Jacksonville Jaguars: Sifting through the Calais Campbell trade
What do the Jacksonville Jaguars do mow after the shocking trade of Calais Campbell and NFL free agency beginning on Wednesday afternoon?
The recent moves made by the Jacksonville Jaguars can only suggest one thing – that the organization is once again in a rebuild mode with veteran players being jettisoned to toher teams for draft captial and salary cap relief.
There is an underlying message to all this madness that hasn’t been addressed yet as fans are mourning the loss of their favorite player, Calais Campbell, who was traded to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday for a fifth-round draft pick in April. The Jaguars, who are steadily moving up the ladder of teams that will have money to spend in free agency that begins on Wednesday afternoon.
If this is indeed a “total rebuild” where other veterans are released for financial or performance reasons – Marqise Lee, Geoff Swaim, Andrew Norwell, and potentially others, then the statement from team owner Shad Khan on Dec. 31 looms large. There is no way this football franchise can turn around two woeful years of losing in the span of fewer than 12 months.
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Does this mean the Jacksonville Jaguars are ready to roll with both general manager David Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone through the 2021 season, making the proper decisions on player development with Trent Baalke, the team’s director of player personnel, along the way?
Strap yourselves in, Jaguars fans. It looks to be another bumpy ride over the course of the next 21 months if that is the case.
I know I have preached this would not be one of those infamous fire sales teams have when all hope is lost and the only thing to do is start over. Derek Jeter and the Miami Marlins are in Year 3 of that rebuild. The Cleveland Browns are trying to make that kind of situation work as well. They had a stack of draft picks in 2017 and 2018 and have added multiple pieces to their fractured landscape. The only saving grace for the NFL’s lovable losing team is the Cincinnati Bengals said: “hold my beer” in 2019.
The Jaguars don’t have anyone rival in the AFC South to ask for that kind of favor.
According to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com, trading Campbell saves the Jaguars $15M against the salary cap. The team has already made other moves that give them $51.5M to work with. That number could climb. This gives the Jaguars options in free agency, which includes making an offer to tight end Austin Hooper, which is a major need. the team also needs help on the defensive line to stuff the run.
There are other areas of need at linebacker, cornerback and on the offensive line.
The money in the pot right now is enough to offer defensive end Yannick Ngakoue the type of deal he wants (22M per season). If it gets to this point, Jacksonville can now absorb the $34M dead cap hit should the team want to release quarterback Nick Foles.
There is no indication from the front office that is the plan since Gardner Minshew is still learning to play in the NFL. The Jaguars are on the hook for $22M of Foles’ salary in 2020.