The bad news continues for the Jaguars defense and this time it’s an injury to a rookie that they have been counting on.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport broke the story Thursday afternoon that rookie safety / linebacker Quincy Williams has suffered a significant knee injury and will be out at least a month and maybe longer:
Sources: #Jaguars LB Quincy Williams, the third-round pick who has been impressing in camp, is out 4-6 weeks with a slight tear in his meniscus. He’ll need arthroscopic surgery to trim it. Given the timing, he won’t miss much game time.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 1, 2019
The Jaguars third-round pick back in April out of FCS Murray State was being counted on with the absence of former pro bowl linebacker Telvin Smith. Smith announced in May that he would not be playing this season and would forgo his $9 million salary for reasons that are yet to be disclosed.
Williams has been taking reps with the first-team at linebacker although he played a good portion of his career at safety in college. The 5’11 225 lbs. player had 111 tackles with 9.5 for loss with two Ints, while playing hybrid linebacker for the Racers last season.
The Jaguars Williams is the older brother of Quinnen Williams, who was an All-American defensive tackle at Alabama and was drafted with a third overall pick by the New York Jets in April.
Jaguars Coach Doug Marrone appeared on his Jaguars.com/radio simulcast show Thursday afternoon and was optimistic that Williams will be ready for the opener:
Marrone on Quincy Williams' knee injury:
"Our expectation is that he'll be ready and we'll have him out there for the first game." pic.twitter.com/DOCpXHpd5U
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) August 1, 2019
Jacksonville will now turn to a couple of other reserves in Ramik Wilson and DJ Alexander to try to fill in with Williams out. Wilson was a reserve on the NFC Champion Rams a year ago tallying 35 tackles with three for loss. The former Georgia Bulldog signed as a free agent with the Jags in the offseason.
The Jaguars are also without arguably their best edge pass-rusher in Yannick Ngakoue, who is continuing his holdout for a long-term huge contract.
So, while the Jaguars still have Pro Bowl players like Calais Campbell and Jalen Ramsey, plus, rookie pass rusher Josh Allen, the issues of whom they don’t have on that side of the ball, are mounting up.
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?