Jaguars not expected to pick up contract option for defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, per report

The Jacksonville Jaguars are not expected to pick up defensive tackle Marcell Dareus’ club option for the 2020, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. The deadline for the team to do so would be Tuesday, but it appears like all signs are pointing to Dareus landing in free agency. Rapoport also adds that the team is declining the contract option for linebacker Jake Ryan, further clearing cap space for the organization.  

Had the Jaguars picked up Dareus’ option, it would have guaranteed the 30-year-old nearly $20 million for next season. Now, Jacksonville has cleared that $20 million off of their cap and will only be dinged for his $2.5 million dead cap hit. As for Ryan, his release clears $5.5 million off of their cap for 2020. 

According to Spotrac’s calculations, the Jags are over the salary cap by around $1.5 million prior to these moves becoming official. Once they do officially land on the books, that should give Jacksonville a bit more wiggle room as they enter free agency. 

The club moving on from both Dareus and Ryan is not totally surprising as they were pegged as potential cap casualties by senior writer John Oehser earlier this offseason. He also mentioned cornerback A.J. Bouye as another veteran that could be let go, but a move of that nature has yet to be announced. By moving on from Bouye this offseason, the Jaguars could clear around $11.5 million off of their cap in 2020 and $13.5 million in 2021. Again, we’ll have to wait in see what happens on that front. 

Along with the benefits of creating more cap space, it makes sense for the Jaguars to move on from both Dareus and Ryan due to their inability to stay on the field. Dareus has missed 18 games over the course of his three years in Jacksonville since coming over in a trade with the Buffalo Bills in 2017. Last season, Dareus played in just six games before landing on injured reserve due to a core muscle injury. As for Ryan, he missed the entire 2018 season due to a torn ACL and was only active for two games in 2019 before being placed back on IR in early December. 

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