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Jacksonville Jaguars

What Would Jaguars DE Dante Fowler Jr.’s Trade Market Look Like?

Zach Goodall



Dec 17, 2017; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler (56) celebrates after sacking Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates (2) during the second half at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

For clarification before anyone gets carried away: There is no report of Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. being on the trade block.

The fourth year pass rusher is entering the 2018 season needing to prove his worth to the Jaguars in order to receive a contract extension, as the team declined his fifth year option earlier this offseason. However, if this preseason is any indication, Fowler isn’t giving the team much to hang their hat on.

Fowler Jr. received a one-game suspension for a simple battery case that he was arrested for in July of 2017. Following that news, Fowler Jr. was forced out of training camp and the first week of the preseason with a shoulder injury that landed him on the physically unable to perform, or PUP, list. He returned to practice this past Saturday.

Not even a whole two days of practice went by until Fowler Jr. was in the news again. This time, the Jaguars defensive end was in trouble for fighting in practice. A rough timeline of the events from media members’ on Twitter suggest that Dante Fowler and tight end James O’Shaughnessy went at each other during team drills originally, then later on Fowler got into a heated argument with fellow pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue, which was broken up on the field but started again as the team headed into the locker room.

For his role in the fighting, Fowler Jr. was suspended by the Jaguars for a week. He will miss the team’s joint practices and game against the Minnesota Vikings.

So… Dante Fowler Jr. doesn’t appear to be proving himself to this franchise in a pivotal year for the 24 year old to do so. It’s hard to see the team handing the former first round pick a large contract extension after the season considering the issues he has had this offseason, on top of the fact that he has only ever started one game for the team: Ngakoue took Fowler’s starting job in early 2016.

While Fowler has been productuve in his backup role, recording 12 sacks on a 48.9% snap share in two seasons, it just isn’t financially smart for the team to give him the Brinks truck he likely will want and potentially receive as a free agent.

However, instead of letting Dante Fowler Jr. walk and getting nothing in return, could the Jaguars look to trade the pass rusher? While there is no report to suggest the team wants to do this, let’s take a look at places that could be a fit for Fowler Jr., who could provide some value to the Jaguars in a trade situation.

New York Jets

The New York Jets are in need of a pass rusher — badly. In 2017, the defense recorded a measly 28 sacks as a unit, good for fifth fewest in the NFL. The Jets added Nathan Shepherd in the third round of this year’s draft to fill Mohammed Wilkerson’s role at 5-technique defensive end in their 3-4 scheme, but made no changes to their starters at EDGE.

Enter Dante Fowler. Despite being a backup, Fowler has more sacks (12) in his career than Jordan Jenkins (5.5) and Josh Martin (2.5) — the Jets’ starters at EDGE — combined.

In the Jets scheme, Fowler would be a standing rusher, much like what he did in his college days at the University of Florida, and thrive off of interior pressure from DE Leonard Williams and Shepherd. This seems like a natural fit for Fowler, and considering the Jets’ need at the EDGE position, the Jaguars’ could drive their asking price up.

The Jets currently have a selection in every round of the 2019 draft except for the second, and every round in 2020. The Jaguars could realistically ask for a 2019 4th round pick and perhaps a conditional 6th or 7th in 2020, and the Jets have nearly $82 million in cap space (per Over The Cap) for the 2019 offseason that they could pay Fowler Jr. if they were to extend his contract.

All in all, this trade would be a win for all three sides, as the Jaguars get fairly compensated for Dante Fowler Jr., the Jets get a pass rusher that they so badly need, and Fowler is in a situation where he gets a fresh start and the opportunity to get paid the big bucks.

Seattle Seahawks

The Jaguars could utilize the old “Seattle-Jacksonville” pipeline that opened when Gus Bradley was the Jaguars’ head coach, but this time be sending players to the PNW rather than vice versa.

The Seahawks simply don’t boast the pass rushing threat they have in years past, and appear to be in rebuild mode. They have a center piece at defensive end in Frank Clark, who has 19 sacks in the past two years, but not much else along the defensive line.

Fowler could ultimately compete to start opposite of Clark, and at worst fill a role as the team’s primary depth pass rusher who can be moved around their defensive front creatively, as the Seahawks have always taken approaches to letting their pass rushers utilize spacing. Fowler is a highly athletic defender who could fit into Seattle’s style of pass rusher.

Like New York, Seattle doesn’t have a second round pick in 2019. However, EDGE is likely a positon they will look to upgrade next offseason. Getting Dante Fowler Jr. on a trade similar to the one created for the Jets above could allow Seattle to focus on other needs with their first and third round picks in 2019.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs are set to have one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL this year, but the same can’t really be said about their defense.

There are certainly some nice plyers on the defense, more so in the secodary than upfront though. The team thought they had something in Dee Ford, but he has recorded two sacks since his 10th game in 2016, after starting that season with 10 sacks. Justin Houston needs an upgraded running mate at EDGE, and Kansas City doesn’t appear to have that on the roster.

KC’s 3-4 defense would utilize Dante Fowler as a standing rusher, which as stated above, is a more natural fit for the current defensive end. Fowler would likely compete for snaps with Ford and has the talent to take Ford’s job, as long as he can re-adjust to rushing the QB with his hand off of the ground like his Florida days quickly.

The Chiefs have three picks in the first two rounds in 2019, so they can afford to give up a little more value. The Jaguars could likely negotiate their way into a 3rd round pick (remember, they got a 6th for Blaine Gabbert once), and give the Chiefs some young potential that they thought they had in Ford, with Dante Fowler Jr.

The Chiefs also have over $35 million in cap space currently to spend next offseason, which could be used on Fowler if he were to perform well in a contract extension.

Zach Goodall covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Locked On Jaguars podcast and website. Follow him on Twitter @zach_goodall.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars vs. Texans: Five observations, red zone issues remain

Demetrius Harvey



Nov 3, 2019; London, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) throws under pressure from the Houston Texans defensive line men during an NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn--USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) will be left with a lot to work on during their bye week. There was plenty to gather from the team’s 26-3 loss against the Houston Texans (6-3) in London.

1. Jaguars red-zone woes are still prevalent and have no fix in sight

In the red zone this season, the Jaguars have completed 34.5% (10/29) of their opportunities for touchdowns.  This ranks only better than the Cincinnati Bengals (33.33%) in the entire NFL.

While quarterback play is an issue in this area, the Jaguars have not made the most of their play-call opportunities either. The Jaguars entered the Houston Texans’ red zone only twice in 11 drives on Sunday.

During the two drives in the red zone, the Jaguars completed 0 passes and ran the ball one other time with Leonard Fournette for three yards. Simply not good enough.

Jaguars’ offensive coordinator John DeFilippo has spoken about the team’s ineffectiveness on red zone opportunities. “We moved the football well, but we need to do a better job in the red zone,” DeFilippo said on Thursday following the team’s week seven victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. “I need to do a better job of helping our guys get open. We need to do a better job executing and being more detailed and throwing the ball on time and all of those things. Again, all of that starts with me, and I will do a better job with that.”

Two weeks later and the team’s struggles have continued.

2. Gardner Minshew might take a backseat

Already discussed, the Jaguars might be in for a quarterback change coming out of their week 10 bye week. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew struggled mightily in Sunday’s game, and head coach Doug Marrone will have a tough decision to make.

Although Minshew was playing with a sore right shoulder, he was able to practice in full all week leading up to their matchup at Wimbley. Regardless, the Jaguars will have to make a decision, and everything points to Nick Foles being the team’s starting quarterback against the Indianapolis Colts in week 11.

Now completely Minshew’s fault, his struggles in the red zone have been evident for the past several weeks. Foles — during the 2017 and 2018 seasons when he started for the Philidelphia Eagles — was efficient in the red zone, which could point to his maturity as a passer more than anything.

The Jaguars will want to see what they can get out of their veteran quarterback, and there is a reason to believe the Jaguars’ head coach is leaning in this direction. If Foles is not named the starting quarterback next Sunday, it is very likely the veteran will never start for this Jaguars team, at least not under the current staff.

3. Jaguars’ run-defense regressed

Without starting nickel corner D.J. Hayden and SAM linebacker Leon Jacobs, the Jaguars were forced to remain in their nickel package for much of the day. Rookie cornerback Breon Borders replaced Hayden in the starting lineup and while he was not the reason why the run defense suffered, not having a competent linebacker on the strong side of the ball impacted the team greatly.

Texans’ running back Carlos Hyde gashed the Jaguars’ defense 19 times for 160 yards during Sunday’s matchup. Part of the reason why the Jaguars were unable to stop the Texans’ running game late was the sheer amount of plays the Texans ran to begin the game.

In the first quarter, the Texans ran 20 total plays while the Jaguars offense was only able to produce nine total plays.

4. Jaguars cannot rely on penalties, but two changed the course of the game

While the Jaguars should not, and cannot rely on penalties, the team had two costly controversial calls in the third quarter of Sunday’s matchup.

With an opportunity to score, Minshew threw a beautiful back-shoulder pass to Jaguars’ receiver DJ Chark Jr. who was able to haul in the pass but was called for offensive pass interference. A few plays later the Jaguars would botch a field goal attempt and give the Texans the football at the 50-yard line.

Following the change of possession, Jaguars’ defensive end Calais Campbell was called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Specifically, Campbell was called for lowering his head to initiate contact with a defenseless rusher. The Texans would net only a field goal on this drive, but it was a potential 10-point swing as Chark’s interference call was questionable, and Campbell did not even touch Watson on the play.

5. Keelan Cole shines in Dede Westbrook’s absence

Although the Jaguars clearly missed their 1B receiver in Dede Westbrook, rarely-utilized receiver Keelan Cole was able to step up to the plate and put on his best performance of the season, and possibly since 2017.

While it was not sensational, Cole hauled in five out of six of his targets for 80 yards on the day. The Jaguars could not get anything going down the field, however, Cole was able to get open on routine crossing routes.

In the coming weeks, look for Cole to have a bigger role in the Jaguars offense, especially with veteran receiver Chris Conley playing so up-and-down (2 receptions on 7 targets for 32 yards).

DeFilippo recently spoke about Cole and understands the third-year receiver may be frustrated with his snap count.

“I am proud of the way he stayed in it and even though he has not gotten the playing time,” DeFilippo said after the Jaguars victory over Bengals. “Everyone wants to play every snap. I’m sure he wants [more playing time]. He has done a great job staying in it.”

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars to make tough decision next week, Minshew Mania over for now

Demetrius Harvey



Nov 3, 2019; London, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) throws a pass in the first half against the Houston Texans during an NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) were embarrassed early Sunday morning via a 26-3 loss to the rival Houston Texans (6-3). Minshew-Mania may be over for now, but it won’t be the last time the rookie sensation starts for the team.

To put it simply, rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew did not play well at all yesterday. Completing 27/47 (57%) of his passes for 309 yards, two interceptions, and two fumbles lost, Minshew looked lost during the second half of the game on Sunday.

Minshew has been everything the team could have hoped for — and much more — out of a sixth-round quarterback, but between what transpired yesterday, and a few of his past performances — against winning teams –, the Jaguars will likely see what they can get out of veteran quarterback Nick Foles.

For three quarters, Minshew looked okay. While there was plenty that went wrong, the rookie was able to make key throws, during key situations. One play, in particular, stands out. With a little over five minutes left in the second quarter, the Jaguars could not seem to get anything going before Minshew scrambles around and eventually finds a wide-open Ryquell Armstead in the middle of the field. Armstead would take the ball 31 yards and set the team up for their only points of the game.

Minshew’s ability to improvise has been his bread and butter this season, and although he was not able to work his magic often against the Texans, these were the types of plays that gave pause in the Minshew/Foles debate.

During the fourth quarter, the Jaguars and Minshew were forced to take more shots downfield in a sort of desperation move while trailing 19-3. Although playcalling can certainly be questioned, the decision making of the Jaguars’ rookie quarterback was equally perplexing. Throwing two interceptions and losing two fumbles, Minshew had no chance at making a little magic to lead the team to another come-from-behind victory.

Jaguars’ head coach Doug Marrone will be forced to make a decision on his quarterback, but not right now. After the game, Marrone indicated he will wait until the Sunday before the team returns from their week 10 bye week to talk to both quarterbacks.

“I think after those 48 hours are over, I’m going to step away a little bit, take a break because I don’t have to make a decision and have time,” Marrone said shortly after the game when asked about making the quarterback decision. “That’s what I’m going to talk to the quarterbacks about, and then I’ll tell them probably right before we come back on Sunday, we’ll be able to discuss where we’re going to go. That’s pretty much my plan.”

While Minshew did not have a great game yesterday, the decision will be made on more than just one game, Marrone said.

The Jaguars’ head coach is stuck with an incredibly tough decision. At 4-5, the team needs a spark. The Jaguars need to win down the stretch and having to rely on a rookie — still going through ups and downs — is exhausting. While Foles may not be “the answer”, he is the only other option at this moment, and the Jaguars absolutely believe in the veteran.

Although this may be the end of Minshew starting in Jacksonville this season, his achievements — 188/307 (61%) completions for 2,285 yards, 13 touchdowns, and four interceptions — should not go unnoticed. The team absolutely still believes in the rookie quarterback, and he has a golden opportunity — if not this season — next year to prove everyone wrong.

One of the best, most fun performances out of a Jaguars’ quarterback over the first half of the season ever, is nothing to get upset about. Minshew provided spectators with Minshew-Mania, Minshew-Magic, and any other Minshew-ism one can think of.

For now, it is very likely Foles will make his Jaguars’ debut once again after breaking his left clavicle during the opening game of the season. In 11 plays this season Foles completed five out of eight of his passes for 75 yards and a touchdown.

It may be over for now, but this is just the beginning, and having the problem of deciding between a former Superbowl MVP and a rookie sensation at quarterback is a good thing. Depending on how Foles plays — if he is to be named the starter next Sunday –, Minshew could get yet another opportunity as the Jaguars progress from their 4-5 record.

Bonus clip:

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars fail to seize opportunity in London, falling 26-3 to Houston Texans

Demetrius Harvey



Nov 3, 2019; London, United Kingdom; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) rushes for a first down during the first half of the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans during an NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn--USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) fell to Houston Texans (6-3) in a disappointing pre-bye week game in London, England. The Jaguars absolutely did not have home-field advantage on the day. 

The Jaguars took to their annual London voyage with a lot of optimism, however, all of that optimism was quickly quieted by the Houston Texans (6-3) as they were able to bottle up Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars, holding the team to just three points on the day.  The Texans would win 26-3 and kill any chances the Jaguars may have had at earning the division title in a few weeks.

To begin the game, the Jaguars opted to start out on defense with the Texans struggling early on in games this season. Holding the Texans to just three points to start the game, the Jaguars defense showed up big, especially as Jaguars’ cornerback A.J. Bouye shadowed Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins who finished with just eight receptions for 48 yards. The Jaguars seemed to find a groove early on during the first half of the game, but their inability to score in the red zone reared it’s head yet again.

In what is likely his last game starting for the Jaguars this season — at least for now — Jaguars’ rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew completed just 27 out of 47 of his passes for 309 yards and two interceptions. Minshew also fumbled the football two times near the end of the game, which would ultimately end it at Wembley stadium.

While the Jaguars defense played well early on, they stood no chance against Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson who completed 22 out of 28 of his passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Extremely elusive, Watson was able to escape from the Jaguars pass rushers all day long. The Texans effectively ended any chance of the Jaguars coming back after Watson completed a long throw to Hopkins for 21 yards to the Jaguars’ one-yard line. The Texans would score on a one-yard run by Duke Johnson putting the team up 19-3 late in the third quarter.

All four of Minshew’s turnovers would come in the fourth quarter as the Jaguars attempted to climb back in the game. Missing their second-most targetted wide receiver in Dede Westbrook, the Jaguars and Minshew couldn’t seem to get anything going in the passing game.

The Jaguars’ run game was equally disappointing today as running back Leonard Fournette could only edge out 40 yards on 11 rushes.

Perhaps the best play of the game by the Jaguars’ defense, near the end of the game Texans’ running back Carlos Hyde sprinted free and was looking to go into the endzone when Jaguars’ safety Jarrod Wilson showed incredible hustle to force a fumble at the last second, turning the ball over to the Jaguars’ offense.

The good fortune wouldn’t last long, however, as Minshew would go on to throw his final interception of the game to completely seal the game for the Texans offense.

The Jaguars’ offense simply did not get anything going today, similar to their game against the New Orleans Saints in week six earlier this year. Minshew was sacked only four times on the day as the Texans did not want him to escape the pocket.

The team will have a very tough decision to make during their week 10 bye week. Ultimately, the team will need to decide between veteran quarterback Nick Foles or the rookie quarterback in Minshew.

Jaguars’ head coach Doug Marrone will be making the decision, and after falling 26-3 today largely due to the play of the team’s quarterback, it may be a no-brainer.

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