Jaguars veteran seen as potential cap casualty this offseason
The Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t in need of creating extra cap room this offseason. After all, they’re slated to have around $60 million, per Spotrac. However, if they want to free up some additional space, they could consider moving on from veteran center Brandon Linder.
Andrew Falce of FanSided recently predicted one potential cap casualty for each NFL team and Linder was the choice for the Jags. Falce acknowledges that Jacksonville doesn’t need to free up space but believes that cutting ties with the veteran center makes sense. Falce notes that Linder is one of the best players at his position in the league but has only played 18 games over the past two years due to injuries. He thinks that keeping him remains an option for the Jaguars but so does releasing him, which would create $10 million in cap space without a deap cap hit.
"While the team could bank on him getting healthy, they may just opt to cut bait and move on from him entirely. This would free up $10-million in cap space. While that isn’t needed, if Linder isn’t on the field it makes sense to move on from him. As well, the team has some other options that could easily take on his role, such as soon-to-be free agent Tyler Shatley, that can be signed and replace him."
A third-round selection by the Jags in 2014, Linder has spent his whole NFL career in Jacksonville. While he’s never earned a Pro Bowl or All-Pro designation, he’s generally ranked among the best centers in the league. Over the last eight years, he’s started 88 games but has missed 41. Moreover, he’s never played a full season.
Does it make sense for the Jaguars to release Brandon Linder?
$10 million is a lot of money and the Jaguars could use that amount to sign a big-name free agent this offseason. On the other hand, the front office must weigh in the pros and cons of moving on from Linder. After all, he’s one of their most respected locker room leaders and was voted team captain by his teammates last season. In fact, he was the team’s first gold star captain, meaning that he has received the honor more than four times.
On the other hand, availability is the most important ability in the NFL and Linder hasn’t always been available. When he suits up, he’s the Jags’ best option at center but as Falce pointed out, he’s missed 18 games over the last two years. Linder is better than Shatley and the dropoff is noticeable but the latter has started as many games in the last two years and may give the team a cheaper alternative at the position.
An alternative is to reduce Linder’s salary in 2022 in exchange for fully guaranteeing it. The Jags would get to keep the veteran and he would get insurance. They did something similar with guard Andrew Norwell last season and wouldn’t be surprising if they do it with Linder.
This isn’t the first time the idea of moving on from Linder has come up but in the end, the Jaguars need to do what’s in their best interest. If they think that keeping Linder is the best course of action, they need to do it. If not, they should release him this offseason.