The Jacksonville Jaguars are going to be linked to numerous free agents in the coming days, but one surprising name they are reportedly interested in is Calais Campbell.
The Jacksonville Jaguars once again have oodles of salary cap space, which means things should start getting interested today when “legal tampering” begins.
As an aside, how dumb is “legal tampering?” Teams can discuss general things with agents but aren’t supposed to talk hard numbers… but we all know teams are essentially agreeing to verbal contracts.
Asinine labeling aside, teams can basically start locking guys up today and the Jaguars will likely pursue a handful of high-profile guys. While some names have popped up and make a lot of sense (A.J. Bouye, Kevin Zeitler), the first real report links the Jaguars to an older defensive lineman.
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Calais Campbell turns 31 this year, but he’s been one of the most effective all-around defensive lineman in the NFL since being drafted in 2008. He’s played every season in Arizona and he’s arguably been their most important defensive piece during that time. Campbell has accumulated 56.5 sacks in his 9 seasons, but he’s been perennially underrated (only making one Pro Bowl in his career).
Campbell didn’t play much his rookie year, but since 2009 he’s been extremely reliable, posting between 5 to 9 sacks every single year. He’s a terrific run defender and does just enough rushing the passer to warrant staying on the field all three downs.
In terms of fit, Campbell would signal a return to the “big end” for the Jaguars, but not in the same way we’ve seen with former head coach Gus Bradley. Red Bryant, Tyson Alualu, and Jared Odrick all played big end but rarely were asked to rush the passer. Campbell is a significantly better pass rusher than all three of those guys and would be a perfect complement to Yannick Ngakoue on the other side. Campbell also has the versatility to kick inside and play defensive tackle on obvious passing downs, making way to Dante Fowler Jr. or another rookie pass rusher on the edge.
It’s a surprising connection, but the Jaguars need to add good players so why not – go after Campbell.