The Jacksonville Jaguars are hanging out with the Tennessee Titans at the bottom of the AFC South almost every year. It’s a tough situation for two franchises that were doing incredibly well in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Indianapolis Colts have been the toast of the AFC South since the division’s creation in 2002, but the Titans and Jags have challenged for the crown on a couple of occasions.
Both teams are hoping to re-capture some of the glory from those days gone by with their new quarterbacks Blake Bortles and Marcus Mariota. Bortles was the third overall selection of the 2014 NFL Draft and Mariota was selected by the Titans second overall in 2015.
Mariota has yet to sign with the Titans, which presents some instability for the team. While I fully expect Mariota to eventually sign with the Titans, being the last first round pick to sign with his team is leading to plenty of speculation. Per NFL Mocks:
"According to the new CBA, players whose rights are selected in the NFL draft are required to sign a four-year contract with the money set aside in the “Rookie Pool.” If Mariota were to choose not to sign with the team who holds his rights, as Eli Manning did, the Titans would have until 30 days before the seasons opening to trade his rights. Hello Chip Kelly!!"
It’s no secret that Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles wanted Mariota in this year’s NFL Draft and as long as that speculation hangs over the Titans, there will be some level of instability for their team.
As much asI believe the Jacksonville Jaguars have higher aspirations than simply outpacing the Titans, this is a benefit to the two at the bottom of the AFC South. Instability at the bottom allows the Jaguars to worry less about a team that could be rising with them and focus more on regaining ground against the Colts and Houston Texans.
We’ll have to see how much longer the Mariota situation takes to resolve and if it stretches to a point where it may be detrimental to the Titans.
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