By Dustin Fletcher | firstname.lastname@example.org
After Jacksonville’s 26-24 win, the “Cardiac Cats” as they’re called per John Shipley, must be on an all time high. Their rookie quarterback is setting NFL records on a $250,000 per year salary. Leonard Fournette just had a 225 yard game. The team is atop the division with a quarter of the year down. They were a mere 6 inches from being a 3-1 team. However, there will be less joy when some tough decisions are made this offseason.
As for 2020, the NFL’s projected salary cap is $209,302,660, and the Jaguars payroll currently is sitting at $219,459,192, according to Spotrac. With that being said, they have to cut $10,156,532 just to play in Week One next season in August, and this doesn’t even factor in the $8,640,834 estimated to sign their draft picks, according to Spotrac. In addition to those costs, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue’s deal is expiring this offseason. Spotrac has Ngakoue labeled at a market value of $87,018,015 over a five year deal. That averages out to $17,403,603 per year.
In addition to this, Jalen Ramsey’s future is up in the air with the team. In theory, the team would like to keep Ramsey if he is willing to commit. Ramsey commends a market value of $101,147,850 over the course of six years. This works out to an annual salary of $16,857,975. However, Ramsey has proven to be one of the best three cornerbacks in the league. To add to that, he has missed only one career game to injury, so he is as durable as they come. Ramsey should be locked up at all costs — as soon as possible.
This all means the team needs to create nearly $53 million in cap space [$17 million for Ramsey, $17.5 million for Ngakoue, $10 million to get under cap and $8 million for draft picks]. All of this can be done by GM Dave Caldwell doing some salary cap acrobatics.
Salary Cap Casualty Possibilities
Sports Illustrated Jaguars beat writer John Shipley and Locked on Jaguars podcast agreed that Marcell Dareus will be likely to go. The Jaguars can save around $20 million by releasing Dareus before the new start of the league year.
Marquise Lee was another name mentioned by both as a likely cut. The Jaguars could save around $3 million by cutting Lee.
If the team decides to replace AJ Cann with last year’s third round pick Will Richardson, the team could save another $3 million. Richardson impressed to start the year filling in for Cam Robinson at left tackle.
All of this could create just enough money to sign Yannick Ngakoue’s estimated market value extension.
Additionally, the team could look to trade injured quarterback Nick Foles for a draft pick and shed about $22 million in salary cap. Shipley mentioned to look for this to possibly be in play in the next offseason.
Another name that Shipley brought up to be cut was Andrew Norwell. He was signed as the highest paid left guard in the league but has not played to that number. The Jaguars would create $5.5 million in cap room by cutting Norwell — which would move the team to about $43 million created.
The team still needs to create about $10 million more to sign Ramsey and all their draft picks though. A name that was brought up for either a buyout or possible restructured contract was cornerback AJ Bouye. The team would eat $4 million in dead money; however, it would create $11.5 million in cap room. While this makes sense by the numbers, Bouye is still a high level cornerback, and will most likely not be cut. However, the team could convert his salary into a signing bonus and free up money that way. The same could be done for defensive end Calais Campbell.
A candidate with a “cuttable salary,” as Shipley put it, would be center Brandon Linder. Linder has been a good center when he has been healthy, but he has spent as much time on the sidelines as he has playing since signing the deal with Jacksonville. Cutting Linder would save the team $8 million and would not come with any dead money.
With all these deals, the team would create an estimated $51 million to $56 million in cap space. They could pay Ramsey’s market setting deal, Ngakoue’s huge deal and their draft picks. Of course more salary could be shed, but these are the moves which could possibly be happening in the future.
Only time will tell. Until next time, DUUUVAL.
Dustin Fletcher is the sports editor of the Flagler College Gargoyle and is the official source of Jacksonville Jaguars news for Flagler College.