The Jacksonville Jaguars are putting the final touches on their 90-man rosters ahead of the organized team activities, signing players that didn’t get drafted, and letting go of others that may not fit their vision. One Jaguar that must make a positive impression on the coaching staff in the upcoming months is edge rusher/linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson, who could have a hard time making the team in 2022.
Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report recently put together a list of players who could be cut before the start of the regular season and Chaisson popped up. Wharton points out that clubs normally give former first-round picks plenty of years before pulling the plug but believes that the 20th overall pick in the 2020 draft could “prove to be the exception to the rule“, as there might not be room for him on the Jags’ roster this upcoming season.
"Jacksonville spent the No. 1 overall pick this year on fellow edge-rusher Travon Walker. Pairing him with blossoming young teammate Josh Allen and free-agent addition Arden Key largely answers that positional need for the Jaguars. If Chaisson fails to impress his third coaching staff in three seasons, it could mark the end of his tenure in Jacksonville, The saving grace for Chaisson is that he’d cost more to cut than to keep due to the structure of rookie contracts."
Chaisson is set to count $3.6 million against the Jags’ cap in 2022, according to Over the Cap. Releasing him wouldn’t free up any cap space. Instead, they would accelerate a cap hit from 2023 and would account for $7.8 million this year, making it difficult to either release him or trade him unless the organization is willing to take the hit.
The Jaguars will have plenty of time to make an impression.
Chiasson hasn’t clearly lived up to his draft billing, appearing in 31 games with 11 starts and logging just 50 tackles, two sacks, and 44 pressures over the last two years. In defense of the former LSU Tiger, he moved to strong linebacker last season and wasn’t asked to rush the passer as much. In fact, this was the second time he switched positions, having played with his hand on the ground in 2020 after lining up in a two-point stance in college.
The fact that the Jaguars’ brass added Travon Walker in the draft and Arden Key in free agency may make it tough for Chaisson to get playing time. On the other hand, there’s a good chance he will get a clean slate in 2022. There’s a new coaching staff in place and defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell could find a role for Chaisson and keep him there.
Having said that, nothing is set in stone and Chaisson needs to impress the new regime. This could be his last chance to show he’s the player the Jags thought they were getting in 2020 and if he doesn’t, general manager Trent Baalke might choose to bite the bullet and ship him to another team or outright release him.
The Jaguars don’t have to move on from Chaisson tomorrow. They have plenty of time to make a decision on him and will probably give him the opportunity to flourish in Year 3. However, time is running out and he’d better have an outstanding offseason.