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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars lose free agent WR Donte Moncrief to Steelers

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
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As the Jaguars will usher in new quarterback Nick Foles at a press conference on Thursday, the primary veteran wide receiver that he could have counted on, is departing out the same door in Jacksonville.

Donte Moncrief, who had only signed a one-year deal with Jacksonville last season, has agreed to leave North Florida and head to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

ESPN’s insider Adam Schefter had the details Wednesday night:

Moncrief had modest success as the primary receiver in what was a dismal offensive 2018 for the Jaguars with  48 catches, 668 yards and just three scores.

Moncrief signed a one-year $9 million deal last March coming from the Indianapolis Colts. The former 3rd round pick in 2014 had only one significant season in Indy of 64 catches for just over 700 hundred yards and six touchdowns in 2015. But, he’s never been able to get near those numbers since.

Interestingly, Moncrief will be brought in to help replace Antonio Brown, whom Pittsburgh traded in a blockbuster deal last weekend to the Oakland Raiders. The Steelers will also be counting heavily on speedster Juju Smith Schuster to be paired along with Moncrief.

As for Foles and the potential weapons that remain, the Jags have a mix of young and inexperienced core of receivers. This includes, former 4th round pick Dede Westbrook, who’s about to enter his third season. Plus, their rookie from a year ago D.J. Chark, who’s a former second round pick, but made little impact in 2018.

The Jags also look to have Marqise Lee coming back off of a knee injury suffered last preseason that the cost him all of 2018. Jacksonville has previously locked up Lee on a four year deal last off season that had $16.5 million guaranteed.

So, they have to hope that he will  become their number one target.

Jacksonville also has former undrafted player Keelan Cole, who has made contributions at times, but is not a number one receiver.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars complete blockbuster Jalen Ramsey trade to Rams

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday night, Jalen Ramsey finally got his wish and is headed out of Jacksonville and West to the L.A. Rams.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was the first to report that the disgruntled Ramsey was being dealt from the Jaguars for the tremendous asking price of two number one draft picks and a future mid-round selection:

Ramsey has not played for the last three weeks with what he and the team have been contending is a back injury. However, there was much growing speculation, especially last week, that Ramsey was being held out because Jacksonville fully intended to complete a trade with someone.

And, they didn’t want to risk damaging Ramsey for his new team.

Ramsey confirmed the trade on social media and certainly seemed eager to have North Florida in his rear view mirror:

It’s no secret that Ramsey has wanted out of Jacksonville, since the week two defeat in Houston. That’s when Ramsey got into things on the sidelines with coach Doug Marrone over Marrone not challenging a completion to receiver DeAndre Hopkins, whom Ramsey had been covering.

As we had been told at that time Ramsey and Marrone and cleared the air however his bigger problem is with VP of football Tom Coughlin and Coughlin would ultimately be in charge of approving a long-term contract extension for Ramsey be on this year.

Ramsey responded by supposedly having “the flu” three weeks ago. Then two days later couldn’t practice with what was termed a “stiff back” by Marrone. Then, later that Wednesday, the team released a statement that Ramsey was being allowed to leave to be present for the birth of his second child.

It seemed that the team just didn’t want him around, while a trade was contemplated. Then, suddenly, Ramsey was back and flew with them to Denver, but was inactive and missed his first game since being drafted in the first round in 2016.

Then, interestingly, owner Shad Khan damaged his own credibility while either not knowing or publicly bluffing everyone over the last couple of weeks with the Ramsey affair.

This as, Khan first gave an interview to the AP two weeks ago saying that he was not inclined to trade Ramsey. Then earlier last week, Khan insisted in an interview with “The Street” business website that he had met with his problem former first round pick, and Ramsey would be playing Sunday against the Saints.

That did not happen, and it’s obvious, now, Jacksonville was waiting for the best possible deal and L.A. came calling.

The haul in return is significant and shows that the Jags were right to wait over the past 2-3 weeks to make a trade.

L.A. is in disarray after losing their third straight game, 20-7 Sunday to the 49ers, and suffering in their secondary. The team placed DB Aqib Talib on IR with a rib injury Monday.

The Jaguars and the Rams also completed a big trade a year ago when Jacksonville Dealt away defensive end Dante Fowler for third and fifth round picks in return. Fowler went on to have a good year down the stretch in L.A. and ended up helping them make the Super Bowl.

Ramsey also comes at a bargain in the short term for the Rams, as he is only making the prorated remainder of his $2.4 million salary for this year.

The Rams and GM Les Snead can also decide to keep Ramsey for his fifth year option at $13.7 million for 2020.

And, the Rams cleared some salary-cap room, and at Ramsey’s position, when they traded defensive back Marcus Peters to the Cleveland Browns earlier on Tuesday.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jalen Ramsey officially questionable for Sunday

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The intrigue continues around disgruntled Jags defensive back Jalen Ramsey and his status for Sunday’s home game with the New Orleans Saints.

Ramsey is officially listed as “questionable” for Friday afternoon by the team after participating on a limited basis, again, with what he and the team insists is a bad back.

ESPN Jaguars beat writer Mike DiRocco reported that Ramsey will be receiving treatment both Friday afternoon and Saturday to make sure he can play for the first time since the Jaguars defeated the Titans three weeks ago on Thursday night football:

“He’s been able to progress a little bit,” Jags coach Doug Marrone said Friday after practice. “He’s out there working hard trying to get more and more done each day. Today we got a little bit more done than yesterday. So we’re just taking it step by step.”

We continue to write and qualify the “back injury” that Ramsey has, because of the soap opera that Ramsey and the team have undergone, since he requested to be traded a month ago.

This includes, Ramsey and his agent telling the team he had “the flu” two weeks ago, but then, the team also excusing him two days later to be with his girlfriend for the birth of a second child.

Ramsey then, rejoined the team three days later, flew to Denver (with the supposed bad back) and then, was inactive for the first time in his Jacksonville career. Then, he flew all the way back to North Florida with the team late that night.

Next, after not practicing last week with the listed “back injury,” Ramsey flew to Houston instead of accompanying the Jags to Charlotte. The team announced that he was excused to see a back specialist on Monday, but Ramsey was also photographed on social media socializing with Texans QB Deshaun Watson on Sunday evening after Houston’s home win earlier that day.

This cast further doubt about the seriousness of the “back problems” vs. him wanting out of Jacksonville. And, the Jags trying to figure out a trade vs. risking injury by playing him, etc.

Ramsey returned to practice Wednesday. And then, Jags owner Shad Khan said in an interview with the financial website, “The Street” on Thursday that Ramsey will be playing Sunday after he and his disgruntled Pro Bowl defensive back had met and cleared the air this week.

Now, we stay tuned to find out if Ramsey will be on the field Sunday afternoon?

The Jaguars certainly could use him to help cover one of the top pass catchers in the NFL right now, in Saints WR Michael Thomas.

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