AFC South Notes: Jaguars, Texans, Titans

     

Jaguars

As the draft inches closer, the Jaguars and DE Yannick Ngakoue appear to still be stalemated. Ngakoue has yet to sign his franchise tender and is resolute that he won’t sign an extension with the Jaguars. Jacksonville meanwhile has slow-played trade negotiations like they did for CB Jalen Ramsey but GM Dave Caldwell says they “don’t really have a lot of news” about those developments. 

“We’ve exercised the franchise tender, he’s yet to sign it. Other than that, I don’t have a whole lot to add,” Caldwell said via Pro Football Talk. “Out of respect for him and his team and our team, I think it’s best to just . . . When I have news for you guys, to let you guys know where we’re at.”

  • Jaguars HC Doug Marrone said the team wants competition at every position and wouldn’t necessarily pass on a quarterback if the value was right, but he reiterated QB Gardner Minshew is the starter: “Gardner Minshew’s our guy and I’m excited about that.” (PFT)

Texans

  • Per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Texans HC Bill O’Brien said the team is less focused on replacing WR DeAndre Hopkins exactly: “I don’t think you replace Hopkins. This offense will be different. We feel really good about where we are offensively.”
  • O’Brien alluded to Hopkins’ desire for a new deal as the driving force behind his trade: “DeAndre Hopkins is a great football player. We felt like that trade was in the best interest of our team moving forward for the future.” (Wilson)
  • Given the other extensions Houston will need to work out in the coming years, Hopkins’ request for a raise was hard to swallow: “It was going to be very difficult to have elite quarterback, elite receiver, elite offensive tackle, elite defensive end and be able to do that.” (Wilson)
  • O’Brien predicted Arizona would end up reworking Hopkins’ contract. (Wilson)
  • Regarding all the criticism he’s received for what he got in return for Hopkins, O’Brien cautioned observers to be patient: “I have a lot of respect for the media. Let’s review it a year from now, two years from now, three years from now, let’s let it all play out.” (Wilson)
  • O’Brien said he’s spoken with Texans QB Deshaun Watson about the trades: “Any conversation I have with a player, will keep that in-house. We’ve communicated quite a bit with Deshaun and all the other players.” (Wilson)
  • O’Brien had praise for the Texans’ new additions on that side of the ball: David Johnson is a three-down back who has had some very productive years. The type of guy he is, I’m so excited about having him, Randall Cobb, Brandin Cooks in our locker room.” (Wilson)
  • Despite Johnson’s injury history, O’Brien said his relationship with Cardinals GM Steve Keim helped him feel confident in acquiring him: “I’ve known Steve Keim for a number of years. He was very emphatic that he passed his exit physical and we had a doctor close to Dr. Lowe examine David.” (Wilson)
  • O’Brien told reporters there were no issues with Johnson’s physical with the Texans: “David passed his physical with flying colors. He’s excited. We’re excited for the day we can get back out there.” (Wilson)
  • Regarding Cooks’ concussion issues, O’Brien pointed out he only missed two games last year. (Wilson)
  • The Texans are continuing to work with LT Laremy Tunsil on a long-term deal and have been in a lot of contact: “We’re working hard to try to get a deal done.” (Wilson)
  • O’Brien bemoaned Houston’s inability to prevent DT D.J. Reader from leaving for the Bengals: “We did lose D.J. Reader. We tried very hard to keep D.J. Reader. It’s hard to keep everybody.” (Wilson)
  • Losing Reader makes defensive line a need in the draft, along with safety, per O’Brien. (Wilson)
  • O’Brien is happy with where the Texans stand at cornerback, though: “I’m really excited about the secondary. We have a very diverse secondary. Bradley Roby, versatility he brings, play inside, outside, man to man, play zone. Excited about Gareon Conley, Lonnie Johnson Jr., Vernon Hargreaves, etc.” (Wilson)
  • O’Brien highlighted 2019 third-round TE Kahale Warring headed into the season: “I’m excited about Kahale’s future. He has a lot of talent, I think he’s going to be a really good player for us.” (Wilson)

Titans

After breaking his wrist in November, Titans CB Malcolm Butler was placed on injured reserve and missed out on the entire back half of the season. He had to watch Tennessee’s run to the playoffs and to the AFC title game from the sidelines, which has him itching to get back whenever the season ends up returning. 

“Oh, I’ll be ready to go,” Butler said via Jim Wyatt of the team website. “Being out half of the season last year, it made me appreciate everything even more. It made me hungry. When you get football taken away from you, you appreciate it more. I’ll be ready to help the team, most definitely.”

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