The ongoing puzzling soap opera involving Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith and his decision, at least for now, to not play football in 2019. And, that’s spawned an interesting scenario on Tuesday.
That’s when, Florida Times Union Jaguars beat writer, John Reid, floated the idea the Telvin Smith would be smarter to go ahead and fill out formal retirement papers. And thus, he would avoid being fined by the team for not showing up at minicamp last week or be fined in the future for not being at training camp this fall:
Might be wise for Telvin Smith to file retirement papers.https://t.co/tam2vfquq7
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) June 18, 2019
Smith announced on May 9th that he was stepping away from the Jaguars, but has never given a definitive reason to anyone, including those teammates and others close to him, as to why?
What we do know is: he’s been Jacksonville’s leading tackler for the last three seasons, a defensive captain and is in the middle of a four-year lucrative contract that was scheduled to pay him over $9 million total this season. A further complication is: that Smith had already been given an $5 million roster bonus in March, as part of his deal.
The Jaguars led by their hard line VP of Football, Tom Coughlin, are most certainly going to try to recoup that money through the NFLPA. And, Smith is obviously not going to be entitled to any of his salary for this season, as long as he stays away.
Reid’s thinking with having done some research about the implications of formally retiring is that Smith can always come back and resume his current contract at a later date. Here’s part of what he wrote:
However, if Smith files his retirement papers, it would protect him from fines and free up a roster spot for the Jaguars, who would put him on the league’s reserve/retired list.
If Smith files retirement papers and then decides to return after the 2019 season, his existing contract with the Jaguars would resume unless they cut him.
Still, the Jaguars would have the option to pursue the return of a portion of Smith’s signing bonus equal to the unplayed portion of the contract.
This of course supposes the Jacksonville would go along with still wanting him on the roster and not outright release him because of his actions, etc.
Now, it’s still very possible that Smith may return at some point during training camp or the preseason and elect to play.
And until or unless she or someone that knows what’s going on says otherwise, it Still Remains a viable possibility. Much more so, than Smith actually following through and formally retiring at age 28.
Still, it’s an intriguing scenario to contemplate while we wait for what Smith or the team will do.
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?