JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In 2017 Dante Fowler Jr. showed signs of why he was drafted No. 3 overall in 2015. With a torn ACL injury over a year in the rear view mirror, the former Florida Gator was a disruptive force along the Jaguars defensive line.
Position: Defensive End
2017 stats: 22 tackles, 8 sacks, 2 fumbles forced and 2 fumbles recovered
2018 Projection: Follower posted the above stats while coming off the bench. In 2018 Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue will once again be locked into their starting positions at defensive end.
Fowler will still have a huge role, especially in pass rushing situations. If Fowler reaches double-digit sacks he’ll be in line for a huge pay day next off-season.
Jacksonville decided not to exercise the fifth-year option for the 23-year-old pass rusher. Fowler was unable to participate in the offseason program due to an undisclosed upper body injury. That could be one reason why the Jaguars passed on the option that would’ve paid Fowler $14.2 million guaranteed in 2019. That guarantee also includes a clause where Fowler would’ve collected that full salary if he was on the roster or if he suffered an injury during the 2018 season and wasn’t able to pass a physical prior to the start of the new league year.
The Jaguars front office has said that they would like for Fowler to be in Jacksonville beyond 2018. The two sides could still work out an extension over the next couple of months.
Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash on the expectations for Fowler once he returns from injury:
“He knows the system. There a little bit of tweaks that we have done. But he will come in, and he will be in shape. We expect him to be an impact pass rusher. We expect him to play on first and second down and be an impact on the game. That is what Dante is. We expect that same stuff when he comes back.”