For the second straight year, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone will look to overhaul his offense in the offseason starting with the play-caller. And, it could ultimately be the end of QB Nick Foles in Jacksonville.
First, the team announced on Monday morning that Marrone and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo had “mutually agreed to part ways” after only one season:
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo have mutually agreed to part ways.
Head Coach Doug Marrone will begin the offensive coordinator search immediately.
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) January 13, 2020
DeFilippo came almost as a “package deal” in January of 2019 for the attempt to lure Foles, a free agent to come from Philadelphia to Jacksonville. DeFilippo had been Foles’ quarterback coach with the Eagles ,when they won the Super Bowl in the 2017 season. He also had been the Vikings play caller in 2018, but coach Mike Zimmer abruptly fired him 2/3 of way through his first season in Minnesota.
Foles was subsequently signed to the most lucrative guaranteed contract ($50 million) the Jaguars have ever given to a quarterback in March of last year. However, he was injured with a broken collar bone in the first game. So, rookie 6th round pick, Gardner Minshew, took over (above with DeFilippo) and performed well in his absence, winning four games to keep the Jaguars in the playoff hunt.
However, once whole Foles’ collarbone was fully healed, he came back into the starting lineup and performed poorly in three consecutive losses in November, which sunk the Jags season for good and sent him back to the bench for Minshew.
Jacksonville finished 26th in the NFL in points at 18.8 per game.
That also ultimately put Marrone, his coaching staff and all of the Jaguar football front office people in jeopardy with owner Shad Khan.
Khan elected ultimately to fire VP of Football Tom Coughlin, but keep Marrone and GM Dave Caldwell. And now this Monday move being announced indicates that not only is the play caller is gone but the quarterback they thought could lead them may now be expendable.
We write “maybe,” because Foles still owed $15.8 million guaranteed from Jacksonville this season and would have a cap hit of a staggering $33.8 million, if the Jaguars were to cut him loose.
So, seems more likely that they would be inclined to keep Foles and let some form of competition ensue this fall, where at the minimum, Foles would be a capable backup in reserve and it is something he has done throughout his career.
Back to Marrone. He fired former offensive coordinator Nate Hackett in November of 2018 as Jacksonville’s offense with QB Blake Bortles had become so bad that it was time to move on from him.
And that means, will be the third different play caller in three seasons for his offensive players, as the Jaguars try to find their way back to playoff form from the 2017 season.
A guy that might have been the option to call plays this year, and who was the interim play-caller at the end of 2018 when Hackett was dismissed, was former quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich.
However it was announced in December that Milankovitch is taking over as head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL this season. Milanovich was previously head coach of the Toronto Argonauts for five seasons 2012 – 16, where he won the Grey Cup and was named CFL coach of the year his first season.
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?