ESPN.com writer critical of Jacksonville Jaguars offseason
By David Levin
Where do the Jacksonville Jaguars rank with the moves they made this offseason?
You knew there wasn’t a chance in football purgatory that ESPN.com’s Bill Barnwell could write two stories where he mentions the Jacksonville Jaguars positively. While he praised quarterback Gardner Minshew as one of the winners of the NFL’s offseason, he had fewer kind words to say about the team’s offseason.
Barnwell, who has been critical of the team here in the AFC South, recently ranked all 32 NFL teams based on their offseason success and failures. He placed Jacksonville 23nd overall. It might be perceived as a victory given how harsh NFL analysts have been about the Jaguars trying to tank the 2020 season for a chance to draft Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, but it’s still something readers can glance over and wonder what the organization did to deserve such a low number.
Barnwell was openly critical of what the Jaguars did in free agency and the NFL Draft and how the front office still has issues to be resolved with players on the roster and how the coaching staff and team will move forward in 2020.
"“The Jags haven’t resolved the Yannick Ngakoue situation, with the star defensive end picking fights with ownership on Twitter and insisting he won’t play for the organization again,” Barnwell wrote.More from Jacksonville Jaguars NewsJacksonville Jaguars should welcome Derrick Henry into the kingdomJaguars Rumors: Trent Baalke seems to be getting respect nowJaguars News: This division rival might be making a big moveFormer Jacksonville Jaguars S Johnathan Cyprien: “New Profession, Same Standards”Jacksonville Jaguars TE Evan Engram officially gets the franchise tag: 3 takeaways“With each passing day, the franchise loses more and more leverage; remember last year, when the Seahawks were able to get a first-round pick for pass-rusher Frank Clark around the draft, and the Texans were forced to settle for a third-round pick when they shipped off Jadeveon Clowney at the end of August.”"
I believe it is just the opposite where the front office strengthens its case to keep Ngakoue, who will either sign the franchise tag tender of $17.8M for the season or he may not play. No one is beating down the team’s door to make a deal – especially with the price tag they want in return for their sack specialist. Also, the Twitter rants Ngakoue took a long ride on earlier in the offseason have toned down since the confrontation Tony Khan around the Draft.
It may eventually lead to a trade being worked out, but at a much lesser return for the black and teal.
Barnwell was complimentary of the team and how it was able to get away from the albatross of the Nick Foles’ contract and how the team’s desire to trade Leonard Fournette is the right decision since he views the team drafted the former LSU star with the fourth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft as a poor decision.
"“The Jags also took steps to move on from their disastrous move to take running back Leonard Fournette with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 draft, when Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and more than a half-dozen other running backs who have proved to be more productive were still on the board,” he adds."
Fournette is the starter until he is not. There could be some chatter in training camp if a team loses their top runner to injury and look to overspend for Fournette, who was openly shopped during the weekend of the Draft to no avail.
The Jaguars made decisions this offseason to part ways with players who suffocated the salary cap – mostly high-priced veterans on defense. The team also tried to help itself by inking Myles Jack to a contract extension for this season, only to see the former second-round draft pick look sluggish in coverage in the middle of the defense. A return outside at linebacker could make his extended deal look like a solid move once again.
Barnwell was also critical of another offseason move the team made in free agency by signing Joe Schobert.
"“Schobert’s five-year, $53.8 million deal means they have two of the most expensive inside linebackers in the league,” he wrote."
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