The Jaguars have decided to forego defensive end, Dante Fowler Jr’s fifth-year option per Mike Garafolo.
The #Jaguars elected not to exercise the fifth-year option on DE Dante Fowler for 2019, source says. However, they believe he’s an ascending player and hope to get a long-term deal to keep the former Gator in Florida.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) May 2, 2018
Statement from Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Tom Coughlin: “We do like Dante and we feel that he’s on the verge of having a great season, but we did not pick up his fifth year option at this time.
He is making good progress and we like how he practices, and how he plays, as he did in the AFC championship game, and we want him to have a great season and earn a long term contract with us this year.”
In doing so, Fowler will become an unrestricted free agent following the upcoming the 2018-19 NFL season barring any premature cuts or an extension.
Fowlers’ career got off to a rocky start when he tore his ACL the first day of rookie minicamp his rookie year. In his first full year in the NFL, Fowler had 23 tackles and four sacks. In his second year, this past season, he had 18 tackles but doubled his sack total to eight on the year.
Despite being the 3rd overall pick in 2015, Fowler has only started one game for the Jaguars and has been relegated to a backup role since the emergence of DE Yannick Ngakoue.
The Jaguars not taking up Fowlers’ fifth-year option makes perfect business sense as the option was going to have a price tag of around $14.2 million. By not granting Fowler his fifth-year option, the Jaguars are currently slated to be $14,670,897 over the cap, per Over The Cap, next year, which can be fixed with a few notable cuts, and a Fowler option would nearly double the deficit going into next year.
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