Only three players on the Jacksonville Jaguars roster will sit out the 2020 NFL season.
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to strike fear all over the world, many people, including athletes, are concerned for their health and well being. The NFL and the Jacksonville Jaguars are included in this situation.
As some people are considered high risk of contracting the virus, players were allowed to opt out of playing this season and earn $350,000. Even players who weren’t considered high risk were allowed to bypass the upcoming 2020 season as well, although they would only get $150,000, which would need to be paid back eventually.
For the Jacksonville Jaguars, only three players have opted out of the season. They are defensive tackle Al Woods, linebacker Lerentee McCray, and cornerback Rashaan Melvin. With those three deciding not to participate in the 2020 season, how does it affect the team’s performance on the field?
The biggest blow of the bunch to the Jacksonville Jaguars is Melvin. While he most likely wouldn’t have been a starter, he would have been a much needed and valuable depth piece to the secondary. Last season with the Detroit Lions, he deflected 11 passes while tackling 68 players (59 solo).
Woods is a depth piece the Jaguars will be losing on the defensive front seven. With the Seattle Seahawks last season, he recorded 32 tackles, splitting it evenly between solo and assisted, with two fumble recoveries but only one sack. Woods was brought in to compete with the starters.
Now that he is not part of the rotation, the coaching staff will have to rely on a rookie defensive tackle in DaVon Hamilton and defensive tackle Rodney Gunter who spent the past five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.
Gunter could also see time at right defensive end as well.
McCray’s impact will be felt on special teams. While he was in the defensive rotation last year, he played in just nine games and recorded just five tackles. The coaching staff will need to replace the former Florida Gator from within the organization.
With three spots now becoming vacant, it gives players on the bubble of making the roster a chance to show why they deserve a spot on the team. The departure of these three specific guys also gives a path to more playing time for rookies. With a young roster, this could be something positive for the future of the organization.