The Jacksonville Jaguars have begun the cost-cutting maneuvers necessary to be able to fill out their roster this offseason. Prior to Friday, the Jags had less than a million dollars in cap room available, per Spotrac, and with holes at quarterback and elsewhere, that was not nearly enough.
For the past few weeks they had been trying to find trades for some of their higher-priced players who are no longer high-level contributors, but after being unable to find agreeable deals, on Friday they decided to just cut them loose. Among those players is defensive tackle Malik Jackson, running back Carlos Hyde, and safety Tashaun Gipson.
Source says the Jaguars are releasing safety Tashaun Gipson.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) March 8, 2019
Cutting ties with Jackson knocks his cap hit down from $15 million to just $4 million in dead money, while moving on from Hyde frees up the entirety of his $4.7 million base salary and Gipson's release creates around $7.4 million in additional room. The three moves combined create around $23.1 million in space beyond what the Jaguars already had. That's a nice chunk of change, but it's likely that they have several more moves to make to create the kind of space needed to accomplish their goals this offseason.
Jackson was three years into a six-year, $85 million pact that contained $42 million in guarantees, and was on the hook for base salaries of $13 million or more in each of the next three years. The Jaguars have incredibly talented players elsewhere on their defense and should be able to withstand the loss, but the ceiling of the defense will not be quite as high without him in the mix.
Hyde, meanwhile, was acquired last season amid injury issues in the backfield. He carried 58 times for 189 yards (3.3 per carry) and did not score in eight games with the team. He was an obvious cut candidate from the moment he was acquired, and that has indeed come to pass.
Gipson was signed to a five-year, $26 million contract as part of Jacksonville's 2016 free-agent splurge, and he's been a regular starter for the past three years. After drafting Ronnie Harrison last year, though, the Jags may feel confident they have a replacement at the position.
Al three players should have suitors for their services on the open market, and the fact that they will not count against the compensatory pick calculation could open up suitors that may not be obvious on the surface because of their reluctance to affect said formula.