NFL News: Why did Jaguars release Rayshawn Jenkins and Darious Williams?

As NFL free agency approaches, teams across the league are preparing to make significant moves to bolster their rosters for the upcoming season. With the opportunity to acquire top talent from around the league, organizations are eager to free up cap space to facilitate their offseason plans.

Among the teams taking proactive steps to navigate the complexities of the salary cap are the Jacksonville Jaguars. Hence, being aimed at optimizing their roster and financial resources, the Jacksonville team have opted to part ways with two veteran players.

Jaguars cut key players to fix their salary cap issue

The Jaguars made significant moves on Tuesday, releasing veteran cornerback Darious Williams and safety Rayshawn Jenkins. These cuts, which amounted to half of the team’s starting secondary, were aimed at creating much-needed salary cap space.

By parting ways with Williams, the Jaguars are set to save $11.5 million this season while taking on $500,000 in dead money. Similarly, cutting Jenkins will save the team $5.15 million while resulting in $7.14 million in dead money.

These roster adjustments didn’t come out of the blue. Just a day before releasing Williams and Jenkins, the Jaguars made a strategic move by freeing up $3.5 million in cap space with the release of veteran defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi. With nearly $20 million in additional cap space, the Jaguars are in a stronger position to pursue offseason priorities.

Williams, who has started 30 games for the Jaguars over the past two seasons, experienced some ups and downs in the previous campaign. Though he amassed four interceptions, he surrendered a career-high 624 yards on 55 completions.

Meanwhile, Jenkins started 50 games over the past three seasons. Unlike Williams, he maintained a solid performance in 2023, allowing just 33 receptions for 424 yards without conceding a touchdown.

Jaguars place their franchise tag on Josh Allen

The Jaguars made a strategic move on Tuesday by placing the franchise tag on pass rusher Josh Allen. General manager Trent Baalke shared the news, ensuring that Allen remains a key part of the Jaguars’ defense for the upcoming season.

“We were not able to reach an agreement on a contract extension with Josh before today’s deadline, and thus, we have tagged him.”

With the franchise tag in place, he is set to make $24 million next season unless a long-term contract is negotiated with Jacksonville before the NFL deadline on July 17th. This tag represents one of the most expensive positions to tag, second only to quarterbacks.

Notwithstanding the substantial financial obligation, the Jaguars possess the requisite cap flexibility to absorb his contract, as the NFL has declared a league-wide salary cap of $255.4 million per team.

Trent Baalke had previously expressed the team’s commitment to retaining Josh Allen in Jacksonville. He affirmed this commitment before the end of last season, stating, “Yeah, Josh will be a Jaguar.”

In the 2023 season, Josh Allen showcased his abilities on the field by posting career highs with 17.5 sacks and 33 quarterback hits in 17 games, per Reuters.

For the time being, Josh Allen faces the prospect of playing a second consecutive season without the security of a long-term contract. He will either play on the franchise tag or potentially negotiate a modified one-year contract with the Jaguars as they work towards securing his future with the team.

Shabiha Akter

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Shabiha, once a casual observer, has morphed into a die-hard NFL fan. She carefully dissects every play, trade, and strategy. Whether it's breaking down game highlights or predicting playoff outcomes, Shabiha is your go-to source for all things NFL.

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