First, its owner Shad Khan is not only trying to purchase famed Wembley Stadium in London, and potentially, trying to convince the NFL to bring the Superbowl there someday. Now, there’s more good news for his Jaguars franchise: their October game in London is already “sold out.”
More on the the London Superbowl in a moment, but here’s why we put sold out in the quotes: it’s well known in NFL circles and the U.K. that NFL holds back thousands of tickets for their international games.
So, even though the tickets for the October 28th game with the defending Superbowl champion Philadelphia Eagles were only recently made available through the NFL to fans in the U.K. and online, that allotment is already gone.
As this item in Pro Football Talk points out, the tickets are also, already on the secondary market for over $700, U.S. currency, in the lower level of Wembley. And there is plenty of complaining by U.K. fans that they couldn’t get their hands on the seats to see a presumably healthy Carson Wentz and his teammates come to England the same calendar year after their triumph in Minnesota over the Patriots.
Again, in the past, the NFL has hung onto blocks of tickets, which they use for their corporate sponsors, the host team (in this case the Jags-who have a multi year deal to play “home games” in London) and the league will also use some tickets for other organizations to receive them, too.
You also have to believe that Eagles fans trying to plan trips to London to see the game also created a serious immediate demand. Philadelphia has one of the biggest traveling fan bases and also numerous fans of theirs live in other NFL cities, and come out in droves when Philly comes to town, too.
As for Khan trying to purchase Wembley Stadium, as we wrote last month, he said that’s in part to help the financial stability of the Jaguars, but it’s also very lucrative for him to control what is arguably the best stadium in Europe.
This includes, when English Premier League Soccer plays games there, and other outside events like concerts or like young popular unbeaten heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua of England fights there. He has done so numerous times in the last three years before sellout crowds. Joshua successfully defending his titles in front of 80,000 fans in a recent March 31st fight.
The seemingly crazier “pipe dream” idea is to play the NFL’s biggest game, the Superbowl, overseas, where so few of the “fans” of teams could afford to be there. This, without spending an extra $3, $4, or maybe $5 thousand dollars to fly, stay, eat and purchase game tickets to the February extravaganza.
Khan told the BBC in London in an answer Sunday about what motivates him to do this deal, “Wembley is a great stadium, and you want to get it configured to hold Super Bowl and World Cup finals.”
Again, it’s his dream, and who knows if the NFL would seriously consider it in the next 15-25 years.
As for now though, Khan’s Jaguars are coming off a great season and headed to 2018, and London, with optimism, momentum and now a sold out game, too.
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?