Jaguars Rumors

NFL Workout Updates: 11/18/19

Today’s updates from the workout circuit:

Cleveland Browns

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/18/19

Today’s practice squad updates:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/18/19

Here are Monday’s minor moves:

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Latest On NFL’s Push For 17-Game Season

Over the past two months, the prospect of a 17-game season has gained steam. While the NFL has ditched the concept of an 18-game season, a longtime fringe talking point, the league is serious about adding one game to the schedule.

The NFL plans on presenting its revised CBA proposal to the NFLPA after this season, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports “momentum is growing” among owners to make this happen. Additionally, some within the NFLPA may be warming to it as well.

The most notable part of this push: a radical adjustment to the NFL’s calendar. The league’s new plan still features the season beginning after Labor Day, but the fall schedule would grow from 17 weeks to 19. The double-bye structure (used only once, in 1993) was not previously mentioned in these talks, but the 17-game plan now includes it. The playoffs would be pushed well into February, with La Canfora adding the new schedule would slide Super Bowl Sunday into the final weekend of February.

Each team’s extra game would be an out-of-market event, with the league wanting to push its United Kingdom schedule to eight games. The Jaguars would be featured in two of those London tilts, per La Canfora, who adds other international locales like Mexico, Germany and Brazil are on the table. Roger Goodell has indicated strong support for the eight-game London slate, JLC adds. This would seemingly represent an expanded trial balloon for a full-fledged London team. More domestic sites would also be included in a 17-game season. Support has surfaced for holding games at Notre Dame, in Alabama and potentially in Canada and Hawaii.

A 14-team playoff bracket has been rumored as well, though it is not included in this report. The NFLPA has voiced opposition to an expanded postseason field. The preseason would be condensed into a two-game slate, but La Canfora reports, though the notion of intersquad scrimmages held at stadiums has come up.

With the NFL having used a 16-game schedule for the past 42 seasons, featuring home sites almost exclusively, this proposal becoming reality would be one of the most significant changes in league history. It would also mean pushing the Combine back, with free agency’s start date presumably being slid further into March as well.

The NFL is willing to bend on some issues — like marijuana and Goodell’s power over investigations — to make this happen. The next window for the CBA to be finalized looks like the days around Super Bowl LIV, with La Canfora adding negotiations are scheduled to take place throughout January.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Sign TE Nick O’Leary

The Jaguars have signed veteran tight end Nick O’Leary, as his agency, SportsTrust Advisors, announced (Twitter link). O’Leary was cut by the Dolphins at the end of October.

Jacksonville hasn’t had much luck with its TE group this year, as both James O’Shaughnessy and Geoff Swaim have landed on IR. Though he played in only five games for the Jags, O’Shaughnessy still leads the club’s tight ends in receptions (14), receiving yards (153), and touchdowns (two).

Third-round rookie Josh Oliver got the first start of his career in Sunday’s loss to the Colts, but as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, Oliver suffered small fractures in his back during the game and could miss the remainder of the season. Plus, Seth DeValve sat out the Indianapolis game due to an oblique injury, leaving Ben Koyack as the only healthy TE on the roster prior to the O’Leary signing.

O’Leary, 27, was selected by the Bills in the sixth round of the 2015 draft. He spent the first three seasons of his career with Buffalo, including a 2017 campaign where he hauled in a career-high 22 receptions for 322 yards and two touchdowns. The Bills cut him at the end of the 2018 preseason and he caught on with the Dolphins’ practice squad before being promoted to Miami’s 53-man roster. The Dolphins liked him enough to sign him to a one-year extension last December, but an ill-timed drop in the team’s Week 8 loss to the Steelers this year led to his ouster from South Beach.

In his career, O’Leary has played in 54 games (21 starts) and has 44 catches for 596 yards and three TDs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Gipson, Quinn, Thomas, Ryan

Texans safety Tashaun Gipson is expected to return to the lineup this week, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Gipson has missed the team’s previous two games after sustaining a back injury in Week 7. Houston has won both games without their starting safety, but set to go up against the Ravens and their dynamic offense, the team hopes to be as close to full strength as possible.

Here’s some more notes from the NFC and AFC South:

  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has relinquished defensive play-calling duties, according to Darin Gantt of NBC Sports. It appears that assistant head coach Raheem Morris and linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich are now responsible for sharing the duties. Given Atlanta’s atrocious start to the season defensively, it makes sense that the staff decided to make a change. While the team remains just 2-7 on the season, they are coming off their strongest performance of the season in a dominating 26-9 victory against the Saints.
  • Two AFC South rivals could be welcoming back some depth in the coming weeks. Texans tight end Jordan Thomas and Jaguars linebacker Jake Ryan have both returned to practice for their respective teams, according to Howard Balzer. Both players were placed on the injured reserve with a designation to return earlier this season. They will now be allowed to practice for up to 21 days before they must be added to the 53-man roster or must return to the injured reserve for the remainder of the year.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/6/19

Today’s practice squad moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Signed: DE Chuck Harris

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

  • Signed: OL James Murray

Pittsburgh Steelers

Jaguars To Start Nick Foles

Nick Foles is the Jaguars’ new starting quarterback, head coach Doug Marrone announced. Foles is ready to rock after recovering from a broken collarbone and Minshew’s rough outing against the Texans in London cost him the No. 1 gig.

It’s not one game,” Marrone said of the QB situation on Sunday, after the Jags took the L in London. “It’ll be a body of work.

Foles’ body of work, which includes a Super Bowl ring, trumped Minshew’s largely impressive, but occasionally rocky, rookie season. There’s still hope for Minshew, but the Jaguars gave Foles a hefty contract this offseason for a reason. The veteran probably gives the Jaguars their best shot to win right now and turn their 4-5 season around.

Foles’ longstanding relationship with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo probably played a role in the decision as well. DeFilippo saw the Super Bowl LII MVP at his very best and believes that he can eek out an encore in 2019.

Thanks to the four-year, $88MM deal he signed with Jacksonville in the offseason, Foles is under contract through the 2022 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Cut LB Malcolm Smith

The Jaguars are cutting veteran linebacker Malcolm Smith, per a team announcement. The Jags signed Smith at the end of October, and he lasted two games with the team. He did not register a statistic with Jacksonville, and he appeared in 29 special teams snaps.

The last couple of years have been rough for Smith, who memorably took home the Super Bowl XLVIII MVP award as a member of the Seahawks. He signed a two-year, $7.5MM pact with the Raiders in March 2015, and though he was a full-time starter for the Silver-and-Black and compiled over 100 tackles in both of his seasons in Oakland, advanced metrics were not terribly fond of his play.

Nevertheless, he was able to parlay his strong raw statistics with the Raiders into a five-year, $26.5MM deal with the 49ers in March 2017. But he missed the entire 2017 campaign due to a torn pectoral muscle, and he was cut by the 49ers before the start of the 2019 campaign despite having agreed to a pay cut earlier in the year. The 30-year-old will now look to catch on with another club in need of veteran LB depth.

In a related move, the Jags signed fellow linebacker Joe Giles-Harris to their practice squad. Jacksonville cut Giles-Harris over the weekend to make room for wideout Michael Walker, but they clearly want to keep him in the fold.

More transactions could be in the offing, as the club has an open spot on its 53-man roster and on its practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Could Chargers Relocate To London?

The 2019 four-game London series has come to an end, and it was by all accounts a smashing success. As Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic writes, television ratings and merchandise sales across the pond are on the rise, and the attendance figures and the energy of the crowds during this year’s series show that the UK may be ready to embrace American football on a full-time basis.

For a few years now, we have heard about the possibility of an NFL franchise permanently moving to London, and Bonsignore writes that the possibility of relocating the Chargers to London has been broached among league personnel. Further, Bonsignore says that while the Bolts are fully committed to moving to their brand new $4.5 billion stadium with the Rams in 2020, owner Dean Spanos would at least listen if the NFL wanted to discuss the possibility.

After all, the Chargers have not really been embraced in Los Angeles thanks to a crowded sports market and the presence of the Rams. And while some fans in San Diego have remained dedicated to the club, a large percentage cut ties completely when the team moved to LA, and it’s unknown how many will buy season tickets for the Chargers at their new venue. Per Bonsignore, owners are worried enough about the Chargers’ long-term viability in LA that they would provide necessary support to Spanos should he want to take his club to the UK. That includes transferring the $650MM relocation fee the Chargers still must pay for the LA move to a London relocation, as well as a potential realignment of divisions.

There are plenty of logistical hoops to jump through, but London does offer a legitimate, contemporary venue (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium), as well as the unique opportunity for the Chargers to develop a new, eager fanbase. If Spanos wants it, London could be there for the taking.

Other reporters, however, are skeptical that such a move is plausible. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out that Jaguars owner Shad Khan has secured a right of first refusal with respect to a London relocation, so he has to say he does not plan to take his team to London before anyone else can consider it. Further, Florio’s sources suggest that no one from the league has ever talked to Spanos about moving to London, which leads him to believe that the sources behind Bonsignore’s report are pushing some other agenda (like forcing the Jags to make a decision).

Bonsignore adamantly denied Florio’s speculation (via Twitter), but Jason Cole of Bleacher Report says that no one in the NFL has talked to the Chargers about moving to England (Twitter link). Coles concedes that the topic may have been broached among other league personnel, but his source says that the Bolts are definitely staying in the US.

Either way, it’s an interesting possibility to consider, especially since the NFL seems closer to having a permanent London team than it ever has.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.