The biggest mystery surrounding the Jaguars’ off-season was somewhat resolved Thursday afternoon, as linebacker Telvin Smith took to his Instagram account and announced that he will not be playing football for at least the 2019 season.
The post comes two days after Smith live streamed a video of himself on Instagram, in which he made comments denying recent trade rumors were true, and stating he would let everyone know his situation in the coming days. He was true to his word with his statement today.
Much has been rumored as to the reasoning behind Smith’s absence ever since head coach Doug Marrone stated the team had not been in contact with Smith at the beginning of the team’s off-season workout program, an action that seemed out of character for a player who has been the team’s defensive captain and a self-proclaimed protegee of former Jaguar Paul Posluszny, a player who was always a team-first guy. General Manager Dave Caldwell furthered the speculation when he stated, “We’ll see”, when asked about Smith’s immediate future with the team.
The team followed up Caldwell’s remarks by signing a plethora of linebackers since April’s draft, as well as drafting Quincy Williams in the third round, though the team did announce the release of linebackers Blair Brown and Donald Payne today.
Per the Jaguars Director of Public Relations, Tad Dickman, the team issued the following statement regarding Smith’s comments:
Smith was a Pro Bowl player in 2017, and was awarded a four year $45 million dollar contract extension in 2018. His play declined in 2018 from the level it was the prior year, however, and rumors of Smith being on the trade block have swirled since the end of the 2018 season.
With Smith’s “semi-retirement”, the team is likely to not owe him the $9.75 million he was due in salary for ‘19 and are likely to receive some cap relief. He will still be owed a portion of his guaranteed money, though it is unclear at this time if the team will be proactive in attempting to recoup those funds as well.
The Jaguars now find themselves with a void at the weak side linebacker position that they’ll likely sort out through OTAs and training camp. The most likely scenario is Myles Jack moving back to the weak side where he is a more natural fit and has been his most productive, while playing first round pick Josh Allen at the strong side linebacker role in non-nickel situations and allowing Jake Ryan to man the middle, with Quincy Williams or Ryan playing beside Jack in nickel situations and Allen moving to defensive end.
Doug Marrone is set to address the media tomorrow for the start of rookie mini-camp, and we will bring you updates on his statements as they come.
Football things aside, we wish Telvin the best and hope he finds whatever clarity and good health he is seeking.