Keeping Calais Campbell will be the Jaguars best offseason move
By David Levin
The Jacksonville Jaguars made it official when the team announced it had picked up the option for defensive end Calais Campbell on Monday.
What if the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t pick up the option on Calais Campbell’s contract? What if the defensive end had become a free agent, signed somewhere else and helped his new team make the playoffs and possibly reach the Super Bowl?
The Jaguars made it official on Monday that Campbell, who has made the Pro Bowl in his first two seasons with the franchise, would be back in a black and teal uniform in 2019. Campbell told the fans the day after the 2018 season ended that he would be back for next season, but there had been no word from the organization until this week.
Now, everything is official. The team also announced it had picked up the option on contracts for defensive end Lerentee McCray and safety Cody Davis. In another move, the Jaguars declined the option on tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, which means after one season, the tight end will now become a free agent.
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Campbell’s presence in the locker room and on the field is one of the many reasons the Jaguars defense has transformed into one of the best in the NFL. At 32 years-old, the defensive seems to be getting better with age as other pass rushers are beginning to break down and fall off in productivity.
He and fellow pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue are one of the best duos in the NFL, combining for 20 sacks last season after the two had 26.5 in 2017.
"As Herbie Teope of NFL.com reported, “He joined the Jaguars in 2017 after spending nine seasons with the Arizona Cardinals and produced 25 sacks over the past two campaigns. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports Campbell’s option is for $3 million.”"
There has been some discussion even with the option and his base salary for 2019, Campbell has openly said he is willing to renegotiate his deal to free up cap space for free agency. The Jaguars could then use some of the available cap space to secure a veteran quarterback this offseason.
Calais Campbell is arguably (I’m not sure who would debate the notion), the team’s best free agent acquisition in the franchise’s 25 years in the NFL. Signing with the Jaguars, along with A.J. Bouye and Barry Church prior to the 2017 season gave the Jaguars defense three veteran players who helped shape a dominant unit that finished second in the league in sacks in 2017.
The Jaguars had the fifth-ranked defense in the league last season.