Dante Fowler Jr.

Jets Inquire On Jaguars’ Dante Fowler

The Jets reached out to the Jaguars to gauge their interest level in trading defensive end Dante Fowler., sources tell Manish Mehta of the Daily News. It’s not immediately clear whether the Jaguars are interested in such a deal. 

Fowler, the former No. 3 overall pick in the NFL draft, has immense talent, but also comes with baggage. The pass rusher has a history of off-the-field missteps and will be sidelined for the first game of the season after racking up three misdemeanor charges in a 2017 arrest. Fowler was also hit with an unusual preseason suspension this year for “fighting and violation of team rules.”

Jaguars boss Tom Coughlin isn’t one to tolerate such behavior, and that likely factored into the team’s decision to decline Fowler’s fifth-year option for 2019. Still, even as they declined the option, it was reported that the Jaguars had not ruled out a long-term deal with Fowler down the road. And the Jaguars could get a compensatory pick for Fowler if he leaves in free agency, so they won’t be giving him away to the Jets or any other team.

Fowler managed eight sacks last year, but the Jaguars were wary of committing to him after he missed all of his would-be rookie season and was a bit inconsistent in 2016.

The Jets could certainly use a talented pass rusher, and they haven’t shied away from problematic personalities over the last few years, so Fowler could be a logical fit.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Jaguars, Ramsey, Jets, Decker

The Jaguars suspended cornerback Jalen Ramsey for a week of preseason action, but the ban won’t void his guarantees, according to Mike Florio of PFT (on Twitter). That’s because the Jags suspended Ramsey for “violating team rules and conduct unbecoming of a Jaguars football player,” rather than “conduct detrimental.” The small difference in language made a huge difference in the outcome for Ramsey, and probably kept the team on good terms with one of its defensive stars.

Unfortunately, there’s no loophole to help defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. Thanks to a previous suspension under the personal conduct policy, Fowler’s future guarantees have already been eliminated.

Here’s more from the AFC:

Jaguars Suspend Jalen Ramsey, Dante Fowler

The Jaguars suspended star cornerback Jalen Ramsey for a week, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Michael DiRocco of ESPN soon posted in a follow-up tweet that defensive end Dante Fowler was being suspended as well (Twitter link). 

According to Rapoport, Ramsey’s suspension was for “going after local media for what he believes is unfair treatment of his teammates especially Dante Fowler.” Adam Schefter of ESPN soon added in a tweet that the official reasoning was “violating team rules and conduct unbecoming of a Jaguars’ football player.”

The suspension seems to stem from a series of tweets that Ramsey posted earlier, attacking media members for their criticism of Fowler. Fowler’s suspension was apparently unrelated, as he was suspended for “fighting and violation of team rules” according to Schefter (Twitter link).

With the suspensions, Ramsey and Fowler will miss the next week of practices and the team’s second preseason game on Saturday against the Vikings. While they won’t miss any regular season time, it’s still a big deal. It’s very rare to see a team suspend one of it’s top players like this, and it’ll be interesting to see how the locker room responds.

 

AFC Notes: Jets, Brady, Fowler, Dolphins

The Jets‘ quarterbacks looked solid during last night’s preseason win over the Falcons, completing 21 of 27 pass attempts for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns. While veteran Josh McCown sits atop the depth chart, head coach Todd Bowles acknowledged that any of the team’s three signal-callers (a grouping that also includes Teddy Bridgewater and first-rounder Sam Darnold) could end up earning the starting gig.

“We’ll see how the preseason goes,” Bowles said (via Brian Costello of the New York Post). “Like I said, I’ll make my decision when it happens. I’m not going to jump to any conclusions after one game. I’m going to take my notes and watch practice and compare with the coaches and we’ll come up with a decision. It’s a tough decision. We’ve got three good players and we’re happy to have them.”

As ProFootballTalk.com’s Michael David Smith points out, Bowles previously said that the team would wait until the end of the preseason to make a decision on their starting quarterback. In other words, there’s still plenty of time for the depth chart to sort itself out.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the AFC…

  • ESPN’s Field Yates has even more details on Tom Brady‘s revised contract (Twitter links). The Patriots quarterback had $10MM of his $14MM base salary converted into a signing bonus, which means he’ll get that chunk of cash now instead of spread out over 17 weeks. His 2018 cap number will not increase (allowing the Patriots to maintain cap flexibility), but his 2019 cap hit has increased from $5MM to $27MM. If Brady decided to keep playing in 2019, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com says the team would presumably sign their franchise quarterback to a new deal, thus pushing some of that money to 2020.
  • Meanwhile, Ben Volin of The Boston Globe believes the revised contract is an indication that Brady intends to keep playing in 2019 (Twitter link). While his 2019 dead cap number was previously $7MM, that’s since been boosted to $12MM. If the Patriots weren’t confident that their quarterback was going to stick around the NFL, there wouldn’t have been much of an incentive for the salary-to-bonus conversion.
  • There was good news for the Jaguars this morning, as the team took defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. off the physically unable to perform list (via ESPN’s Michael DiRocco on Twitter). The former third-overall pick had missed offseason programs, training camp, and the team’s preseason opener as he continued to recover from a shoulder injury. “I’m just happy to see him back to start playing,” said head coach Doug Marrone (via NFL.com’s Kevin Patra). “Obviously, he’s worked hard to get back, strengthening and everything, and we’ll return him to practice. He’ll come back out and we’ll work him there. I’m excited to see him. He’s put in a lot of work and we’ll see him on the field and see what he can do.” The 24-year-old finished last season 21 tackles, eight sacks, and two forced fumbles in 16 games.
  • Dolphins linebacker Mike Hull has a sprained MCL and is expected to be out for several weeks, reports NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). The 27-year-old has been an important bench piece for Miami over the past two seasons, and he finished last season with 35 tackles in 16 games (three starts). Terence Garvin, Chase Allen, Jerome Baker, and Quentin Poling will receive more backup reps during Hull’s absence.

NFL Suspends Jaguars’ Dante Fowler

The NFL has suspended Jaguars pass rusher Dante Fowler for the first game of the 2018 regular season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. This ban stems from an arrest that happened back in 2017. 

This is a big year for Fowler, as he is ticketed for free agency after the year. The Florida product managed eight sacks last year, but the Jaguars were wary of committing to him after he missed all of his would-be rookie season and was a bit uneven in 2016. The fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only, but that’s more than a formality when it comes to a player with an ACL tear on his medical records.

Roughly one year ago today, Fowler was arrested in St. Petersburg, Florida for simple battery and mischief. Cops claimed that Fowler got out of his car and got into a verbal exchange with a man who commented on his driving. When they came face to face, the defensive end allegedly hit the man, knocked off his glasses, and stepped on them. He then proceeded to take the victim’s grocery bag and throw it in a nearby lake. It was not his first run-in with the law.

Fowler will miss the Jags’ season opener against the Giants in New Jersey. He’ll be eligible to return for the team’s home opener in Week 2 against the Patriots on Sept. 16. Per league rules, Fowler will be permitted to participate in practices and preseason games in the interim.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Cards, Jags, Packers, Raiders

The baseline extension for Cardinals running back David Johnson should be three years, $30.85MM, reasons Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). That figure represents the combined value of Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson‘s contracts with the Browns, and Arizona would surely rather have Johnson on its roster than the Cleveland duo. Johnson, 26, managed more than 2,100 yards from scrimmage in 2017 before missing nearly the entire 2018 campaign, and he didn’t attend the Cardinals’ mandatory minicamp in something of a holdout, but Arizona is reportedly progressing on a deal with its best offensive player. For what it’s worth, a $10.28MM annual salary would make Johnson the league’s highest-paid running back on a multi-year deal, and place him only behind the franchise-tagged Le’Veon Bell in per annum salary. As Corry notes, both Johnson and Rams runner Todd Gurley are presumably hoping Bell signs a record-breaking extension in the near future, resetting the running back market just in time for each to receive new deals.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Like Johnson, Jaguars pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. is entering the final season of his rookie deal after Jacksonville opted not to exercise his 2019 fifth-year option, but the former third overall pick could be facing a health concern as the year gets underway, writes Hays Carlyon of 1010XL 92.5 FM. Fowler had been recovering from an unspecified upper body injury, and Carlyon reports Fowler has clearly lost “sizable muscle mass” over the past several weeks. That’s certainly not a positive for a player who relies on his edge-bending abilities, especially one like Fowler who faces an uncertain contractual future. Fowler, who posted eight sacks a season ago, would have earned $14.2MM had the Jaguars picked up his fifth-year option, but he’ll now head to the open market next spring barring an extension.
  • Speaking of preseason injuries, Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb is currently sporting a walking boot on his right foot, tweets Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. While Cobb wouldn’t reveal whether he’d undergone surgery, Cohen indicates Cobb is dealing with an ankle injury that is not expected to to force him to miss any regular season action. Although Cobb hasn’t come close to matching his outstanding 2014 season over the past few years, he did manage to top 60 receptions in both 2016 and 2017. Jordy Nelson is no longer in Green Bay, but that won’t necessarily affect Cobb’s role, as he spends most of his time in the slot.
  • Nelson is now with the Raiders, where he’ll be joined in Oakland’s wide receiver corps by trade acquisition Ryan Switzer, whom the Raiders picked up from the Cowboys in exchange for defensive lineman Jihad Ward“Ryan Switzer has really caught my eye,” head coach Jon Gruden said, per Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Switzer has come in here and not only been a punt returner, kick returner, he’s come in and been a force as a slot receiver. He’s really done well.” Switzer, who put up only 41 receiving yards during his rookie season in 2017, will compete for time with Nelson, Amari Cooper, Martavis Bryant, and Seth Roberts, among others.

AFC Notes: L. Jackson, Green, Fowler

Before the draft, new Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson refuted reports that multiple teams wanted to him to work out as a wide receiver. Perhaps that was simply because Jackson, who represents himself, wanted to downplay the notion that his quarterback skills will not translate to the professional level, because now that he is officially a first-round pick and is on a team that is committed to his future as a QB, Jackson’s story is a little different.

Jackson said in a recent interview with the Ravens’ official website (video link) that the Chargers were the first team to approach him about running routes during the combine. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner was taken aback by the request, which triggered his decision to not run the 40-yard dash and to rely on his game film instead.

Of course, Jackson may be deployed as a wide receiver on occasion this year. Joe Flacco remains the Ravens’ starter, but Baltimore wants to take advantage of Jackson’s elite athleticism, so the team is designing packages that will put both players on the field at the same time.

Now let’s take a look at several more AFC items:

  • Bengals WR A.J. Green is entering the fourth year of the five-year pact he signed in September 2015, which made him the highest-paid receiver in the league at the time. In terms of average annual value, Green is now the sixth-highest paid wideout in the game, and if Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr. get their way, he will be the eighth-highest paid by the time the regular season rolls around. But as Paul Dehner Jr. and Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer write, it does not sound as if Green will be asking for more money until the expiration of his current deal at the end of the 2019 season. Green supports his colleagues’ efforts to rework their existing contracts, but as for himself, he said, “I don’t really get caught up in what’s the money like because I signed my deal and it was the highest paid at that point. It’s going to always go up. So you can’t keep up with that. At the end of the day [owner Mike Brown] took care of me. I’m still under contract for the next two years and we’ll go from there.” 
  • Yesterday, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com suggested that the Jets could flip Teddy Bridgewater to a QB-needy team for a pass rusher, and he named the Jaguars‘ Dante Fowler as one potential target. However, Florida Football Insiders does not buy the fact that Fowler will be on the move this offseason. 2018 is a critical year for Fowler, who is set for unrestricted free agency in 2019 since the Jags declined his fifth-year option last month. But Jacksonville believes he is an ascending player, and he did put up eight sacks last season, so the club is hoping for continued strong production from him in his platform campaign.
  • We rounded up a series of Patriots-related notes earlier today, and we asked you yesterday what team you think poses the biggest threat to the Pats’ hopes of repeating as AFC champs in 2018. Thus far, PFR readers believe the Steelers have the best chance.

Jaguars Decline Dante Fowler’s Fifth-Year Option

The Jaguars elected not to exercise the fifth-year option on defensive end Dante Fowler, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. However, he adds that the Jags still believe he’s an ascending player and hope to sign him to a long-term deal. 

The decision on Fowler may have been one of the trickier calls in this year’s bunch of fifth-year options. Fowler, 24 in August, missed his entire rookie season but became a solid contributor for the team upon taking the field in 2016. Last year, he set new career highs with eight sacks and two forced fumbles.

Still, extending Fowler’s deal through 2019 would have cost the team an additional $14.2MM. The option is guaranteed for injury only, but that would have been a risky proposition in light of his 2015 ACL tear.

Fowler will return as the Jaguars’ first defensive end off of the bench behind starters Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell. Campbell has three years to go on his four-year, $60MM deal with the Jaguars and the team will have to address Ngakoue’s contract after the 2019 season, so there’s definitely a limit on how much they can pay Fowler.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Rumors: Jaguars, Hooker, Texans

The Jaguars would have an interesting setup for Lamar Jackson, employing a recently extended starting quarterback but a long-scrutinized player whose long-term future with the team remains in doubt. Tom Coughlin said Friday the Louisville prospect was an “outstanding young man” and an “extremely talented athlete.” But Dave Caldwell said the team that pulls the trigger on Jackson would have to be ready to adjust its offense to accommodate the dual-threat talent.

He’s a rare athlete,” Caldwell said, via Phillip Heilman of the Florida Times-Union. “As a quarterback, he’s a good player. He won a lot of games at that position. [Drafting him] depends what your scheme is, what you want to do and how you want to play and how he fits. I can’t say he’s the prototypical pocket passer, but you can win games with a guy like him.”

Jacksonville holds the draft’s No. 29 overall pick and has not conducted a workout with Jackson, who may now be a full-fledged top-20 prospect.

Here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • Caldwell did not give an indication on which way he was leaning with regards to picking up Dante Fowler‘s fifth-year option. The Jacksonville GM said the team had not made a decision. Earlier today, Fowler’s price became clear. It will cost the Jaguars a massive sum ($14.2MM) to keep Fowler on their books for 2019 on his rookie contract.
  • On the subject of AFC South pass rushers, Brian Gaine is optimistic the Texans will extend Jadeveon Clowney this offseason. But Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports no deal is particularly close at this point. Clowney, Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack figure to see the others members of this trio’s deals affect theirs, and Von Miller may become the fourth-highest-paid defender by the time this offseason is over.
  • Gaine does not plan to deviate from Rick Smith‘s philosophy of setting the offseason as the window for extension agreements. John McClane of the Houston Chronicle notes the first-year Houston GM wants to finalize re-ups before the regular season. Clowney and Benardrick McKinney‘s proceedings will put this approach to the test this year.
  • Malik Hooker joined his Colts teammates for the start of their offseason program earlier this month but said (via Matt Taylor of Colts.com) he’s “not 100 percent by any means” as he recovers from a severe knee injury. Colts.com’s Andrew Walker writes training camp isn’t a certainty for the 2017 first-rounder, who went down in late October of last year with a torn ACL and MCL.
  • Former Broncos and Bears linebacker Lamin Barrow was driving the car at the time of the accident that ended with Buccaneers ‘backer Kendell Beckwith fracturing an ankle, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. Barrow and Beckwith were LSU teammates. The crash occurred at around 1 a.m., April 12. The vehicle veered off a road and crashed into a gate, per Laine. Although authorities said Barrow did not show signs of impairment, he was given a citation for driving with a suspended license.

Latest On Jaguars’ Dante Fowler

Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler is facing misdemeanor charges of simple battery and mischief as a result of a Tuesday arrest, but that wasn’t his first run-in with the law during his two-year NFL career. In fact, Fowler has committed 10 traffic violations since December 2015, reports Mike Kaye of First Coast News (Twitter links). What’s more, Fowler was arrested in Miami Beach in March 2016 and charged with misdemeanor counts of assaulting a police offer and resisting arrest without violence, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times.

Dante Fowler (vertical)

The arrest report states that Fowler hindered police from trying to break up a crowd in front a bar, as Auman details. Fowler “ignored verbal requests to move off the road,” writes Auman, and, when an officer put his arm on Fowler’s, the Jaguar said “Get the [expletive] off me” and swung his arm backward “in an obvious attempt to strike” the officer, the report indicates. “Numerous officers” then had to escort Fowler out. Despite that, the misdemeanor charges against him were dropped in December 2016, after he completed a pretrial intervention program for first-time offenders.

Now that Fowler has multiple off-field blemishes on his resume, it could lead to a harsher punishment from the NFL. Even if the authorities let Fowler off relatively scot-free for his latest arrest, the league may hand the 22-year-old a suspension. That would temporarily deprive the Jaguars a defensive starter and represent another setback in the career of Fowler, the 2015 third overall pick who missed his rookie season with a torn ACL and was involved in an unbecoming incident last year in which he was caught on video watching a fight between his girlfriend and ex-girlfriend. The league was aware of it, calling the images “disturbing,” but it didn’t punish Fowler.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.