Looking back at Jacksonville Jaguars decision to trade DE Calais Campbell

Calais Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Calais Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

What was the Jacksonville Jaguars’ plan when they traded DE Calais Campbell?

When an NFL team parts ways with a player, it has a plan. Maybe they have a young player waiting under the wing or perhaps they plan to make an upgrade at the position and bring someone significantly better. However, neither of these cases seemed to apply to the Jacksonville Jaguars when they moved on from defensive end Calais Campbell.

Earlier this year, the ‘Jags’ traded Campbell to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the offseason. The veteran defensive end originally signed a four-year $60 million contract in 2017. In the last year of the deal, he was set to make $17.5 million and by releasing him or trading him, the team would save $15 million, so it made sense to send him to Baltimore from a financial standpoint.

On the downside, the Jaguars are missing Campbell’s leadership and production on the field. In his tenure with the ‘Black and Teal’, the Miami standout recorded 195 total tackles, 31.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, and six pass deflections.

Looking to replace ’93’, the Jaguars drafted edge defender K’Lavon Chaisson in the first round of this year’s draft. Nevertheless, the LSU product hasn’t had the impact the team’s brass expected when they made him 2020’s 20th overall pick and has only amassed nine total tackles and a mere sack. It’s true Chaisson is young, but organizations draft players in the first round of the selection process hoping they will contribute right away.

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How’s Calais Campbell doing after leaving the Jacksonville Jaguars?

Campbell is currently having the same success he enjoyed with the Jaguars. In his short tenure with the Ravens, he’s registered four sacks (more than any Jacksonville defender this year), 23 total tackles, and six batted passes.  Moreover, he’s one of the few defensive linemen that has more than 10 stops with a run stop rate of 8.0 percent and more than ten pressures with a pressure rate of 8.0 percent this season.

In Week 8, Calais Campbell was Pro Football Focus’ second-highest graded defensive player after recording an 88.8 overall score against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Think about how much better the Jaguars front four would be if Campbell were still in Jacksonville.

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The Jaguars may eventually turn things around and the decision to trade Campbell might look smart in retrospect. Alas, the early returns aren’t encouraging and their defense is struggling without the defensive end.