The Jacksonville Jaguars may have a hard decision or two to make when it comes down to trimming its roster to 53 players by the end of the preseason. Is Jermey Parnell in danger of being released before the start of the season?
The battle for the final spot at wide receiver is still up for grabs. The outside linebacker slot created with the retirement of Paul Posluszny has yet to be decided.
Still, another surprise or two could take place, as head coach Doug Marrone has suggested he wants the best 53 players on the roster – regardless of whether they have a history with this franchise or they are just getting their feet wet in the NFL.
I originally thought there would be a battle created on the interior of the defensive line when Jacksonville drafted Taven Bryan with the 29th pick in the first round of the NFL Draft. Now that the rookie from Florida is being used more as a big end and someone who will spell Calais Campbell to keep the veteran fresher toward the end of the season, my attention moves to the offensive line.
Could Parnell be that player who the team parts ways with at the end of preseason?
Per spotrac.com, Parnell signed a 5-year, $32,000,000 contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, including $14,500,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $6,400,000. In 2018, Parnell will earn a base salary of $4,000,000 and a roster bonus of $1,000,000, while carrying a cap hit of $5,000,000 and a dead cap value of $1,000,000.
I don’t worry about the monetary details as I write for a living because I was awful at math in high school and college. But the 31-year-old Parnell could be pushed by fourth-round draft pick Will Richardson by the end of camp.
“The roster is pretty much settled, and Parnell is really the only notable veteran who fits here, mainly because of his age and the fact that the team drafted his eventual replacement,” ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco writes. “Parnell has played well the past two seasons when he wasn’t bothered by an injury and is a big reason the Jaguars have cut their sack totals in each of the past two seasons (34 and 24).”
There may be some concern with Parnell’s age and Richardson appears to have been selected (I still think he was a steal by this franchise) to replace the soon to be 32-year-old. It’s also noted by DiRocco and what I saw in OTAs and minicamp that Richardson worked with the second and third teams behind Parnell. Unless he shows a dramatic increase in reps with the first team, Parnell may be safe for now.
If the Jaguars were pressed into making Richardson a starter because of an injury to Parnell, then things could change, and the roster could look different in 2018.
Richardson, who played college ball at North Carolina State, told me during rookie minicamp he wants to learn as much as he can. He said he welcomed the challenge of practicing against the Jaguars’ defense on a daily basis and liked the idea he would be learning from veteran offensive line coach, Pat Flaherty