In Indianapolis and in Tennessee and certainly in Houston, those jousting for leadership in the AFC South clearly view the building of a contender as an "arms race'' of sorts.
Yes, there is cap-juggling to do and yes there are mistakes made. But the Colts just brought in Philip Rivers and DeForest Buckner. The Titans just re-signed Derrick Henry. And the Texans continue to make the sort of moves - some more popular than others - that have resulted in a perennial reign atop the division.
But the Jacksonville Jaguars? They seem to be doing this in reverse.
The Jaguars have agreed to trade Pro Bowl defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to Minnesota in exchange for multiple draft picks. ESPN reports Minnesota will be sending a 2021 second-round pick and a conditional 2022 fifth-round pick (that can become a third-rounder) to Jacksonville.
Ngakoue, 25 and an elite player, has long wanted out of Jacksonville - a not-unusual NFL phenomenon. He is the Jaguars' franchise player and will have to sign his tender in order to move to Minnesota and play under the tag number of $17.8 million for 2020. It's expected that Minnesota will next offseason work with him on a long-term deal that would continue to pair the 6-foot-2, 246-pound standout with fellow Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter.
In Minnesota, where the view is about a "championship window,'' the Vikings are trying to stockpile talent ... as could be argued is the approach in Indy, Tennessee and Houston.
And what is it the Jags are stockpiling? Draft picks, for certain - and there is something to be said for that. Jacksonville now owns eight picks in the first five rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. The Jags have two firsts in that group ... and maybe an eye on Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence as the No. 1 overall selection.
So there can a payoff here. Draft picks have brought talent to the Jags. But then ... as our friend Evan Silva notes ... The 2017 Jags defense had six Pro Bowlers: Jalen Ramsey, Yannick Ngakoue, AJ Bouye, Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson and Telvin Smith. All six are gone.''
The Texans and Jags are scheduled to play twice in a month this season in Weeks 5 and 8. Houston will obviously be aiming to win those games ... while the Jaguars, as an organization, seem primed to win next year's draft.