New details make Arik Armstead's Jaguars deal look even better

• New details show Arik Armstead's deal with the Jaguars was somewhat of a bargain.

Jan 22, 2022; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead (91) reacts
Jan 22, 2022; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead (91) reacts / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars seemingly got a bargain when they signed Arik Armstead to a three-year deal. After all, he's never made the Pro Bowl but he's routinely been a top-10 defensive tackle throughout his career. New details have surfaced that make his deal look even better than it did when he signed it.

It was originally reported that it was a three-year, $51 million contract. However, the details show it's actually worth $43.4 million, or an annual average of $12.4 million. His cap number for 2024 is just $4.4 million in 2024 and $7.4 million the following year.

If the Jaguars aren't pleased with his performance, they can release him in 2026 and free up $11 million in space. Simply put, the deal gives the team's brass ample flexibility from a cap perspective. Granted, Armstead is slated to count $12 million in 2027, one year after his contract expires, but the cap will have increased considerably by then, so it won't probably have much of an impact.

For the time being, the Jaguars are getting a player who will immediately provide a boost on the interior defensive line. Last year, the defense couldn't create pressure inside or stop teams from running the ball. To remedy that, the Jags moved on from Mike Campbell and brought in Ryan Nielsen to oversee the defense.

That said, there's only so much Nielsen can do, and he'll need difference-makers to succeed. He got a pretty good one in Armstead, who registered 43 total pressures and five sacks in 2023 despite the fact that he was dealing with knee and foot injuries. Add the fact that the front office didn't have to overpay for his services, and his signing might've been the best they made this offseason.

Arik Armstead will be ready when the Jaguars need him

Already, Arik Armstead is drawing parallels to Calais Campbell, who also joined the Jags in 2017. It's easy to see why. Both of them were 31 and enjoyed success with their prior team before arriving in Jacksonville.

In Campbell's case, he was an integral part of the Sacksonville defense that helped the Jags reach the AFC South Championship. It wouldn't be shocking to see Armstead have that kind of impact. That said, the coaching staff will have to wait to see him take the field, as he underwent meniscus surgery not long ago.

Armstead says that the procedure went well and should be back soon. That should alleviate any concerns about his potential injury risk. Heck, the San Francisco 49ers asked him to take a pay cut and subsequently released him in the offseason partly because he had struggled to stay healthy the past two seasons.

Signs point toward Armstead showing up in training camp, and that's fine. It doesn't make sense to press him into action. Instead, the team's brass should let him heal until he's ready. That way, they can get his best version, the one that became an integral cog in the 49ers' defensive trenches the past nine seasons.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have gotten mixed grades for their free-agency haul. However, they should get plenty of praise for landing Arik Armstead at a reasonable deal.

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