The criticism of the Jaguars and specifically VP of Football Tom Coughlin’s off-season tactics in dealing with players has come under previous criticism. And now, an arbitrator has publicly rebuked Coughlin and the Jags in a ruling against in a grievance hearing with former player, Dante Fowler.
First the NFLPA publicized the arbiter’s ruling in favor of a player, but did not name him. That player had been fined repeatedly in the offseason of 2018 (totally some $700,000) for not having come to the Jaguars facility to be checked by team doctors and trainers during a rehab process.
NFLPA won an arbitration grievance against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Said Jags tried requiring players to get all offseason medical treatment at team facility, which contravenes the CBA. “You as players may want to consider this when you have a chance to select your next club.” pic.twitter.com/S1eyqqw8cg
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) December 16, 2019
Well, it didn’t take long after that was publicized for Fowler, now an L.A. Rams defensive end, to chime in publicly that he was the player in question, and that he’s gotten all of his $700,000 back from the appeal with the Union to arbitration.
They literally hated me . I got it all back though! Thanks to the NFLPA https://t.co/vUIg5tsKvr
— Dante fowler (@dantefowler) December 16, 2019
Fowler was traded to the Rams in October of 2018 after not having his fifth year option picked up by the club. Coughlin had taken the step in the offseason of 2018 to tell the media that there were certain reasons why the team had not yet followed through with wanting to keep the former number third overall pack for the 2019 season.
One factor was Fowler’s previous arrest for assault in 2017 for an incident involving a fight with a St Petersburg man in an apartment complex. Fowler eventually plead the case out in March of last year, and the league even suspended Fowler for a game for violating the personal conduct policy.
The team had no comment to the media on the arbiter ruling and Fowler’s victory.
Fowler has 50 tackles, 13 for loss and nine sacks this season in L.A.
In addition to that situation and the fines being levied against Fowler, Coughlin was publicly chastised in April by the NFLPA and president Eric Winston for publicly criticizing defensive players Jalen Ramsey and Telvin Smith. They were not attending organized team activity workouts in the spring of this past year.
It’s unclear if the Jaguars were trying to fine those players for not showing up at what are supposed to be voluntary workouts, just like they had been fining Fowler in the off-season a year-and-a-half ago.
Smith abruptly retired, for reasons that have yet to be explained, in May and Ramsey was eventually traded also to the Rams after an ordeal of several weeks. That’s where he repeatedly was trying not to play games for the team using a supposed back injury, and being away for the the birth of a child has reasons to be inactive.
Coughlin and coach Doug Marrone are both on the hot seat, as the Jaguars have faltered badly down the stretch and are headed for a second 10 loss season in row. They had lost five games in a row until the came from behind to upset the Raiders Sunday in Oakland.
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?