Head coach Doug Pederson recently told the local media that the Jacksonville Jaguars aren't planning on bringing in a veteran to bolster their pass rush in the foreseeable future. Instead, they're focused on helping their own players get better. But if the Jags change their mind, there are still plenty of enticing options available in the open market.
Defensive end Frank Clark just agreed to a one-year deal worth $7.5 million with the Denver Broncos. And a few days ago, Pass rusher Leonard Floyd secured a fully guaranteed contract worth $7 million from the Buffalo Bills. As John Shipley recently noted, the pass rusher market is drying up and the Jaguars are running out of choices if they want to add a veteran presence to their rotation.
On the one hand, it's a good idea to take a wait-and-see approach. The team's brass wants to see what they've got on their young pass rushers before they look for outside help. Rookie Yasir Abdullah has been dubbed a draft steal while defensive line coach Brenton Bucker is still high on outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson, a first-round selection in 2020 who might be on the roster bubble ahead of the regular season.
Moreover, third-year outside linebacker Jordan Smith is back after missing the 2022 season with a torn ACL. The former UAB Blazer knows his running out of time to make an impression and if he doesn't show out in training camp, he might not make the 53-man roster. Although sophomore Trevon Walker isn't under nearly as much pressure as Smith to deliver, he also needs to make a leap in Year 2. Otherwise, the Jaguars could have trouble getting after the quarterback next season.
Worst case scenario, Chaisson and Smith falter and Abdullah and fellow rookie Tyler Lacy show they need more time to develop. If that ends up being the case, what can the Jaguars do then?
The Jacksonville Jaguars have options if they want to upgrade their pass rush
The best pass rushers command an annual salary of around $20 million but Clark and Lloyd had to settle for one-year pacts that will pay them significantly less than that. So who is still available in the open market?
Yannick Ngakoue recently said that he wants to sign a long-term deal with a Super Bowl contender but if he's fine betting on himself and getting a one-year deal, the Jags would be a fine destination. It's true that the former Maryland Terrapin left Jacksonville in not-so-great terms but there's a new management in place, so a reunion shouldn't be ruled out.
Another option is Melvin Ingram, who can excel as a part of a rotation. Similarly, Justin Houston, one of the top pass rushers in the 2020s, still has gas left in the tank and could thrive on a limited snap count. There's also Jadeveon Clowney a good-not-great edge defender whose salary demands might not be on par with his production in recent years.
Last but not least is a familiar face in Dawuane Smoot. The former Illinois Fighting Illini hurt his Achilles suffered an Achilles injury last season and is still recovering, which is why he probably hasn't been able to find a club. It's possible that the Jags are monitoring his rehab and if both parties can find common ground, it wouldn't be shocking to see them strike a deal at some point in the upcoming months.
The Jacksonville Jaguars still have time to decide if they want to add a veteran presence to bolster their pass rush. On the other hand, their choices in the open market are shrinking, so they might need to hurry up, or else run the risk of having a less-than-optimal rotation in 2023.