The Jaguars have reached a new deal with Abry Jones.
The deal is reported to be worth nearly $16 million over 4 years.
Jones was scheduled to hit the open Market as a free agent as the beginning of the league year on March 9th.
Jones is a 25 year old defensive tackle that stands 6'4'' tall and weighs in at nearly 320 lbs. An undrafted free agent out of Georgia in 2013 Jones has spent all four years of his NFL career with the Jaguars. As is the case for most undrafted rookies, in his first year out of college Jones struggled to make an impact on the team and was active for only 8 games. Since his rookie season Jones has missed only one game and has steadily gotten better. In 2016 Jones got his first chance to lock down a starting job following a season ending injury to former starter Roy Miller. Jones did not skip a beat after being inserted into the starting lineup and may have actually outperformed Miller, who is one of the best run stuffing DTs in football. In all Jones collected 9 starts in 2016 to go along with 32 tackles and 1 pass defended. He also played well enough to finish the season ranked as the 21st best interior defender in football by Pro Football Focus. Considering there are two starting interior defenders on most teams in the NFL his final rank of 21 is even more impressive.
Moving forward this makes things sticky for Roy Miller, who may play the Wally Pipp / Drew Bledsoe roll in this story. Jones and Miller will now make almost the same average salary. Miller has been the Jaguars starting run stuffing defensive tackle since 2013 when he arrived in Jacksonville. Miller has been nothing short of excellent with in his role with the Jaguars and has even proven to be a team leader. He may have been the Jaguars most consistent player in 2015, but with such a solid performance from a younger player in Abry Jones, the soon to be 30 year old Miller's time in Jacksonville may be limited. Who knows? Maybe the Jaguars will invest heavily in both players moving forward in order to create a dominate rotation at nose tackle.
This is certainly a good way to start 2017 for the Jaguars. Keeping a solid defensive line together while adding some more pieces in the draft and free agency will be key if the Jaguars hope to improve on their impressive defensive performance in 2016.
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