Jaguars Rumors

Jaguars Sign Rookie Taven Bryan

The Jaguars agreed to terms with first round defensive tackle Taven Bryan on a four-year deal worth $10.2MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. His deal includes a $5.5MM signing bonus. 

Bryan, the No. 29 overall pick in the draft, was one of a handful of stragglers in the backend of the first round. Reportedly, the contract of Seahawks rookie running back Rashaad Penny held up negotiations for Bryan and others.

While the three players selected at pick Nos. 23-25 (Patriots offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn, Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore, and Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst) each garnered significant fourth season base salary guarantees, Penny — who was chosen with the 27th overall pick — actually saw his fourth season salary guarantee percentage decrease when compared to 2017’s No. 27 selection, Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White.

Interestingly, Bryan actually did better on his fourth-year guarantee than some of the other players around him, according to Rapoport. It appears that Bryan’s hard line on negotiations paid off and talks still managed to wrap before rookies were set to report in Jacksonville.

Bryan, a 6’5″, 293-pound defensive lineman, had career highs in tackles (37), tackles for loss (6), and sacks (4) in his final year at Florida. He’s slated to serve as the Jags’ first defensive tackle off of the bench behind Marcell Dareus and Malik Jackson this year.

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This Date In Transactions History: Tony Boselli Retires

On this date in 2003, one of the most underrated offensive linemen in the history of the game called it a career. Tackle Tony Boselli, the first ever draft pick of the Jaguars, retired at the age of 31. 

Soon after being drafted with the No. 2 pick in the 1995 draft, Boselli established himself as one of the best players in Jacksonville. He earned five consecutive Pro Bowl appearances from 1996-2000 with three First-Team All-Pro selections coming in 97-99. The Jaguars reached the postseason in four of their first five seasons in existence, and Boselli played a huge role in their success.

Unfortunately, injuries started to chip away at Boselli in 2001 and he appeared in only three games that season. In February 2002, the Jaguars made Boselli one of their five exposed players for the Texans’ expansion draft. With the very first pick, Houston took on Boselli’s $6.883MM cap figure, but they did not get the All-Pro they were expecting.

I am retiring because of medical reasons, specifically my left shoulder, which did not continue to improve to the point where I could play,” said Boselli as he announced his retirement.

Boselli’s career was relatively short, but highly impactful. In seven seasons with the Jaguars, Boselli allowed only 15.5 sacks and cemented his legacy as one of the Jaguars’ most important players of all-time.

Boselli signed a one-day deal to retire with the Jaguars in 2006 and became the first inductee into the team’s Hall of Fame. Still, the football Hall of Fame eludes him. In 2018, Boselli was denied entry in his 12th year of eligibility and his second year as a finalist.

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Blake Bortles On New Jaguars Contract

Rather than enter the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes or make a run at other starter-level players like Case Keenum, Tyrod Taylor or Sam Bradford, the Jaguars preemptively reached an extension agreement with Blake Bortles. He’s signed through 2020.

With Bortles having not shown much to indicate he’s capable of top-level quarterback play, the Jaguars look to be building around their defense. Bortles was on board with that strategy when it came time to negotiate his second Jags deal.

I think definitely the way the Tom (Brady) has done it is the way to try to model,” Bortles said, via Sirius XM Radio (Twitter link), of willingly taking a lower salary. “Having guys and putting pieces around him was definitely something. When you take up a ton of money you kind of limit your team and who they can help you out with and put around you.

I’m not naive enough to say that we don’t need a run game. We also need a good defense; we need good receivers; we need all these pieces. You can’t play as a quarterback and do it yourself so I’m more than willing to take less money than somebody else might in my position to put good guys around us.”

Bortles signed for three years and $54MM, with a $15MM signing bonus. His 2018 salary is fully guaranteed, and $6.5MM of his ’19 base salary is as well. With it costing the Jags $16.5MM in dead money to cut Bortles after this season, this deal ties the 2014 first-rounder to the team effectively through the next two seasons.

However, given the inconsistency he’s displayed in four seasons, it was unlikely Bortles was going to make much more than he did on this contract. He did want to remain in Jacksonville, something he hopes to do throughout his career.

I was like, ‘I don’t really care how much money it is. Let’s just get a deal done so I can go play football and have some security in a place that I got drafted,'” Bortles said during the interview. “It was huge for me to sign a second deal by the team that drafted me. To be able to play in one place your whole career is something I’ve always wanted to do. To be able to have that security for at least a little bit … I’ve still go to go earn it and play well in order to stay there.”

Bringing in Cody Kessler and sixth-round pick Tanner Lee, the Jags did not make a big outside investment at quarterback this offseason. So, Bortles doesn’t have much in-house competition this season — one that features the Jaguars in as strong of a competitive position going into it as they have been in many years.

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Jaguars Could Be Good Match If DeMarco Murray Un-Retires

Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders is one reporter who’s not buying that Murray is really done. Cummings says he is “skeptical” that Murray really plans on retiring, and so he took a look at a couple of teams that could be a good match. He mentions that the Dolphins kicked the tires on Murray earlier this offseason before ultimately signing Frank Gore. Gore’s presence would probably make a Murray signing unnecessary Cummings writes, but that could change with an injury. Cummings thinks another Florida team, the Jaguars, could be a better match. The Jaguars lost their veteran backup, Chris Ivory, in free agency, and now have a very young running back group being led by Leonard Fournette. The Jaguars could use a veteran presence and Murray would get to play for a championship contender. It could be a good match if Murray ultimately does change his mind.

Marcell Dareus Facing Second Lawsuit

On Wednesday night, we learned that Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is being sued by a Texas woman who is accusing him of sexual assault and the transmission of an STD. In addition to that, Dareus is also being sued for a separate incident in January of 2017, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times writes. 

Dareus rented a mansion in Florida on the week of the college football national championship game. The defensive tackle invited the accuser to an afterparty at his place, where she alleges that he groped her against her wishes. The woman says she “blacked out” from drinking and woke up next to an unclothed Dareus. Realizing that there had been “sexual physical acts upon her person,” she left to go back to her hotel.

No criminal charges were filed after the alleged event and the accuser says that she initially kept the details of the incident private, “due to embarrassment and self-guilt.” In a court date on August 9, Dareus will move to have the lawsuit dismissed.

Regardless of how either case turns out, Dareus could be subject to NFL discipline following an investigation from the league office. The league’s conduct policy calls for a baseline six-game ban for sexual assault offenses.

Dareus, 28, came to the Jaguars in a midseason trade from the Bills. Dareus wound up playing in nine regular season games for the Jags as well as their three-game playoff run. Overall, Dareus graded out as the No. 51 ranked defensive tackle in the NFL last year, according to Pro Football Focus. It wasn’t his best season, but the Jaguars were hopeful that Dareus could get back to his old form this year. In 2014, he managed ten sacks from the interior.

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Marcell Dareus Sued For Sexual Assualt

An unidentified Texas woman is suing Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, accusing him of both sexual assault and the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease, reports Chris Parenteau of News 4 Jacksonville.

The anonymous claims Dareus had sex with her after she had fallen asleep, and is now seeking $15K in damages. Thus far, it’s unclear whether any criminal suit has been brought against Dareus, but the Jacksonville defender’s attorney said his client isn’t aware of any current pending charges.

Dareus, whom the Jaguars acquired from the Bills just prior to the 2017 trade deadline, has been involved in off-field trouble before, but his violations have mostly been related to substance abuse. Legal resolution aside, Dareus could serve a league-imposed suspension based on the outcome of a sure-to-come NFL investigation. Policy standards indicate a baseline six-game suspension for a sexual assault incident, but the bans for such offenses have varied in length.

Jacksonville sent a fifth-round pick to Buffalo in exchange for the now 28-year-old Dareus, who went to play nine games for the club during the regular season and three contests during the Jaguars’ postseason run to the AFC Championship Game. $7.35MM of Dareus’ 2018 base salary is fully guaranteed, meaning he’ll collect that money whether he’s on Jacksonville’s roster or not. The same is true of that total on the Jaguars’ salary cap, although the club would realize a net savings of $2.825MM if the results of a future investigation lead to a release.

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Free Agent DT Roy Miller To Retire

Free agent defensive tackle Roy Miller — who had been scheduled to serve a six-game suspension — announced on Instagram that he intends to retire from the NFL.

“I am officially retiring from the NFL,” Miller said. “Unfortunately my ex is trying everything she can to ruin any opportunity for me to work for my kids. This has caused me much pain. [H]ad some interest [from] teams but until the divorce goes through I can’t even contemplate putting a team through the drama.”

Miller, who will turn 31 years old next week, was arrested on a domestic battery charge last November, and was also reportedly involved in some sort of violent altercation last week, per TMZ Sports. Miller’s wife is filing for divorce and has asked for a restraining order, but the NFL veteran is claiming there’s more to the story.

On the field, Miller appeared in 119 games and 84 starts over a nine-year career after being selected in the third round of the 2009 draft. A University of Texas product, Miller split his first eight pro seasons between the Buccaneers and Jaguars, and played seven games with the Chiefs in 2017 before being cut.

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Latest On Dante Fowler Jr.

  • 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.

Latest On Unsigned First-Round Picks

Only six percent of 2018 NFL draft picks remain unsigned, and 71% (12-of-17) of those contract-less selections are first-rounders. For a certain slice of those unsigned first-round picks, especially those selected near the back end of Day 1, Seahawks rookie running back Rashaad Penny‘s contract is playing a role in negotiations, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk explains.

While the three players selected at pick Nos. 23-25 (Patriots offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn, Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore, and Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst) each garnered significant fourth season base salary guarantees, Penny — who was chosen with the 27th overall pick — actually saw his fourth season salary guarantee percentage decrease when compared to 2017’s No. 27 selection, Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White, per Florio.

The NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement implemented slotted rookie contracts which make negotiations a breeze, but there’s a still a bit of wiggle room. First-rounders selected near the end of the first round won’t often get the entirety of their fourth season base salary guaranteed, but that’s an area where agents can press for a bit extra in talks. Penny’s representatives, clearly, didn’t do so, which could now lead other teams with unsigned first-round picks to withhold guarantees.

Here are the unsigned first-round picks chosen after No. 20 overall:

Overall, the amount of fourth season guarantees shouldn’t stand in the way of getting deals for the above players done, as the dollar amounts in question are in the thousands, not millions. But the lack of signed contracts does speak to the small area of available negotiation still left in rookie pacts, and is something to watch as the offseason progresses.

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Latest On DB Brandon Bryant

Mississippi State defensive back Brandon Bryant is making his case to NFL scouts in advance of the NFL’s supplemental draft. On Monday, 40 scouts from the Rams, Browns, Falcons, Jets, Giants, 49ers, Redskins, Colts, Steelers, Saints, Jaguars, Texans, Raiders, and Ravens watched Bryant audition, Chase Goodbread of NFL.com tweets

There may have been even more clubs on hand to watch Bryant work out, according to Tony Pauline of Draft Insider (on Twitter). Pauline hears there were “about 20 teams on hand” and he hears his 40-yard-dash times ranged from the high 4.3’s to the low 4.4’s. He also conducted five separate one-on-one meetings on Sunday.

Bryant established himself as one of the top safeties in the SEC in his time with the Bulldogs. Across three years, Bryant compiled 157 tackles and five interceptions in 37 games. This year, after Mississippi State hired Joe Moorhead as their new head coach, Bryant announced he was going pro.

This year’s supplemental draft will take place on July 11. Other entrants include former Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal and Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander.

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