The Jaguars won’t have a competition at left tackle between Luke Joeckel and free agent pickup Kelvin Beachum, according to Ryan O’Halloran of Jacksonville.com. Instead, the job will belong to Beachum if he’s able to return successfully from a torn ACL. Beachum – who signed a unique deal earlier this month that could be worth either $4.5MM for one year or $44.5MM over five years – said Friday that he does indeed expect to start when Week 1 rolls around in September. That’s bad news for Joeckel, who has started in all 35 career appearances since the Jaguars drafted him second overall in 2013. The 24-year-old hasn’t lived up to his draft status, though, and could end up in a reserve role in 2016.
Here are more notes on the Jaguars, all of which come courtesy of O’Halloran:
- Jacksonville must decide by early May whether to exercise Joeckel’s fifth-year option for 2017, but O’Halloran expects the club to decline it because doing otherwise would kill the lineman’s trade value. If the Jags pick up the option, it would guarantee Joeckel upward of $11MM in 2017, though only in the event of a serious injury. Teams wouldn’t want to risk acquiring Joeckel and being stuck with that kind of financial commitment in the event of a nightmare scenario like, say, a torn Achilles. On the other hand, a version of Joeckel who doesn’t come with a 2017 option attached might appeal to clubs looking for help at left tackle next season.
- Like Joeckel, safety Jonathan Cyprien could go from No. 1 to backup in 2016. Cyprien, a second-rounder in 2012, has started all 44 of his appearances, but he seems in danger of losing his job to James Sample. Cyprien had a team-high 21 missed tackles last season and hasn’t established himself as a playmaker, O’Halloran notes. As a fourth-rounder last year, Sample doesn’t have Cyprien’s draft pedigree, and he only appeared in four games (two starts) as a rookie because of a shoulder injury. Nonetheless, he has an important fan in head coach Gus Bradley. “We’ve seen flashes of Sample,” Bradley said. “His instincts — he’s a very good football player. In similar ways to Dante [Fowler], Sample is like another draft pick coming in.”
- Denard Robinson was second to T.J. Yeldon among Jags running backs with 88 touches (67 rushes, 21 receptions) and 430 total yards last season, but the acquisition of Chris Ivory could make playing time scarce. Bradley insists the team isn’t going to phase Robinson out of its offense, though. “He’ll get in there, too,” Bradley said. “He’s our speed back. Again, a different style of running back.”