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Jacksonville Jaguars

Projecting Future Extensions for the Jaguars’ Budding Stars

Christopher Thornton

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Jan 21, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) takes the field before the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

**All Cap figures and projections based on current NFL salary cap. As the cap rises, expect these deals to increase in relation to the increased cap**

 

Last season, the Jaguars were able to do something they hadn’t previously been able to do in some time: Extend a draft pick beyond the rookie deal.

Last offseason, just before training camp, the Jaguars announced the extension of center Brandon Linder. Linder inked a five-year, $51 million deal, making him one of the highest paid interior offensive linemen in the entire league. Up to this point, most players of value for the Jaguars were either free agent signings or never were value enough to be handed a big money extension. After suffering several seasons of poor drafting and free agencies, general manager Dave Caldwell was finally able to extend one of his own. Brandon Linder wouldn’t be the only Jaguar from the 2014 draft class to get extended. In the middle of the season, the Jaguars extended classmate, Telvin Smith, on a four-year, $45 million extension. Some other notable names to get nice contracts and stay in Jacksonville are WR Marqise Lee (four-year, $34 million) and QB Blake Bortles (three-year, $54 million).

Now, general manager Dave Caldwell is faced with another task in deciding who, and how much, to extend. Specifically? The Jaguars’ 2016 draft class. Here we look over what contract details members of the 2016 draft class could be expected to receive via an extension.

The best cornerback in the NFL, Jalen Ramsey

Jan 7, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) reacts after an interception during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Ramsey, now going into only his third season, is in line for a major payday. Some believe that Ramsey could very well be the NFL’s first $100 million cornerbacks and deservedly so. Ramsey has cemented himself as a top-five cornerback in the NFL and at only 23 years old, has plenty of tread on the tires and even more room to grow and get better, which is a terrifying thought for opposing offenses. The Jaguars and Ramsey will soon be permitted to begin extension talks this season, and locking him up (like he locks up opposing receivers) should be their #1 priority.

Currently, the highest paid cornerback in the NFL is CB Josh Norman of the Washington Redskins with a total value of $75,000,000 over five years (per Overthecap.com) and earning him an average of $15,000,000 a year. Norman also leads all CB’s in total guarantees on his deal as well as average guaranteed per year. As it stands right now, Norman’s contract is the pinnacle of CB contracts in the NFL and likely the number to beat for Ramsey. Norman was 29 when he inked the deal with the Redskins, which immediately, in my opinion, gives Ramsey the upper hand in negotiations as he will only be 24 by the time an extension is likely ironed out.

Ramsey’s projected contract: Five-years, $90 Million with $47.5 million in guarantees

Barring any other major cornerback extensions to inflate the numbers, the projected deal makes Ramsey the highest paid CB in the following categories:

  • Total value
  • Average/Yearly
  • Total guarantees

Ramsey, viewed as the best cornerback in the game, is paid as best by a slightly large margin, making $15 million more than the current highest paid at his position.

 

The man who wasn’t down, Myles Jack

Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker Myles Jack (44) celebrates on the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Deciphering this one is a little tricky because, for most of his tenure in Jacksonville, Myles Jack hasn’t been a focal point of the linebacker corps. Myles was drafted to a Jaguars defense that already boasted LB’s Telvin Smith and Paul Posluszny who were starters along with Jack. In Jack’s rookie season, he was hardly utilized in former HC Gus Bradley’s defensive scheme but showed promising flashes when he did have a chance to take the field.

In the 2017 season, Myles Jack took over most of the starting MLB reps over veteran LB Paul Posluszny. Though this wasn’t immediately overnight, by the end of the season, Jack and Smith were the LB’s of the future for the Jaguars, and the ceiling couldn’t be higher for the duo. Smith has already shown to the league what he is capable of, whereas Jack still has some growing to do. Coming into the NFL, Jack was viewed as a possible top-five pick before falling to the second round due to knee concerns. When the two sides eventually sit down to discuss this new deal, both sides will have leverage on things like length and value. Jack’s camp will want a contract based on promise whereas the Jaguars might want to go more on whats been shown, either way, compromises will have to be made for both sides.

When looking at linebacker contracts in the NFL, there is some variance in the values; it will be contingent on if the Jaguars view Jack as the longterm guy at MLB or if they will continue to utilize him outside like Smith. The two sides might construct a deal that could be beneficial for either scenario if it came to this.

Jack’s projected contract: Five-years, $42 million with $14.7 million in guarantees

Again, assessing Jack’s value is a tough one, because although his ceiling is tremendously high, it could be hard for the Jaguars to justify in making him one of the highest paid linebackers in the NFL. This deal gives either side a little bit of what they want. The Jaguars lock up their former second-round pick into the foreseeable future but at a manageable price. Jack and his camp get a deal that allows Jack to possibly test free agency again by age 28, something I’m sure his camp is thinking about. Aside from shorter, fully guaranteed deals, Jack would be in the upper half of the league in both yearly averages as well as total guarantees.

 

The most underrated edge rusher in the NFL, Yannick Ngakoue

Jan 7, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA;Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) points during the second half of the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Everbank Field. Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Buffalo Bills 10-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday morning, news broke that the Minnesota Vikings had extended young defensive end, Danielle Hunter, to a big five-year, $72 million extension with $40 million guaranteed.

This deal will undoubtedly be the benchmark for Ngakoue and his camp going forward in negotiations. Both Hunter and Ngakoue are 23 years old and putting up stellar numbers for being so early in their careers. Both players were picked in the third round and deserve proper extensions; Hunter is the first to receive his. In his first three seasons, Hunter is averaging 8.5 sacks a season and on the flip side, Ngakoue going into his third year is averaging ten sacks a season and coming off his best season with 12.0 sacks.

For Ngakoue, he has put himself in a very good spot for extension talks as he continually has gotten better each season and could be a 10+ sacks a year candidate who only helps his wallet. Eventually, when Calais Campbell either retires or is no longer a Jaguar, Ngakoue will take over as the face of Sacksonville.

Ngakoue’s projected contract: Five-years, $75 million with $44 million in guarantees

Again, a very similar deal to Hunter’s, and rightfully so. Both players are having almost identical stories and production as similar ages. Ngakoue is slightly outperforming Hunter and therefore earns a little more on his deal, but I don’t foresee anything too drastically different from Hunter’s deal for Ngakoue. The Jaguars could play around a little bit by tweaking the length and guarantees but ultimately think Ngakoue is in line for a minimum of $15 million a year.

 

By the end of the 2018-19 NFL season, the Jaguars are likely (for both the fans and teams’ sake) to have their cornerback, edge rusher and linebacker of the future locked down for many seasons to come. Can’t wait to see John Idzik work his magic again.

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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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

2019 NFL Draft: Locked On Jaguars Mock Draft 1.0

Demetrius Harvey

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Dec 29, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray (1) scrambles in the 2018 Orange Bowl college football playoff semifinal game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NFL season is officially over, and the draft order has been set. Although free agency is a very popular topic, the NFL draft is arguably more popular, and what a better way to express that than yet another mock draft?

While there will be many Jaguars-centric mock drafts from this website, we decided to take a crack at the entirety of the first round with the majority of our contributors. We split up the mock draft in seven parts with each person getting 4-5 picks.

Prior to the draft, we decided to change it up a little by including no trades in the draft itself, however, we did have one pre-draft trade. The Arizona Cardinals sent Josh Rosen to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for their first round pick (15th overall).

So without further adieu, I present to you the Locked On Jaguars Mock Draft 1.0:


1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

Christopher Thornton: Let’s blow the roof off this [redacted] place.

2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State

Zach Goodall: Duh.

3. New York Jets: Josh Allen, EDGE, UK

Noah Thomas: Allen is probably the second-best edge rusher after Bosa, and it is only fitting he goes one pick later.

4. Oakland Raiders: Brian Burns, EDGE, FSU

Zak Dewitt: The Raiders desperately need a pass rushing presence off of the edge after getting rid of Mack last year. Burns provides elite bend at that position.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

Demetrius Harvey: The Buccaneers took a defensive tackle in the first round last year, and they will quite possibly do so again this year if Williams falls to them. He possesses incredible strength in the interior to hold up against the run and provides a more than adequate pass rush to boot. He’s a slam dunk pick for the Bucs considering their situation with Gerald McCoy who is a potential cap casualty this offseason.

6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Ruairi Songer: As much as I would like Haskins to fall to the Jaguars, I just don’t think the Giants would let that happen without the Jaguars having to trade up. Haskins is a very efficient pocket passer, who would be an immediate upgrade over an aging Eli Manning. This will also allow the Giants to fully utilize weapons such as Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: T.J Hockenson, TE, Iowa

Dylan Goldman: I know this pick might not be the “sexy” pick, but without the two best QBs in the draft available, the Jaguars can plug another vacant hole here. Hockenson can fill the void left by Austin Seferian-Jenkins (if they do not pick up his option) at an already weak position for the Jags.

8. Detroit Lions: Jachai Polite, EDGE, UF

Christopher Thornton: Detroit lands one of the best edge rushers in the class to finally give them a longterm edge rusher with Ansah likely gone in free agency.

9. Buffalo Bills: N’Keal Harry, WR, ASU

Zach Goodall: The Buffalo Bills badly need to add weapons for second-year QB Josh Allen. While D.K Metcalf is widely viewed as WR1, he is fresh off of a neck injury that could move him down draft boards. Harry provides excellent size at 6-4, and athleticism to win contested matchups and create yards after the catch in the short game.

10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

Noah Thomas: Everyone seems to be placing Lock and Elway together in a marriage. This pick is a little bit of dot connecting and need. Drew Lock is likely the third QB picked regardless.

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, LB, LSU

Zak Dewitt: With the Bengals looking to move on from Burfict, they desperately need a hard hitter in the middle and White will do well in today’s NFL.

12. Green Bay Packers: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

Demetrius Harvey: Montez Sweat might have improved his draft stock tremendously at the senior bowl, and what better of a team to draft him than the Packers. For years they have lacked an edge rusher to match the production of Clay Matthews and now that Matthews is getting a little older, it is time for them to invest.

13. Miami Dolphins: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Ruairi Songer: Greedy Williams would be an excellent addition to a rapidly maturing Dolphins secondary. Adding Williams would allow the Dolphins to have more flexibility with Minkah Fitzpatrick, and would give Xavien Howard a dynamic counterpart.

14. Atlanta Falcons: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Dylan Goldman: Ed Oliver is a physical freak, who Atlanta would be lucky to get and plug their hole at defensive tackle.

15. Arizona Cardinals (via WAS): Jonah Williams, LT, Alabama

Christopher Thornton: Arizona’s OL was a mess for Rosen and the Cardinals offense last year. Now, after drafting another QB top 5, they look to actually protect him and get a line for David Johnson. Williams comes in and starts day one at either left tackle or left guard.

16. Carolina Panthers: Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State

Zach Goodall: Panthers badly need to address their offensive line, across the board. Risner is a durable, experienced offensive lineman who can play center, right guard, and right tackle and is relatively scheme universal.

17. Cleveland Browns: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

Noah Thomas: Byron Murphy would be an excellent pairing with Denzel Ward. The Browns can afford this luxury after finally getting their quarterback last year.

18. Minnesota Vikings: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma

Zak Dewitt: The Vikings will likely run the ball more in 2019 and Cousins needs a good OL to prosper. Ford gives them a great right tackle that could play guard if needed.

19. Tennessee Titans: Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson

Demetrius Harvey: Mullen is the type of cornerback to perfectly fit in with Mike Vabrel and the Tennessee Titans defense. He offers enough length and physicality to match up against big corners and enough quickness in the short area to match the quick-twitch receivers in the AFC South.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

Ruairi Songer: The Pittsburgh secondary desperately needs help, and luckily for them, Baker falls right into their lap at pick 20. Baker isn’t the flashiest corner, but he is technically refined and does a good job at diagnosing routes. His lack of athleticism is extremely exaggerated, as he should test as a middle of the road athlete. Baker should be able to contribute right away and should be a solid starter for years to come.

21. Seattle Seahawks: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Dylan Goldman: The Seahawks need to keep rebuilding their ever-changing defense, and Lawrence –who was a huge part of Clemson’s dynamic defense over the past few years– could really help them.

22. Baltimore Ravens: D.K Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

Christopher Thornton: It seems the Ravens have been chasing that elusive WR1 for years now and they might *finally* find their man. D.K Metcalf is my WR1 and the Ravens front office should be sprinting to the podium if Metcalf is there at 22.

23. Houston Texans: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

Zach Goodall: Much like my Carolina pick, Houston might need OL more than any team in this draft to protect Deshaun Watson. Taylor is a highly athletic right tackle who improved drastically this past season at UF, and he can take over right tackle duties as Kendall Lamm’s contract is up. Lamm also allowed the 2nd most pressures across the Texans OL in 2018.

24. Oakland Raiders: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

Noah Thomas: Daniel Jones has to go somewhere, and Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden seemed to be very impressed with the Duke alum during the senior bowl. If the Raiders decide to get rid of Carr soon, they need someone to take over. Having three first round picks doesn’t hurt either.

25. Philidelphia Eagles: Jeffery Simmons, iDL, Mississipi State

Zak Dewitt: The bread and butter of the Eagles defense the past couple of years has been their defensive line. They add a top 10 prospect who just happens to play a “devalued” position.

26. Indianapolis Colts: Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

Demetrius Harvey: Besides T.Y. Hilton, the Colts have basically nobody at receiver. Butler’s stocks have been rising throughout the league, and the Colts would be pleasantly surprised if he fell to them at 26. Butler offers the size and catch radius to be Luck’s go-to receiver and complements Hilton’s quickness very well.

27. Oakland Raiders: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Ruairi Songer: The lifeless Oakland Raiders offense is in need of some playmaking wide receivers, and Jordy Nelson, Marcell Ateman, and Brandon LaFell won’t cut it. Enter Marquise Brown, the electrifying speedster out of Oklahoma, and cousin of NFL superstar Antonio Brown. Marquise is an impressive route runner, and possess elite speed and acceleration. If small size doesn’t impede his NFL development, he should be able to become a playmaker for Derek Carr (or any Quarterback) and company immediately.

28. Los Angelas Chargers: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama

Dylan Goldman: Mack Wilson was an integral part of Alabama’s dominant defense in 2017 and 2018, and Wilson is an intriguing player to help bolster old friend Gus Bradley’s defense in Los Angelas.

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

Christopher Thornton: The Chiefs had one of the worst secondaries in the NFL last year, somewhat neutralizing the powerhouse of an offense they had at times. Thompson is an athletic pure safety that should fill in beautifully next to FS Eric Berry if he ever returns to his old self.

30. Green Bay Packers: Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College

Zach Goodall: I can’t stop lovin’ on this OL class. Aaron Rodgers should bounce back with an innovative offensive mind in Matt LaFleur as head coach, but he needs two new guards to give him time to throw. Lindstrom is the best pure guard in this class.

31. Los Angelas Rams: Jalen Jelks, DE, Oregon

Noah Thomas: Jalen Jelks is a project, but given how his senior bowl went, he could easily be the guy who makes it to the bottom of round one. He brings a versatility to the Rams defensive line which will need to be revamped given their salary cap situation coming up.

32. New England Patriots: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

Zak Dewitt: Ferrell will give the Patriots a solid rusher off the edge who will allow them to still be creative with their defense.

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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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