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Mystery surrounds retired Jaguars LB Smith Wednesday night

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

So much for a quiet night before Thanksgiving, at least for the Jaguars and their former Pro Bowl linebacker from 2017, Telvin Smith.

The player who abruptly retired, while in the peak of his career and with a $9 million salary due to him this fall, has apparenlty been taken into custody by Jacksonville authorities.

There continues to be lots of speculation about why, but in connecting the dots, Jacksonville authorities have been at his home this afternoon and it appears that Smith could be involved in an illegal marijuana grow business.

First, Jacksonville TV reporter Vic Micolucci tweeted this video of authorities towing away a vehicle from Smith’s home:

Further the reporter said a short time later that neighbors saw Smith handcuffed and in the back of a police vehicle earlier Wednesday afternoon.

There is still no official confirmation of his arrest and any potential charges.

However, around the same time that all of this was going on at Smith’s residence in suburban Jacksonville, this tweet from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office about a huge illegal marijuana bust got attention and led to more speculation:

Later on Wednesday night a Florida Times Union reporter pointed out that “Zone 2” does encompass the Queens Harbor area of Jacksonville, where Smith’s home is, but stopped short of reporting that this was the reason for the police activity at Smith’s home, etc.

Again, the tweet about the marijuana grow business bust could just be a coincidence, and Smith is presumed innocent of whatever is going on. His representatives have made no statements tonight.

We do know that the Jaguars told Jacksonville members of the media that Smith is on the “Reserve/Retired” list and that therefore, he’s no longer part of their organization at this time. And, they would have no comment now, or in the future on his situation.

Smith had announced in May that he would not play in 2019, which stunned everyone, including the team.

He was the Jaguars top tackler a year ago with 134 of them, including 100 solo stops, he also had two interceptions one fumble recovery and one sack on the season. Smith, who is a former 5th round pick out of FSU in 2014, has registered 100 or more tackles in each of his five NFL seasons.

During the Jaguars turn around 2017 playoff season, Smith signed a four-year $45 million dollar contract extension the kept him from becoming a free agent at the end of that year. The team filed a grievance with the the league and the NFLPA to recoup the bonus money that had been given to Smith.

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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