Josh Allen confides to Arik Armstead why Jaguars are so important to him

• Josh Allen is a mainstay of the Jaguars' defense. He recently discussed why the Jaguars and Duval are important to him
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) runs off the field after the game of a regular
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) runs off the field after the game of a regular / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Unio / USA

Outside linebacker Josh Allen has been a playmaker for the Jacksonville Jaguars since they drafted him seventh overall in 2019. While he's experienced a few rough stretches, he's also proven he deserves a spot among the best pass-rushers in the NFL. Recently, Allen opened up about his draft experience and why the Jags are so important to him.

Allen told teammate Arik Armstead in his Third and Long podcast that he expected other teams to draft him but ultimately landed somewhere special.

"Like I think I was never meant to go to an established team, a team that had success in the past and had to keep sustaining because it wasn't like that in Kentucky," Allen told Armstead. "My Kentucky, we were dog crap or we were the program that people [said] were playing Kentucky, were going [win]. I was a part of that and I had to change that. In Jacksonville, it was the same way, obviously 2017, because historically when they first started, they were really good."

Allen continued, "But then they went to a stretch where they weren't a good team and 2017, they broke that. And then went back down the year after. Then, it was my turn. We went from 6-10 — I told myself we can't get no worse than this — we went to winning one game. We won the first game, lost every game after that. Then we went from one to two games. And then we had the playoff season the next year and I think that was what I'm here for."

"I was brought to Jacksonville to be a part of something special here and to bring something that hasn't been done here. And that's why I value Duval as much as I do. Because I know my career is supposed to be here. I know what I'm supposed to do. I know the value that I'm supposed to bring to this team and bring to this fan base and I want to continue to do that until I'm done playing."

Allen got off to a promising start to his NFL career, registering 10.5 sacks and making the Pro Bowl as a rookie. However, a knee injury limited him to just eight games and 2.5 sacks the following year. The former Kentucky Wildcat was expected to bounce back under Urban Meyer in 2021, but like every other Jaguars player, he was instead held back.

Then, head coach Doug Pederson arrived and Allen showed signs of elite play, but he also left a bit to be desired. For this reason, the team's brass chose to let him play his rookie contract out instead of giving him an extension in 2023.

Vowing to be better, Allen went on to have a career season, setting a new franchise record for sacks in a season with 17.5. After a banner year, he got the franchise tag in the 2024 offseason but eventually got a five-year deal worth $150 million, the largest in Jaguars history. Here's Allen's full exchange with Armstead.

Josh Allen is a franchise-building block for the Jaguars

You could make the case that the Jaguars should've given an extension in 2023. If they had, they might not have had to give him a top-market contract. That said, as a rookie, he didn't have to be the top "dawg" with Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue in the mix. Maybe Jacksonville wanted to ensure he was capable of being the primary pass-rusher before they made a long-term commitment to him.

In the end, Allen showed he was the playmaker the franchise envisioned and then some. That's why they didn't mind making him one of the highest-paid top rushers in the league.

Having now the long-term security of a multi-year contract, Allen can focus on building off of his success in 2023. Also, expect him to take on a bigger leadership role next season. The Jaguars will need him if they want to reclaim the AFC South.

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