Calais Campbell will sign with Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars signed the best free agent defensive lineman on the free agent market in 2016 when they inked Malik Jackson. They liked the experience so much, they are doing it again this year with Calais Campbell.
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NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Jags are signing the defensive lineman, according to a source informed of the situation. The deal will pay Campbell $60 million over four years.
After reports surfaced Wednesday night that Campbell was headed to the Jaguars, the Denver Broncos jumped back into the bidding. Campbell eventually chose to join the Jaguars, presumably at a higher price than they were offering Wednesday. The Redskins were also involved in negotiations for Campbell, who just wrapped up nine terrific seasons in Arizona.
The No. 3 overall free agent on our big board this season, Campbell has a skill set unlike anyone else in the NFL. At 6-foot-8, 282 pounds, he can move inside and out, set the edge, and be highly disruptive on any down. He was respected for his leadership and intelligence in Arizona, and should add quality veteran experience to a promising Jaguars defensive line group.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I was a little skeptical about Coughlin serving as the top executive without acting as the chess master on the field. I played for the Jaguars in 1996 and ’97 when he wore all of the big hats in the building and controlled everything, from the office to the field. Coughlin consistently outlined his expectations for the organization and did everything in his power to make sure that the team played up to the standard. From imposing “Coughlin Time” (meetings begin five minutes prior to scheduled time) to the infamous “Concentration Line” at the edge of the practice field (once you crossed it, it was all business), he set the stage for our success by encouraging the team to pay close attention to the details of wholesale jerseys.
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As a coach, it is certainly easier to get the team to carry out the mission, because you have the opportunity to make the grass your blackboard as you teach the team the lessons needed to reach greatness. As an executive, however, you can chart the course, but your lieutenants are responsible for carrying out the mission. While I don’t know how things ultimately will turn out in Jacksonville, I do know that Coughlin has already made his cheap jerseys and mark on the team.
“Things are definitely a little tighter than before [under Gus Bradley],” a Jaguars official told me. “There’s more discipline and detail. From top to bottom, everyone has clear understanding of the expectations. There’s a level of accountability that was missing in the locker room. We needed to fix that to reach our potential.”
Say what you want about his methods, but Coughlin’s résumé speaks volumes. He led the expansion Jaguars to a pair of AFC Championship Games during his first stint with the team (1995-2002) and hoisted a pair of Lombardi Trophies as the leader of the New York Giants. When it comes time to recruiting players, particularly in free agency, I’ve found that some guys will chase the money — but the majority of players want to win. Considering Coughlin’s winning pedigree, it’s not a coincidence that a handful of big-name free agents made Jacksonville their destination.
“I really liked Tom Coughlin,” Calais Campbell said to MMQB.com following his signing. “I’ve always respected him, from playing against his teams over the years. I like the way he carries himself. His organization has always been top-notch and guys that play for him always say good things about him. Then you look at what they did in free agency and I think it shows they’re committed to winning.”
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Interestingly, Campbell didn’t talk to Coughlin prior to signing, yet revered the coach enough to trust that his mere presence would lead to success in Jacksonville.
“I didn’t need to have a conversation with him because his resume speaks for itself,” Campbell told MMQB. “He’s a future Hall of Famer, so no conversation was needed.”
With no guaranteed money left on the contract, cutting House saves Jacksonville $6 million on the salary cap. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported last week the Jaguars likely would release House if they couldn’t trade him away.
The move leaves the Jags with just four corners on the roster heading into free agency. Behind first-round stud Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Colvin, Josh Johnson and Doran Grant round out the position. Prince Amukamara, who took over the starting gig last season, is set to hit free agency. Jacksonville reportedly is aiming at re-signing the veteran corner.
Jettisoning House comes weeks after the Jags cut ties with Jared Odrick, another disappointing 2015 free-agent signing.
Jacksonville has a ton of cap space, even before releasing House, and could be a player in free-agent corner market. As its recent releases have shown, however, spending money doesn’t mean wins will follow.