Officially agreeing to terms with the Jaguars on March 19th, former Cleveland Browns linebacker Joe Schobert laid out the decision making process of officially becoming the new middle linebacker of the Jaguars.
In speaking with Jake Kocorowski of SI’s AllBadgers, Schobert stated the decision on where he was going to plant his flag was difficult, and ultimately, it came down to the Cincinnati Bengals and the Jaguars. Five or six teams were vying for the linebackers services.
“The Jaguars and the Bengals were the ones who really wanted me to come over there and willing to out pay the other teams,” Schobert told Kocorowski.
Both teams make sense as a fit for Schobert, for the Bengals the linebacker wouldn’t have to move too far, able to stay in his home state of Ohio, and the Jaguars were one of the teams which expressed the most interest in the linebacker, according to Kocorowski. Jacksonville wanted Schobert to play middle linebacker, his primary position with the Browns over the last three seasons.
As a player enters free agency for the first time, typically they do not have very long to decide on where they’ll ultimately plant their flag for the next four to five years. Especially if they are a high priority free agent as Schobert was. Teams will call, but the player typically doesn’t officially visit with a team prior to agreeing to terms during the first wave of free agency.
Schobert leaned on friends and former teammates to get a better feel of the Jaguars’ organization, ultimately deciding that Jacksonville was the best place for him to go.
The former Wisconsin Badger also spoke with the Jaguars coaching staff prior to agreeing to terms.
“[I] heard a lot of good things about how they run their stuff down there,” Schobert said. “That was one of the key contributors for me for a reason I chose to go there.”
As of late, the Jaguars organization has been under intense scrutiny, which ultimately led to the firing of the former EVP of Football Operations, Tom Coughlin.
From players demanding trades due to respect issues, to NFLPA letters suggesting that free agents ought to “consider” the fines levied against the players by the organization during Coughlin’s tenure with the team, the Jaguars have not been a shining light of the NFL.
While the Jaguars’ reputation may always have a scar, it appears to have changed for the better with general manager Dave Caldwell in the drivers seat once again. Players are much less hesitant to sign with the team, and that’s a good thing.
For Schobert, the prospect of leaving Cleveland after spending four years in the city was “bittersweet”, but being able to start a new chapter with his new born son, Simon, and his wife Megan is something he looks forward to.
“Me and wife are excited for the next step, the next chapter and a new team in Jacksonville and see where things take us.”
Check out the full interview with new Jaguars linebacker Joe Schobert here.