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Jaguars will be showcasing DE Dante Fowler Thursday night

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

At the Jaguars get set to wrap up the preseason Thursday night in Tampa against the Buccaneers, one guy to keep an eye on is defensive end Dante Fowler.

Fowler has rejoined the team off of a one-week suspension earlier in the preseason and did play for the first time in a game this August against Atlanta last week.

And, Coach Doug Marrone made it clear Tuesday that unlike most of the starters on most of the teams in the final preseason game, Fowler will be seeing the field at least some Thursday night.

While we don’t know for sure, there is obviously dual motive here. One, Fowler needs the work coming off of missing time in the offseason due to a shoulder injury and being on the PUP list. However, more importantly, the Jaguars could be showcasing him for a possible trade.

Maybe that trade is coming in the short-term or maybe it is for later in the year? It’s important to also remember that Fowler has been suspended by the NFL for the first game with the Giants. And, that carries with him, even if he’s dealt.

Earlier in the offseason Jets beat writer Rich Cimini suggested that Fowler might be a target of  New York and that QB Teddy Bridgewater would be a compliment to come the other way to the Jaguars.

And as we wrote about earlier this month, the Jets apparently inquired again about Fowler’s availability. So clearly, there is interest in the “Big Apple.”

Back to Fowler, as Jacksonville.com writer Phillip Heilman wrote about yesterday, he’s saying the right things for now even with all the personal and professional turmoil:

“I just want people to know that I’m known as a complete player on the field and I’m a professional,” Fowler said. “I’m a guy that cleaned up his act and left that past in the past. I’m ready to move on from that.”

Fowler continued, “I’m in a great place. Physically, I feel really good. My knee is really good. I feel faster than I’ve ever been, more explosive, jump higher than I’ve ever been. This should be a year that I put it all together. That’s how I feel.”

It remains to be seen how much Fowler will play Thursday night, and if he can make any plays the catch the attention of the Jaguars or any other team

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?

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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

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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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