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Jaguars Announce Offseason Practice Schedule

Demetrius Harvey

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Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars offseason practice phases have officially kicked off with the rookie minicamp over this past weekend. The Jaguars have now announced some important dates for the next phases of the Jaguars season.

According to the Jaguars Direct of Public Relations, Tad Dickman, the Jaguars will conduct OTAs beginning 5/22-6/8 with mandatory minicamp being held 6/12-6/14. Rookies and first-year players will report for training camp on 7/18, with QBs on 7/20 and vets on 7/25.

The Jaguars first training camp practice will be held on 7/26.

The NFL mandates teams begin their offseason training in phases. Phase one includes the first two weeks of the program, limited to strength and conditioning.

Phase two is over the following three weeks of the program limited to on-field workouts and limited individual player instruction and drills, however no live contact nor offense and defense drills are permitted.

The final phase (phase three) is over the following four weeks of the program which allows everything but live contact.

The Jaguars are currently in phase 2.

Individual dates are as follows:

Jaguars OTAs:

OTA No. 1: Tuesday, May 22
OTA No. 2: Thursday, May 24
OTA No. 3: Friday, May 25
OTA No. 4: Tuesday, May 29
OTA No. 5: Thursday, May 31
OTA No. 6: Friday, June 1
OTA No. 7: Monday, June 4
OTA No. 8: Tuesday, June 5
OTA No. 9: Thursday, June 7
OTA No. 10: Friday, June 8

Jaguars Mandatory Vet Minicamp:

​​​​​​​Practice No. 1: Tuesday, June 12
Practice No. 2: Wednesday, June 13
Practice No. 3: Thursday, June 14

Jaguars training camp practice report dates:

Rookies and first-year players report date: Wednesday, July 18
Quarterbacks report date: Friday, July 20
Veteran report date: Wednesday, July 25
First training camp practice: Thursday, July 26

Demetrius Harvey is a Locked on Jaguars writer focusing on game breakdowns as well as breaking news. Demetrius is a lifelong Jaguars fan. You can follow him at @Demetrius82 on twitter.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars sign Josh Lambo to contract extension, per report

Demetrius Harvey

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Sep 23, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars punter Josh Lambo (4) looks on during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have extended Kicker Josh Lambo’s contract according to John Reid of Jacksonville.com. Lambo was set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. Lambo was originally signed during the Jaguars 2017 season after giving up on Jason Myers.

Lambo has excelled greatly in Jacksonville. In 2017, Lambo missed only one field goal and two extra points. Last season Lambo missed only two field goals and one extra point. It is safe to say that the contract extension was well deserved.

It is not currently known the terms of Lambo’s contract. We will update this story as more information becomes available.


UPDATE:

Josh Lambo has confirmed the extension was for four years.

Lambo was signed to a four-year $15.5M contract with $6.5M in full guarantees.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars should pursue running back Le’Veon Bell in free agency

Zach Goodall

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Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) carries the ball past Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson (97) during the second half in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars enter the 2019 offseason needing to address virtually every position along the offensive side of their roster. Not every position necessarily needs a new starter, but after what was an abysmal offensive showing during the entirety of the 2018 season, nothing should be ruled out.

In which case, how about totally canning the Leonard Fournette experiment at running back and making a huge, unexpected free agency splash in targeting former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell?

It sounds really crazy at first, and many fans would hate the idea of giving up on the former 4th overall pick so quickly, but when you connect some dots and really think about the idea, it can make sense.

With the quarterback position being the biggest need this offseason, the idea of chasing Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles in either free agency or via trade is popular amongst Jaguars fans and media alike. He’s a former Super Bowl MVP who has filled in and won games when starter Carson Wentz went out with injuries. As former Jaguars and current Eagles beat writer Mike Kaye wrote on the Foles/Jaguars rumors the other day, “Foles would be the biggest celebrity in the city once he put pen to paper, even with All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey on the roster”.

However, acquiring Foles will not be cheap, and comes with a lot of risks. Sure, he played some of his best football under new Jaguars offensive coordinator and former Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo, but he’s a bit of a journeyman who’s had an up-and-down career as a whole. His first three years in Philadelphia provided flashes, including a 27 touchdown and two interception sophomore season, with 2891 passing yards and a 64% completion percentage in 13 games. However, he was traded to the St. Louis Rams after his third year with the Eagles after throwing 10 interceptions in eight games and going on the injured reserve with a broken collarbone in Week 9.

Foles looked no better in one season with the Rams than he did the year prior, throwing only seven TDs and 10 INTs in 11 games, then requesting to be released after the Rams traded up and selected QB Jared Goff with the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent the 2016 season as Alex Smith’s backup with the Kansas City Chiefs, starting one game against the Jaguars where he threw for 187 yards and a TD. Foles made his way back to Philadelphia as Wentz’s backup, and the rest is history: He’s thrown for 1950 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions in 12 games filling in for Wentz, and won the Super Bowl 52 MVP Award.

While recency bias would say Foles is a prime candidate for the Jaguars starting QB job, his shaky career history should keep Jacksonville from breaking the bank on the 30 year old signal-caller. And as mentioned previously, he’s going to be expensive. Reports broke after he bought out his team-option that the Eagles were planning on franchise tagging Foles in order to trade him away before free agency. That provides a ton of risk for Philadelphia if no team is willing to pay his franchise tag price plus trade away assets for Foles, as the tag is projected at $25 million in 2019 for quarterbacks and the Eagles reportedly are asking for a third round pick in return for Foles services.

Considering the Jaguars are currently projected to be $4,316,311 under the cap, and have so many needs on offense, it doesn’t make much sense to spend that much on a 30 year old quarterback who’s never consistently played well as a starter in the NFL.

However, the Jaguars are going to be trimming fat anyway this offseason to get into a better position with cap space. Whether it’s to go after Foles or not, the team is expected to release players such as defensive tackle Malik Jackson (clearing $11 million in cap space), right tackle Jermey Parnell ($6 million), tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($4,328,125), running back Carlos Hyde ($4.7 million) and possibly more to get back “into the green” and be able to sign/extend players.

So, if the Jaguars are to create a bunch of cap space, chances are they’ll spend some to improve the team. But instead of going after a somewhat inconsistent and expensive quarterback, why not utilize that money on other positions and draft a young franchise quarterback instead?

Why not go after running back Le’Veon Bell?

The Jaguars are in limbo at running back, more than fans are willing to admit. Starting running back Leonard Fournette has missed 11 games in his first two seasons from a mix of lower body injuries (which were a red flag for the LSU product before he was drafted) and suspensions. When he was actually on the field, he averaged a mere 3.7 yards per carry and only 740 rushing ards per season. The team waived his guarantees in his contract following the 2018 season for his behavior – he now has to earn every penny on his originally fully-guaranteed rookie deal. In all honesty, his situation has become a real headache, and the team has the ability to move on from his deal easier now than before his guarantees were waived.

The No. 2 RB T.J. Yeldon, who played well in place of Fournette during the 11 games he has missed, won’t be returning to the team as things stand. His rookie contract is up, and he will likely cash in on the free agency market beyond what the Jaguars would be able to pay him for his No. 2 role. A team will pay him to be their starter after he averaged 5.7 yards per touch and scored five total touchdowns in a reserve role in 2018. Also, his “liked” tweets on Twitter are pretty damning:

The Jaguars could easily shake up their RB room this offseason, and Le’Veon Bell could come in and provide elite ability not only as a runner but as a receiver and pass blocker – he’s arguably the best all-around running back the NFL has seen in recent history. He sat out the entire 2018 season due to contract issues, but he had back-to-back 1200 rushing yard seasons in 2016-17, with 16 rushing touchdowns and averaging 4.45 yards per carry. On top of that, Bell caught 160 passes for 1271 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He literally had the 10th most receptions in the NFL in 2018 (85), among wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs. That’s insane.

Le’Veon Bell would walk into Jacksonville as one of the team’s best running backs in franchise history. Obviously, he’d be behind Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, but he’s far ahead of the team’s third all-time leading rusher James Stewart by almost 3000 rushing yards. In only two more career games.

Let’s get down to the money: Bell sat out during the 2018 season because he demanded high guarantees in his next long-term contract, as well as being the highest-paid RB in the league – but the Steelers wouldn’t give him what he wanted. Here’s a quote from his agent that makes Bell’s demands appear well-thought out:

“The Steelers have a unique way of structuring deals,” Bakari said. “These contracts are not fully guaranteed. Le’Veon plays a position that has one of the shortest lifespans in the league. We have to focus on the guarantee. It’s safe to say he’ll get a guarantee [as a free agent] that is more traditional, and he’ll be protected for the balance of his career.”

Based on these statements and how running backs are currently paid, Bell is in line to make a boat-load this offseason. Todd Gurley, the NFL’s highest paid RB, averages $14.3 million a year on his new deal with $45 million in guarantees, including a $21 million signing bonus.

So, one should expect Bell to come in around $14.5 million a year with frontloaded guarantees. My personal projection: Five years, $72.5 million, with $50 million in guarantees spread out over the first three years of the deal, and a large signing bonus around $20 million to knock out 40% of the guarantees. And if the Jaguars release the players stated above, and perhaps a couple of others, they could afford this – in fact, he’d be cheaper than Nick Foles on a year-to-year basis from all angles.

This type of move would be an earthquake across the NFL, but while it seems crazy, it could reap benefits. The Jaguars would hold onto the draft pick they’d have to send to the Eagles for Foles, and save an average of about $10 million in contract value per year (before guarantees factor in). In doing so, the Jaguars would land one of the leagues best running backs and a player who puts up top-20 production as a receiver, all in one, while holding onto funds to pay players such as cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue down the line.

In this situation, it would become clear the Jaguars would want to draft their own quarterback, and Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins would make sense. The Jaguars would likely have to trade up for Haskins, with the 4th overall pick being the sweet spot in order to not give up many assets and still solidify themselves above other quarterback-needy teams, but trading up in the draft to land a quarterback on the slotted-rookie contract (which would be around $7-8 million a year) makes a lot more sense than trading away assets to pay an inconsistent QB $25 million a year.

And for Fournette, it’s safe to assume he’d be traded away in this situation. While he could net the Jaguars something like a late third round/early fourth round pick, it’d be interesting to see if they could package him into the draft-day trade up for a quarterback. But if not, at least they can regain some draft day value by shipping him away and continue to address the offense.

Imagine a Jaguars offense with Dwayne Haskins under center, and Le’Veon Bell handling not only running back duties, but providing a legitimate receiving option for the young quarterback? Plus whoever else they draft, as well  as in-house weapons such as Dede Westbrook and second-year WR D.J. Chark.

It’s far-fetched, and these moves would take the entire NFL by storm, but this would be a fantastic way to fix the Jaguars offensive woes heading into the 2019 season, while also saving more money than what it would take to pay Nick Foles.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Former Jaguars beat writer offers unique perspective on Nick Foles

Demetrius Harvey

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Jan 13, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) gestures during the first quarter of a NFC Divisional playoff football game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars are currently in a tough spot when it comes to the quarterback position, and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles seems to be square in the middle of all discussions surrounding it.

The Jaguars can either sign/and or trade for Foles, or they can go a completely different route via the NFL Draft and a stop-gap quarterback via free agency.

Mike Kaye, former beat writer for the Jaguars, and current beat writer for the Philidelphia Eagles at NJ.com can offer a very unique perspective on the situation. Kaye was the Jaguars beat writer for three years until leaving this season to cover the Eagles. For that reason, he can speak on both sides of the equation.

Kaye wrote about the reasons why it may or may not make sense for Foles to go to the Jaguars. Part of why the Jaguars may be interested in Foles, Kaye writes:

“The Jaguars have a defense that is ready to contend in the playoffs but the offense needs a quarterback to help get them there. Foles is clearly a guy with a résumé that would lead one to believe he could assist in those efforts.”

And while this is true, there does seem to be a disconnect amongst fans as well as some in the media on if Foles can bring the same juice to the Jaguars offense as he was able to with the Eagles.

Foles would, as Kaye put it, “be entering a franchise that has never had a superstar quarterback.” The Jaguars have tried and tried again to build their own franchise quarterback – from Byron Leftwich, to David Garrard, to Blaine Gabbert, to most recently Blake Bortles, things have just has not come to fruition. Even Mark Brunell was not touted as a superstar quarterback in his day. Back then, Jaguars were known more for their resilient defense and star power at the running back and offensive line positions.

If the Jaguars were to land Foles, he absolutely would be the most high-profile quarterback they have had in franchise history. All of that is nice, but that simply does not add much in the way of on-field ability and how he could come in and fix a struggling offense.

While Kaye was able to give a few notes on why the Jaguars and Foles marriage makes sense, he also gave the cold, hard truth on why it could be a mistake. Kaye stated in his article a variety of reasons in which I agree with, why the Jaguars/Nick Foles marriage simply does not makes sense.

For starters, in Jacksonville, “he would be faced with playing behind an offensive line that will be in a state of flux. Right guard A.J. Cann and right tackle Jermey Parnell could be headed elsewhere, while left guard Andrew Norwell, left tackle Cam Robinson and center Brandon Linder are all coming off season-ending injuries.” Kaye writes.

The Jaguars do not have the offensive line the Eagles have. And perhaps their greatest worry regarding their offensive line is that they still have to figure out a way to fix it. Whether it be during the draft or free agency, it will not be fixed in a year. And if the Jaguars take a shot at Foles, they should be expected to go to the playoffs.

Jacksonville doesn’t have the talent on offense currently to help Foles, as a whole. Their number one receiver is Dede Westbrook, and while he is an up-and-coming number one target, he does not offer the dynamic ability as a guy like Zach Ertz does. Foles targeted Ertz a staggering 65 times in seven games last season during the regular season and the playoffs. This connection resulted in 44 receptions for 391 yards and two touchdowns. If they want to have the same results with Foles as the Eagles did, they need to find a consistently dynamic target for him to rely on.

Kaye also spoke about Foles and where he is best used in the passing game: Out of the shotgun. If the Jaguars are going to get yet another shotgun quarterback, they need to figure out how they are going to use RB Leonard Fournette. Fournette has not shown much ability to run out of the shotgun formation. The Jaguars would still be in the same position they were in with Blake Bortles and the running game.

One of the major points offered by Kaye was the Jaguars salary cap situation. Kaye states, “While the team is expected to do some heavy lifting to free up cap space before free agency, the Jaguars are currently $4.3 million over the league’s threshold.” For those expecting more splash signings to go along with Foles, you may want to reconsider. The Jaguars can easily, as Kaye put it, drop “$30 million in salary cap space”, however, most of this would then be used to acquire Foles anyways. It is also worth noting the Jaguars have to do some re-signing of their own with guys like Jalen Ramsey, Yannick Ngakoue, and Myles Jack who are up next contract extensions in the near future.

The Jaguars want to win now, and in the future, and in my opinion they simply cannot win now with Foles behind center if you factor in the offensive weapons, offensive line, and the salary cap space. It just does not make much sense as of right now.

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