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If I Were the GM – Early ’19 Off Season Prediction

Christopher Thornton

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It’s Halloween. The Jaguars are 3-5 in the bye week, and the team just got another 3rd round pick for the 2019 draft. Let’s get hypothetical.

 

The Jaguars are slated to have -$8,228,866 in cap next season

 

The Cuts

Oct 28, 2018; London, United Kingdom; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long (56) sakes Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) in the second quarter during an NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars trim a lot of veteran fat and cap in the 2019 off-season, getting rid of several key players.

 

QB Blake Bortles

This is a move the Jaguars have to make this off-season, and while the $16.5M in dead cap looks scary, you need to move on from the BB5 experiment and look forward. By cutting Bortles you save $4.5M on the books and finally admit, you did a wrong. The cap is now -$3,728,866

DE/DT Calais Campbell 

Calais has been an absolute fan favorite ever since arriving in Jacksonville. He led the charge defensively in 2017 by shattering Jaguars sack records, earning him the title “Mayor of Sacksonville.” However, Campbell, while still having a decent impact on the field, brings a hefty price tag and after the ’18 season, has an out in his contract the Jaguars should use, saving the team $9.5M and $15M on the books the next two seasons. The cap is now $5,771,134

DT Marcell Dareus

I cut Dareus simply for his hefty price tag. Releasing him saves you around $10.5M on the books but don’t worry, this isn’t the end. The cap is now $16,356,134

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins

This cut could go either way. I went ahead and cut the cord to save the additional $4.75M on the books, but if the Jaguars were to keep him, I don’t think it’d be the end of the world. The cap is now $21,106,134

SS Barry Church

Barry Church should be benched at this point in the season. With rookie S Ronnie Harrison playing strong in his limited snaps on defense, he should get the nod going forward. Church’s play has been subpar this season and likely is an easy candidate for getting the ax next offseason. Cutting Church saves $6.25M on the books. The cap is now $27,356,134

RT Jeremy Parnell

Parnell has been up and down his entire career with the Jaguars, some games flashing excellent right tackle play and others looking like a bottom of the league tackle. The Jaguars drafted Will Richardson in the 2018 draft as a likely heir to Parnell’s throne. Cutting Parnell will save the Jaguars $4.0M on the books. The cap is now $31,356,134

DE Dawuane Smoot

Drafted in the 3rd round only last year, Smoot has been disappointing. Hopefully, with the team letting go DC Todd Wash, the big end will be no more. Cutting Smoot saves the team $571,460. The cap is now $31,927,594

 

Extensions/Re-Signing Free Agents

Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars punter Josh Lambo (4) kicks a field goal during the first half against the New York Jets at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Although the team will likely re-sign a bunch of lower roster players, I went ahead and highlighted the two biggest names.

 

DT Marcell Dareus

He’s back! While the Jaguars could restructure Dareus to save cash, I am not that smart with the cap to do those calculations, so I just went ahead and cut and re-sign as the value I think Dareus could come back to. I re-signed Dareus to a Three-Year, $19.5M deal with $12M being guaranteed. The cap is now $25,427,594

K Josh Lambo

Statistically this season, Josh Lambo has been the best kicker in the NFL, and for that, he earns himself a nice payday and a nice extension. Lambo signs a Four-Year, $12M deal with $6M being guaranteed. The cap is now $22,427,594

 

Free Agency

I didn’t go crazy in free agency as the Jaguars have some names they need to start worrying about extending + these cap numbers are far from entirely accurate. However, after all the cuts they made, they will have some spending cash to make a decent signing for two in free agency, especially with the way Idzik can work the books.

 

QB Teddy Bridgewater

When free agency opens, I’m left with essentially two viable options for the Jaguars to sign as a bridge quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater and Tyrod Taylor. I offered both quarterbacks one year deals with varying values. Tyrod wouldn’t go cheap, so Teddy Bridgewater was the selection. Who wouldn’t want a bridge quarterback with the word bridge in the name? (Me but whatever, it’s the best option.) Bridgewater signs another One-Year, $10M contract that is fully guaranteed. The cap is now $15,427,594

 

The Draft

I dove little into these players so the analysis will be short but gets the point across.

 

First Round 

Sep 22, 2018; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Buffalo Bulls quarterback Tyree Jackson (3) throw a pass against Rutgers Scarlet Knights during first half at High Point Solutions Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

1(13)- QB Tyree Jackson, Buffalo

Jackson has incredible size and a cannon of an arm. With some development, the Jaguars could finally have a gunslinger, who can make almost all the throws, at the helm. However. Jackson isn’t a day one starter, leading to Bridgewater getting signed in free agency.

 

Second Round

2(45)- RG Chris Lindstrom, Boston College

Lindstrom is a powerful run blocker and has an anchor in pass protection. With A.J Cann now out of the picture, the Jaguars look to get actual competent guard play on the right side.

 

Third Round

3(76)- TE Kaden Smith, Stanford

Smith has the ability to be a great receiving TE between his size and catching ability. However, as noted by Benjamin Solak, Smith can be disrupted with light contact, something he will need to work on. Route running could improve but could be a great weapon for the Jaguars.

3(95)- DE Carl Granderson, Wyoming

Another edge piece to replace Dante Fowler Jr, Duwuane Smoot, and Calais Campbell. Could use some development but could be a good piece to complement opposite of Yannick Ngakoue.

 

Fourth Round 

Oct 6, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Marquise Brown (5) runs for a touchdown against Texas Longhorns defensive back P.J. Locke III (11) in the third quarter at the Cotton Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

4(115)- WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Oklahoma

Brown is a homerun ready to happen and could be the perfect compliment to future Jags QB Tyree Jackson as his deep vertical threat. Brown’s speed allows him to take the top off of defenses but is also a great route runner inside and can be moved around. Could be a poor mans Tyreek Hill and Patrick Mahomes.

 

Fifth Round

N/A- Pick traded to Cleveland in exchange for RB Carlos Hyde

 

Sixth Round

Oct 17, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Oregon Ducks cornerback Ugo Amadi (14) intercepts a pass intended for Washington Huskies wide receiver Brayden Lenius (81) during the fourth quarter at Husky Stadium. Oregon defeated Washington, 26-20. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

6(187)- CB Ugochukwu Amadi, Oregon

The Jaguars like CB’s Quenton Meeks and Tre Herndon, but so far the Jaguars defensive back group has been decimated with injury. After talking to a few people about Amadi, they said thing like “good instinctual player and a fantastic leader.” Amadi is a smart player and can bait QB’s and will trust his instincts to make a play. Could be a great piece as a nickel CB for the Jaguars.

 

Seventh Round

7(234)- RB Lexington Thomas, University of Nevada Las Vegas

Not a whole lot to say. Thomas could be a change of pace back but with Carlos Hyde and Leonard Fournette dominating the backfield, will be hard for any rookie to see the field for any significant amount of snaps.

Christopher Thornton Is the Co-host for Locked On Jaguars. Christopher lives in Jacksonville and is currently a season ticket holder for the Jacksonville Jaguars. You can find me on Twitter (@Mistochristopho) and contact me at [email protected]

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Dime Al Ghul

    October 31, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    Tyree Jackson? QB’s that tall don’t succeed in the NFL.

    • cliff nauenburg

      October 31, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      **University of Nevada Las Vegas**

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Jacksonville Jaguars

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

Demetrius Harvey

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

Demetrius Harvey

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

Demetrius Harvey

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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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