On Thursday afternoon with the first round of the NFL draft approaching, the Jacksonville Jaguars went ahead and secured one of their former number one picks for 2020. In a move that should not be surprising, they picked up the 5th year option on Pro Bowl defensive back Jalen Ramsey
Ramsey is now under contract with Jacksonville through the 2020 season.
Ramsey is the only defensive back in franchise history with multiple Pro Bowl honors. pic.twitter.com/kTm5GniEkd
— Tad Dickman (@TDickman89) April 25, 2019
Ramsey, who was selected #5 overall in the 2016 draft is slated to make $3.6 million for this season, but that will raise now to $13.7 million for 2020.
As we wrote earlier this week, there is still some debate about off-field headaches involving Ramsey, VP football Tom Coughlin and the club.
Coughlin made waves last week when, not surprisingly, he answered a question about Ramsey and linebacker Telvin Smith not attending the team’s voluntary workouts this week. Coughlin’s message through the media was, “they should all be here.”
That’s because, Coughlin, who coached the Giants to two Super Bowl wins, understands the commitment and unified locker room that it takes to turn around a floundering franchise.
Ramsey stayed away from all of the off-season work a year ago, which also irked Coughlin, but then his behavior towards a Jacksonville beat writer, who was trying to film Dante Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue getting into a tussle after a training camp practice last August, got Ramsay suspended for an entire week.
The Jaguars were clearly trying to send a message for the former first-round pick from FSU to straighten up and behave, because he has a big future and the team has an important decision on giving him a big contract.
But then, simultaneously that training camp suspension, unsolicited, on his own and classlessly, Ramsey took shots at almost every active quarterback in the NFL in an extended profile article with GQ Magazine. This included, slamming quarterbacks that Ramsey knew he and his Jaguar teammates would be playing against last season and frequently in the future.
Coughlin, Coach Doug Marrone and the organization were not only embarrassed, but angered, by what Ramsey did last August. Still, the fifth year option makes smart salary cap sense and does give the team leverage to negotiate a long-term deal with Ramsey and have a backup “Plan B” of this price for 2020.
It is interesting that the Jaguars declined the option a year ago Fowler, the former number 1 pick out of Florida.
Dollar had been a bigger headache than Ramsey, as he had been arrested twice and also suspended by the NFL. The team eventually traded Fowler last October to the L.A. Rams.
Now, Jacksonville hopes that things calm on both sides and Ramsey has a season where he makes more news on, than off, the field.
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?