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No surprise Jaguars looking to recoup money from Telvin Smith

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
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It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the Jaguars are once again playing “financial hardball” with another of their “problem child” star players. After all, Telvin Smith is just the latest headache off the field that may be costing himself some, if not all the money, for his future in Jacksonville.

Reports surfaced Saturday that Smith has been notified that he’s facing a fine for having missed Jacksonville Jaguars minicamp. And, Pro Football Talk accurately pointed out there’s a difference between the team threatening to fine him and actually following through with financial punishment.

And, the bigger recoup for Jacksonville is trying to get back the over $5 million roster bonus that they gave to Smith in March, as part of a guarantee on his contract extension. This after Smith informed the team in May that he doesn’t intend on playing this season.

However you look at other situations that Jacksonville has already dealt with in the last year and a half and their handling of Telvin Smith departure it’s right in line with what VP of football Tom Coughlin has instilled from the front office.

A year ago, the Jaguars had not picked up the fifth year option on former number one pick defensive end, Dante Fowler. And, Coughlin and Coach Doug Marrone basically sent a message through the media that Fowler would have to earn a future extension with not only with how he played, but how he would behave, after prior arrests off the field.

Eventually, Fowler was traded to the L.A. Rams at the October deadline, and the Jaguars were sending a clear message to their locker room: there are not many, if any, “untouchables: on our roster.

That would include running back Leonard Fournette, who had an awful injured sophomore season in the NFL. And, it included him being suspended by the league for throwing punches at Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson in a November game from which he was ejected.

And, remaining consistent to what Coughlin wants and has done, the team is trying to avoid the remaining contracts will guarantee he’s in for Nets deal. That process is still being litigated privately by the Jags, and the NFLPA along with Fournette’s representatives. Needless to say, it’s a big season for Fournette, who also has an offseason arrest for traffic violations on his resume and questions about whether he can regain form and become the impact running back he was a rookie in 2017?

And then, there’s outstanding two time Pro Bowl corner, Jalen Ramsey, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal. Now, unlike Fowler, the team already picked up his fifth year option. Still, Ramsey has also been an off-the-field problem at times over the last couple of seasons, including a training camp suspension by coach Doug Marrone for his behavior.

Bottom line, Ramsey is a great talent, but he’s brash and causes off field issues. So, he knows the team holds the cards on a long-term extension for him. Ramsey further muddied the plot, when he made it clear late last week at Jaguars OTAs that he will not take a “home town discount” to help the Jaguars salary cap and stay in Jacksonville.

So, it’s once again the wait-and-see with the team holding the financial leverage over the player.

And obviously, Smith’s situation is different, because he’s essentially going AWOL and deserted the team, as a captain, while under contract and in the prime of his career.

If he stays away for the season (and it’s still an if at this point) no one can fault the Jaguars for wanting to recoup the money. And, clearly anyone paying attention has to know how Coughlin and Co. will proceed.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Report- Jaguars DB Jalen Ramsey demanding trade

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The continued soap opera of Jaguars defensive back Jalen Ramsey had another chapter on Sunday and now, the Pro Bowl defensive back has apparently demanded a trade.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport says that Ramsey’s agent contacted the club Sunday night after the team’s latest loss, 13 – 12 to the Houston Texans, wanting his client to be moved:

The latest dust-up involving the former Florida State first round pick and the club happened on the sidelines in the first quarter of the game. That’s when Ramsey was apparently upset the coach Doug Marrone did not challenge a completion to Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on a key third-down with Ramsey covering him.

Television replays showed the ball may very well have been on the ground and the pass incomplete. Marrone and Ramsey had to be separated, not once but twice, after Marrone confronted him on the bench next to teammates:

Then, Ramsey came back to argue with Marrone, while he was standing near midfield resuming his coaching duties. And, he had to be walked back to the bench area by an assistant coach.

The ongoing saga included reports last season that the Jaguars have been shopping Ramsey themselves for possible premium draft picks during a dismal 5 – 11 finish.

Ramsey was also suspended for a week of training camp a year ago for conduct detrimental to the team after he screamed at Jaguars beat reporter Philip Heilman. Heilman was filming an altercation between teammates Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler after a training camp practice.

Ramsey is making $3.6 million for this season, earlier in April the Jags picked up Ramsey’s $13.7 million option for next season.

The Jaguars send a message to their locker room last October when they dealt Fowler, former number 1 pick defensive end out of Florida to the L.A. Rams. So, it is not too far-fetched to think that VP of Football Tom Coughlin and Marrone would do the same with Ramsey soon.

However it’s not likely that something like that would happen this week, as the Jaguars are hosting the Tennessee Titans in the Thursday night game at TIAA Bank Field.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Credit Jaguars Doug Marrone for gambling on two point play

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

All too often, coaches deserve criticism for being way too conservative or not being willing to take any chances. So, when a coach does what Doug Marrone did in the final :30 Sunday in Houston, we say “raise a glass for him.”

To set the scene: the Jaguars had played a pretty subpar offensive game for much of the day behind rookie backup quarterback Gardner Minshew. However, Minshew rallied the team in the final two minutes down 13 – 6 to get into scoring range. This included Minshew scrambling on his own and running 18 yards down to the Houston at 13-yard-line with :52 left.

Then with :30 left, Minshew found second-year receiver D.J. Chark alone in the back of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown to pull Jacksonville within one point.

And that’s when Marrone, the Jags third-year head coach, decided to gamble on trying to win the game, right then.

Marrone called for a two-point play, and it was briefly halted when Texans coach Bill O’Brien called time out. Still, after the brief break and time to think about it, Marrone stuck with his plan and did not try to tie the game with a Josh Lambo extra point.

Instead, out of the shotgun formation Minshew handed inside to power back Leonard Fournette, who was stopped by a Texans double team tackle led by safety Justin Reid, just short of the goal line.

That stop preserved the win for Houston and dropped the Jags 0-2.

After the game was done, Marrone met with the media and almost immediately was asked about the risk he took going for the two-point conversion, especially on a road. Marone answered that he had been contemplating going for two the entire time the Jags were driving inside the final two minutes.

As for Fournette, he said postgame that he felt like he had reached the ball across the goal line, but briefly, to give Jacksonville a 14 – 13 lead. Alas, the officials didn’t see it and replays couldn’t clearly show him getting the ball across.

No matter that goes as a loss, Marrone was trying to win a game that his team had no business being in.

This is especially, with the loss of QB Nick Foles to a broken clavicle last week, and then, not playing the game with the likes of DE Yannick Ngakoue, DB A.J. Bouye, WR Marqise Lee and LT Cam Robinson, who are all injured and still trying to recover.

So, shorthanded, and off a season that fell apart at 5-11 last year, Marrone sent the message to his team: “I want to win, right now.”

But. the Texans stopped it.

Yes, you can question the play call/formation to hand Fournette the ball.

However, you cannot argue with a coach showing guts to go for victory, when his team needs a spark.

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