The purge continues in Jacksonville. The Jaguars are only two years removed from an AFC title game appearance but that hasn’t stopped them from cleaning house. After unloading high maintenance cornerback Jalen Ramsey at last year’s trade deadline and similarly turning the page on Pro Bowler A.J. Bouye this offseason, the Jags continued their ongoing fire sale Sunday by dealing Calais Campbell—runner-up for NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2017—to Baltimore for a fifth-round pick in next month’s draft, according to multiple sources including ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Apparently the Ravens view Campbell as more than a mere rental as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport hears the 2008 second-rounder is on the verge of penning a two-year, $27-million extension that includes a whopping $20 million in guaranteed money.
It’s a bafflingly light return for a player of Campbell’s elite caliber and an incredible steal for the Ravens, who were already a prime Super Bowl contender after roaring to a 14-2 regular-season record in 2019. Campbell is no spring chicken at 33 but the 12-year vet should still make an immediate impact on a Ravens pass-rush that ranked a disappointing 21st in sacks last season (36). A five-time Pro Bowler fresh off a three-year stint in Jacksonville, the 6’8,” 300-pound Campbell garnered ProFootballFocus’ top grade among 3-4 defensive ends last season. A strong locker room presence long known for his work in the community—he was the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year recipient in 2019—Campbell has appeared in 81 straight regular-season contests, an ironman streak that began as an Arizona Cardinal in 2014.
Throwing in the towel on Campbell, who was entering the final year of a four-year, $60-million contract, may seem like an odd choice, though the salary dump falls in line with Jacksonville’s recent organizational MO of cost-cutting. Clearing Campbell’s $15-million salary would in theory give the Jaguars more dough to spend on franchise-tagged defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, though the fifth-year pass-rusher has made clear he wants a change of scenery.
With Jacksonville selling off assets at an alarming rate, the only question is who the Jags will have left to fill out their 53-man roster when Week 1 comes into focus. The Jaguars would surely jump at the chance to get failed free agent Nick Foles off their books, but getting anyone to bite on his exorbitant $22-million AAV would be a tall task. With the mass exodus of stars continuing and head coach Doug Marrone firmly on the hot seat, the sinking Jaguars appear headed for a lengthy rebuild in the vein of similar tank jobs staged in recent years by Miami and Cleveland.