Jaguars Would Have Interest in Bringing Back Marcell Dareus According to GM Dave Caldwell

John Shipley

The Jacksonville Jaguars won't be exercising their 2020 team option on veteran defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, but the door is still open for him to return to the Jaguars. 

During a press conference Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell confirmed a previous report about the team not picking up Dareus' 2020 option, which would've guaranteed the nose tackle $20 million next season. The move goes a long way toward freeing up some much-needed cap space and was always expected.

But even with Dareus not coming back on his original 2020 contract, Caldwell said the team wouldn't be opposed to working out a deal with him to return to the team otherwise.

"To be honest when we did the deal last year, we knew he'd have to have a well above -- we knew it'd be a long shot," Caldwell said. "And It was really just to prorate some of the signing bonus that we did last year for him. But he would still be a guy that we'd have interest in bringing back at some point in time."

Dareus will be 30 and entering his 10th NFL season in 2020. He has been with the Jaguars since the team traded with the Buffalo Bills for his services during the 2017 season.

Dareus has been one of the Jaguars' most important defenders over the last three seasons, playing nose tackle for defensive coordinator Todd Wash's 4-3 defense. Dareus has recorded 45 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and four tackles for loss in 30 games (22 starts) in Jacksonville.

The veteran defensive tackle's 2019 season was cut short due to a core muscle injury he sustained in Week 6 that placed him on injured reserve.

Caldwell also took questions on veteran cornerback A.J. Bouye, another player many think could be released for cap reasons due to his large cap hit in 2020. Bouye has a cap hit of roughly $15 million in 2020, and releasing him would free up more than $11 million. 

Caldwell noted the team still holds Bouye in high regard and, despite the salary cap issues, his contract isn't at bloated when you consider other cornerbacks throughout the NFL and his production.

"Those are some things that we're discussing with coach Wash -- and A.J. [Bouye] had a nice year last year," Caldwell said Tuesday. "We'll explore all options with him but he still has a lot of football left in him. Again, another player that we really like here as a person and as a guy and obviously you guys know the salary restrictions and all that stuff. Realistically, it's not as bad when you put him in line with the rest of the corners in the league."

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