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Jaguars and guard Ezra Cleveland agree to a 3-year, $28.5M contract, AP source says

The Jacksonville Jaguars and guard Ezra Cleveland agreed Thursday to a three-year, $28.5 million contract that includes $14.5 million guaranteed, according to a person familiar with negotiations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither side had announced the deal publicly.

The move prevents Cleveland from hitting the free-agent market next week and should solidify a position that was a revolving door in front of franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence last season.

The Jaguars gave Minnesota a sixth-round draft pick in exchange for Cleveland at the trade deadline in October. He started five of Jacksonville's final nine games, four at left guard and one at left tackle.

General manager Trent Baalke has said repeatedly he believes Cleveland can upgrade a position at which Jacksonville used four different starters in 2023, including Ben Bartch, Tyler Shatley and Walker Little.

Cleveland started 49 games over four seasons with the Vikings before getting traded in the final year of his rookie deal.

Getting Cleveland under contract means the Jags should return all five starters, including left tackle Cam Robinson, center Luke Fortner, right guard Brandon Scherff and right tackle Anton Harrison. Jacksonville is expected to add a veteran center to compete with Fortner.

The Jaguars gave up 41 sacks in 2023 and saw Lawrence have to leave four games with various injuries.

Jacksonville also agreed to terms with backup safety and special teams standout Daniel Thomas. A fifth-round draft pick from Auburn in 2020, Thomas has played in 56 games over four years with the Jaguars.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl