After initially agreeing to terms with the Jaguars, defensive lineman Tyson Alualu — originally drafted by Jacksonville with the tenth overall pick in 2010 — has elected to re-sign with the Steelers.
According to Tom Pelissero, Alualu had time to reflect on his decision to sign with Jacksonville after testing positive for COVID-19, delaying his trip to North Florida.
"Tyson Alualu was going to sign with the Jaguars, but couldn't make the trip after testing positive for COVID, per sources. He'd built his dream home in Pittsburgh, has kids in school, and with 10 days to think, he decided to stay," wrote Pelissero.
During his holding period, several Steelers' teammates got in Alualu's ear about staying, and their pleas worked.
A reunion canceled.
The Jaguars were going to rely on Alualu as a rotational defensive lineman who could perform well at multiple spots. He was likely going to be used primarily as a run stuffer.
The good news for Jaguars' fans is that the team has loaded up on defensive line talent and depth this offseason, adding Malcom Brown, Roy Robertson-Harris, Jihad Ward, and re-signing Dawuane Smoot and Adam Gotsis. They already had DaVon Hamilton and Doug Costin, who both performed well during their rookie seasons in 2020, in the fold. Daniel Ekuale, Lerentee McCray, and Taven Bryan round out the depth chart up front. Edge rushers Josh Allen and K'Lavon Chaisson will likely be used more as on-ball linebackers than true defensive ends.
Still, Alualu was going to be a key piece and was perhaps the most consistent of all the defensive lineman the Jaguars signed this spring.
Should the team look to add another defensive lineman to replace Alualu?
The re-signing of Adam Gotsis on Friday might have been exactly that. But if head coach Urban Meyer wants to boast a top-eight defensive front as he alluded to in his post free agency press conference, finding another defensive lineman that can bring strong play and versatility to the table would be wise.
The Seahawks just released Jarran Reed as a salary cap casualty. He'd make plenty of sense in Jacksonville and has connections to the staff — both he and DL coach Tosh Lupoi were at Bama in 2014 and 2015, plus all the Seattle to Jax coaching moves recently. A former second-round pick, Reed spent the first five seasons of his career in Seattle but now has the agency to sign anywhere he chooses. The Jaguars should offer Reed a contract within reason, somewhere in the $6-10 million range. After all, he's produced 22 sacks, 159 QB pressures, and 118 stops (a stop is a play where a defender makes a tackle, and the location of the tackle means the play is a successful one for the defense, as defined by PFF). At 6'3'' and 306 pounds, Reed has the versatility to line up at multiple spots across the defensive front and could be a mainstay in Duval for several years, having just turned 28.
The Jaguars will have to spend a bit more money to land Jarran Reed than they were going to on Tyson Alualu, but he'd be well worth it, and the Jags have more than $40 million in 2021 cap space. Reed would immediately be the most proven and productive defensive lineman on the Jaguars' roster and give their defensive front a chance to be among the top eight in football, as Urban Meyer so desires.
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