Over the past month, the Jaguars have made significant changes along their roster. While they’ve spent in free agency with acquisitions such as Joe Schobert and Rodney Gunter, they’ve also lost two key veteran pieces via trade in defensive lineman Calais Campbell (Baltimore Ravens) and cornerback A.J. Bouye (Denver Broncos).
Both players recently spot with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on his podcast, ‘RapSheet + Friends’ to discuss the trade and their thoughts on their new homes.
The Jaguars acquired a fifth-round selection from the Ravens for Campbell’s services, a move, Campbell told Rapoport, he didn’t expect to happen. Campbell anticipated being a member of the Jaguars for “another year” — the remaining year on his contract signed with the team in 2017.
“With everything going on there, I thought it was time for a new start, and I’m glad (#Jaguars GM) Dave Caldwell looked out for me,” new #Broncos CB @AJBOUYE21 tells RapSheet + Friends of the trade that landed him in one of his top spots. More at 37:35: https://t.co/1Ks31TlYJ9— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 1, 2020
“Obviously my time in Jacksonville was special to me,” said Campbell. “I really made a strong bond with the community, and all my teammates, and just the people in the organization, they have a great staff.” While Baltimore is a great opportunity for the veteran defensive lineman, he says the move, to him, is “bittersweet”.
“You go from a team that has so much potential, young and talented. That I really felt like we could do some good things in Jacksonville. I was really confident that this year would be better than the last couple. Then you go to a team (Ravens) that’s right there, you know I mean, has so much potential to be able to win a super bowl right now.”
The Jaguars and the Ravens met at sometime during or after the Pro Bowl, after Campbell had an opportunity to get to know the Ravens staff, who coached the AFC’s team this season. While the talks did not happen right away, everything happened very quick from Campbell’s point of view.
“[Jaguars general manager Dave] Caldwell told me afterwards that they were talking for a while, but I didn’t really know about it until a couple days before.”
Campbell told very few people including former Ravens safety Tony Jefferson, and a few now-former teammates, about the move. This way, the trade talk didn’t circulate through the general media.
While Campbell’s trade came as a shocker to the defensive tackle, Bouye saw the deal coming, from moves within the season such as trading veteran cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams, to changes overall within the organization, something was bound to happen.
Bouye, traded to the Broncos for a fourth-round pick, said that while reports surfaced indicating that the Jaguars were going to release the veteran cornerback, he was told by his agent it was never going to happen. The Jaguars allowed Bouye to choose his destination, much like the team did with Campbell, something Bouye is grateful for.
“I just trust in my agent, maybe they were gonna cut me, but from what my agent was telling me, they didn't have no plans on it at all,” Bouye told Rapoport. “With everything that was going on there, I felt it was time for a year start and I’m glad Dave Caldwell looked out for me.
“Its crazy man, I mean I get there in 2017 and everything’s clicking, we’re playing together — things just started going downhill and then as soon as Jalen [Ramsey] didn’t wanna be there and got traded I just knew everything wasn't just gonna be the same.”
The Jaguars got off to a great start in 2019, all things considered, winning two games following the trade of their franchise player. However, the team would go on to lose their next five games, even though Ramsey’s replacement, Tre Herndon, did a great job stepping in, said Bouye.
The Jaguars locker room went on a roller coaster of emotions last season, not ever really able to become fully stabilized between the constant distractions and losing.
“So it’s really hard to say what was the real problem,” Bouye conceded.
Bouye is ready for a new beginning with the Broncos, able to take what he’s learned over the past few years in Jacksonville and bring it to help another team win.
After having already met with the team’s head coach and general manager, Bouye is able to focus on getting better and taking care of his family during the tough times which face the entire world right now in Covid-19.
“I feel like what happened in Jacksonville these last two years only made me a better person and that’s how I always look at everything...”