The Jaguars, according to many, could be in a position to sell at the trade deadline. That means the front office could decide it would be best for the team's long term future to get rid of some expiring assets in order to get something in return for them while they still can. While the idea that the Jaguars could be in a position to do so isn't crazy, I'm not so sure that the team isn't still all in on 2018. They've got a bye week to get healthy before they start the second half of the season. At 3-5 the playoffs seem like a long shot. But the Jaguars are only two games back in their division and have more than enough talent to win five or six of their last eight contests, especially if their opponents begin to overlook them. Having said that, it still might make sense for the Jaguars to get rid of a player or two to get some extra draft capital heading into what should be a minor roster reconstruction in 2019.
Let's take a look at three players who, given the current situation, might make sense for the Jaguars to move on from.
1. Dante Fowler Jr.
This one is obvious. Fowler's contract is set to expire at the end of the 2018 season and teams have been calling about his availability since before the start of the regular season. As a young, ascending rotational pass rusher Fowler could be very valuable in the eyes of a team looking to win now and looking to lock up a young edge player for years to come. The Jaguars almost certainly won't look to re-sign him as he'll likely cost upwards of $10 million per year on the open market. Moving him seems like the logical next step, for the right price, of course.
But what is the right price for a young pass rusher that flashes often, but on the same hand disappears for long stretches? A player who is in the final year of his rookie deal and has made more headlines off the field than on it . . .
I think the Jaguars should be looking for a pick in the third or fourth round. Obviously if they can do better they should jump at the chance, but that seems unlikely. A third or fourth round pick for an expiring contract would be a win for a Jaguars team that desperately needs held on the offensive side of the ball. A fifth rounder might be pushing it, but it would recoup the one lost to the Browns in the Carlos Hyde trade.
2. Barry Church
Barry Church is the Jaguars starting strong safety . . . for now. His replacement, Ronnie Harrison, is already on the team. Church has taken a big step back this year in terms of production and his pass coverage leaves a lot to be desired, but he can still be an effective box safety. The safety position has been devalued in the last year or so and his contract isn't exactly team friendly, however there's a team opt out after 2018. So, a team looking to sure up their run defense in hopes of a deep playoff run could look to acquire a player like Church in a rental type situation and dump him after the season. If the Jaguars could get a fifth or sixth round pick for Church that would be a nice get. It would give them more draft capital and allow Ronnie Harrison to enter the starting lineup, where he belongs.
3 + 4. Marcell Dareus/Malik Jackson
It pains me to write this as Dareus and Jackson make up one of the best defensive tackle duos in football, but both players are now in the back half of their respective careers and both are owed in excess of $14.2 million per year. The Jaguars have players at both of their positions who could project as quality starters in 2019. Rookie Taven Bryan is a much better fit at the three tech than he is on the outside. A move for him to the inside seems likely in the near future. And behind Dareus is the much cheaper, yet still effective, Abry Jones. Both Bryan and Jones represent a major downgrade, but with the team needing to secure the likes of Jalen Ramsey, Yannick Ngakoue, and Myles Jack in the coming years keeping both Dareus and Jackson around might not be the best option long term.
Jackson probably has more trade value than Dareus, but seeing as how both players would essentially be salary dumps in a trade the Jaguars might be willing to part ways with either for a mid round pick.
It would be a major shock for Jackson to go, but less for Dareus.
I have a feeling the Jaguars won't be very active prior to the trade deadline, but if a move were to be made, it wouldn't be a surprise if one of the above mentioned players was involved.
What do you think? Do you want the Jaguars to make a move before the deadline?
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