K’Lavon Chaisson has been unable to justify his draft slot with the Jaguars. Unsurprisingly, the Jags will make 2023 a contract year for the former first-round pick.
Jacksonville is passing on Chaisson’s fifth-year option, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Because of his declining participation rate, the edge rusher’s option checked in on the bottom tier of the option structure; for defensive ends, that number is $12.14MM. Given Chaisson’s fit in Mike Caldwell‘s defense, that is still a lofty number.
The Jags took Chaisson 20th overall in 2020, selecting him 11 spots after C.J. Henderson. Although Henderson’s option became the Panthers’ responsibility, the Jags did not fare well with their two first-round picks — the latter of which obtained in the Jalen Ramsey trade — in 2020. (The Panthers declined Henderson’s fifth-year option Monday.) The Jags took Chaisson despite having selected Josh Allen in the 2019 first round. They have since chosen another first-round edge, in 2022 No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker.
Chaisson, 23, has just three sacks across three seasons. After being benched in 2021, Chaisson played just 109 defensive snaps during Caldwell’s first year running the Jags’ defense. A meniscus injury sidelined Chaisson for a stretch last year, and the Jags did use one of their eight IR-return spots on the three-year veteran. Chaisson played in both Jacksonville’s playoff games, and despite the team losing Dawuane Smoot for the season in Week 16, the former first-rounder only totaled 11 defensive snaps in the postseason.
Generating roster-bubble rumors last summer, Chaisson remains part of the Jags’ edge-rushing contingent. The team has not re-signed Smoot and let Arden Key walk in free agency. The Jags also waited until the fifth round (Louisville’s Yasir Abdullah) to address the position in this year’s draft. The team has Allen and Walker as its top edge defenders, but it remains to be seen how the AFC South favorites will structure their rotational pass-rushing corps.
While Chaisson has not lived up to expectations, the Jags did land Travis Etienne with the other first-round pick from the Ramsey haul. Etienne’s fifth-year option decision is due in 2024.