Jacksonville Jaguars should pick up Dante Fowler’s fifth-year option


Dante Fowler Jr. hasn’t lived up to his pedigree after being selected with the 3rd overall pick in the 2015 draft, but the Jacksonville Jaguars should still pick up his rookie option.

There are a handful of tough decisions the Jaguars need to make this offseason when it comes to certain players, but one choice that should be a no brainer is picking up Dante Fowler’s fifth year option.

The Jaguars shocked the world by making this same decision last year with Blake Bortles, but it made business sense. It makes just as much sense to do so with Fowler.

Bill Barnwell over at ESPN mentioned Fowler in a recent article, and determined the Jaguars should pick up his fifth year option.

He supports this, despite providing evidence to imply Fowler is not as effective rushing the passer as his raw numbers would suggest.

"The 261-pound Fowler racked up eight sacks and added two more during the postseason. The sack totals probably overstate his true impact, given that his eight sacks came on just 10 quarterback knockdowns, when pass-rushers typically turn about 45 percent of their hits into sacks. Fowler did most of his work against tight ends and right tackles, who couldn’t match up one-on-one in pass protection against Fowler given how much talent the Jags have elsewhere on the roster."

Fowler clearly isn’t a top-tier pass rusher at this point, but he’s a solid all around defensive lineman. He clearly wasn’t comfortable his first year back after the ACL tear and last year was his first season as a rotational pass rusher. As Barnwell points out, he put up decent numbers even if the advanced metrics aren’t as kind.

The Jaguars shouldn’t give up on Fowler. He’s still a plus athlete who has essentially no real pass rush moves. If he ever learns a go-to move, he could be a force on the edge and inside.

"Fowler isn’t going to take away a starting job from Campbell or Ngakoue in 2018, and as a top-five pick, his fifth-year option is likely to be close to the cost of the franchise tag for 2019. Edge rushers who can get after the quarterback also are extremely valuable, and if Fowler has another eight-sack season in 2018, he would have meaningful trade value in advance of the final year of his deal."

This is the other side of the coin – there’s no reason for the Jaguars to let Fowler walk free. Even if he doesn’t improve, he’s still a useful defensive end who would have trade value. The Jaguars could flip him for a mid round pick and recoup value if he doesn’t ascend to a Pro Bowl level.

What do you think the Jaguars should do?