By: Hays Carlyon
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone is keeping a key piece of his defense. ESPN reported Wednesday morning that defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has agreed to restructure his contract, a move that saves the team $5 million in salary cap space.
Marrone was asked about Dareus sticking around during his press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday morning in Indianapolis.
“I’m glad were staying together,” Marrone said. “I expect him to be a more dominating player next season.”
Marrone praised Dareus’ run-stopping abilities calling him “underrated” while also noting that he expects him to generate more of a pass rush this season.
The 28-year-old Dareus was a rare bright spot for the Jaguars last season in a 5-11 nightmare. He played 563 snaps (55 percent), making 32 tackles with one sack and a forced fumble.
Dareus was scheduled to count $10.6 million against the cap this season. The Jaguars acquired the two-time Pro Bowler from Buffalo in a trade during the 2017 season. Dareus instantly improved the run defense, as the Jaguars won the AFC South and advanced to the AFC Championship Game.
Marrone coached the Bills in the 2013-14 seasons.
The Jaguars defensive line will remain a strength this fall with Dareus returning. The team has already picked up the option on end Calais Campbell’s contract. End Yannick Ngakoue is an emerging star, while 2018 first-round pick Taven Bryan will be expected to step in at tackle for the expected-to-be-released Malik Jackson. Tackle Abry Jones is also a reliable player.
The Jaguars should be under the salary cap by roughly $1 million under the cap following Dareus’ restructuring. The team can clear out much more space with the release of Jackson, quarterback Blake Bortles, running back Carlos Hyde, right tackle Jermey Parnell and safety Tashaun Gipson.
(You can email Hays at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)