Jaguars Rumors

Jaguars’ OL Andrew Norwell, Giants’ OL Kevin Zeitler On The Trade Block?

A pair of veteran offensive linemen are apparently on the trade block, but it’s sounding like there may not be any takers. Jason La Canfora is hearing that the Jaguars are shopping offensive guard Andrew Norwell, while the Giants are trying to move offensive guard Kevin Zeitler (Twitter link). The reporter adds that rival teams believe these two linemen will ultimately be released, at which time they’ll “generate significant interest” around the NFL.

Norwell parlayed his first-team All-Pro nod with the Panthers into a five-year, $66.5MM deal with the Jaguars in 2018. While the veteran hasn’t matched his production from that standout campaign, he’s still been a dependable presence on Jacksonville’s line over the past three years. The organization’s decision to shop (and, presumably, eventually move on from) Norwell is mostly financial; the veteran has a cap hit of $15MM in 2021 and $16MM in 2022, and cutting him would leave manageable dead cap hits of $6MM in 2021 and $3MM in 2022.

Zeitler, a former first-round pick, spent the first five seasons of his career with the Bengals, including a 2012 campaign where he earned All-Rookie Team honors from the Pro Football Writers Association. He inked a five-year, $60MM deal with the Browns in 2017, making him the highest-paid guard in the NFL. He spent a pair of seasons in Cleveland before getting dealt to the Giants as a part of the Odell Beckham trade.

The 30-year-old has played the past two seasons in New York, appearing in all but one game. The veteran has a $14.5MM cap hit in the final year of his contract, and the Giants would be left with only $2.5MM in dead cap if they decided to cut him.

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This Date In Transactions History: Jaguars Extend Blake Bortles

Three years ago today, the Jaguars took themselves out of the quarterback market by sticking with Blake Bortles. The move was widely panned and, ultimately, it did not work out for Jacksonville. 

The Jaguars were fresh off of an AFC Championship Game appearance and their first playoff appearance in nine years. Bortles, meanwhile, tossed a career-low 13 interceptions. Still, his overall body of work did not inspire a ton of confidence – his 60.2% completion percentage actually marked a new career best.

Despite the question marks, Bortles became the first 2014 first-round pick to receive an extension – stars like Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald, and Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack were still negotiating for their new deals (Of course, they all eventually secured the bag.)

Reported to be a three-year, $54MM pact, the deal included $26.5MM guaranteed with the potential to reach $66.5MM in total through bonuses. He did not earn those incentives, nor did he get to play out his deal – Bortles was cut loose in 2019, clearing the way for Nick Foles to take over.

Bortles went 3-9 in 12 starts for the Jaguars as head coach Doug Marrone flip-flopped him with Cody Kessler. During his five-year run with the Jaguars, Bortles led the league with 75 interceptions – more than one INT per start.

With his stock at an all-time low, the former No. 3 overall pick hooked on with the Rams in the 2019 offseason. Playing behind Jared Goff, Bortles appeared in only three games and attempted two passes. Without a real opportunity to play in 2019, Bortles did not get a chance to silence his critics. Last year, he found his way to Denver, where he was penalized for breaking the league’s COVID safety protocols. Now, on the verge of his 29th birthday in April, Bortles is a free agent once again. And, much like last year, the former No. 3 overall pick is on the NFL fringes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars To Decline Option On Tyler Eifert

The upcoming free agent tight end market is getting another notable name. The Jaguars will decline the 2021 option on Tyler Eifert‘s contract, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets.

As Rapsheet points out Eifert had been set to make a little under $5MM in 2021, and they understandably viewed that as a little hefty given his production this past season. In 15 games and four starts with the Jags in 2020, he caught 36 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns. It was his first year in Jacksonville after spending the first seven seasons of his career with the Bengals. The receiving numbers don’t jump off the page, but on the bright side he was able to stay healthy for the second season in a row.

Eifert broke out and became a big name during the 2015 season, when he turned a strong connection with Andy Dalton into a whopping 13 touchdowns and a Pro Bowl berth. Unfortunately things went downhill fast after that due to a string of serious injuries, and he would only play in 14 total games over the next three seasons.

The 21st overall pick of the 2013 draft bounced back to play all 16 games in 2019, which earned him the two-year contract from the Jaguars which turned out to be one year plus an option. Eifert will now be hitting a tight end market that has some solid options, including Hunter Henry, Rob Gronkowski, Jonnu Smith, Gerald Everett, and Jared Cook.

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Browns Lead NFL In Salary Cap Carryover

Earlier today, the NFL Players Association announced (via Twitter) the salary cap carryover amounts for all 32 NFL teams for the 2021 season. Effectively, teams are able to rollover their unused cap from the previous season. So, when the 2021 salary cap numbers become official, they can be added to each team’s carryover amount to determine that individual club’s official cap for 2021.

This follows news from earlier today that the NFL has raised its salary cap floor to $180MM for 2021. This total could clue us in to the salary cap maximum, which could end up landing north of $190MM. The salary cap was $198.2MM for the 2020 campaign.

As the NFLPA detailed, the league will rollover $315.1MM from the 2020 season, an average of $9.8MM per team. The Browns lead the league with a whopping $30.4MM, and they’re the only team in the top-five to make the playoffs. The NFC East ($68.8MM) and AFC East ($65.3MM) are the two divisions will the largest carryover amounts.

The full list is below:

  • Cleveland Browns: $30.4MM
  • New York Jets: $26.7MM
  • Dallas Cowboys: $25.4MM
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: $23.5MM
  • Philadelphia Eagles: $22.8MM
  • New England Patriots: $19.6MM
  • Denver Broncos: $17.8MM
  • Washington Football Team: $15.8MM
  • Miami Dolphins: $15.2MM
  • Detroit Lions: $12.8MM
  • Cincinnati Bengals: $10.8MM
  • Houston Texans: $9.2MM
  • Indianapolis Colts: $8.3MM
  • Los Angeles Chargers: $8.1MM
  • Chicago Bears: $7MM
  • Los Angeles Rams: $5.7MM
  • Kansas City Chiefs: $5.1MM
  • Arizona Cardinals: $5MM
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: $5MM
  • New York Giants: $4.8MM
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $4.6MM
  • Minnesota Vikings: $4.5MM
  • Carolina Panthers: $4.3MM
  • New Orleans Saints: $4.1MM
  • Buffalo Bills: $3.8MM
  • Green Bay Packers: $3.7MM
  • Las Vegas Raiders: $3.6MM
  • Tennessee Titans: $2.3MM
  • San Francisco 49ers: $1.9MM
  • Atlanta Falcons: $1.8MM
  • Seattle Seahawks: $956K
  • Baltimore Ravens: $587K

Urban Meyer Advised Trevor Lawrence On Pro Day Schedule

Since the Jaguars wrapped up the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, it has been a foregone conclusion that the club will use that selection on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, a potentially generational talent. If you wanted even more evidence that Jacksonville will make Lawrence the first player to hear his name called when the draft kicks off on April 29, you have it.

Lawrence underwent surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder yesterday, but in order to show off his abilities before going under the knife, he held an early pro day last Friday. And as John Reid of the Florida Times-Union writes, new Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer was instrumental in bringing that pro day about.

When he heard a little over a week ago that Lawrence would need surgery, Meyer said he had a number of phone calls with his future quarterback. “We did a Zoom call with him, and I asked him – there are three choices you have. No. 1, you can wait until March 11 Pro Day – but now you are getting near August [for a recovery time],” Meyer said. “That’s getting late because it’s a five-month recovery. It’s a six-month injury. The second thing, you can not throw.”

Although Lawrence didn’t really have anything to prove, he didn’t like the second option. He wanted to have a showcase, but he agreed with Meyer that waiting until the March 11 pro day — which would mean putting off his surgery until sometime after March 11 — would push his recovery too far into the summer. So then, as Meyer recounted, “I said why don’t you just grab the ball and go throw for a little bit? I’d like to send our coordinator and passing-game coordinator to watch. They’ve never seen him. I’ve seen him, so he said, ‘Let’s go.'”

Lawrence was predictably brilliant at his pro day, so even if the Jags had any questions about his abilities, they probably don’t now. Along with Meyer, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and passing-game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer were in attendance. Jacksonville is probably still a year or two away from playoff contention, but the expectation is that having Lawrence under center will accelerate the team’s rebuild quite a bit.

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Jaguars Add Three To Front Office

Urban Meyer and Trent Baalke will be overseeing personnel matters in Jacksonville going forward. The staff that will help this duo oversee a Jaguars rebuild is beginning to take shape.

The Jaguars added Trip MacCracken, Michael Davis and Drew Hughes to their front office this week. Two members in this trio will move to Jacksonville after extensive time in Kansas City during the Chiefs’ Andy Reid era, while Hughes will come up from the college ranks. These staffers will also join longtime NFL exec Tom Gamble in Jacksonville’s front office.

MacCracken, who will serve as the Jaguars’ director of roster management, was with the Chiefs from 2010-17. The Scott Pioli-era hire stayed on for several years under Reid. Prior to that, MacCracken served as a Browns exec from the franchise’s 1999 rebirth until 2009. MacCracken figures to be a key cog in the Jags’ cap department. The team parted ways with previous cap exec John Idzik last month.

Tabbed as a senior personnel executive in Jacksonville, Davis joined MacCracken in Kansas City for a time. Davis, however, stayed on during the Chiefs’ two Super Bowl years. He was with the team for the past five years, working mainly in the Chiefs’ scouting department. Davis spent 16 years with the Jets’ scouting department and was with the Eagles for a short time ahead of his Kansas City move.

Hughes will return to north Florida, as the Jags’ player personnel coordinator, after a one-year stay as director of player personnel at South Carolina. He held the same position with the Gators, though he did so after Meyer had left for Ohio State.

The Jaguars are currently the only team to have more than $70MM in cap space. This and the rebuilding franchise’s two first-round picks will make 2021 a pivotal year.

Dolphins Aiming To Add Multiple WRs

The Dolphins have DeVante Parker signed long-term, but they appear set to devote free agency funds and/or draft capital to addressing their other wide receiver spots.

In addition to seeking help opposite Parker on the boundary, the Dolphins believe they need to upgrade in the slot as well, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. The franchise plans to address both positions, be it in free agency or the draft. With several receivers set to be available in unrestricted free agency and other pass catchers on the cap-casualty radar, this is a good year to need help at this position.

Prior to the franchise tag deadline, the receiver market is set to include Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, Will Fuller, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, T.Y. Hilton, Corey Davis, Antonio Brown, Curtis Samuel, Nelson Agholor, Sammy Watkins and A.J. Green. Potential cap casualties, like the Jets’ Jamison Crowder or Bills’ John Brown, may join this list and further create a buyer’s market for receiver-needy teams. While most of this group’s futures remain uncertain, the Buccaneers are not planning to let Godwin become available. Though, Tampa Bay has several high-profile free agents of note.

Multiple players in this group already have interest in Miami, per Jackson, who adds that Jones and Hilton have the Dolphins on their respective radars. (The Jaguars are also on Jones’ radar, according to Jackson.) While both Jones and Hilton are over 30, neither’s price should be expected to approach the high-end WR1 ranks. The Dolphins currently sit eighth in cap space, though other receiver-needy teams — like the Jaguars, Colts, Jets and Patriots — reside on a higher tier in terms of offseason funds.

The Dolphins currently hold two first-round picks (Nos. 3 and 18) and two second-rounders (Nos. 36 and 50). With another strong receiver class set to enter the league, the team would be well positioned to address either its slot or boundary needs here. Though, the Texans making Deshaun Watson available could change the Dolphins’ draft outlook. Miami resides at or near the top of the disgruntled quarterback’s destination list. But whoever the Dolphins slot at quarterback next season should have a better arsenal to target.

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Trevor Lawrence Recovery Timeline To Stretch Into Summer

Feb. 14: Lawrence will undergo left labrum surgery on February 16, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter). Well-known surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform the operation, and recovery time is estimated to be five to six months. As such, the expectation remains that Lawrence will be ready to go by training camp, or not too long thereafter.

Feb. 12: As expected, Trevor Lawrence did not do anything Friday to remove himself from being the favorite to go No. 1 overall. The three-year Clemson starter went through his early pro day, throwing for teams (including the Jaguars) on campus. He will not be throwing again for a while, however.

Lawrence estimated he will be able to throw again at some point in the next two months but added that it could be four or five months until he receives full clearance for all football activities, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

News emerged last week of Lawrence needing surgery on his left shoulder, and while it would certainly benefit the incoming rookie to be able to throw without restrictions during the spring and early summer, 2021 draftees’ first NFL offseasons are expected to be mostly virtual. Whereas rookie QBs from drafts prior to the 2020s went through rookie minicamps, OTAs and minicamps, this class may not take the field with their respective teams until training camp. By then, Lawrence could be ready to go.

The 6-foot-5 passer weighed in at 213 pounds Friday, but NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah expects the high-end prospect to be closer to 230 by the time he reports to camp. Clemson listed Lawrence at 220 pounds last season. Representatives from 17 teams showed up Friday to observe the 21-year-old prodigy, per ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco, with Urban Meyer, OC Darrell Bevell and passing-game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer leading the Jacksonville contingent.

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Jaguars Director Of Sports Performance Chris Doyle Resigns

A day after joining the Jaguars staff, Chris Doyle has announced his resignation. The Jaguars announced last night that the embattled coach has resigned as their director of sports performance.

“Chris Doyle came to us this evening to submit his resignation and we have accepted,” said a statement from Jaguars coach Urban Meyer and GM Trent Baalke. “Chris did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville. We are responsible for all aspects of our program and, in retrospect, should have given greater consideration to how his appointment may have affected all involved. We wish him the best as he moves forward in his career.”

The hiring led to immediate backlash after it was announced on Thursday. During his time as the strength coach at the University of Iowa, Doyle was accused of making racist remarks and belittling players, and he left the school with a $1.1MM separation agreement last summer. Doyle has continued to deny any “unethical behavior,” while Meyer indicated that Doyle’s presence of his staff wouldn’t be an issue.

On Friday evening, the Fritz Pollard Alliance denounced the Jaguars and Meyer for the hiring, noting that Doyle’s “conduct should be as disqualifying for the NFL as it was for University of Iowa.”

“Urban Meyer’s statement, ‘I’ve known Chris for close to 20 years’ reflects the good ol’ boy network that is precisely the reason there is such a disparity in employment opportunities for Black coaches,” their statement said (via ESPN’s Michael DiRocco).

Doyle had been with Iowa since 1999, and he established himself as one of the highest-paid strength coaches in the country. Following his ouster, he received 15 months salary and benefits from the school.

Jaguars Release LB Kamalei Correa

The Jaguars will make Kamalei Correa‘s stay brief. A few months after trading for the veteran linebacker, the Jags will release him, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

This is not surprising. Correa’s season ended when the Jags placed him on the reserve/left squad list in December. Jacksonville acquired the former second-round pick from Tennessee in October.

Correa, 26, played in six games with the Jaguars and started all six. While Correa saw an uptick in his playing time compared to how the Titans were utilizing him, he still worked as a part-time linebacker with the Jags. He finished his season with seven tackles in six Jaguar games.

The Titans were planning to release Correa last year, but the Jaguars offered them late-round draft compensation. The Ravens traded the 2016 draftee to the Titans in 2018. With Urban Meyer now in charge, there figure to be quite a few changes to Jacksonville’s roster in the coming weeks.

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