The Jaguars are locking up another young star on defense, but it’s not whom you might think.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter had the details Saturday the team will be giving a huge contract extension to linebacker Myles Jack:
Jaguars are signing LB Myles Jack to a four-year, $57 million contract extension that includes $33 million guaraneed and ties him to Jacksonville for the next five years, per source. It makes Jack the NFL's third highest-paid ILB, behind Bobby Wagner and CJ Mosely.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 31, 2019
Jack, who is slated to enter the final year of his rookie deal will be getting $33 million guaranteed and make over $14 million annually with his new contract through 2023. Only the Seahawks Bobby Wagner and the Jets C.J. Mosley will make more.
Jack was a second round pick in 2016 and has played in all 48 games in his three seasons. He started every game of the last two years and had a career-high 107 tackles with 2.5 sacks and one tackle-for-loss a year ago.
The huge raise being given to Jack will make everyone wonder if the team isn’t going to completely move on from linebacker Telvin Smith. Smith informed the team that he would not play in 2019 for personal reasons and forgo his $9 million salary. Smith, who was a captain and Pro Bowler in 2017, may not be returning to the team in the future.
So, they have elected to play Jack at inside linebacker exclusively this preseason.
The Jaguars commitment to Jack is one that they did not make two former first-round pick Dante Fowler and they ended up trading Fowler last October to the LA Rams.
The team also has yet to give an extension to DB Jalen Ramsey, although they did pick up his fifth year option for 2020. It is believed that Ramsey, who is regarded as one of the top cover corners in the NFL will become the Jaguars highest paid defensive player, if and when he gets a new extension.
The Jaguars also have another potential extension coming, as DE Yannick Ngakoue is in the final year of his rookie deal. Ngakoue has led the Jaguars in sacks over the last two seasons and held out at the beginning of training camp. He came back into camp three weeks ago without the new deal. Ngakoue will likely command over $12 million this season.
Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?
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:
— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) February 26, 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:
Doug Marrone: ‘’No doubt where I stand or the coaches.”
—They want Yannick Ngakoue back. pic.twitter.com/vOorH4hH95
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 26, 2020
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.
Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus
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 confirmed the Jaguars are not picking up DT Marcell Dareus' option.
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 25, 2020
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?