The Jaguars have released longtime starting guard Uche Nwaneri, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union (via Twitter). Nwaneri had a cap number of $5.895MM for 2014, which will be reduced to $2.189MM in dead money, creating $3.706MM in cap savings for the team.
Hays Carlyon of the Florida Times-Union writes that the Jaguars made the move for performance reasons, which makes sense given the huge chunk of cap space already available to the team. Still, while Nwaneri wasn’t one of the league’s top guards, he ranked a respectable 34th among 81 qualified players in 2013, according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics, and had an overall grade of +18.0 over the last five seasons.
Nwaneri had been under contract through the 2015 season, and was owed a roster bonus worth $1MM for 2014. Rather than playing out his deal and collecting that bonus money, he’ll immediately hit the open market, where he’ll be competing for jobs with players like Geoff Schwartz, Travelle Wharton, Jon Asamoah, and Zane Beadles. I examined the free agent market for guards in a piece yesterday.
As for the Jaguars, they’re now in the market for starters at right guard, left guard, and center this offseason.