Jaguars: Potential veterans who could be released in March

The Jacksonville Jaguars roster is about to look a lot different than the one from just a few months ago, according to various websites.

According to Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports and John Oehser of Jaguars.com, Marcell Dareus and A.J. Bouye may be at the top of the Jaguars list once the team is allowed to release players due to salary cap constraints.

“I do believe there is a better chance of Jaguars left guard Andrew Norwell returning next season than players such as wide receiver Marqise Lee, linebacker Jake Ryan, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, cornerback A.J. Bouye, etc,” Oehser explained.

“I expect the latter four to be released for salary-cap reasons, but Norwell is unknown.”

Norwell was the Jacksonville’s prized free agent signing coming off the run in the AFC Players and a near-miss in Super Bowl 52. He has yet to play up to his contract that a signed for five years and $66,500,000 which including a $15,000,000 signing bonus, $30,000,000 guaranteed money, according to spotrac.com.

The Jaguars also have to decide what to do with other players on the roster like Calais Campbell, who is owed $15 million in 2020, but should he be released, will count $17.5 million in dead cap space. The Jaguars just went through that with former quarterback Blake Bortles and could face an even bigger obstacle should the team look to move on from Nick Foles, who would cost the team almost $34 million in dead cap space.

The moves to cut the players Oehser mentioned, minus Norwell, saves the Jaguars over $51 million in cap space.

It means the team can keep Campbell, make an offer defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and add a few free agents to help both the offense and the defense. Ngakoue is seeking a long-term deal, and could still receiver the franchise tag to allow the Jaguars to retain his rights to figure out a contract both sides can agree on.

A core muscle injury sent Dareus to the injured list early in the season, which also exposed the team’s run defense this season. He restructured his contract last season to give the Jaguars cap relief so he could remain on the team.

Bouye’s release would certainly impact the defense and the secondary. The cornerback was brought in during the 2017 offseason with Campbell and Barry Church. It proved to be one of the better moves in team history as he was named a second-team All-Pro and led the Jaguars with six interceptions.

His play fell off the past two seasons due to injury and underperformance.

“A coveted free agent back in 2017, when he inked a five-year, $67.5 million deal to start opposite Jalen Ramsey, the 28-year-old corner has both Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors on his resume,” Benjamin writes.

“He’s also just a few years removed from a six-interception season, during which he helped the Jags reach the AFC Championship. Bouye has just two picks since, but he’s had steady numbers and would offer prospective suitors more than 60 games of starting experience.”

Lee has had a history of injuries since being drafted in 2014 out of USC. He was expected to provide a veteran presence on a young pass-catching corps, but suffered a knee injury prior to the 2018 season and did not play. He returned in 2019, but injuries once again ended his season early.

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