The Jacksonville Jaguars traded linebacker Joe Schobert a few days before their first preseason game. Although he was one of the team’s few bright spots on defense last year, the Jags believe that moving on from him was in their best interest. However, the move didn’t earn a favorable review.
Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report recently graded some of the latest recent NFL moves and the trade that sent Schobert to Pittsburgh made the list. Knox believes the Jags basically got “pennies” for the 2017 Pro Bowl nod.
"By moving Schobert, Jacksonville gets out from under a deal that is set to create cap hits of $9.8, $11.3 and $11.8 million in 2022, 2023 and 2024—though only $1.9 million this year. In return, they get a 2022 sixth-round pick, which amounts to virtual pennies for a Pro Bowl-caliber linebacker."
On the other hand, Knox believes the Steelers got better value in the deal based on his upcoming salary and the compensation they had to give up for Schobert. In the end, he gives the Jags a “D” for the trade while Pittsburgh got an “A”. Knox also graded Jacksonville’s decision to release Tim Tebow. For this move, he gave them an “A”. He thinks that releasing a “player who was arguably a bigger distraction than an asset” was a smart choice.
Was the Joe Schobert trade that bad for the Jacksonville Jaguars?
You can argue that this was a bad deal for the Jaguars based on the fact that they will have to pay $3.65 million of Schobert’s $7 million salary in 2021. But there are several reasons why this trade made sense for the Jaguars.
Schobert played and started all 16 games last season, logging 141 total tackles, six tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and three interceptions. However, he was a holdover from the previous regime and he wasn’t an optimal fit in defensive coordinator Joe Cullen’s system. Also, Damien Wilson’s presence made Schobert expendable.
Wilson joined the Jaguars earlier this year. The 2015 fourth-round selection has appeared in 29 games over the last two seasons, posting 154 total tackles, six tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. At first sight, Schobert is the better linebacker but Wilson was the better fit in Cullen’s scheme.
If Schobert had stayed in Jacksonville, he might not have seen the field as much. The case can be made that a sixth-round selection is too low a price for a starting linebacker. But the truth is that the Jaguars cut their losses and moved on. Keep in mind that not every trade can be of the blockbuster category. Moreover, it’s not as if Shobert was going to help them make the Superbowl.
Sure, Schobert was a key cog on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense last year. But after all the upgrades the team’s brass made last season, he wasn’t going to make the same kind of impact in 2021. Thus, it made sense to trade him and get something in return from him. Even if that something was just a late-round pick, the Jags believed trading the linebacker was the best course of action.