The 2019 NFL Draft has come and gone, but the saga continues in Jacksonville. What is going on with former Pro Bowl linebacker Telvin Smith? After being called out by Jaguars’ vice president of football operations, Tom Coughlin for not attending voluntary workouts, drama surrounds the Bold City. Unlike cornerback Jalen Ramsey, Smith has kept quiet during the media storm. That’s right. Not a peep. Nothing. Only silence and disappearance.
There is speculation that Smith was on the block for potential trades during the draft last week. However, this was quickly denied by the Jaguars’ front office. No surprise there. Nevertheless, no dance partners for a talented veteran linebacker? Not even on the west coast with former Jaguars coaches like Gus Bradley or Robert Saleh? Hard to fathom in today’s NFL. Still no sound from Smith.
Telvin Smith Still MIA in Jacksonville
Front Office Reaction
As the soap opera unfolds, the front office continues to provide baffling reactions and answers. General manager Dave Caldwell was vague when asked if he expects Smith to be part of the team in 2019. “We’ll see. I don’t want to get into hypotheticals,” Caldwell said, via Phillip Heilman of jacksonville.com. Really? Wait what did he just say?
However, Coughlin was more definitive than Caldwell about Smith’s roster spot in 2019. “Telvin Smith is a linebacker on our football team, and we expect him to be here,” Coughlin said, via Daniel Popper of TheAthletic.com. Thanks Tom for the vote of confidence. Again, crickets from the Smith side. Nothing still.
In the third round of the draft, the Jaguars selected Murray State linebacker Quincy Williams. Shots fired? Perhaps. But Williams is raw and most likely would not be able to step in immediately on defense. Despite criticism of his declined play in 2018, Smith continues to be lauded as one the league’s best on-ball linebackers. Most likely the front office looking to backfill a top defense with potential playmakers. But it makes one curious, right? The selection certainly does not look good for a team in turmoil.
Fans are showing concern and want answers. What is the temperature in the locker room? Has Smith become an unpleasant teammate?
Hard to fathom Smith is upset about his four-year $45MM extension from October 2017. Perhaps the front office has already approached Smith about restructure to free up room financially to lock in fellow linebacker Myles Jack or perhaps defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. That’s most likely not the case as Smith’s deal was financially heavy on the front end. But a trade, now that would certainly loosen the straps on the cap situation. Thus making extensions more palatable in the months to come. Silence remains but a blow up is potentially on the horizon.
Whatever the reason for the standoff the two sides have to resolve the situation before it deteriorates even further. The longer the standoff the more confusion and speculation boils over. Get over yourself and be professionals! Fans of the Jaguars and the team should receive some clarity in the upcoming months with mandatory minicamp set to kick-off on June 11.
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