For the second consecutive week the Jaguars will be without their best defensive back, as the team has already ruled out Pro Bowl corner, Jalen Ramsey, for this week’s game in Carolina.
Head coach Doug Marrone confirmed post Friday practice that Ramsey will be out of action, as he’s not been able to practice this week:
Jalen Ramsey ruled out vs. Panthers
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) October 4, 2019
This only fuels speculation that there is more to Ramsey’s absence than just the back injury. Specifically the bizarre soap opera antics of a week ago. That’s when Ramsey first told the team that he had “the flu” on Monday, while also being treated for the back and ankle problems stemming from the Thursday night game with Tennessee.
The fourth year Corner, then showed up on the injury report, while not practicing last Wednesday, and then later in the day, the team excused Ramsey to be with his girlfriend for the birth of their second child. They gave no timetable for Ramsey’s return, but then he was with the team Saturday, as they flew to Denver for Sunday afternoon’s game.
Most read into that that Ramsey would have an opportunity to play in last Sunday’s matchup, but it turns out he was inactive and never suited up, as the Jaguars won dramatically 26 – 24 over the Broncos.
Of course the argument can also be been made that Ramsey should not have been on a long plane ride from Jacksonville to Denver and then from Denver back to Jacksonville with a bad back, if he never really had any shot to play in the game on Sunday.
Further, if the back is bad enough that he’s not been able to practice this entire week, then flying him to Denver and back seems even sillier. So, it all calls into question whether Ramsay’s requested trade of three weeks ago is the overriding real reason why he’s not playing.
To further add to the soap opera, we wrote earlier this week the Jaguars owner Shad Khan has weighed in and that he is not inclined to trade Ramsey in the short-term. Still, if the team were to receive a significant offer prior to the upcoming trading deadline later this month, the owner may be inclined to move him.
That’s an unknown.
What is known is Ramsey is out and the Jaguars will start Tre Herndon in Ramsey’s place, again this week. Herndon and the Jaguars secondary did give up some big pass plays to the Broncos, a week ago, including Joe Flacco throwing for 300+ yards and WR Courtland Sutton’s go ahead touchdown with just over a minute remaining in the game.
The Jaguars will be facing Carolina backup quarterback Kyle Allen, who is 2 – 0 as a starter in place of their injured star, Cam Newton. And, while Carolina hasn’t been throwing the ball deep very much in his first two starts, they make try to pass downfield more in Ramsey’s abscence.
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?