Yesterday I wrote that Gene is looking to fix the safety position. Well I have two more things I think are on his mind. Here they are:
2. Solving the Rashean Mathis situation
That will be a hard thing to do and depends on how badly Rashean wants that money. Since this is the next to last OTA week; and he was still missing from the practice field, I think it shows perfectly how serious this issue is for Gene and the Jaguars. I can see 3 ways in which this could end. Rashean will be patient, will return to training camp and will play in the regular season. If he shows signs that he has still a lot left in the tank, I think the Jaguars and Gene will pay him.
The second way involves Derek Cox. Those watching him so far in this offseason say the 2nd year CB is showing real big play ability and that he is on the way to develop himself as a “blue chip” player for the Jaguars. If that is true, Rashean’s position will be much weaker at the contract negotiation. He either put his “getting paid” plan on a hold, or he can get a new contract but with less much money what he originally wanted.
There is a 3rd way, which the worst case scenario and that version is sadly possible. I wrote about this early; it is a Catch -22 situation. Mathis is the best cornerback (Best defensive back) on the team but he is coming off from a very bad year in which he was ravaged by injury. I think Gene will not want to pay a big salary contract to him which can lead Gene to consider (YIKES) …a trade. Yes; I can see that version coming. Rashean has value so I think the Jaguars could find a partner. It means the Jags lose the best man in the weakest part of the team but they might get back a 1st or 2nd round pick which is something Gene would love to get before the next year’s (big QB) draft (Derek Cox’s progress will be a huge factor; if the trade will be the only chance to solve this issue!). But I hope Rashean and the Jags can find a way; which is good for both sides; and will keep Mathis in North Florida. We will see how this will end but don’t underestimate the trade scenario too.
Hit continue reading for my last item!
3. Extending Marcedes Lewis (and possibly Kirk Morrison)
I wrote about that topic too. There will be a lot of key free agents next year (Just give you a few names; Marcedes Lewis; Mike Sims-Walker; Justin Durant; Uche Nwaneri; and if the Jaguars don’t reconstructed Kirk Morrison’s contract he will be a free agent as well- and these are just the biggest names). I think Gene will start the negotiations with the core players very soon. And from this group; Marcedes Lewis is by far the most important (and probably best) player. He is an elite blocking TE; but last year he emerged as a pass catcher TE as well. We know that this year’s offense will be most likely a “Dirk Koetter only” version. In that offense the tight end will get a much bigger role than previously; (by the way: watch out for Zach Miller if he can stay healthy in 2010!) and that means more opportunity to Marcedes proving everybody that he has the total package. Marcedes is everything you want in a TE these days in the NFL. I think that would be more than a smart move if Gene would extend Lewis (Which would be the 1st time a Shack Harris 1st round pick got a new contract in Jacksonville…) BEFORE the season.
I think Kirk Morrison is someone who should be extending sooner then later (If my information about his contract is right-please if I’m mistaken; then somebody corrects me!). He is sounds and acts like a leader in this defense. He will be Jack Del Rio’s extended arm; eye; and voice on the field! He is in the prime of his career, he is durable and if he shows that he can be an good/great player as well; I think Gene will reward him with a new long term contract before the ’10 season ends.
So these are my 3 suggestions what can be on Gene Smith’s mind these days; and what his future plans might be for the next couple of months. Feel free to discuss my points; and please back or dismiss my knowledge about Kirk Morrison’s contract.