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Leonard Fournette re-signs with Roc Nation Sportsby Ryan Day on February 27, 2020 at 10:24 pm
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette has re-signed with Roc Nation Sports for his NFL contract work, according to Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal. Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette has officially re-signed with @RocNationSports for NFL contract work. NFL agent Kim Miale is repping him. He had been repped by Ari Nissim, who left Roc Nation late last year.He has always been with Roc Nation for all off-the-field work.— Liz Mullen (@SBJLizMullen) February 27, 2020 Less than a week ago, Fournette terminated his agreement with his former agent Ari Nissim who left Roc Nation Sports. Another player currently with Nissim is defensive end Yannick Ngakoue who is currently going into his fifth season with the Jaguars and is seeking a new contract. Fournette was the ninth player to sign with Roc Nation — an american entertainment agency founded by rapper Jay-Z in 2008 — and subsequently landed with Nissim in 2016. According to Mullen, Nissim is no longer with Roc Nation. Entering the last year of his contract, the former fourth overall pick will be in search of new representation, however it is not yet known whether or not he will remain with Roc Nation or consider other avenues.
Jay Gruden excited, fired up to coach againby Demetrius Harvey on February 27, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images The Jaguars’ new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden recently sat down with Jaguars.com and senior writer John Oesher to discuss his new job, thoughts on team. On January 22nd, the Jaguars officially hired former Washington head coach Jay Gruden as the team’s new offensive coordinator. Since then, Gruden has remained out of the news diligently working behind the scenes with the Jaguars’ offensive staff to get acclimated to his new role and perform a thorough evaluation of the roster. Yesterday, Gruden broke his silence in a sit-down interview with Jaguars.com and senior writer John Oehser. Gruden expressed his excitement to return to coaching after being unceremoniously fired by Washington only five games into the season. Gruden went over a variety of topics with Oesher, including why he returned to coaching, why specifically with the Jaguars, the team’s quarterback situation, and much more. With the additions of both Gruden and quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo the Jaguars will have the leadership needed on the offensive coaching staff for the young personnel currently on the team. Our first time sitting down with new OC Jay Gruden... coming soon to https://t.co/6z7qBUbQGN He was on the 6th hole of the golf course when Marrone called about the opportunity... now he says he's fired up to coach a young offense with a lot of potential pic.twitter.com/CtXuPElYvY— Ashlyn Sullivan (@ashlynrsullivan) February 26, 2020 “I love Florida and I thought it would be a great opportunity to get back in with a young quarterback (Gardner Minshew II), and with (veteran quarterback) Nick (Foles) – and see what happens,” Gruden told Oesher when asked why he felt comfortable with coming to Jacksonville to coach the Jaguars. Gruden indicated that meetings with the full offensive staff and getting comfortable with the variety of voices in the room made for an easy decision, noting that there was a positive energy. “Everybody knows the feet are to the fire a little bit. We’ve got to get things done, but that’s pro football.” When discussing the team’s quarterback situation, Gruden took a similar stance to Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell. Gruden praised Nick foles for his strong arm, pocket passing, accuracy and his past success, admitting that last season’s struggles didn’t only on Foles’ shoulders following an injury which knocked the quarterback out for nine games. “A lot of times when the quarterback struggles, it’s on the quarterback,” said Gruden. “A lot of times when the quarterback has success, he probably gets too much credit. But Nick didn’t have a lot of opportunities to make some plays in some of these games that he failed in.” The Jaguars turned to rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II, who had plenty of success including throwing for over 3,000 yards passing and totaling 21 touchdowns with just six interceptions. Gruden called the young quarterback “an exciting player” — a player people tend to gravitate to due to his personality and energy. “Nothing against Nick; Nick’s still a great quarterback. They’re two different quarterbacks. Both of them have a lot to work with,” Gruden continued. “...Gardner has great energy. He has the escapability that you need nowadays in pro football because things aren’t always going to be perfect. And he obviously has the leadership skills that are necessary to be at that position. (Smiling) So, let the competition begin” A competition between the quarterbacks will take place during training camp. All three of Gruden, Caldwell, and Marrone have been in lockstep when discussing the starting quarterback situation. Gruden later stated in the interview that the decision will be Marrone’s to make, but he’s excited to watch it play out. Notes from Gruden’s interview with Jaguars.com: Gruden noted with Oesher that receiver Dede Westbrook played in the slot for the first time in his career last season, adding “you could see there were some things he was working through there” — Westbrook played the team’s ‘F’ position for the majority of the season. Gruden feels good about the team’s offensive line, noting that Cam Robinson needs to get healthy after playing hurt the majority of 2019 recovering from a torn ACL suffered in 2018. Gruden praised the play of left guard Andrew Norwell and center Brandon Linder, and right tackle Jawaan Taylor, stating that right guard A.J. Cann, “does some good things at right guard.” The Jaguars could be adding a third-down running back. Gruden indicated during his interview that it is important for everybody to have a third-down running back who can be a receiver of sorts, indicating that “that position is something we (Jaguars) need to look at.” Running back Leonard Fournette caught 76 passes last season for 522 yards. Note: Former Washington running back Chris Thompson is set to become a free agent. Gruden admitted something the team needs to work on is at the tight end position — specifically what type of tight end the team will implement. “It would be nice if it was all-encompassing: ‘Hey, this guy’s a great blocker, a great route-runner and can do everything…’ There’s not many of those.” Make sure to check out the full Jay Gruden interview with Jaguars.com and senior writer John Oesher by clicking here.
Calais Campbell offers advice to players on proposed CBAby Demetrius Harvey on February 27, 2020 at 1:30 pm
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images With the NFLPA set to vote on a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, one of it’s veteran members offers advice. Late Tuesday night, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) representatives voted to send a proposed collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the association and the NFL owners to the remaining some 2,000 players in the league. A new CBA would would run through the 2030 season, or 10 years from it’s ratification. Several prominent players such as Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, and Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkise Pouncy have spoken out or voted against the new collective bargaining agreement. Two important aspects of the new deal which has been contended by the players themselves, especially veteran players, has been the implementation of a 17th regular season game — with a caveat of reducing the preseason schedule from four games to three, and the minimal distribution of revenue to player safety ratio. Another issue would arise if the NFL continues to add games, potentially moving to 18 at the risk of player safety, as NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell spoke on before. It should be noted that while the NFL cannot implement a 17-game season without the players approval, they can adjust the playoff seeds. The NFL will, however, likely be adding a seventh seed to the playoffs, causing only the top team in each conference to have a bye week with three games in each conference player on wild card weekend. While the players would receive a bump in revenue-share from 47% to 48% (with 48.5% if a 17-game season is approved and medic kicker reaches 48.5%), some players sill aren’t satisfied with it without other concessions including certain offseason training programs. It is worth noting that the revenue split for leagues such as the NBA (50%), MLB (48%), and NHL (50%), are equal or greater in revenue splitting than the proposed plan for the NFL and NFLPA. Jaguars defensive lineman Calais Campbell recently took to twitter to address players in a flurry of tweets imploring players to do their homework before voting on the proposed agreement. Campbell did not indicate one way or another how he was leaning or how he voted on the proposed agreement. Fact: all players now have a chance to educate themselves on the proposed CBA! Everyone has a vote and a voice! And having just went through hours and hours of discussion...it’s not easy. Most Reps were torn on which way to vote.— Calais Campbell (@CalaisCampbell) February 26, 2020 “Fact: all players now have a chance to educate themselves on the proposed CBA!,” Campbell said on Twitter. “Everyone has a vote and a voice! And having just went through hours and hours of discussion...it’s not easy. Most Reps were torn on which way to vote.” The vote to send the proposed CBA to the players was a reported 17-14 vote with one player abstaining. For the proposed CBA to be approved it will only need a simple majority (50% or more) to pass. At that point both the owners and players will be locked into a 10-year agreement. “So I encourage all of you to get with your (player representatives) and empower yourself so you can make an informed decision. There are a lot of details in this proposal that are not in the term sheet that was leaked! I was told we have approximately two weeks before the players will vote!” A leaked term sheet illustrated other multiple proposed changes, including: Minimum salary increase of $100,000 for rookie minimums, another $50,000 increase in 2021 and then $45,000 increase each year after. An increase in salaried player minimums of at least $90,000 in 2020, $80,000 to $105,000 in 2021, and $45,000 increase each year after. Limit of 16 days in padded practices, down from 28, during training camp and a limit of four joint practices if three preseason games are played. Active rosters increased from 53 to 55 players with gameday active rosters increased from 46 to 48 players. Practice squad rosters increased from 10-12 in 2020 with more protections and increased benefits for practice squad players. While there are plenty of reasons why the proposed deal would appear good for the players on the surface, the full proposal has not been viewed by anyone but the owners and the players themselves. There are potentially more concessions the players made, or more the owners made making the decision to vote yes on a proposal in haste, risky. “So start preparing now! Whether you like or dislike this proposal,” Campbell continued. “Your (player representatives) need to hear from you! And your voice needs to be heard with your vote!” Each team has one NFLPA player representative on their roster, for a total of 32. For younger players it will be important for each player to go over the CBA to get a better understanding of what signing the agreement would mean. This could change the landscape of the NFL forever.
Jaguars Draft Prospects: From A-to-Zby Ryan O'Bleness on February 26, 2020 at 6:00 pm
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports One potential target for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2020 Draft for each letter of the alphabet. Last week, we examined potential free agent targets for the Jacksonville Jaguars in an A-to-Z format. With the NFL Combine taking place in Indianapolis this week, we are doing the same thing, but now with potential draft prospects. Similarly, the letters may refer to a first or last name. The 2020 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 23 in Las Vegas. The Combine gives teams the chance to evaluate prospects prior to that event — in terms of measurable, medical exams, on-field drills, interviews, Wonderlic testing, and other aspects. It also gives fans and media a chance to see what these players can do in the various drills. Moving forward, players will also work out at their schools’ Pro Days, and partake in individual workouts with various NFL teams. Each of the players below is participating in the Combine (although, it’s possible not all of the players mentioned will participate in every aspect or drill). This is an attempt for us to get to know the players’ backgrounds, bios and college accolades. The majority of players listed here are going to be Day One or Day Two prospects, so obviously Jacksonville will only have a shot at a couple of these guys. I also stayed away from players like Joe Burrow or Chase Young who will be off of the board by the time the Jags are on the clock. I also strayed away from positions I don’t expect the Jaguars to target early, such as quarterback or running back. Certain letters may be a two-for-one as I couldn’t choose between prospects — Enjoy: Draft prospects, From A-to-Z: A: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia: It’s obvious the Jaguars need to bolster the offensive line, despite general manager Dave Caldwell publicly stating he views the position group as a strength. I would say, though, guard is a bigger need than tackle. That said, Thomas can play both on the left or right sides, and Jacksonville has a love affair with SEC prospects. Thomas has been honored with All-American and All-SEC honors multiple times in his college career. B : Derick Brown, DT, Auburn: A defensive tackle who can stop the run is arguably Jacksonville’s biggest need this offseason — especially with the team’s decision to not retain Marcell Dareus. At 6-foot-5, 318 pounds, Brown is known for both his strength and athleticism as an interior defensive lineman. Brown amassed 170 tackles, 33 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks in his career. He was also an All-American and All-SEC honoree in 2019. C: K’Lavon Chaisson, OLB/Edge, LSU and CJ Henderson, CB, Florida: Two prospects to get to here. After Chaisson missed almost all of the 2018 season with an ACL tear, he rebounded in 2019 with 60 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks on his way to first-team All-SEC honors. He also helped lead LSU to a national championship. Henderson, on the other hand, is a tremendous cover corner who allowed less than 53 percent of throws against him to be completed. He also is extremely fast with great recovery speed. He is another All-SEC player. The knock on Henderson, though, is ability to tackle. D: Grant Delpit, S, LSU: The Jaguars like the starting safety duo of Jarrod Wilson and Ronnie Harrison, but a talent like Delpit is hard to pass up if he slides. He won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2019 and is a two-time All-American and All-conference honoree. Delpit was a three-year starter and had 199 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, eight interceptions and 24 passes defended in his career. Similar to Henderson, there are concerns about Delpit’s tackling ability. E: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa: The Jaguars need depth at defensive end, and with the futures of Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell unclear, Epenesa could be a target at No. 20. At 6-foot-6, 280 pounds, Epenesa has excellent size and length, combined with power. The Iowa product earned multiple All-Big Ten nods and was second team All-American in 2019. He recorded 26.5 sacks and 36 tackles for loss as a Hawkeye. F: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU: Another All-SEC second-teamer (it’s easy to see why the Tigers won it all), Fulton fills a need for Jacksonville at cornerback. There are concerns here, as Fulton had to sit out the entire 2017 season for falsifying a drug test, but he was reinstated in 2018. Fulton didn’t get a lot of interceptions (two), but allowed just a 40 percent completion percentage in 2018-2019 combined, with 20 passes defended. G: Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma: At 6-foot-2 and more than 300 pounds, Gallimore is a player who can take over at nose tackle for Jacksonville. There have been inconsistencies with his game, but he has a high motor and sky high potential, according to various scouts. He accumulated 147 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and five forced fumbles as a Sooner. In 2019, he helped lead Oklahoma to a Big 12 championship, on his way to third-team All-American and second-team All-Big 12 honors. H: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson and Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue: Higgins is a top five wide receiver prospect in this year’s class. The Jags could look for another offensive playmaker and target Higgins at No. 20, or if he falls, in the early second round. He’s has a long frame at 6-foot-4, 216 pounds, and possesses impressive ball skills. The All-ACC prospect is tied for most touchdown catches in Clemson history and can move all around the field. Then there is Hopkins, who fills an immediate need for the Jags at tight end. Hopkins has NFL pedigree, as his dad played in the league. He was first team All-American and All-Big Ten in 2019. He also won the conference’s Kwalick–Clark Tight End of the Year award last season. I: Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson: A common mock draft pick to the Jaguars at No. 9 overall, Simmons is a versatile player who can play at linebacker or safety with great length and elite sideline-to-sideline speed. Part of two national championship teams (although he redshirted in 2016), plus the 2019 College Football Playoff runner-up team, Simmons was also the Butkus Award recipient, ACC Defensive player of the Year, first-team All-ACC and a unanimous first-team All-American in 2019. J: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama: Arguably the top wide receiver prospect, Jeudy would provide an immediate upgrade for the Jags, and another offensive weapon opposite D.J. Chark Jr. Jeudy is an excellent route-runner, and won the Biletnikoff Award as a sophomore in 2018. He was also a consensus first-team All-American in 2018, and a back-to-back All-SEC honoree in 2018 and 2019. Jeudy caught 159 balls for 2,742 yards and 26 touchdowns in three seasons at Alabama. K: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina and Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame: Another two-for-one here. Kinlaw is a player who is often mocked to the Jaguars at No. 9 or No. 20. Despite playing on a 4-8 Gamecocks team, Kinlaw earned first-team All-American and All-SEC honors. He recorded 82 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 10 sacks at South Carolina, but not all of the disruptions he caused always shows up on the stat sheet. Meanwhile, Kmet would fill a gaping hole at the tight end position. He is a big target at 6’6, 262 pounds, and had 43 catches for 515 yards and six touchdowns in 11 games in 2019. His run blocking needs improvement, however. L: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma: Lamb is the other top draft prospect at wide receiver. At 6-foot-2, 198 pounds, Lamb has good size, speed and hands, and was a big-time playmaker for the Sooners. Lamb could play on the outside or in the slot for Jacksonville. He is yet another player on this list to garner first team honors as both an All-American and within his conference. Lamb finished his career at Oklahoma with 173 catches for 3,292 yards and 32 touchdowns. He also returned punts. M: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma: Linebacker is a top need for Jacksonville this offseason, and Murray could come in and be an immediate starter at middle linebacker, if the team chooses to move Myles Jack to the outside. Murray started right away for the Sooners, earning Big-12 Freshman of the Year, as well as freshman All-American, honors. He went on to earn All-Big 12 and All-American recognition throughout his career. Murray finished his three-year stint at Oklahoma with 325 tackles, 36.5 tackles for a loss, and 9.5 sacks. N: Netane Muti, OL, Fresno State: Injuries have derailed Muti’s college career, playing only in 19 games at Fresno State, but when he was healthy for a full-year in 2017 he was an All-Mountain West honoree. Muti only played in three games in 2019 prior to a Lisfranc injury ending his campaign early, and he has also dealt with multiple Achilles injuries. Muti is powerful, has good size at 6-foot-3, 315 pounds, and has played at both the tackle and guard spots. O: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State: Chances are slim Okudah falls to Jacksonville at No. 9, but if he does, Jacksonville shouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on the All-American and All-Big Ten standout. He is widely considered the No. 1 cornerback available in 2020, with good size, length and speed. Okudah recorded 83 tackles, three interceptions, 18 passes defended and two fumble recoveries in three years as a Buckeye. His college career may remind some of a certain former Jaguar. P: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU: Again, Jacksonville should target linebackers in the draft. Queen could be a late first-rounder or slip to the Jags early in the second round. During Queen’s three years in Baton Rogue, he recorded 131 tackles, 17.5, four sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery. Fresh off of helping lead LSU to the CFP championship, Queen could slot right into Todd Wash’s defense as the inside linebacker in a 4-3 set. Quarterbacks: The Jaguars probably aren’t drafting a quarterback early. But where other quarterbacks go will be crucial to who is on the board for Jacksonville at both No. 9 and No. 20. Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert could all be taken before the Jaguars are on the clock. This helps Jacksonville as it keeps players of need at other positions available. Jordan Love could also go before Jacksonville’s second pick at No. 20 — the more quarterbacks taken early, the better for the Jags. R: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama: A top-three wide receiver prospect along with Lamb and his teammate Jeudy, Ruggs has a tremendous speed and sure hands. Ruggs corralled 98 balls for 1,716 yards and 24 touchdowns from 2017-2019 at Alabama. In addition to his receiving acumen, Ruggs could also return kicks and punts at the NFL level — he averaged 21 yards per kick return in college. Ruggs would be a dynamic playmaker for Jacksonville. S: Shane Lemieux, OG, Oregon: There aren’t many first-round prospects at guard, but Lemieux could be a late first-rounder or early Day Two pick. Again, the Jaguars’ brass is happy with the offensive line, but guard, specifically right guard, could use an upgrade. Lemieux played at left guard in college, making 52 career starts for the Ducks. If the Jags believe he can transition to the right side — or make Andrew Norwell a cap casualty this offseason — they could target the All-American guard. T: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa and Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton: If the Jaguars are looking for a new tackle, the 6-foot-5, 320-pound Wirfs is intriguing. He started since his true freshman year in college, and played mostly at right tackle, but also had a few starts on the left side. In 2019, he won the Rimington-Pace award as the Big Ten’s Offensive Lineman of the Year. He also earned second-team All-American recognition. Trautman’s story is endearing to me as a fellow Michigan native. He was a thin high-school quarterback coming into Dayton, but then added weight and now stands at 6-foot-5, weighing 255 pounds. He dominated lower-level competition as a senior with 70 catches for 916 yards and 14 touchdowns, earning FCS All-American honors. But will that translate to the elite competition in the NFL? U: Josh Uche, DE/OLB, Michigan: Uche could be a Day Two or early Day Three target for Jacksonville as the team looks to add young pass-rushing depth to the roster. Uche has some position versatility as a defensive end or outside linebacker. Although Uche is on the small side for a DE, his measurables at 6-foot-1, 245 pounds are very similar to Yannick Ngakoue. Uche didn’t start for Michigan until his senior year, when he earned second-team All-Big Ten recognition with 11.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. V: Van Jefferson, WR, Florida: The Jaguars have a knack for drafting players out of the school roughly 75 miles away. Jefferson started his career at Ole Miss — earning SEC All-Freshman team honors in 2016— before transferring to Florida in 2018. He reeled in 175 catches for 2,159 yards and 16 touchdowns between the two schools — including 49 catches for 657 yards and six touchdowns in 2019. While his production wasn’t off the charts, he has NFL pedigree and could fit nicely as a slot receiver. W: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama and Kenny Willekes, DE, Michigan State: I don’t see the Jaguars targeting a right tackle in the first round, but Wills is too good of a prospect not to mention. He was a two-year starter for Alabama, and earned first all-conference and second team All-American honors in 2019. He isn’t the biggest tackle around at 6-foot-4, 312 pounds, but he is extremely athletic and powerful. Willekes is a high-motor player who increased his stock at the Senior Bowl. Willekes recorded 23.5 sacks and a school record 49 tackles for loss during his career. He earned multiple Walter Camp second-team All-American honors, multiple first-team All-Big Ten recognition, and won the 2018 Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year Award. Willekes will likely be a Day Three pick, with a chance to go Day Two. X: Xavier McKinney, S/CB, Alabama: I am not certain the Jaguars make a move early at safety, but McKinney has all of the the athletic traits and coverage skills of a cornerback, so he could be very tempting for Jacksonville at No. 20 overall. In 2019, McKinney earned third-team All-American, and first-team All-SEC, honors. Last season, he led the Crimson Tide in tackles, with 95, while also forcing four fumbles, recording three sacks and and picking the ball off three times. Y: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State: Another first-team All-Big Ten product, Gross-Matos has good size at 6-foot-5, 266 pounds, along with plus-athleticism. He would fit right into Wash’s 4-3 scheme as a defensive end and could serve as a rotational pass-rusher and eventual starter. He amassed 111 tackles, 36.5 tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks in his career at Penn State. He currently projects as a late first or early second-round pick. Z: Zack Baun, OLB/Edge, Wisconsin: A probable Day Two pick, Baun has position versatility as an outside linebacker or hand-in-the-dirt edge rusher. He had a strong senior season, earning first-team All-Big Ten and second-team All-American honors last year. Baun suffered a season-ending foot injury in 2017, but seemingly put that behind him with great campaigns in 2018 and 2019. Baun recorded 152 tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 15 sacks and two interceptions as a Badger.
BCC Q&A: Submit your Jaguars questions!by Ryan Day on February 26, 2020 at 3:53 pm
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports Got any questions during the NFL Combine? Ask away! Got any questions as the Jacksonville Jaguars go to the 2020 NFL Combine? Any questions about the cuts we’ve made? What about Yannick Ngakoue? Every week (hopefully) we’ll be asking you for questions and then answering them in this Big Cat Country column! Submit your question by filling out the embedded form below. Or just click here. Loading...