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.
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