Can the Jacksonville Jaguars find a way to keep two of their premium pass rushers happy and on the roster for the 2020 season?
Jacksonville Jaguars fans may not be happy with the decision by the team to send two of their home games across the pond, but they should take solace in the fact team owner Shad Khan wants both Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue on the roster this coming season.
It remains to be seen if Khan, who talked with jaguars.com, will get his wish or not. There is plenty of hoops to jump through with each player.
What we do know is as of now, Campbell is still under contract with the Jaguars this coming season to the tune of $15 million. Ngakoue is a different story as he just completed the final year of his rookie deal that paid him just over $2 million in 2019. Both players were key to a pass rush that finished seventh in the NFL in sacks.
Rookie defensive end Josh Allen led the team with 10.5 sacks, and like Campbell, made the Pro Bowl as a replacement this past season.
“Both of those players – Yannick and Calais – I had chats with them after the season,” Khan said during a conversation with Ashlyn Sullivan. “I would love for them to be back and I’m very hopeful they’ll be back.”
Now, the front office is working on making sure they target needs and filling them through free agency and the Draft. The days are moving at a faster pace, which does not give the Jaguars time to sit by and watch other teams design their own plans for a successful 2020 season.
Team general manager David Caldwell spoke at the Senior Bowl last month, told the media, “We can be as active as we want to be” with regard to NFL Free Agency.
The Jaguars are in a bit of a stranglehold when it comes to the salary cap, which will be adjusted once the 2020 NFL season officially begins.
“I think he’s a fabulous guy and I think his contributions … everybody understands, knows, respects,” Khan said of Campbell.
The thought amongst many NFL analysts and local media is the team will try to renegotiate with him, to get his cap figure down. If the team were to release him, his salary would count $17.5 million against the cap.
There will be changes to the roster as Jacksonville cannot keep their roster the way it is, find depth or starters at keep positions and add rookies to the organization. Campbell’s name, along with others, continues to come up as potential cap casualties because of their high-priced deals. If there was a name out there that would almost be a guaranteed release, it would be defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who is owner $22.5 million in 2020.
The problem with releasing Dareus is the Jaguars’ coaching staff saw how valuable he was this season when he missed the majority of the season due to a core muscle injury. The team’s run defense was one of the worst in the NFL.
With Ngakoue, it’s a matter of meeting at a figure that both sides can agree on. Over four seasons in the NFL and with the Jaguars, the former third-round pick out of Maryland recorded 37.5 sacks. He is one of the more feared pass rushers and should command one of the top salaries in free agency for his position.
“The Jaguars are unlikely to allow Ngakoue to become a free agent. If the sides can’t agree to a long-term contract, the Jaguars have the option of applying the franchise tag – a move that restricts a player’s ability to sign elsewhere,” John Oehser writes. “Ngakoue would then have the option of signing the tag and playing in 2020 on what essentially is a one-year contract or not signing the tag and not playing.”