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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 agree to terms with 2018 first round pick Taven Bryan

Ruairi Songer

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Jun 14, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Taven Bryan (90) walks to the field during mini camp at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars have come to terms on a contract with first round pick defensive tackle Taven Bryan, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Bryan’s rookie deal is worth $10.2 million over 4 years, and includes a $5.5 million signing bonus.

The contract, relatively low compared to the NFL’s most expensive defensive line, could help relieve the Jaguars cap space within the next few years when Bryan inevitably takes on a bigger role.

 

 

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles Must Take Control, Limit Mistakes in Training Camp

Zach Goodall

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Jan 21, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) reacts against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles signed a three year, $54 million extension with the team in February after leading Jacksonville to their first AFC Championship since 1999.

Now, the signal-caller must prove he was worth the deal.

Bortles has had an up-and-down career so far in Jacksonville, but showed significant improvement during the 2017 season compared to the year before. The QB completed 60.2% of his passes — a career high — for 3687 yards, 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions — a career low — and led the Jaguars to a 10-6, AFC South Champion season.

However, when training camp came around prior to the 2017 season, the wheels were falling off the wagon. Bortles’ had a disappointing camp, throwing five interceptions during the annual season-ticket owner exclusive practice, and during the preseason was benched in favor of Chad Henne to add some fuel to a quarterback competition between the two.

Bortles did win the job back before the regular season kicked off, and all was forgotten about as the team started winning. But, with a shiny new contract in his hands and a team to lead back to the playoffs this year, Bortles can not repeat his 2017 training camp performance this time around.

This will be Bortles’ second full offseason in offensive coordinator Nate Hackett’s system, and he needs to play like a poised veteran of the system. Hackett wasn’t a perfect playcaller in 2017, but he seemed to find a way to mesh the team’s run-first philosophy with Bortles’ strength’s and limit his faults with controlling the football.

All eyes are on running back Leonard Fournette’s growth as a bell-cow back entering his second professional season, and that should continue to take pressure off of Bortles. He doesn’t need to force passes or rush into decisions, as the run game will be the focal point of the offense.

In the passing game, things might start off a little shaky. The receiving corps was shaken up during the offseason, and it will naturally take time for Bortles’ to form chemistry with his new weapons.

This is the perfect opportunity for Bortles to take charge of the passing game, though. Taking the new guys under his wing and showing them the ropes will establish a sense of leadership that Bortles’ hasn’t been been able to establish in years’ past when his job security was in question.

On the field during camp, Bortles must display consistency. Despite his lows during last year’s camp, there were also moments where one was left thinking “Wow, now THAT was a good pass. Why can’t Bortles do that on every throw?”

It’s hard to ask the quarterback to be perfect on every throw, but with pressure being lifted by the presence of a true run game, Bortles’ has the ability to be a little more relaxed when dropping back. Opposing defenses must respect Jacksonville’s rushing attack, and with that, there will be more options to utilize in the passing game that Bortles must trust.

Bortles doesn’t need to “wow” anyone during camp. That isn’t what the team is going to ask of him during the season. As a quarterback, Bortles must display growth in terms of his consistency as a passer, limiting mistakes and learning to take what the defense gives him. As a Jaguar, Bortles must take the reigns and lead the team en route to an AFC South-winning season for the second year in a row.

After getting paid like the man, Blake Bortles needs to be the man.

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Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus accused of sexual assault

Zach Goodall

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Jan 21, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (99) against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has been accused of sexual assault and exposing a sexually transmitted disease to an anonymous Texas woman, per News4Jax.

The report states that Dareus had unconsensual sex with the woman when she was unconcious in a hotel in Houston this past April, also failing to disclose he was carrying herpes. The woman plans to sue Dareus for at least $15,000, per the report.

This isn’t the first sexual assault accusation against Dareus. A Las Vegas woman recently accused Dareus of a similar act from back in January, according to FloridaPolitics.com. Dareus reportedly brought the woman back to a party at his rental mansion in Lutz, near Tampa, where she claims he groped, drugged, and assaulted her after she blacked out.

Dareus was acquired by the Jaguars in the middle of the 2017 season via trade with the Buffalo Bills. The Jaguars sent Buffalo their fifth round pick in the 2018 Draft and hoped Daerus would shore up their run defense, which he did: The team went from ranking last in the NFL to 21st by season’s end after Dareus’ acquisition (9 games).

We will update this story as more details emerge.

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