The Rumor Mill is heating up this week. Which Jaguars starter is the subject of trade rumors? What other positions is the team looking to solidify in the draft? How close is the team to a new naming rights sponsor for Jacksonville Municipal Stadium? Check the mill to see what we're hearing from NFL Insiders, league sources and some of our many contacts around the league.
The Jaguars don't appear to be completely satisfied with the play and off field behavior of their troubled left tackle, Khalif Barnes. There have been rumors flying about the Jaguars shopping Barnes, who is in the last year of his deal (2009 voidable). Sources say Jacksonville has been impressed with tackle prospects Jeff Otah, from the University of Pittsburgh, and Chris Williams from Vanderbilt.
At pick #26, it is very likely that neither tackle will be available, so Jacksonville would probably have to trade up to get their guy, and they have some ammunition to do so. The Jags have extra third and fifth-round picks from the Marcus Stroud deal, as well as Khalif Barnes and Matt Jones as players to trade.
The Jaguars are no closer to a naming rights sponsor for JMS. With the financial industry struggling and the country in a recession, the very few Jacksonville based industries that exist aren't spending a ton of money on advertising. The team is reportedly looking for a four-year deal worth $5 million per year, and at this point there seems to be no takers. Perhaps David Garrard and his agent can have the stadium named after him as part of his contract renegotiation?
Speaking of Garrard and his contract, the two sides appear to be close to a deal. Garrard was excited when his friend Ben Roethlisberger signed an eight-year, $102 million deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Although Garrard will not receive numbers similar to Roethlisberger in terms of a nine-figure deal, Ben's deal probably raised the numbers a bit for Garrard.
What do the Jaguars have to spend on Garrard? Our sources tell us that after the first few weeks of free agency wheeling and dealing, the Jaguars currently find themselves approximately nearly $17 million under the cap. The nearly $17 million in cap room the Jaguars have is the seventh-most out of any team, as they sit behind Kansas City ($27.8 million), Tampa Bay ($26+ million), Buffalo (nearly $22 million), New Orleans ($20+ million), Tennessee (nearly $18 million), and Green Bay (nearly $18 million).
Division rivals Indianapolis and Houston are nearly $2.6 million and $10.5 million under the cap respectively.
The Jaguars scouting department traveled to Las Vegas last week, not to play blackjack or to wager on NCAA basketball, but to check out the UNLV pro day. The Jaguars were one of four teams that showed considerable interest to former Running Rebels defensive end Jeremy Geathers. Stay tuned for more information about Geathers.
While the Jaguars were out west, they made ventured north all the way to the University of North Dakota to take in their Pro Day, which featured former University of North Dakota wide receiver Weston Dressler. The Jaguars were one of six teams in attendance. Stay tuned for more information about Dressler.
There have been rumors, then denials about the availability of Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor. Although both Dolphins VP Bill Parcells and Taylor himself have denied the talented defensive end leaving town anytime soon, it just doesn't make sense to us. Taylor is 34 years old, and although he's in fantastic shape, it isn't likely that a team that needs to completely rebuild, such as the Dolphins, would rebuild around a guy that long in the tooth. We expect Taylor to be traded by draft day.
Another defensive end that could be available is the Dallas Cowboys DE/OLB, Marcus Spears. Spears could be the odd man out in the Dallas rotation.