Today we will take a look at the Jacksonville Jaguars, who finished a terrible 2-14 in 2012 and may have the worst roster in the entire NFL. It’s rare in today’s NFL to find a team that does not have at least one standout player, but with the injury to RB Maurice Jones-Drew I think the Jaguars may be that team. Though they do have an owner that seems willing to spend money to try and improve the standing of the team, this may be the toughest job to navigate in the short term.
I would expect the Jaguars to be somewhere around $23 million in cap room right now, which is primarily due to carryover money that they can use from the 2012 league year, which ESPN’s John Clayton reported to be $19.4 million. The Jaguars made some name moves last year trading Mike Thomas and releasing Clint Session and Aaron Kampman after June 1st which accelerated their bonus money onto the 2013 salary cap, so it leaves them with a pretty high dead money figure for this early in the season.
There are not a lot of places that the team can really go for cap relief as they don’t have any big money talent under contract, so most likely this is a situation where they will look for cash relief as much as anything else. The biggest cap relief, $5 million dollars, would come from releasing or trading Jones-Drew. MJD held out last season in hopes of getting a new contract and the Jaguars wisely refused. He ended up injured most of the season and is probably worth more to Jacksonville as trade bait than as a player.
CB Aaron Ross did not have an impactful first season in Jacksonville and saves the team $3.416 million in cap room if released before his roster bonus due date. I don’t have the particulars of the contract, but I don’t believe any of his salary would be guaranteed if released, so that is significant cap savings while also saving Jacksonville $3.75 million in salary to boot.
The release of LB Paul Posluszny, who Pro Football Focus rated the worst defender on the team in 2012, would be the best move the team could make for cash purposes. Releasing Posluszny saves the team $6.5 million in cash while creating $2.5 million in cap room. Of course it leaves a void at LB and he played well the year before so while possible its probably not likely.
TE Marcedes Lewis, a terrible signing at $6.8 million a year, would save the Jaguars $4.35 million in cash this year and create $1.55 million in cap room. He must be released before mid-April when a small portion of his salary fully guarantees for the year. I would anticipate that he could be released in short order unless they see reason to hold onto him as a run blocking TE for this season.
Notable Free Agents
The Jaguars do not have any free agents of note.
The following are my estimates for the Jaguars 2013 rookie pool:
Hopefully none of this money will be spent on a Punter again this year. Seriously this can eat into cap money quickly so if the Jaguars are active in free agency they may have to use some large signing bonuses and backload these contracts to make significant improvements to their roster while remaining cap compliant.