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#pounditMonday, August 15, 2022

Articles tagged: Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL teams annoyed with 1 WR for resetting market

NFL field logo

Feb 6, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; The NFL shield logo is seen at midfield before the Pro Bowl football game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The market for NFL wide receivers has been scorching hot this offseason. That is a great thing for players, but it has forced some teams to make very difficult decisions with their most talented players. Are the Jacksonville Jaguars to blame?

One NFL executive and one assistant coach told Jeff Howe of The Athletic this week that the contract Christian Kirk signed with the Jaguars is the one that really reset the wide receiver market. Kirk, who never eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark in his four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, signed a four-year, $72 million deal with Jacksonville that includes $37 million guaranteed.

“It’s (Christian) Kirk’s fault,” an assistant coach told Howe. “What happened to Kirk is 100 percent the issue. Players of more worth than Christian Kirk are going to be demanding a lot more money, and you’re going to have to do it.”

The $18 million average annual salary for Kirk placed him among the 10 highest-paid receivers in football at the time he signed the deal. He was then surpassed by Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and Stefon Diggs, who were undoubtedly licking their chops when the Jaguars gave Kirk all that money. Kirk has never made a Pro Bowl and has just 17 touchdown catches in four seasons.

“How much Kirk got really vaulted the money,” an executive said. “That was huge for (Adams and Hill) to get those historic deals. It put more pressure on those clubs to make sure they meet those needs.”

Kirk is just 25, so perhaps the best is yet to come for him. Still, you can understand why his deal gave far better players so much leverage.

Several more top receivers are seeking new contracts this offseason. All can make the argument that they deserve far more than Kirk. They should thank the Jaguars.

Urban Meyer says 1 rumor about him was ‘so silly’

Urban Meyer in a jacket

There were a lot of unflattering reports about Urban Meyer during his brief tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The former coach has denied most of them, and he says he found one in particular to be quite laughable.

A piece that was published in The Athletic last month claimed Meyer was so unprepared with the Jaguars that he had never heard of certain star players, including three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. Meyer mocked the report during an appearance on “The Tim May Podcast” this week.

“Someone told me that,” Meyer said, via Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports. “I’ve heard silly things in my life. You shouldn’t even address things like that, it’s so silly.”

Meyer supposedly indicated to his staff that he was unfamiliar with Donald when he asked them, “Who’s this 99 guy on the Rams?” The quote sounded like it would have been sarcasm. It is impossible to believe that anyone who knows anything about the NFL — let alone an NFL coach — would have no idea who Donald is.

Meyer was run out of Jacksonville in a hurry. He said he believes the team’s losing record was the main reason for that, though he did generate plenty of negative headlines.

Photo: Joseph Maiorana-USA Today Sports

Jaguars’ Travis Etienne has funny response to Urban Meyer question

Travis Etienne at a press conference

Travis Etienne was viewed by many as a Rookie of the Year candidate after the Jacksonville Jaguars drafted him in the first round last year, but he never played after suffering a foot injury during the preseason. Missing your entire first NFL season is tough, but Etienne admits there was one silver lining.

Etienne was asked by a reporter on Tuesday if there was any part of him that was glad he was not involved in the Jaguars’ drama-filled season. The former Clemson star gave a very honest response.

“Definitely, that’s just the human element of it,” Etienne admitted. “Just seeing the results … if there was any year to miss, I missed a great one.”

The Jaguars went 3-14 last season, making them the worst team in the NFL by record. There is no telling what type of impact Etienne would have had on Jacksonville’s offense. What we do know is that he got to keep a safe distance while one negative storyline after the next surfaced in Jacksonville.

The Urban Meyer experiment could not have gone worse for the Jaguars. No player wants to miss games due to injury, but at least Etienne got to steer clear of the mayhem.

Photo: Bob Self/Florida Times-Union via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Jaguars know which player they will take with No. 1 pick?

Trent Baalke at a press conference

The Jacksonville Jaguars will be on the clock with the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft for another two weeks, but it sounds like they have their eye on a specific player.

There has been a lot of talk this week about the Jaguars being high on former Georgia defensive end Travon Walker. Fansided’s Matt Lombardo says that talk is real and that rival executives believe Walker is the Jaguars’ guy.

This year’s draft is loaded with elite pass-rushers. You could make the argument that Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson is the best of the bunch, but Walker’s physical traits are off the charts.

While Walker only had six sacks last season, he ran a 4.51 in the 40-yard dash. That is blazing fast for a 6-foot-5, 272-pound lineman. That type of skill set can become a nightmare for NFL quarterbacks.

The Jaguars probably can’t go wrong with Hutchinson or Walker. With the NFL becoming more of a passing league by the year, elite pass-rushers are more important than ever. That is one of the reasons a scout recently made a bold prediction about this year’s draft.

Photo: Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke during Friday afternoon’s press conference at TIAA Bank Field. After his arrival in Jacksonville, Florida Friday morning, April 30, 2021, Jacksonville Jaguars first-round draft pick Trevor Lawrence along with team owner Shad Khan, head coach Urban Meyer and the Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke held a press conference in the afternoon inside TIAA Bank Field. They were also joined by the Jaguars 25th pick in the first round of the draft and former Clemson teammate of Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne. Bob Self/Florida Times-Union

Key Jaguars player announces his retirement

Shad Khan on the field

The Jacksonville Jaguars are losing a key member of their offensive line, as longtime starting center Brandon Linder is retiring.

Linder announced his retirement in an Instagram post on Monday morning. He thanked his teammates, Jaguars fans and the organization. Linder also said he is grateful to fulfill his goal of playing his entire NFL career in Jacksonville.

Linder started 88 games for the Jaguars during his eight-year career. Jacksonville drafted him in the third round in 2014. The 30-year-old battled numerous injuries over the years and was limited to just nine games last season due to ankle and MCL injuries.

The Jaguars have tried to make protecting Trevor Lawrence a priority. They signed Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff to a three-year, $49.5 million deal. They also brought back backup center Tyler Shatley on a two-year, $4.8 million deal.

There was talk earlier in the offseason that the Jaguars could release Linder in order to save nearly $10 million million against the salary cap. He likely informed them at that point that he planned to retire, anyway.

Photo: Oct 17, 2021; London, England, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan (Shahid Khan) watches from the sidelines during an NFL International Series game against the Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1 AFC team reportedly causing issues across NFL in free agency

Trent Baalke at a press conference

One AFC team is causing some issues across the NFL in free agency over their big-time spending, according to a report.

The Jacksonville Jaguars spent big in free agency, agreeing to deals with multiple players on Monday, including several pass-catchers.

The most notable deal came with Christian Kirk. The Jags and Kirk agreed to a 4-year, $72 million deal worth up to $84 million. That’s a big deal for a receiver who has never had a 1,000-yard season in his career and topped out at 77 catches for 982 yards and 5 touchdowns last season.

On top of that, the Jags gave receiver Zay Jones a 3-year, $24 million deal. Jones had just 47 catches for 546 yards and 1 touchdown last season.

Other Jags deals include:
– Tight end Evan Engram on a one-year, $9 million deal
– Defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi on a three-year, $30 million contract
– Linebacker Foyesade Oluokun on a three-year, $45 million contract
– Guard Brandon Scherff on a three-year, $49.5 million deal

CBS Sports NFL reporter Jonathan Jones says the Jags’ big spending has caused issues for other teams around the league. Agents want to use the contract figures players agreed to with the Jags as a basis for their clients, while teams do not want to.

Wow, what a strategy by the Jags. Did they unintentionally just bankrupt all their opponents?

Jacksonville went 3-14 last season and had tons of salary cap space, which explains why they were eager to spend money to upgrade their roster. Specifically, they want to help Trevor Lawrence, which is why they invested in some receivers for their young quarterback.

Agents, especially those representing wide receivers, love what the Jags did. Teams that have to negotiate with said receivers do not.

Photo: Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke during Friday afternoon’s press conference at TIAA Bank Field. After his arrival in Jacksonville, Florida Friday morning, April 30, 2021, Jacksonville Jaguars first-round draft pick Trevor Lawrence along with team owner Shad Khan, head coach Urban Meyer and the Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke held a press conference in the afternoon inside TIAA Bank Field. They were also joined by the Jaguars 25th pick in the first round of the draft and former Clemson teammate of Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne. Bob Self/Florida Times-Union

Report: Davante Adams drawing interest from at least 4 teams

Davante Adams

The Green Bay Packers want to keep Davante Adams, and they may have to in order to convince Aaron Rodgers to return next season. If they are not able to make that happen, several teams are waiting patiently to pursue the star wide receiver.

Adams is set to become a free agent, but the Packers are working to clear the necessary salary cap space to re-sign him. They also have the option of using the franchise tag. According to Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network, four AFC teams have interest in signing Adams if he leaves Green Bay.

The Denver Broncos are one. Their dream offseason scenario would be to trade for Rodgers and then sign Adams. The Las Vegas Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Chargers would also have interest in Adams if he tests free agency.

The Raiders are badly in need of a top wideout. They expected Henry Ruggs to fill that role, but the former first-round pick was cut last year after he killed another drive while allegedly intoxicated. Jacksonville is also in need of a No. 1 receiver and roughly $70 million under the salary cap. The Chargers have Keenan Allen, but they may lose Mike Williams in free agency. Adams might be intrigued by the idea of playing with Justin Herbert.

Adams’ future is clearly tied to that of Rodgers. He may not be happy with the way things are headed with his contract situation, but he doesn’t have a whole lot of leverage.

Photo: Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) participates in training camp at Ray Nitschke Field, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Trevor Lawrence gets more help from Jaguars with latest assistant hire

Trevor Lawrence celebrates

The Jacksonville Jaguars are clearly prioritizing Trevor Lawrence’s development with their coaching hires, even beyond head coach Doug Pederson.

The Jaguars are hiring another former quarterback in ex-Chargers coach Mike McCoy to serve as the team’s quarterbacks coach, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

McCoy went 27-37 in four seasons as head coach of the Chargers. Prior to that, he was a standout quarterback for Utah and also played in the CFL. That essentially means two former quarterbacks will be guiding Lawrence’s development, as Pederson has an NFL career at the position. That is an arrangement Lawrence is likely to be a fan of.

Lawrence is heading for his second season in the NFL, and he’s coming off a campaign with 12 touchdowns and a league-worst 17 interceptions. That helps explain why he was so invested in the coaching search, and why he’s probably quite happy about the outcomes of it.

Photo: Oct 10, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) gestures after scoring a touchdown during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars owner denies Byron Leftwich rumor

Byron Leftwich

The Jacksonville Jaguars were said to be on the verge of naming Byron Leftwich their next head coach less than two weeks ago. They have since hired Doug Pederson, and owner Shad Khan says that has nothing to do with Leftwich making demands the team chose not to meet.

There were reports last month that Leftwich wanted the Jaguars job but did not want to work under general manager Trent Baalke. It looked like Leftwich might convince Jacksonville to fire Baalke, but that obviously did not happen. Khan was asked about those reports during Pederson’s introductory press conference on Saturday. He said they were untrue.

Khan did, however, acknowledge that the Jaguars are changing the structure of their front office. They are planning to add an executive vice president. It would not be a surprise if that results in Baalke having less power.

Baalke is extremely unpopular in Jacksonville. Thousands of Jaguars fans dressed in clown costumes for the final game in the regular season to show the team how unhappy they are with the job the GM has done.

It’s unclear how close the Jaguars were to hiring Leftwich, but they obviously still believe Baalke can help the organization turn things around.

Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars owner makes strong claim about GM Trent Baalke

Trent Baalke at a press conference

The Jacksonville Jaguars landed Doug Pederson as the team’s new head coach, but only after a number of reports suggesting that GM Trent Baalke was a mitigating factor in trying to attract other candidates.

Even before the Jaguars embarked on their coaching search, there were reports indicating that some candidates were hesitant to work under Baalke. On Saturday, Jaguars owner Shad Khan said Baalke had not come up as a negative factor in interviews with candidates.

Khan may well be telling the truth here. On the other hand, he’s only speaking about candidates the Jaguars interviewed. There were some indications that some would-be candidates turned down the chance to even speak to Jacksonville about the job. That may or may not have had to do with Baalke.

There were reports that even Pederson himself had some reservations about the Jaguars’ setup. He may have taken the job anyway, but it certainly doesn’t look like Baalke was a non-factor in the search.

Photo: Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke during Friday afternoon’s press conference at TIAA Bank Field. After his arrival in Jacksonville, Florida Friday morning, April 30, 2021, Jacksonville Jaguars first-round draft pick Trevor Lawrence along with team owner Shad Khan, head coach Urban Meyer and the Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke held a press conference in the afternoon inside TIAA Bank Field. They were also joined by the Jaguars 25th pick in the first round of the draft and former Clemson teammate of Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]