In case you missed it, the Jaguars have agreed to trade pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue to the Vikings in exchange for a 2021 second-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick.
Now that Ngakoue is "officially" gone, the Jaguars have a legitimate need at defensive end, sort of. The Jaguars do have Josh Allen, who looks poised for an even bigger breakout in 2020 after he racked up 10.5 sacks as a rookie in 2019. But on the other side of the defensive line, the Jaguars lack options with proven experience.
Dawuane Smoot has had a truly impressive training camp this year, but entering his fourth season in the league, Smoot has yet to play more than 404 total snaps in a season. He was impressive as a rotational pass rusher in 2019, picking up six sacks.
And the Jaguars also drafted K'Lavon Chaisson with the 20th overall selection in this year's draft. The physically gifted edge rusher from LSU has had plenty of bright moments in camp and has massive upside, but he doesn't yet appear ready to compete at a high-level play after play. He could develop quickly once the season starts, but he has yet to prove he can have sustained success as a rookie.
Josh Mauro is an impressive run defender from the defensive end spot, but he'll miss the first five games of the season due to a suspension for violating the NFL's PED policy.
Like Mauro, Adam Gotsis also can be an impact run defender on the edge, but neither player inspires a ton of confidence.
And that's all folks.
So, like I every other team-specific NFL website out there, I'm here to ask the question:
Should the Jaguars pursue Jadeveon Clowney?
The Jaguars undoubtedly have the cap space to sign Jadeveon Clowney. With Ngakoue's 2020 salary now off the books, the Jaguars have about $33 million in cap space right now and will have among the best cap situations in football in 2021. Even if Clowney is seeking nearly $20 million per year, the Jaguars have more than enough to handle that type of salary.
Is he worth the asking price? I'm not sure how Jaguars' GM Dave Caldwell would value such a player, but I certainly wouldn't have a problem paying close to top dollar for a player of his caliber. Clowney is still just 27 years old, and while he may not be a sack master, he's no slouch, having racked up at least 58 QB pressures in each of the past four seasons. During that same span, he's notched 27.5 sacks. But Clowney is a well-rounded player, who's even better against the run than he is the pass. Over the last four seasons, he's totaled 148 stops (tackles that constitute a failure for the offense).
Clowney would unquestionably make the Jaguars' defense significantly more talented and would give them more depth along the defensive front. He'd also help greatly in the run defense department, an area the Jaguars have struggled for years.
The Jaguars do have plenty of talent across the defensive line, and could very well have a bounce-back season with their current group, but adding Clowney to the mix would give the Jaguars the potential for a dominant front seven in 2020. As long as his head is in the right space, I'd be more than willing to bring him to Jacksonville. Whether or not Dave Caldwell feels the same way remains to be seen.
And don't worry, Duval, if the Jaguars sign Clowney to a long-term deal, they'll still be able to get his salary off the books before they need to pay Josh Allen or (potentially K'Lavon Chaisson).
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