With the Jaguars slated to get training camp underway Thursday, third year defensive end Dante Fowler spoke Wednesday for the first time since his arrest in St. Pete on misdemeanor battery charges. The positive for he and Jags fans is that according to him, coach Doug Marrone and new front office boss, Tom Coughlin are backing him.
Fowler’s statement can barely be heard on this clip as he apologized at the team facility:
Dante Fowler delivers statement: pic.twitter.com/RGvNExup9e
— Brent Martineau (@BrentASJax) July 26, 2017
For those of you without Boze (free plug) Stereo Speakers, Fowler told the media: “I’d like to apologize to the team and city of Jacksonville for my actions. It won’t happen again. It was an incident that I’ve learned from. I just have to realize the situation that I’m in and what’s at stake. I have to be better.”
The former Gator All SEC pass rusher was arrested earlier this month for an altercation with a man in an apartment complex in St. Pete . That allegedly began with the man complaining about Fowler’s reckless driving and speeding in the complex. Fowler is alleged to have punched the man in the dispute and then, almost comically, picked up his bag of groceries and threw them into a nearby retention pond.
Back to Wednesday, a contrite Fowler said generally of his arrest, ““It was an incident I really have to learn from. I have to move on from it … I just have to realize the situation I’m in, what’s at stake.” He continued, “I could have taken the right approach. I took the wrong approach. I realize that.”
He took no follow up questions on the incident. Nor, on the information that has come to light after his arrest that Fowler not only has a prior arrest in 2016, but a total of nine traffic citations (most for speeding and/or reckless driving) over the last few years.
The other important takeaway from Fowler’s brief media session may be that he says he has not only met with newly promoted head coach Doug Marrone, but also V.P. of Football Operations, Tom Coughlin. He said Wednesday, “I told Tom I was definitely sorry and I do apologize for making the organization look like that and putting us in a situation like that because that’s not how we are as a team and that’s not how we are as an organization. We had a good talk.”
There is obviously a new regime’ and mindset in Jacksonville. And, Fowler had better be on his best behavior and giving full effort for the rest of 2017, or the next conversations with the those in charge will likely be big trouble.
Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?
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:
— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) February 26, 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:
Doug Marrone: ‘’No doubt where I stand or the coaches.”
—They want Yannick Ngakoue back. pic.twitter.com/vOorH4hH95
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 26, 2020
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.
Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus
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 confirmed the Jaguars are not picking up DT Marcell Dareus' option.
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 25, 2020
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?