In addition to leaving him a roster deprived of talent, Gene Smith left David Caldwell a tenuous cap situation. Despite preaching building through the draft and cap flexibility, Smith spent the last two years of his horrific tenure as general manager overpaying veterans out of desperation in the delusion the Jaguars were close to competing for a playoff spot.
The “Shutdown Corner” contingent at Yahoo Sports has started looking at the salary cap situations of every team and they took a look at the Jaguars on Friday. The Jaguars have the 2nd-highest cap number in the league but the 2nd-most cap room at this point in the offseason. Contributing to that cap number is $24 million dollars in dead money due to cutting Laurent Robinson, Aaron Ross, and Dawan Landry. Caldwell has already started trimming some of the fat left on the roster from Gene Smith’s ill-advised signings, but Brian McIntyre speculates that Maurice Jones-Drew is a possibility as a cap casualty as we approach training camp. Fortunately for Jones-Drew, the lack of depth at running back will likely keep him on the roster this season.
Gene Smith was kind enough to leave Caldwell a few promising young players, one of whom is entering the final year of his contract. Eugene Monroe has been Smith’s most productive first round pick and has performed like a top 5 left tackle going into his contract year. The Jaguars will have more than enough cap room to extend him to a contract worth his figurative weight.
Smith’s biggest draft gamble, Blaine Gabbert, will need to improve at an unprecedented rate this season to earn the fifth-year option in his rookie contract. In all likelihood, Blaine Gabbert will be released unless his contract can be renegotiated to the level his play has warranted.
Much like his predecessor, Caldwell has preached building through the draft. If that’s the case, Caldwell should have a lot of cap space to play with in a year or two when the Jaguars are actually ready to compete.
– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89