The Jacksonville Jaguars will be without one of their best defensive players in 2019. Linebacker Telvin Smith, who was the subject of intermittent trade talks this offseason, announced this week that he intends to sit out the 2019 season.
In a post on Instagram, Smith stated that "I must give this time back to myself, my family and my health," while asking his followers to respect his decision not to play football this season.
Smith did not elaborate on his reasons for sitting out beyond stating that they are related to his family and his health, and that he needs to "get my world in order." The Jaguars released the following statement regarding Smith's decision.
Statement from the #Jaguars:— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) May 9, 2019
“We will not have a comment about Telvin Smith’s statement at this time. We need to have a conversation with Telvin to understand the situation and the circumstances.
“If there is a way we can support him we need to understand that.”
A fifth-round pick back in 2014, Smith quickly blossomed into a starter and has recorded over 100 tackles in each of his five NFL seasons. Smith was also a Pro Bowler in 2017 when the Jaguars' defense broke out as one of the best in the league.
As Warren Sharp pointed out on Twitter, Smith has been historically great through his first five seasons.
One of only 13 players in NFL history to record 100+ tackles in each of their first 5 seasons.— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) May 9, 2019
Also the only player with at least:
-1 fumble recovery
in EACH of the last 3 seasons.
Only 15 other players have done that in even ONE of the last three seasons https://t.co/JCVu4dXbAS
The 2019 season marks the second of the four-year, $45 million contract he signed with Jacksonville. He has another two years remaining at a total cap hit of $25,870,470 in 2020 and 2021, though the Jaguars can save a little more than $7 million against the books by parting ways with him after the 2019 season.
Without Smith, the Jaguars will have to look for another starter next to Myles Jack at linebacker. Internal options include Leon Jacobs (seventh-round pick in 2018) and Ramik Wilson (signed this offseason), and could have also included Blair Brown before his release on Thursday.