Eugene Monroe will be a free agent in 2014 (USA Today Sports Images)
The "Shutdown Countdown" is underway. In addition to previewing each team, "Shutdown Corner" will be taking a brief look at each team's salary cap situation heading into the 2013 season and beyond. We continue the series with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
2013 Adjusted Cap Number: $145.059 million (2nd-highest)
2013 Cap Room Remaining: $23.036 million (2nd-most in the league, as of July 5, 2013)
Best Bargain: Wide receiver Cecil Shorts is entering the third season of his four-year, $2.67 million rookie contract and will earn $617,922 in base salary with a $728,767 cap figure. In terms of cap figures, Shorts ranks 105th among current NFL receiver contracts, which is good value for a player who caught 55 passes for a team-high 979 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012. Shorts' average yards per catch (17.8) and high touchdown total helped him finish 28th among NFL receivers in Football Outsiders' DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) metric.
Potential Camp Casualty: The Jaguars trimmed a lot of fat earlier this offseason, cutting Laurent Robinson, Aaron Ross and Dawan Landry. The end result is just over $24 million in "dead" money counting against their cap, the second-highest total in the league. Prime candidates for release are usually aging veterans, players with high salaries in the final season of their current contract, or players who are coming off a serious injury. Who fits all three of those criteria for the Jaguars? Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, a 28-year-old running back who is due $4.95 million in non-guaranteed base salary and missed most of 2012 with a Lisfranc foot injury that kept him from participating in the team's offseason program. The Jaguars do not have great depth at the running back position, so Jones-Drew and his $6.8 million cap figure are unlikely to be moved.
Blaine Gabbert is entering an important season (USA Today Sports Images)
Looming Contract Issue: The Jaguars have two huge contract issues to address in 2014. The first involves left tackle Eugene Monroe, who is entering the fifth and final season of a $26.25 million rookie contract. Monroe was not an immediate success at left tackle, but has steadily improved and is very consistent player capable of manning the position for the foreseeable future. The Jaguars have protected themselves against losing Monroe next offseason by selecting Luke Joeckel with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, but having two good tackles is the plan and the team would be wise to keep Monroe off the market.
The second contract issue concerns quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who has completed 53.8 percent of his pass attempts for 3,876 yards with 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 25 games and is coming out of a season where he played through a left shoulder ailment before suffering a season-ending injury to his right forearm. The reason 2013 is a "make or break" season for Gabbert is the Jaguars have until May 3, 2014 to exercise the fifth-year option in Gabbert's rookie contract, which would be worth the amount of the transition tag for the 2014 season and guaranteed for injury only at the time it is exercised. If the salary cap remains flat at $123 million again in 2014, the transition tag for a quarterback will be worth $13.614 million, which would become fully guaranteed if Gabbert is on the roster on the first day of the 2015 league year.
Long-Term Cash/Cap Outlook: The Jaguars have around $100 million in cap commitments for the 2014 season, which has them among the bottom five teams in the league. Barring any extensions, the Jaguars will have in excess of $20 million to roll over into 2014, which could leave them with over $40 million in cap space next offseason.
Previous salary cap outlooks
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