It’s truly the heart and the heat of training camp, when you see tempers flare, and then, it sometimes leads to more.
Sunday, it led to more at Jaguars camp. And, unusually, it was defensive line teammates Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler who were trying to fight each other after the steaming hot practice concluded.
After 11 consecutive padded practices, tempers flared during a #Jaguars team period Sunday and continued afterward when Dante Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue repeatedly had to be separated by teammates. https://t.co/8DtCN9kLBV pic.twitter.com/D9V6GhDC8h
— Phillip Heilman (@phillip_heilman) August 12, 2018
As Heilman’s video captures, Ngakoue intially is going at Fowler with his fist up, but is then, being held back by veteran Pro Bowl leader Calais Campbell. Eventually, he gets away from Campbell and ran towards Fowler, who was being restrained by another teammate.
As Ngakoue approached again, it was large defensive tackle Abry Jones, who restrained him from getting at Fowler again. At that point Campbell made his way to Fowler in an attempt to grab and walk him away from the argument.
It’s unclear what specifically ignited the skirmish. However, a little earlier in the 11 on 11 part of practice, Heilman reported seeing Fowler shove reserve tight end James O’Shaughnessy on the far side of the field away from the media near the out of bounds. And, numerous players on both sides of the ball reacted to it to that.
As we wrote yesterday, Fowler just came back to Jaguars practice after being activated off the PUP list with an injured shoulder. Fowler is also suspended by the NFL for the opener at the Giants for violation of the personal conduct policy.
And, it’s obvious that Ngakoue, who flourished making the Pro Bowl with 12 sacks starting all 16 games a year ago, stands to take some playing time away from Fowler. Still, it’s unusual to see players from the same position group have that prolonged of a dispute that involved so many of their teammates having to separate it.
No one was available to comment on the Ngakoue/Fowler dust up after the practice.
The Jaguars are off Monday and do have a practice Tuesday before they travel to Minnesota to have combined workouts with the Vikings. They then play the NFC North champions in their second preseason game on Saturday.
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?