver giving Jacksonville the ability to continue to look in the draft and keep slot receiver Mike Thomas in the slot.

Another potential home town product who was released by the New York Jets on Thursday is cornerback Lito Sheppard, who attened Raines high school and the University of Florida. Sheppard was made expendable with the Jets posturing for a trade to land San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie. Sheppard isn't considered "old" yet, but he is no spring chicken as the former Gator will turn 29 this April. Sheppard likely isn't a starting corner in the NFL anymore, but he could provide good veteran depth at the nickel position, which hasn't been settled in Jacksonville since Terry Cousin left the team. Like Coles, Sheppard should not cost all that much to obtain considering his age and the fact that he has battled injuries the past couple of seasons.

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