Both Yannick Ngakoue and Jalen Ramsey have talked about new deals while playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Will linebacker Myles Jack earn a new contract in 2019?
Much has already been made about Jalen Ramsey’s announcement that he won’t get a new deal this season while playing under the tenants of his rookie deal. There has been plenty of chatter about Yannick Ngakoue sitting out mandatory minicamp because his rookie deal has not been extended. The talk about Telvin Smith deciding to sit out the 2019 season still ripples across airwaves and social media in Jacksonville.
But little has been said about Myles Jack. The linebacker is a member of the same draft class as the two aforementioned players. Jack has had his moments where he looks like an All-Pro and is one of the fastest players at his position in the league. Many thought the former second-round pick out of UCLA would take the next step forward last season and make his first Pro Bowl.
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It wasn’t a terrible season for Jack, who has 157 career tackles in 48 games. But the player who seems hungry and to silence critics of his play from 2018, is ready to prove his worth on the field.
"“Obviously in my position, Telvin (Smith) is gone, so that’s 120 tackles unaccounted for, and I want at least 50 of those so I can get 150 tackles to create some leverage for myself,” Jack said. “My job is to play Mike (linebacker). I have to know way too much to miss this. I’ve got to run the defense,” Jack said in an interview with the Florida Times-Union.“When my time comes up, that’s when it’s going to come up. But right now, I’m just focused on going out there winning games, getting numbers and then by the end of the season that all will take care of itself.”"
It’s a noble thing to say and was said at the right time when other players on the defensive side of the ball have monopolized headlines and space on websites. When he is “on” Jack is one of the best to play linebacker in the NFL. Last season he, and Smith, did not perform and the same level as in 2017. They were caught out of position at times, trapped in space. Size and speed are one thing. Being out of place and allowing teams to use the middle of the field like it is a school yard is another.
Jack wants to make sure he plays the best football he can this coming season.
"“In his first season as the Jaguars’ starting middle linebacker in 2018, Jack played all of the team’s 1,024 defensive snaps and was second on the team (behind Smith) with 107 tackles,” John Reid wrote. “Without Smith, Jack will be an even bigger piece of the defense — possibly playing between rookie weak-side linebacker Quincy Williams and second-year strong-side linebacker Leon Jacobs on base downs.”"
Jack has also been outspoken about being the vocal leader of this defense, something Smith did last season. The focus in the middle now shifts to see what No. 44 can do on the field, to get the attention of the front office, to give them a reason to back the Brinks truck up to his back door.
Money and timing are going to affect how the Jaguars deal with Jack and Ramsey. The thought is after the 2020 season will be the one where these two players get their deals done. $24 million in dead cap space comes off the team’s books. There is a chance other veterans (Calais Campbell and Marcell Dareus) won’t be brought after this year. Those two moves could clear up around $35 million in cap space.
Other veterans – A.J. Bouye, Brandon Linder and Andrew Norwell – could be asked to restructure their deals to free up cap money. This offseason has been interesting. Next offseason could be must-see television.
All the while, Jack continues to focus on football for the Jaguars first and everything else after that.
"“Jack, too, has set himself up for a big-money second contract. In three seasons, he has produced 221 tackles, five sacks, six passes defensed and one interception, which he returned for a touchdown in the 2018 season opener at the New York Giants,” Reid wrote."
"Per spotrac.com, “Myles Jack signed a 4 year, $6,334,441 contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, including a $2,806,866 signing bonus, $3,544,795 guaranteed. In 2019, Jack will earn a base salary of $1,313,787, while carrying a cap hit of $2,015,505 and a dead cap value of $701,718.”"