As the Jacksonville Jaguars begin their rebuilding process, coming off just seven wins combined over the last two seasons, they're going to be rebuilt on one main core philosophy.
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Both new Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley and David Caldwell have preached about creating competition on the Jaguars roster to help decide who stays and who guys, beyond just who is going to start. This culture was ingrained in Bradley during his time with the Seahawks, who had as much roster churn as anyone else in the league the past few seasons.
"Not only at quarterback but throughout the whole team," Bradley told reporters at the NFL combine on Saturday when asked about competition at the quarterback position. Undoubtedly the team is going to give Blaine Gabbert a chance to win, but they're also going to make every player on the team earn their starting role going forward, and it doesn't sound like Bradley or Caldwell will have any problems releasing players if they're not up to snuff.
"I think our players will understand that. I think there will be a sense of discomfort with our players because we'll be bringing in a lot of competition and it doesn't matter what position," Bradley continued during his media session. "Obviously we feel good about some of the skill sets we have on the team but the only way we'll truly get better is through competition and we're going to bring that in."
This could lead to some tough cuts going forward, especially if key veteran jobs are not guaranteed. I mentioned in another post about someone like Paul Posluszny being a player who could face the chopping block depending on the defensive scheme and who is all brought in at the linebacker position. While Posluszny carries a big cap hit and still has $6 million in signing bonus left on the six-year deal he signed in 2011, the Jaguars would actually save $2.5 million in cap room, even with the $6 million in dead money that Posluszny would count against the cap.
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"The veterans are important," general manager David Caldwell told reporters on Friday. "There is a leadership role we’re going to need but the most important thing is to get the talent in there and guys that are committed to playing and competing.
"There are no changes coming that are financial," Caldwell said. "..the changes will be based on performance."
It's unlikely someone like Posluszny is cut this season, but Caldwell is preaching that it's not going to be about financials when determining this roster, which is why many people think someone like Posluszny is safe no matter what, but it's going to be about performance.
No one on the roster is safe. This is a front office and owner in Shad Khan now that know they're rebuilding, they've admitting they're rebuilding, and that's the best thing going forward. The coach and general manager know they're safe on the job for at least three years and they have an owner who realizes what kind of work needs to be done, so they can build the roster how they want to with the players they want to, and from the sounds of it it will be with youth.
"I don't want a stopgap free agent who's just going to be here a year or two years to stop me from drafting a guy to come in and play right away," Caldwell said. "It's something I've always kind of believed, and Shad's given us the green light to build through the draft and not put a timetable on this, but to build it so it can be sustainable for a long period of time."
The team's not likely going to be very active in NFL free agency in a few weeks, outside of starting right tackle and possibly a cornerback or defensive lineman, but overall it sounds like they want to start fresh.