There won't be a repeat of the Darqueze Dennard situation when it comes to the Jacksonville Jaguars' top free agent this offseason, as the team announced Wednesday that middle linebacker Joe Schobert had officially signed with the organization.
Due to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on NFL free agency, a vast majority of NFL transactions have been on delayed timelines due to an inability to perform contract signings or medical checks in person. Because of this, most contract agreements were just that: agreements. The agreements are not binding and could fall apart at any time without a contract signed, which is what happened when the Jaguars announced Dennard would no longer be signing with the team earlier this offseason.
But aside from Dennard, the Jaguars haven't had many any issues in this regard and have been able to sign their free agency class to official contracts. Schobert agreed to terms with the Jaguars in March for a five-year, $53.75 million contract which included $12 million signing bonus and $21.5 million guaranteed.
Schobert will start at middle linebacker for the Jaguars, moving veteran linebacker Myles Jack over to the weakside after he had a struggling 2019.
“We really feel great about the things Joe has been able to do and what he adds to our team,” said head coach Doug Marrone said when the team agreed to terms with Schobert.
“He brings an ability to tackle and diagnose plays. He’s a true middle linebacker and has played it at a high level. He’s really going to help us, not only at the MIKE linebacker position, but he also helps us overall across our whole linebacking corps.
Schobert, 26, spent the last four seasons with the Cleveland Browns after being selected in the fourth-round (No. 99 overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Entering this offseason, Schobert made a lot of sense as a name to connect to the Jaguars due to his experience (49 starts) over four seasons with the Cleveland Browns. In Schobert's time in Cleveland, he recorded 408 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, six interceptions, and a staggering seven forced fumbles, along with 20 pass deflections. He is a steady playmaker and a capable prescence inside, all traits that fit the Jaguars' needs at the second level of the defense.
In 2019, Schobert started 16 games and totaled 133 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two sacks, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, and nine pass deflections.
Schobert headlines a free agency class for the Jaguars that also includes tight end Tyler Eifert, defensive lineman Rodney Gunter, defensive tackle Al Woods, defensive end Cassius Marsh, and cornerback Rashaan Melvin.