AFC South Notes: Jaguars, Texans, Titans

     

Jaguars

Regarding the decision to hire former Redskins HC Jay Gruden as their new offensive coordinator, Jaguars HC Doug Marrone explained Gruden was simply the best fit for their offensive system. 

“We were trying to find someone who’s best for this staff, who’s best for what you want to run, then you’re looking for what person’s best for your players, who’s going to relate to the players, who’s going to be able to communicate with them,” Marrone said, via Michael DiRocco of ESPN. “At the end of the day, we just felt that Jay was the best fit for us.”

Marrone mentioned that he wanted to hire an offensive coordinator with prior experience because they “don’t have time” for a new coach to learn. 

“My experience has been that I have had people with me who have been first-time coordinators, and I think you go through a learning process and you’re getting better each year,” Marrone said. “There is a curve to that. One thing that going into it — what I felt — was I don’t have time for that [learning] curve. I was looking for someone with experience, someone with conviction with what they believe in that matches what mine and our staff believe.

Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell is excited about having nine draft picks to work with this year, including two first-rounders.

“It’s really exciting, looking at what we have – the pieces we can fill with our extra draft capital,” Caldwell said, via John Oehser of the team’s official site. “I’ve never had this type of draft capital – not only here, but in my career. We’re excited to use that and see what we can do with it.”

Texans

  • ESPN’s Sarah Barshop writes Texans CB Bradley Roby played well enough in 2019 to earn a multi-year offer from someone this offseason and has likely priced himself out of Houston’s range.
  • Instead, Barshop anticipates the Texans trying to sign CB Vernon Hargreaves to a multi-year deal to lower the $9.6 million cap hit from his fifth-year option.
  • Barshop adds the Texans could use the franchise tag on DT D.J. Reader to try and buy more time to come to an agreement on a long-term deal. 
  • Barshop says Texans RB Carlos Hyde wants to return to Houston after rushing for over 1,000 yards, and the team does have room for him on the roster if they don’t re-sign RB Lamar Miller coming off a torn ACL. 
  • Texans TE Darren Fells also has a good shot of returning unless another team swoops in and outbids Houston for the 33-year-old veteran. 
  • Barshop notes Texans CB Johnathan Joseph has said he’s playing next season but it remains to be seen if that will be in Houston. 
  • Barshop expects the Texans to try and re-sign backup QB A.J. McCarron.
  • Texans G Zach Fulton is a strong candidate to be a cap casualty to save Houston $7 million with no dead money.
  • While not a free agent, the Texans are expected to work on an extension for LT Laremy Tunsil, who’s open to staying in Houston long-term after being traded from Miami: “I’m cool with it. Whatever coach decides to do, I’m happy. I’d be happy to stay there with Deshaun (Watson) and help win games.” (Nick Shook)
  • Texans CB Gareon Conley had a screw removed from his right ankle in a minor procedure. Conley expects to be ready for Houston’s offseason program. (Aaron Wilson)

Titans

  • CBS Sports analyst and former agent Joel Corry says Titans QB Ryan Tannehill is a good candidate to play out 2020 under the exclusive franchise tag at $27 million. 
  • While Tannehill would obviously prefer a longer-term deal, Corry says there could be an impasse. Using Tannehill’s extension in Miami and adjusting for cap growth comes out to $27 million a year, but his camp might not be content with that given he played better in Tennesee than in Miami. 
  • Corry also notes the tag protects the Titans if Tannehill regresses in 2020. 
  • Corry points out that if a new CBA isn’t agreed to by March 10, the Titans could also use the transition tag on RB Derrick Henry for a little over $8 million in 2020, which might be ideal given how complicated Henry’s negotiations are expected to be. 
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