The Jaguars have made an earnest effort over the past few years to become an elite pass rushing team. In 2015 they drafted DE Dante Fowler with the third overall pick in the draft. In '16 the team signed interior pass rusher Malik Jackson to a massive $90+ million deal AND drafted edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue in the third round. All three of those moves have paid major dividends. But the move they made in 2017 free agency has been by far the biggest (pun intended) and most important one they've made in regards to their pass rush.
The Jaguars signed veteran DE Calais Campbell to a four year deal worth $15 million per year. Despite the best efforts of Campbell's childhood team, the Denver Broncos, Campbell signed with the Jaguars and on paper made them one of the best defensive fronts in football. Expectations were high - many expected Campbell to dominate in run defense and provide pass rush on occasion, but no-one expected Campbell or the rest of the Jaguars defensive line to perform to the level that they have in 2017.
Now, after seven games, Calais Campbell is on pace to break the NFL single season sack record. Yep, despite never recording more than nine sacks in a single season before 2017, Campbell has been on a historic run. Through seven weeks he's racked up 10 sacks and leads the NFL in that category. The sack record is held by Michael Strahan, who recorded 22.5 sacks in 2001. Projecting Calais Campbell's production out over 16 games, Campbell is on pace for 22.9 sacks.
It'll be extremely difficult for Campbell to keep up such an incredible pace, however the presence of Fowler, Jackson, and Ngakoue will keep teams from double teaming Campbell too much. So, could Campbell actually break the sack record? Sure, he could, but he has a long way to go. Fortunately for him he'll take on the Texans and Colts once more in 2017 and will face several other subpar offensive lines.
Regardless of whether or not Campbell breaks the record the 6'8'' behemoth has changed the culture in Jacksonville. Heading into the Jaguars bye week he's helped the team to a 4-3 record and a share of the AFC South division lead.
Has Campbell been the best Jaguars free agent signing of all time? Early returns would suggest the answer could be a resounding yes.
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