The Jacksonville Jaguars are fortunate, compared to other NFL franchises this offseason, in that the majority of their impact players are returning under contract. So, I figured we would go position by position and look ahead to the 2018 season and go over who the Jaguars have, where they could upgrade and how much they’re spending at these various positions (2018 cap hits).
Let’s pick up where we left off on the defensive side of the ball and take a look at linebacker.
The Jaguars have two excellent starting linebackers in Telvin Smith and Myles Jack, both of which who will be on the field the vast majority of the time and on all three downs. Smith has been a proven playmaker for the Jaguars defense and Jack started to step into that role of making big plays towards the end of the year. He had a huge interception early against the Pittsburgh Steelers that helped the Jaguars jump to an early lead and had what should have been a fumble return for a touchdown against the New England Patriots. These two should be starters for the Jaguars for a long time.
Now here’s the issue with the Jaguars linebacker group. It’s basically Smith and Jack. After that, it’s a huge question mark. You no longer have veteran Paul Posluszny, who retired in the offseason. The team returns Blair Brown and Donald Payne who did a nice job filling in in spots last season and added draft pick Leon Jacobs, but after that it’s a hodge-podge of UDFA hopefuls.
The Jaguars will be in nickel a lot of the time so the lack of depth hear won’t hurt that much if one of Jack or Smith go down in the short term, but the big issue will be if one gets hurt in the long term. In the Jaguars defense however, linebacker isn’t all that important to how they play so I think they’d manage missing one of the two an extended period of time than say if one of the corners or defensive ends went down.