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Jaguars rookie DJ Chark credits his LSU bond with Leonard Fournette

Florida Football Insiders



Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars rookies gathered for the first time Friday and we learned more about an intriguing connection between rookie wide receiver D.J. Chark and his former LSU and now Jacksonville teammate, Leonard Fournette.

Chark spoke on several subjects, including how much hotter it was to practice in North Florida Friday than the indoor practices he had staying out of the heat in Baton Rouge.

Here was the full conversation at the end of this video package that included fellow rookie Taven Bryan and coach Doug Marrone meeting the media first:


Interestingly, the questions turned to Chark’s previous relationship with the Jaguars sledgehammer running back from a year ago. The season before Fournette was burning up the SEC for the Bayou Bengals, as a teammate of Chark’s in 2016.

First, Chark talked about how he, Fournette and two other teammates, including former QB Brandon Harris, were all four roommates at LSU. “It was us four jammed up in a small apartment. So you got to see a lot of each other. Over time you just grew to like each other.”

Chark continued, “Just sitting in the living room talking about nonsense.. Rasslin’ (Wrestling). Me beating him up (Fournette) in the living room….We just grew really close. And, the team just grew really close…. Our relationship just stayed the same. Then, he came to the pros and he would come back (to Lousiana) and we’d talk. We’d discuss, like what if I came to Jacksonville?”

Chark concluded, “It became more of a reality closer to draft day…he (Fournette) really just stuck his neck out for me to get here. That’s something you respect from a brother.”

Very interesting insight that Fournette was apparently lobbying with coach Doug Marrone, offensive coordinator Nate Hackett, GM Dave Caldwell and anyone else the that would listen, that they should take a strong look at Chark.

As we wrote previously, he didn’t have a ton of touchdowns (three), but was a speedy deep threat who averaged a huge 22 yards per catch last season at LSU. The Jags saw fit to take him in the second round of the draft.

Now, it’s about getting acclimated to everything in the NFL, and it certainly appears that Leonard Fournette will give D.J. Chark a bunch of help in that department.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?

Florida Football Insiders



Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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:

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.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus

Florida Football Insiders



Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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 was a specifically asked about Dareus’ status and gave a quick answer is part of his Q&A session:

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?

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