Offseason Watch: Taking a look at the Jaguars' defensive tackle situation

First Coast News will take a look at each position group on the Jaguars' roster on a daily basis over the next few weeks. Today's focus will be on the defensive tackle position.

Previous Position Evaluations

Quarterback

- Running Back

Wide Receiver

Tight End

- Offensive Line

- Defensive End

On The Roster

The Jaguars' strongest position entering free agency is defensive tackle. The team currently has Malik Jackson, Abry Jones, Roy Miller, Sen'Derrick Marks, Sheldon Day, Michael Bennett, Louis Nix and Marcus Rush under contract at the position.

Jackson signed a six-year, $85.5 million contract last offseason and is currently the team's highest-paid player. Jackson produced a career-high 6.5 sacks last season with the Jaguars.

Jones signed a four-year, $16 million deal earlier this month. He started nine games last season and is one of the best run-stopping nose tackles in the NFL. Jones was able to see plenty of action after Miller went down with a torn Achilles in Week 6. Miller has been the team's starting nose tackle since 2013.

Releasing Miller would save the Jaguars about $3.7 million in cap space.

Marks had a bit of a renaissance last season. After back-to-back season-ending injuries, Marks produced 3.5 sacks in a rotational role. Releasing Marks would save the Jaguars roughly $4.5 million on the salary cap.

Day and Bennett are both young rotational defensive tackles for the Jaguars. Both have shown flashes since joining the team, but Bennett missed all of last season with a leg injury.

Rush and Nix will be welcomed back to compete for roster spots.

Coach Overview

In January, the Jaguars hired Marion Hobby to coach the team's defensive line. He previously served as the co-defensive coordinator for the Clemson Tigers, who won a national championship last season. 

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Internal Business

The Jaguars need to determine how much they are willing to spend on the defensive tackle position. Miller and Marks are both guaranteed little money and releasing them would open up some cap space. While the team isn't hurting for available money, they could use the funds elsewhere.

Releasing Miller or Marks would allow cheaper options like Bennett and Day to get more playing time.

Options in Free Agency

The Jaguars have invested enough cash in the position. It is highly unlikely that they will add to the group via free agency.

Options in the Draft

The Jaguars probably won't look at the position early on in the draft, but could take advantage of solid talent that falls during the selection process. The team could also bring in competition through undrafted free agency.

Michigan's Matthew Godin and Florida's Joey Ivie impressed me at the East-West Shrine practices in January. Both should be late-round picks or priority undrafted free agents.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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