By our headline alone, if you are a fan of the Jaguars and/or a fantasy owner of his, you may not want to read more on the injured hamstring and status of Leonard Fournette.
Then again, of course you do.
With Jags coach Doug Marrone already Wednesday ruling Fournette out again early in the week prior to Sunday’s game with the Cowboys, there is obviously concern about the re-injury of his right hamstring.
Head Coach Doug Marrone meets the media prior to today's practice. https://t.co/3uU0NCpsRC
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) October 10, 2018
Fournette suffered the re-injury at some point in the second half after carrying the ball 10 times for 30 yards in the Jets home game two weeks ago.
Fournette hurt the hammy originally in week one at the Giants. And, the Jaguars had taken the risk of putting him back in the lineup after sitting him for the Patriots and Titans games, the previous two weeks. This as opposed to, waiting at least one more week to let it heal and then have him try to play in Kansas City last week.
So, that backfired on Jacksonville, and has cost Fournette at least two more games (Chiefs last week and now, Cowboys this week).
And we say “at least,” because we have a source that we’ll describe as “having knowledge of the Jaguars thinking” that says to us: because of the re-injury to the hamstring after only two games rest last time, and an upcoming trip to London to play the Eagles followed by a bye week, the Jags may consider sitting their top running back through the end of October.
Now, the source didn’t say this was definitive, because it’s gong to be contingent on Fournette being evaluated mid-next week, prior to the game with the Texans. However, if he’s not significantly better, then Fournette will likely be inactive for that game, as well.
Then becomes the question: would you fly him (along with the team) all the way to London for the game with the Eagles in hopes that he’s able to practice and play at Wembley Stadium vs. sitting Fournette for a fourth straight game, and getting the bye week?
Then, you would have Fournette’s hamstring on five weeks rest and rehab for the November 11th division road game at Indianapolis and beyond.
Again, we get that it’s drastic to think he would miss four straight games and six of seven total, but if we are talking possibly re-aggravation by playing against Houston or in London, then it’s basically a completely lost season at that point.
Another factor is: how well does newly signed veteran RB Jamaal Charles do starting with the this week and beyond in helping T.J. Yeldon share the load and possible success?
If that tandem does well, and the Jags beat the Cowboys, there’s less pressure to rush Fournette back, too.
Again, next week will be critical, but don’t be surprised is the Jaguars go “overly cautious” to have a fully healthy Fournette for November and December.
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?