The Jacksonville Jaguars have made upgrading their defense a priority this offseason.
By adding two starting linebackers (Paul Posluszny and Clint Session,) a starting safety (Dawan Landry) and a nickel back (Drew Coleman) via free agency, the Jaguars have certainly addressed some pressing needs.
But with several prominent defensive players on the trade block, could the Jaguars be looking to add another starting-caliber defender?
The two most pressing concerns still for the Jaguars on defense is at cornerback and defensive end.
Coincidentally, Pro Bowlers Asante Samuel (cornerback) and Osi Umenyiora are both disgruntled and could be looking for new destinations.
Samuel finally reported to the Philadelphia Eagles’ training camp a few days late on Monday. He had missed time due to personal problems but there has been plenty of speculation that he isn’t happy with the Eagles’ additions of cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
"Wherever they want me," Samuel said. "If they're tired of my big-play-making ability maybe they'll ship me off or maybe they'll want to keep me. Who knows?"
According to ESPN, when Samuel was asked if he had or would demand a trade, he replied “No comment.”
Reading between the lines, that’s a pretty clear indication that he isn’t happy.
Samuel, 30, is aging too, but unlike Mathis he has remained productive the past few years, logging 20 interceptions since 2008. A Florida native, he
would significantly upgrade the team’s secondary and allow a rangy guy like Derek Cox to move to free safety, where he’d likely be effective.
Umenyiora is also a viable target. Unlike Samuel, there is no question as to whether he’s available or not.
Dan Benton of Giants 101 wrote that the New York Giants are demanding a first pound pick for the star end, who is holding out for a lucrative contract.
“Umenyiora is demanding to be paid like a top-5 NFL defensive end, and the Giants refuse to budge on his demands. On the other side of the coin, Osi has "dug in" and is prepared to ride this entire thing out until the bitter end.”
Umenyiora, 30, is also older but has been an excellent pass-rusher, totaling 21.5 sacks in the past three seasons.
Each player’s asking price would likely be high…like first-round draft pick high. Is either one worth that at this point in their careers? It’s debatable.
Samuel has been productive and has a few more years in him so he might be worth the risk. Umenyiora on the other hand would be demanding a new contract that the Jaguars or any other team might be unwilling to give him at this point in his career.
The Jaguars do need help at both positions though, there’s no doubting that.
Starting corner Rashean Mathis (30) is aging and Derek Cox was inconsistent in his sophomore campaign. One of them could be moved to free safety if the team opts to bring in another cornerback.
On the line, the Jaguars lack a true pass rusher opposite of Aaron Kampman (31), who is also aging and is coming off an ACL injury. Jeremy Mincey and Austen Lane have shown potential but if the Jaguars stay pat, they are relying on an injured veteran to bounce back and two guys who have proven little thus far.
So the Jaguars could use upgrades at these positions, although they could make do if they stand pat. Still, it’s worth watching what the market for these two Pro Bowlers is and if the Jaguars could be interested in obtaining either one of them. If the price tags for each player are below a first-round selection, then the reward could very easily be worth the risk.
Tags: Asante Samuel, Clint Session, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Osi Umenyiora, Paul Posluszny, Philadelphia Eagles, trade
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