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GM Trent Baalke says Jaguars still hoping to get long-term deal with TE Evan Engram done before training camp

The Jacksonville Jaguars used the franchise tag on tight end Evan Engram but want the relationship to last beyond 2023.

Speaking Thursday during a pre-draft press conference, Jags GM Trent Baalke said the hope is to ink Engram long-term before training camp.

"Yeah, I mean, that's the goal. The goal is to get this thing done," Baalke said. "These negotiations are always ... there's ups and downs as you go through the process, and you're just trying to come to a common goal here to get him signed. I think we're trending that direction, but we're not there yet. We'll continue to work to get him signed to a long-term extension, and hopefully we can get that done."

A former first-round pick by the New York Giants, Engram is coming off a career-best 73-catch, 766-yard season with four touchdowns. He fit seamlessly into head coach Doug Pederson's offense, which allowed him to get the ball in space and use his athleticism.

After inking Engram to a one-year, $9 million prove-it deal last offseason, the Jags used the franchise tag on the TE, worth $11.345 million. Sides have until July 17 to come to a multi-year contract.

Engram said earlier this offseason he wants to remain in Jacksonville, hopefully on a long-term deal.

With both sides valuing their relationship, a deal could come down later this offseason.

Engram leads a Jags TE room that includes Luke Farrell and Gerrit Prince. With a deep draft at the position, Baalke could use a pick to boost the depth chart but didn't place it as a must-have a week before the 2023 NFL Draft kicks off.

"We're going to look to build that room and get it as strong as we can," the GM said on Thursday. "We don't feel that it's an absolute necessity to add to that room, but if there's an opportunity to add to it, we will."

With needs on defense and the offensive line, the Jags might not be in the market for an early-round tight end, but whether it's later in the draft or an undrafted free agent, Pederson noted that the club would add depth to the corps at some point in the coming months.

"I've always tried to make our tight end room the best we can, whether we do it through the draft, we do it through free agency, a trade or something of that nature," Pederson said. "We still feel like even Evan, Luke, Gerrit, with the three we have -- obviously, we know we'll bring guys in for camp and we'll compete there -- that's a strong room. There's two young players there, but we've got a lot of high expectations for those players as well, and they know that."

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