Dawuane Smoot was a mainstay of the Jacksonville Jaguars' defensive line over the last six years but they didn't make an aggressive effort to re-sign him when he became a free agent in March, partly because he was recovering from a season-ending injury he sustained. He's remained unsigned since then but he's now slated to visit the Baltimore Ravens earlier next week.
Smoot is scheduled to visit Baltimore, via Ian Rapoport of NFL Media. A third-round pick in the 2017 draft, Smoot has been one of the most consistent Jags defenders over the last four years. Although he didn't get much playing time early in his career and didn't register his first sack until his third season, he's appeared in 48 games with 17 starts and registering 17.5 sacks since 2019.
Even though Smoot didn't have a feature role for the Jags last year, he was an important piece of their pass rush rotation. Unfortunately, an Achilles tear against the New York Jets ended his 2022 season prematurely and he's spent the offseason rehabbing.
Although Smoot has made progress in his recover, and the Jaguars were interested in bringing him back, they went-back-and forth but reached a stalemate, according to Mia O'Brien of 1010 XL. Now, Jacksonville runs the risk of losing one of their most consistent defenders.
The Jaguars must upgrade their pass rush with or without Dawuane Smoot
There's not guarantee Smoot will land with the Ravens and their meeting will only be exploratory. However, his willingness to meet potential suitors might be a sign that he wasn't pleased with the contract proposal the Jaguars' brass had made. The good news is that the front office could make him an offer before he departs to Baltimore.
After signing Evan Engram to a three-year deal worth $42.5 million just before the July 17 deadline, they'd freed up a bit over $6 million in space this year. That could potentially help them make a more enticing offer to Smoot.
It's also possible that the Jaguars want Smoot to see what offers he can get and then counter. Either way, their pass rush could use a boost ahead of the 2023 season and adding veteran help would get the job done. If they lose Smoot to the Ravens or any other team, they would then need to turn their attention to Melvin Ingram, Justin Houston or a familiar face in Yannick Ngakoue.
Maybe Smoot's injury is giving the Jaguars a pause and if they think he might need time to be 100 percent, that's understable. On the other hand, if it's a money issue, they're running the risk of losing him to another club that may not mind meeting his salary demands. If that's the case, the Jags should consider increasing their offer.