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Jacksonville Jaguars

Bortles awful in Jags night practice, where’s legitimate competition?

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Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire

With the understanding that it’s early in training camp, embattled Jaguars QB Blake Bortles was by all accounts, bad during their Saturday night practice in front of season ticket holders; like five interception bad. And, at this stage, the “slings and arrows” will be coming from everywhere:

 

Look, we aren’t going to write here that means it’s over already for him in Jacksonville.

No, what we are going to write is: where is the legitimate backup competition to push Bortles and if necessary, replace him down the road?

In fact we have written already that the Jags could have considered a certain controversial former 49ers QB before, and could consider him right now, too, because he’s still, available.

We also wrote recently, that it’s not just Colin Kaepernick or Vince Young, but several qualified experienced QB’s who’ve started significant games in the NFL, and who are just sitting out there.

So, why is it, with Bortles’ dramatic regression as last season progressed leading to the firing of offensive coordinator Greg Olson early in the season and then, head coach Gus Bradley with two weeks to go in 2016, that he wasn’t facing the same fate?

Instead, earlier this off season, they picked up the fifth year option on his rookie contract.

Still, when Tom Coughlin was brought on board to run the football operation, and isn’t responsible for having drafted Bortles third in 2014, it seemed only logical that in free agency or the April draft, they would bring in someone to push him.

Didn’t happen and still, hasn’t happened.

The Jags believe that veteran Chad Henne is sufficient with his over 50 career starts, but he has taken one regular season snap in the last two years. And, no qualified analyst would look at his body of work and say, “Yes. He’s the guy that can take the job from Bortles and lead Jacksonville to a winning season.”

They also drafted Brandon Allen in the sixth round out of Arkansas a year ago, but he isn’t going to push Bortles or magically, lead the Jags to a big season, either.

So, if you are Jaguars fans, you aren’t out of line to be frustrated and asking; where’s the competition at QB? In fact, you are on point to ask that. And at this stage, they could still do something about it if, Coughlin and Co. wanted.

Again, it’s Jacksonville’s third practice of training camp, but Bortles is only lending to the growing calls for him to be dumped with night’s like Saturday.

The worse news is there’s not much behind him to go to.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the key free-agent questions for the Jaguars continues to be whether or not they’re going to allow their best pass rusher, Yannick Ngakoue, to test the free-agent market coming up? And, once again, the player may be giving a clue that he’s going to do just that.

Ngakoue tweeted Wednesday morning the following phrase, which seems to indicate, yet again, that he will be playing somewhere else in 2020:

This goes along with something that we wrote earlier in January. That’s when just a couple of days after the season Ngakoue posted essentially a goodbye message to Jaguar fans. This came on the heels of him having held out for a new contract for the first few days of training camp last August, but not receiving a new deal during the season, etc.

Ngakoue, whose 37.5 career sacks are the most by a Jaguars player after 63 career games, is sure to be a sought-after player from many different teams. GM Dave Caldwell said at the end of the season when asked about re-sgning his star pass rusher, “He is a tremendous player and even a better person. How he handled his business this year was tremendous. But, I would say that’s priority No. 1, to make sure he comes back to Jacksonville. Hopefully, we can get that done. ″

It’s also worth noting that at Tuesday’s NFL Scouting Combine at media availability in Indianapolis, coach Doug Marrone repeated that he wants Ngakoue to remain in Jaguars teal and white:

However, it remains to be seen if Marrone and Caldwell are willing to “pony up” huge money for him or even potentially,  put the franchise tag on him before free agency begins next month?

Ngakoue figures to want a contract close to what the top ends are getting paid right now. Demarcus Lawrence and Frank Clark both signed five-year, over $100 million deals in 2019 and received guaranteed money that exceeded $62 million. That is massive for Jacksonville.

If the Jags opt for the “franchise tag,” then the talented end will be making around $19 million dollars, which is the current average of the top five players at his position. The Jaguars could also put the tag on him and then work on a longer term, salary cap friendly, deal that would replace the tag later in the off season.

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Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

At Tuesday’s media session at the NFL Scouting Combine, Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell made official what had been rumored for the last couple of days regarding defensive tackle Marcell Dareus: he will not be brought back for a fourth season in Jacksonville.

Caldwell was a specifically asked about Dareus’ status and gave a quick answer is part of his Q&A session:

Dareus only played briefly in 2019, as he suffered a core muscle injury that sidelined him after only six games and he was placed on injured reserve. The former number one pick of the Buffalo Bills had played for coach Doug Marrone for a couple of seasons in Western New York.

Marrone and Caldwell traded for Dareus during the 2017 season and he helped them with their rise to the AFC South title and two playoff wins. This included Darius registering two sacks and four other tackles-for-loss in the Jaguars three playoff games that year.

Dareus made the Pro Bowl twice in Buffalo in 2013-14.

However, he has not lived up to his hefty contract that was reworked Jacksonville last February. Last season, Dareus made over $8 million dollars and the team would have been on the hook for $20 million this year had they picked up the option. That obviously wasn’t going to happen.

Dareus also has had legal troubles off the field, including a civil suit against him in Tampa for alleged sexual misconduct. As we wrote previously, a woman alleged that Dareus had sexually assaulted her in January of 2018 at a North Tampa Florida home, while Dareus was in town for the Alabama-Clemson College Football Playoff Championship Game.

However, that suit filed in Hillsborough County court was “dismissed with prejudice” last April, which means it cannot be re-filed.

Dareus, if healthy after the core muscle injury rehab, may have some value as a defensive tackle on the free agent market.

As for the Jaguars, they have former #1 pick defensive tackle Taven Bryan to play more in the middle and are trying to decide if free agent-to-be, DE Yannick Ngakoue, can be afforded for their 2020 salary cap?

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