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Informed Speculation: Jacksonville Jaguars to trade for Jason Taylor

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Jason Taylor: Future Jaguar?

Update [2008-3-6 0:52:0 by River City Rage]::I added some emphasis, just for clarity.

Update [2008-3-5 21:36:41 by River City Rage]::The Phinsider was kind enough to give us a scouting report on Jason Taylor, I've added a Scouting Report section!

From the Rumor and Speculation Department:

The Jacksonville Jaguars are going to make a play for Miami Defensive End Jason Taylor.  It's becoming absolutely clear that the next move will be to trade for and sign the veteran Defensive End.  Jason, who will be 33 at the start of the 2008 Season is a fantastic player on the trailing edge of his career.  Currently the Dolphins deny that Taylor is on the Trade Block though it's becoming no secret that Taylor is available for the right price.  A 2nd round pick and a 4th round pick, to be specific.  Taylor has also expressed a desire to be on a championship caliper team, though he'd never come out and say it and hurt his status in the eyes of his South Florida fans.

Frankly, I'd love to get 60 tackles, double digit sacks, 8 passes defended and his non-stop motor.  He's only a season removed from being defensive player of the year, he's had at least ten sacks in his last three seasons, and he's exactly the sort of veteran leadership that our line could use, and he'd be great for whomever we draft to learn behind.  Some veteran free agents are a waste of money, others are the perfect fusion of need and skill.  Look at what the Patriots have done with Junior Seau, as an example.  If it's the right player and the right time, make the move.

I've got a few reasons for speculating that Jason Taylor will be wearing a different shade of teal in September:

  1. Vic Ketchman on Jaguars This Week said that the team has a "stockpile" of money ready for a defensive end that "could become available" that fills the Jaguars need for a quality end.  
  2. There is a more than likely chance that a first round quality defensive end is not available when the Jaguars pick at 26, but there is a whole lot of talent for the Offensive Line.  Acquiring Taylor allows the Jaguars to address their O Line in the first and draft a DE later in the draft.  Guys like Brian Johnson, Kendall Langford or Bryan Mattison who might be too much of a "project" to be our starter, but sitting behind a solid veteran like Taylor would do them wonders.
  3. There aren't many teams with a big enough need at defensive end that are also on the verge of greatness like Jacksonville.  There are plenty of teams that NEED a player of Taylor's talent, but few that are as set to go deep in the playoffs like the Jaguars.
  4. There are very few quality defensive ends out there that are trade or cut possibilities that would justify the Jaguars interest.  It's not as though the Panthers are going to suddenly cut Julius Peppers, as great as that would be for the team.
  5. This should be number one, but I've got a pretty good confirmation that it's Taylor.  Of course nobody would officially come out and say this, but I'm very confident in what I've heard.

Scouting Report:

From The Phinsider:

The first thing you'll notice about Jason Taylor is the intensity he plays the game with. He's got a high motor and will never, ever give up on a play. As a Dolphins fan, I'd regularly see Taylor rush the quarterback and then quickly turn around and chase down the receiver from behind, especially on screen passes. This is also a credit to his speed, though he has lost a step just slightly at the tender age of 33.

Taylor isn't your typical pass rushing defensive end. He won't go through the lineman too much, but he has great quickness and agility to get in the QBs face often. He also has the ability to drop back into coverage when necessary and has shown great hands in the past, especially for a lineman. He has a great nose for the ball and is very skilled at recognizing plays and causing disruptions. However, he has been known to over run plays such as delays and draws at times due to his aggressive pass-rushing nature. But that doesn't mean he is invisible against the run, either.

But perhaps the best thing about Jason Taylor is the leadership he provides, both in the locker room and on the field. He's a true leader in every aspect of the word. He's outspoken and tells it like it is, which also makes things fun at times (even in your team's darkest hours – as I saw this past year). Oh, and I can't forget about the kind of person Taylor is. I could sit here and tell you all the good things Taylor has done in the community, but the easiest way to show the kind of person Taylor is off the field is to just mention he was the 2007 Walter Peyton Man of the Year. I'm sad to see Taylor leave Miami, but wish him the best of luck. He's a true Dolphins legend and I hope you Jaguar fans get to see the greatness in JT that us Dolphin fans got to watch week in and week out for 11 years.

What would it cost:

If rumor holds, a second and 4th round pick will get the job done.  I think a second round pick is too much, especially with a second pick.  Jacksonville has hit gold with their last several 2nd round picks, trading that seems short sighted.  Though, we do have a ton of ammunition for moving around in the draft.

Let's say the Jaguars do give up their 2nd (58th) and 4th (121) for Taylor.  The Jaguars have two 3rd round pics (72 and 89).  Bunching the two picks together and using the Draft Value Chart as a guide, that gives us a value equal to about 375, which if we can find a partner, puts us back in the 2nd round at about pick 51, higher than our original pick.  We could then use our 5th round picks to re-enter the 4th round or possibly even the 3rd, depending on the partner.  

My point is this, draft picks are the building block of a team.  But when you've got the flexibility to move around a bit, we can make the most of it.  Besides, this year's draft is considered weak and we can only do so much with the pile of second day picks we've accumulated.

Also, the Jaguars might be able to wheel and deal a bit with the Dolphins.  They want a 2nd and 4th, but what if the Jaguars counter with a 3rd and two 5ths.  Parcells wants to stockpile picks to give him as many options as possible, and the Jaguars just happen to have a whole lot of picks.

Salary:

Taylor's last contract was a 6 year 45 million dollar deal signed in March of 2004.  This means we're probably in the late year high money part of the arrangement that makes Taylor a well paid player.  Probably a little too rich for the Jaguars blood to be paying a 33 year old huge money in his waning years as a player.  In fact, The Phinsider tells me that he's due for 7.5 million in 2008 and 8 million in 2009, with a 500K roster bonus each year.  Not as bad as I thought, but still pretty big.  Taylor will, without a doubt, have to re-negotiate his deal with the Jaguars and take a pay cut or a hugely incentive driven contract.  I'm happy to give him a 3 million dollar bonus if he's defensive player of the year or most valuable player.  What I'd see happening would be a 3 year deal,  3-4 million each year.  Expensive, yes, but the Jaguars are in no danger as far as the cap is concerned.  I'd even be OK with overpaying even more, if it'll address the need and let the Jaguars have a little more freedom as far as the draft is concerned.

Final Thoughts:

I'm very confident that this move is going to happen.  It makes sense and it's being hinted at by the Jaguars mouthpiece.   I completely support this trade and salivate at what Taylor would do for our defensive line.  Instantly we can return to Best Available Player as far as the first round of the draft is concerned (probably an OG or OT), and that's critical.   Jason Taylor as a Jaguar is the right player at the right place at the right time.  The team just has to decide what the right price is to set this whole thing up.

For the latest news from the Dolphins perspecitve, please visit The Phinsider.  They've got good stuff over there for all your South Florida Sports Needs.

I'll be back later with any news as soon as I hear it!

-Chris