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Jaguars decline 2019 contract option on Dante Fowler

May
2
5/2/2018 3:56:17 PM
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The Jaguars declined to exercise defensive end Dante Fowler’s 2019 contract option Wednesday, meaning he is scheduled to be a free agent next March, Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports.

Among the top 25 picks (as of 4 p.m.), only six first-rounders from 2015 did not have their options picked up: Fowler (No. 3), Chicago’s Kevin White (No. 7), the New York Giants’ Ereck Flowers (No. 9) and New England’s Danny Shelton (originally drafted No. 12 by Cleveland), Kansas City’s Cameron Erving (originally drafted No. 19 by Cleveland) and Denver’s Shane Ray (No. 23).

White has played only five games in three years because of injury, Flowers was replaced by free agent left tackle Nate Solder earlier this off-season and the Broncos drafted Bradley Chubb last week, which could make Ray expendable.

The Jaguars’ decision can be viewed as further proof they will build their pass rush around former third-round pick Yannick Ngakoue, who is eligible for a contract extension after this season. But it doesn’t mean the Jaguars are giving up on Fowler – the sides could come to terms on a new contract before he hits the open market although the choice is now in Fowler’s hands.

Fowler’s fifth-year salary was projected to be $14.2 million had the Jaguars picked up the option. It is the average of the top 10 highest salaries at Fowler’s position and would have been guaranteed for injury only.

Fowler is scheduled to count $7.5 million on this year’s salary cap.

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