The Jacksonville Jaguars Are Winners in Dante Fowler Trade

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The Jacksonville Jaguars did not trade for a new player on Tuesday before the NFL trade deadline. But they did trade former number three overall pick Dante Fowler. Fowler is now on the Los Angeles Rams and the Jaguars got a few future picks for the trade. This was a smart move for the team for a few reasons. The team is eyeing future contracts and building through the draft.

Why the Jacksonville Jaguars Will Win the Dante Fowler Trade

Upcoming Contract Decisions

The Jaguars currently have a loaded defense in terms of talent and recent free agent/rookie signings. Jalen Ramsey and Yannick Ngakoue are both in the third year of their four-year rookie contracts. Both have played well. Calais Campbell is in the second year of a four-year contract and there is a potential out after this season. Marcell Dareus was traded to the Jaguars last season and is in the middle of a six-year contract that has a potential out after 2018. It’s not likely that both Campbell and Dareus will be on the team next year, but with them and the promise Ngakoue has shown, it was wise to get rid of Fowler.

Ngakoue has shown the type of play the Jaguars were likely hoping to get from Fowler. Ngakoue has 19 career sacks so far, while Fowler has 14 (missed his first season due to an ACL tear in minicamp). Not only has Ngakoue outplayed third round expectations, he also doesn’t have off the field problems. Many Jacksonville fans remember hearing the news that Fowler had an altercation with an old man because of his driving. Ngakoue is good on and off the field and plays with a chip on his shoulder.

Ramsey and Ngakoue highlight young talent the Jaguars should keep because they’ll comprise the nucleus of the defense for years to come. Because of them and veteran contract decisions, it was wise to trade Fowler.

Build Through the Draft

Many people have heard the saying that “good teams build through the draft.” In the recent past, this hasn’t been true for the Jaguars. In fact, despite multiple top 10 picks in the last decade, Jacksonville has not yet successfully built through the draft. The team has been very active in free agency in recent years. The team has added Campbell, A.J. Bouye, Chris Ivory, Malik Jackson, and others through free agency. While most of these players are good adds, they have big contracts. It’s better to build through the draft than free agency.

Because of the Fowler trade, the Jaguars now have two third-round picks in 2019. They still have seven total (Carlos Hyde trade gave a 2019 fifth rounder to Cleveland) but it’s nice to have two third-round picks. Especially when general manager Dave Caldwell has done a good job with third-round picks.

Jaguars picks during Caldwell’s tenure with the team are: Dwayne Gratz, Brandon Linder, A.J. Cann, Yannick Ngakoue, Dawuane Smoot, and Ronnie Harrison. Five of those six players are still on the team, and three of them have worked out well. Harrison was just drafted this year, but has been good in coverage is likely to be a starter at safety next season, overtaking Barry Church for a starting role.

It’s evident that there has been recent success in the third round for the Jaguars. In 2019, they will have two chances in the third. If the past is any indication, the team will likely select someone from the secondary or a lineman. With all the injuries to the offensive line this year, they would be smart to consider a guard or tackle with one of those picks. Either way, they get two choices in a round that’s been favorable to them in the past.

The Last Word

The Jacksonville Jaguars were not likely to keep Dante Fowler after this season. That was easy to tell with the small amount of use he was getting this season. The team made the best of the situation and got two future draft picks for Fowler. The Jaguars need to be smart and start building through the draft now. This trade helps them do just that, and they need to bolster their offense in the 2019 draft.

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