According to multiple reports, the Jacksonville Jaguars released linebacker Myles Jack on Tuesday morning. It qualifies as somewhat of a surprising development given Jack’s recent productivity. Jack led the Jaguars in tackles with a staggering 108 takedowns a year ago and now reaches the open market following the decision made by general manager Trent Baalke.
The Jaguars were perhaps searching for newfound salary cap space after spending more than $100 million dollars in guaranteed money on the likes of Brandon Scherff, Christian Kirk, Foye Oluokun, and Zay Jones during Monday’s legal tampering initiation window. The signing of former Falcons linebacker Oluokun likely made Jack expendable in Jacksonville’s eyes, and the team saved north of $8.3 million against the 2022 cap by releasing him.
Jack immediately reaches the open market and is free to sign with a new franchise of his choosing. Jack adds some excitement to a free-agent group of linebackers that already lost Oluokun and De’Vondre Campbell on Monday. Teams searching for upgrades at the position just gained another intriguing option to explore in Jack, who remains in the prime of his ascending career.
We’ve swiftly identified three quality fits for Jack in free agency.
The Cowboys have largely prioritized keeping their own roster intact throughout the early portion of free agency. New deals for DeMarcus Lawrence and Malik Hooker keep both defenders in Dallas going forward, but a likely move at the linebacker position has yet to reveal itself. Leighton Vander Esch is an unrestricted free agent and is expected to sign elsewhere in search of greener pastures. The Cowboys have some extra money to spend following the Randy Gregory debacle that saw him make a last-minute decision to accept a lucrative offer from the Denver Broncos as opposed to re-signing with the Cowboys. Jerry and Stephen Jones should dip their toes back into the free-agent defensive market by attempting to lure Jack to Dallas.
Placing a disciplined player such as Jack alongside the ever-versatile and dangerous Micah Parsons would award Dallas with the defensive freedom necessary to utilize Parsons however defensive coordinator Dan Quinn sees fit. The Cowboys are a bit thin at the linebacker position, and adding Jack to the fray would immediately address a need while upgrading their linebacker corps. Jack would slot in nicely into Dallas’ starting lineup.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has spent the past 24 hours addressing Pittsburgh’s underperforming offense, and it’s easy to understand why on the surface. The Steelers struggled offensively throughout the course of the season en route to averaging a disappointing 20.2 points per contest. Colbert added to his quarterback room by signing free-agent signal-caller Mitchell Trubisky in a move that qualifies as particularly intriguing. On Tuesday, Colbert swiftly upgraded Pittsburgh’s offensive line by signing the underrated versatile guard/center James Daniels to a reasonable three-year contract.
Both the Trubisky and Daniels moves should help improve Pittsburgh’s offense in 2022, and it’s time to switch focus to the defensive side of the ball. Linebacker Joe Schobert is set to earn a hefty base salary of $8.75 million next season and he qualifies as a potential cap casualty as the Steelers continue to tweak their roster. Former Michigan standout Devin Bush Jr. has struggled to acclimate to the NFL and the Steelers simply need more from the linebacker position going forward. Jack would be an especially incredible replacement for Schobert should the Steelers ultimately decide to save nearly $10 million against the cap by cutting ties with the Waukesha, Wisconsin native.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Veteran inside linebacker Anthony Hitchens is an unrestricted free agent and the Chiefs may decide to use his newfound freedom as an excuse to get younger and more dynamic at the position. Hitchens has spent the previous four seasons with the Chiefs but is ultimately not expected to return to Kansas City in 2022. Willie Gay and Nick Bolton are two extremely exciting and ascending linebackers, and general manager Brett Veach could impressively round out the position by acquiring Jack.
Long-time defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo possesses one of the most brilliant defensive minds in all of professional football and the possibilities would be endless if he had a linebacker trio of Jack, Gay, and Bolton to work with. The 26-year-old Jack would become the veteran in a position room that’s exploding with young talent.
Spagnuolo has consistently evolved and improved a Chiefs defense that’s struggled at times, but always managed to get back on track before it’s too late. The Chiefs are set to lose some defensive studs this offseason in Charvarius Ward (who already signed with the 49ers) and Tyrann Mathieu (who remains a free agent). Signing free-agent safety Justin Reid was a nice start to Kansas City’s offseason. Signing Jack would also move the needle forward.