As the 2014 NFL season winds down it's natural to look forward to the offseason when your team isn't making the playoffs, like the Jacksonville Jaguars aren't. One of the questions I had earlier in the season was answered when the Jaguars re-signed defensive tackle Roy Miller to a new deal. The other could be answered in a few months, and that's if defensive end Tyson Alualu will be back with the team.
Personally, I think he will and should be, but there are a lot of factors that can go into it such as who the team drafts and looks at in free agency.
Alualu signed a five-year deal when he was picked 10th overall by the Jaguars back in 2010, to the shock of everyone not named Gene Smith. With that deal, there was a voidable sixth year at the end of that deal and if the Jaguars choose, they can cut ties with
no hit a $1.5 million hit on the cap, or bring Alualu back in 2015 for a $3.985 million cap hit.
Thankfully, the Jaguars are amazingly cap healthy and can hand out a few big contracts in free agency if they want to, even with bringing Alualu back.
Alualu, to my memory, is one of the most criticized players drafted by the Jaguars since Byron Leftwich and Blaine Gabbert. No one really knew who he was when he was picked and he was sold to the fanbase as a pass rushing defensive tackle, despite that not really being what he was. Alualu was through and through a strong side defensive end in a 3-4 defensive system. Or, in Gus Bradley's defense, the strong side end.
With Bradley and his defense, Alualu finally found a role in the NFL and he's performed well at it. He's done a great job coming in and giving Red Bryant a breather, playing nearly as many snaps as Big Red this season. He's also got the ability to kick inside and provide some pass rush on some downs or if the team just needs an extra run defender out there.
Alualu even got killed in that role while having a great training camp, when most people harped on his sack totals and pass rush ability despite that being a minor responsibility of his position, and many media people had him not even making the roster in 2014.
Long story short, Alualu's versatility on the defensive line, age, and the fact that he's super affordable for a primary backup/spell player probably means he's back with the team in 2015.