The Jacksonville Jaguars made it official Wednesday, in signing former Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon to a four-year deal that includes a $2.9 million signing bonus ($2,960,928). Yeldon signed his contract after the team’s second OTA practice. His 2015 salary cap number is set at $1,075, 282. Jacksonville selected Yeldon in the second round (36th pick) of the NFL Draft.
Yeldon was a workhorse in three seasons at Tuscaloosa, Ala. He sustained injuries last season, yet managed to total 979 rushing yards with 11 touchdowns on five yards per carry. His career at Alabama ended with 3,322 yards and 37 touchdowns on 5.8 yards per carry. Yeldon won two Southeastern Conference titles (2012, 2014) and a national championship in 2012 with the team.
Yeldon, who stands at 6-foot-1, 226 pounds, looks to be Jacksonville’s starting running back this fall. The Jaguars have a stable of backs, including Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhart, but it lacks a one-cut runner that can do it all. Yeldon possesses vision, power and soft hands as a receiver. He caught 46 passes for 494 yards with two touchdowns at Alabama.
Injuries slowed him down bit in 2014, but Yeldon does have speed. He’s impressed Jacksonville’s coaching staff thus far, and is adjusting well to the system. Jaguars’ head coach Gus Bradley runs a pro-style offense that is similar to what Yeldon had at Alabama.
Pass protection is an area of concern for Yeldon, but he should be able to iron out the kinks during the summer. Jacksonville is building around second-year quarterback Blake Bortles, and it now has a franchise running back in Yeldon. The 2015 NFL season will be intriguing.
Stephen M. Smith is a staff writer and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine, Pick Six Previews and SB Nation. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.