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Looks like Jaguars are ready to go with Cam Robinson

Florida Football Insiders

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Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire

As the Jaguars finished up preparation in New England to play the Patriots in the preseason opener Thursday night, one obvious spot to watch is left tackle. And it appears, they are ready to go with former Alabama rookie Cam Robinson to protect Blake Bortles’ blindside.

The O-line drama heightened on Monday, when reports surfaced that veteran Pro Bowler Branden Albert was having second thoughts about retiring and was wanting to rejoin the team. However, the Jags moved quickly Tuesday morning to squash that talk and announced that Albert was being put on the “reserve/retired” list.

Back to Robinson, he’s been sharing time at left tackle with the first team over the last week with fourth year veteran Josh Wells. Wells, was injured in in 2016 and missed most of the season. He’s been active for 13 games in his three seasons with no starts. So, it’s not like he’s entrenched at the position.

After Wednesday’s walk through, coach Doug Marrone met with the media in advance of tomorrow night and all but said Robinson is going to be the guy:

Again, it’s almost a no-brainer, as Robinson started 43 games at left tackle for the Crimson Tide and was a unanimous All-American and the Outland Trophy winner in 2016 for the nations top offensive or defensive lineman. So, the pedigree is definitely there.

The biggest concern is being able to protect Blake Bortles, at times by himself, from the top pass rushing right ends on the other teams each week. However, there are two key parts to that Jacksonville can aid the rookie with: adding tight ends and backs to help double team or chip rushers and make sure that Bortles gets the ball out of his hand quicker in 2017.

That second part is incumbent on the play calls of newly elevated offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and on Bortles himself to improve in quicker decision making and get rid of the ball as opposed to standing/holding the ball and making himself an easier target all the time.

Obviously, Bortles has struggled with all of that previously, and maybe still will. Yet, credit Jacksonville for not letting that dictate whether to let a rookie (Robinson) gets valuable time and experience trying to help protect him.

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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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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