Telvin Smith is making a bad situation worse with his current lack of communication with the Jaguars coaching staff.
Let's take a step backward.
Entering the 2018 season, Telvin Smith was an ascending player - a weakside linebacker playing at a Pro Bowl level after improving his play on the field for three consecutive years.
But much like the Jaguars season, Smith's value went to hell in a handbasket after a week five beatdown delivered via the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The rest of his season was marred by inconsistent play, with consistently busted coverages and big gains on Smith's side of the field. He led the team in missed tackles and got picked on time and time again in coverage, allowing a completion percentage of 76.3.
Prior to 2018, Smith WAS one of the best 4-3 weakside linebackers in the game and STILL IS getting paid like it. His base salary of nearly $10M in 2019 far exceeds his most recent level of play on the field.
But Telvin Smith isn't at the Jaguars voluntary offseason program, and no one seems to know why.
"He's probably busy," said Doug Marrone, when asked about why Telvin Smith hasn't returned his calls or texts. This according to Daniel Popper of the Athletic.
A damming statement, to be sure, about a player who was once looked at as a team leader.
It's Telvin Smith's collectively bargained right not to be at the voluntary portion of the offseason program, but not communicating with an organization that committed such a substantial chunk of their salary cap to you is a different beast entirely.
This growing distance between Smith and the team comes at an odd time. His value as a professional has never been lower than it is currently. He's coming off a terrible season, has a considerable price tag, and plays a position that has become devalued across the league.
It's not clear what's going on between Telvin Smith and the Jacksonville Jaguars, but from the outside looking in, it's easy to see that Telvin Smith's days in Duval could be numbered if this disappearing act continues.
The Jaguars recently signed linebacker Jake Ryan, who prior to missing the 2018 season with a knee injury, was one of the up and coming players at his position in the NFL. If Smith decides not to show up or communicate with the team, the Jaguars would be well within their rights to start exploring what their linebacker room would look like without Telvin being there.
Jake Ryan would be an ideal fit to start at middle linebacker, which would allow Myles Jack to move outside, where he is a more natural fit. The move would give the Jaguars a smart and more-athletic-than-you-think inside linebacker and would let Myles Jack play more instinctively on the outside. And the Jaguars would still have considerable depth with Leon Jacobs, Donald Payne, Blair Brown, and Nick DeLuca still in the fold.
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