The return of the Jacksonville Jaguars has been prophesied for a while. Gus Bradley was supposed to restore the franchise to the top of the pecking order, but it never really materialized. However, the defense-first mentality that was started under Bradley bore fruit for Doug Marrone this season.
Three years of continuous draft and free agency investment in the defense created a unit full of monsters and athletes that tore apart offenses with regularity. Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Telvin Smith, and Jalen Ramsey were all brilliant, and an offense that didn’t turn the ball over or shoot themselves in the foot (too much) allowed the team to get to the AFC championship game, only to fall to a miraculous comeback from Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Going into 2018, the Jaguars will be keen to establish themselves as a perennial powerhouse in the AFC, but the check is coming due on all their big money signings. They have just $23.4 million in cap space coming into this season with a few key free agents like Allen Robinson and Patrick Omameh to re-sign. How can the Jaguars best carve out more space? By releasing these players…
Allen Hurns, WR – save $7 million
When Allen Robinson went down with a torn ACL after just one catch in Week 1 the assumption was that Allen Hurns would take over the role of #1 receiver and rack up the stats. It wasn’t to be though.
Instead, the Jaguars saw Marqise Lee come to the fore, along with undrafted rookie Keelan Cole and fourth round pick Dede Westbrook. As the season wore on it was clear that Hurns was not able to keep up with the new and improved Jaguars, and if they end up re-signing Robinson they shouldn’t be paying Hurns $7 million to be, at best, their #4 receiver.
Jermey Parnell, OT – save $5 million
The Jaguars found themselves a left tackle in the 2017 draft in Cam Robinson, but the right tackle spot has still been something of an issue. Jermey Parnell has been ok since coming across from Dallas, but it is an easy spot to improve for the Jaguars and will help make life more comfortable for Blake Bortles or whoever is throwing passes for them next year.
Chris Ivory, RB – save $3.9 million
Leonard Fournette is the man at running back for the Jaguars for the foreseeable future. TJ Yeldon is a young, cheap, and productive back up. As a restricted free agent and key special teams player Corey Grant will be back on a very team-friendly deal. All of that leaves little space for Chris Ivory.
At just shy of $7 million on the cap, Ivory is very expensive for the limited role he will have in 2018. If he was a productive back up like Yeldon it wouldn’t be too bad, but given his 3.6 yards per carry average in his two years with Jacksonville it is time to move on for the Jags.
A note about Blake Bortles
The hot-and-cold quarterback is currently set to count as $19 million against the cap in 2018. While he would be an obvious candidate to cut and replace, wrist surgery means he will almost certainly fail his end-of-year physical, guaranteeing all $19 million of his fifth-year option and taking any decision to replace him out of the Jaguars hands for another year. It looks like he is set to be on the roster for 2018, and with that kind of cap hit he simply has to be the starter.
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