In a move that will surely set radio shows and message boards afire, Miami Defensive End Jason Taylor is not attending any offseason activities with the Dolphins, including Training Camp. Head Coach Tony Sparano announced Taylor's intention to boycott in his OTA press conference today:
"This is my reaction with the Jason Taylor situation and I'm going to answer this question one time," Sparano said. "I'm not going to answer another question about the Jason Taylor situation after I answer this. Here's what I know. What I know is that Jason Taylor – and I'm glad we know this, we've gotten the information and that's important – but I know that Jason is not going to be at any OTAs, I know that Jason is not going to be in any mini-camps and I know that right now Jason is not going to be at training camp.
This, obviously, effects the Jaguars as they have long been connected to rumors of interest and trade talks. It seemed as though these talks came to an abrupt end as soon as Baltimore made the call to Jacksonville that led the team to Derrek Harvey and Quentin Groves, but I have no doubt that the team will take a serious look at the prospect of adding Taylor to their quiver of pass rushers. Let's examine the pro's and cons of making the trade and determine if making the move is a good one.
Why we should trade for Jason Taylor:
- Instant Impact in our Pass Rush: Yes, Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves were drafted with the intention of bringing an instant impact on the defensive line. However, this puts the impetus in the hands of two first year players that have yet to go up against NFL caliper offensive linemen. Taylor "could" have more sacks in 2008 than either Harvey or Groves, provided that he's playing at the same level as he did in 2007.
- Slight Draft Pick Damage: If the Jaguars traded for Jason Taylor, it would become very likely that their picks would be extremely late in the round. I won't go so far as some of the Jacksonville Radio Hosts in claiming it would be the last pick in the round, but it's sure to be close to it.
- Price has never been lower: Miami demanded a first round pick in the pre-draft speculation over Taylor. There is simply no way the Dolphins and Parcells can expect to get anywhere near that as of today. Before, Taylor was keeping things clean and not being a malcontent, now he's a distraction to a young team, and the longer this plays out, the bigger of a problem it will become. The last thing they want to do is have their team the focus of a media frenzy about a player that is not present. Whatever it costs, it is a prime example of buying low.
Why we should NOT trade for Taylor:
- Contract Cost: Jason Taylor is due for 7.5 million in 2008 and 8 million in 2009, with a 500K roster bonus each year. He would have to come to the Jaguars with a willingness to negotiate, as paying that much for a player that's closer to 35 than 30 is foolish. If he expects to maintain his current level of income, he should not join the team. Remember though, back when we first started speculating about Taylor, Vic Ketchman explained on Jaguars this Week that the team had a stockpile of money for a player that might hit the market. It was never confirmed by the team, of course, but if it's true, they're in a position to make a play.
- Never, ever trade the future: The Jaguars already traded one of their 2009 draft picks, trading a second, third, or fourth for Taylor will hurt the long term influx of young players onto the team. Trading draft picks makes the other picks far more important as missing on players and trading picks will decimate the roster and force the team into Free Agency to fill needs.
- The Risk is greater than the Reward: The Jaguars should have a solid defensive line. The addition of Taylor would improve the unit, but the financial risk does not justify the potential reward. Taylor would have to have a 8-10 sack season and an impressive postseason performance to justify the move, and there is simply no way to assure that he's going to do that on the field. 33 year-old players can look old and slow very quickly in the NFL.
- His Head is not in the Game: Right now it seems that Jason is more focused on his post-retirement career rather than his current profession. What can guarantee that the Jaguars would get more than one season out of Taylor before he retired? The Jaguars would want Taylor focused on how he's going to beat a left tackle rather than what happens next spring, but there is simply no way to know what is going on in his head.
Should the team make the Move?
If Jason Taylor wanted to seriously capitalize on his sudden "dancing with the stars" fame, he would retire today and move on. A player that focused on his future would consider his legacy in Miami and ride off to Hollywood this summer and retire a Dolphin. No drama, no media frenzy, a graceful exit and a new job. But Taylor is fighting to leave Miami, which indicates that he wants to play. He would be an instant starter in Jacksonville and bring an immediate boost to the pass rush. The pressure on Harvey and Groves would evaporate and they could develop without the weight of the team on their shoulders.
The Jaguars would also be the instant favorite in the AFC to go to the Super Bowl, and would certainly bring the team all sorts of positive attention.
Paul Spicer would immediately return to OTA's, as Taylor would be his likely replacement.
The combination of Hayward, Groves, Harvey, and Taylor would give offensive linemen nightmares.
The team would have to protect itself in as many ways as possible. Trading with Miami would likely cost a second round pick in 2009, the Jaguars would have to make this a conditional pick based off of performance and/or length of play in Jacksonville. Taylor would also have to renegotiate with the Jaguars to write a contract that rewards performance and protects the team from early retirement or a degrade in play.
IF the Jaguars can negotiate a safe contract and IF the Jaguars can make the trade without costing the future, then they SHOULD sign Taylor. All the bargaining chips are in Jacksonville's hands at this point and the price will be significantly lower than it as prior to the draft.
That is a whole lot of "if's", especially for a 33 year-old. I'd approve the move, but I don't know that I'd advocate it that strongly.
Vic Ketchman might be giving us a clue though:
I saw a promo for “Dancing With The Stars” in which Taylor tore off his partner’s dress and she ripped off his shirt and any doubt I had that the Jaguars did the right thing drafting two young defensive ends instead of trading for an old one was immediately extinguished. I could be wrong about this, Logan, but I don’t think the Jaguars are going to make a move for Taylor. I think you should give it up now.
I can only imagine the amount of Taylor question's he's getting today...