This was supposed to be a time of celebration in Jacksonville. Two years after making the AFC Championship with a young, talented core leading the way, the 2020 offseason was expected to be one of optimism and excitement as the Jags put the finishing touches on a roster that could compete for a Super Bowl title.
Now it looks like a garage sale gone horribly wrong.
Calais Campbell was the latest part of the Jaguars implosion. The five-time Pro Bowler was traded to the Ravens for a fifth-round pick today. While he only had 6.5 sacks last year, and requested a trade, this is the nail in the Jaguars' ability-to-contend coffin. They're in full rebuild mode now and will be for a few years.
Besides Campbell, the Jaguars have also lost Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Dante Fowler, Marcell Dareus, Malik Jackson, Aaron Colvin, Barry Church, Donte Moncrief, T.J. Yeldon and Carlos Hyde from the team that appeared in the 2018 AFC Championship. Meanwhile, they have Nick Foles on an untradeable contract ($22M cap hit this year), a young QB who fans fell in love with but clearly has issues as a starter (Gardner Minshew), Yannick Ngakoue wanting to be traded after getting the franchise tag placed on him and a young running back (Leonard Fournette) who is due to be a free agent after this season and likely would rather play for a winning team.
That's a lot of internal issues and it doesn't even point out all the holes on their roster, which are also numerous.
The good news is that the Jaguars have 11 picks in the draft this year, including two first-rounders. The bad news is seven come from picks 116-223, where impact players are fewer and further between. As for free agency, the Jaguars are clearly in sell-now mode, so why would they spend big for win-now guys?
Based on this, the earliest we can expect the Jaguars to contend seems to be the 2022 season and that would largely be dependent on them nailing the next two drafts. With a GM in David Caldwell who has been in charge since 2013 and has overseen just one season where the Jags had a record of 6-10 or better, it's hard to see that happening.