Today is the first day NFL teams can officially release players and "Black Monday" has already been confirmed for last year's two big Jaguar free agent signings. WR Torry Holt and LT Tra Thomas are both on the chopping block. Neither move is too surprising. Thomas was signed before the Jaguars took Eugene Monroe in the first round and didn't see the field most of the season.
Torry Holt's release is tougher to swallow, but understandable. The second year of the contract he signed last was mostly there in case he had more in the tank than anyone thought and the Jaguars couldn't afford to let him see free agency.
However, there are plenty of other candidates who will have likely seen their last downs as Jaguars. List below are my picks, in order from most likely to be gone to the least likely.
Should already have their lockers cleaned out
1. Brad Meester, C
Meester had been the Jaguars Rock of Ages in the middle. Meester has been with the Jaguars since 2000 and never gave up the starter center spot. However, this season was easily his worst. He was the 33rd ranked center in the league according to Pro Football Focus. With the youth movement on the offensive line and his high level of play seemingly gone, I think Brad Meester will be turning in his play book very soon.
2. Clint Ingram,LB
Ingram was easily the weak link in the linebacking corps this season. He was the one constantly being singled out for receiving tight ends and looking mediocre against the run. Ingram will be a restricted free agent this off season so it will be interesting to see what the Jaguars do with him. I would assume if there is any legit interest they'll slap a 2nd round tender on him to try and recover that draft pick. If not, they'll just let him walk.
3. Nate Hughes, WR
The feel good story is most likely over. After getting his redemption TD against the Texans, Hughes was never really a factor in any game. The Jaguars may elect to keep him around to see if he can have another good preseason, but he's still as good as gone.
The Crystal Ball is Fuzzy
4. Quentin Groves, DE
Groves was a non-factor for the 2nd consecutive year. Despite bulking up in an effort to become an every downs DE, he was still a consistent target for the opposition to run at and was never a factor in the pass rush. Worse yet, when he switched to being a 3-4 OLB (the position many projected him at) he didn't improve any. The Jaguars may feel he'll just never be a 4-3 DE, though at least one year under an actual D-Line coach could be what he needs.
5. Reggie Nelson, S
Was there any one player who has had more venom tossed his way than Nelson? The former Gator has been spiraling down after an excellent rookie season. In JDR's interview with BCC, he implied that Nelson wasn't fully committed, and that is a cardinal sin under Gene Smith. However, Nelson's first round pick status may buy him one last year before the Jaguars pull the plug.
Will be back next year
6. Troy Williamson, WR
Williamson had an excellent preseason and flashed why he was a Top 10 pick before having a season ending injury in Week 2. I really doubt the Jaguars will let him go without seeing he can pick up where he left off before the season ending injury.
7. Reggie Hayward, DE
The sad saga of HayDay continues. After finally looking like he recovered from his first season ending injury, he suffered another in Week 1 against the Colts. However, all reports seem to indicate the Jaguars are still committed to him and certainly need another solid DE on the roster.