Free agency is just a few days away and the list of players that will be available in the open market is taking shape. Although the Jacksonville Jaguars have applied the franchise tag on left tackle Cam Robinson, they haven’t re-signed any of their pending free agents. Will they keep any of them? Whom should the Jags bring back and would defensive end Dawuane Smoot be on that list?
A third-round selection by the Jaguars in 2017, Smoot has been part of their defensive line rotation. Over his four-year career, he’s appeared in 56 games, with seven starts (all of them in 2020), and has logged 66 total tackles (14 for a loss), 11.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. The Illinois product has played in all 16 games the last two seasons and appeared in a career-high 59 percent of the Jaguars’ total snaps on defense last season.
On the other hand, Smoot had a bigger role last season because starting defensive end Josh Allen missed time with a knee injury. Had the 2019 Pro Bowl nod been healthy, Smoot’s playing time might’ve gone down significantly.
Should the Jacksonville Jaguars bring Dawuane Smoot back?
It’s unlikely Smoot will get a top-market contract in free agency. He’s better suited for a complementary role in a team’s defensive line rotation. He played a high number of snaps in 2020 because the Jaguars didn’t have anybody else to turn to. Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report sees Smoot landing with the Detroit Lions this offseason, but he could easily re-sign with the Jaguars this offseason.
As with many other things, it will come down to money. How much are teams willing to invest in Smoot. It’s uncertain whom the Jaguars will re-sign ahead of free agency, and it’s possible they will let most their pending free agents hit the open market.
However, the Jaguars should consider bringing Smoot back in a complementary role once again if the price is right. Trey Hendrickson and Romeo Okwara will get the headlines but there’s value in adding complementary players too, and Smoot fits that category.