The Buffalo Bills are being rebuilt in the image of a new regime, and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has been dealt to the Jaguars.
In his first several months as Buffalo Bills general manager, Brandon Beane has shed some notable players via trade. Next week’s trade deadline seemed likely to bring some activity again, and the team announced Friday night that defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has been traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a sixth-round pick in 2018.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the pick can bump up to a fifth-rounder based on Dareus’ performance, but even that seems like a steal for a two-time Pro Bowler. But Dareus has a lot of time left on the six-year, $100 million contract extension he signed in 2015, and he had become an increasing headache.
There’s a financial element to the deal for the Bills, and Dareus’ bloated contract limited what Jacksonville or any other team would give up to get him. The Jaguars will take on salary cap hits for $5.73 million (this year) and $10.175 million in 2018 ($7.35 million guaranteed). None of the deal is guaranteed beyond 2018, so salary cap numbers for 2019 ($14.6 million), 2020 ($14.6 million) and 2021 ($14.65 million) are likely to become irrelevant.
Dareus has been suspended twice for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, in 2015 and 2016, and he was sent home from a preseason game this year. His role was reduced this season, with just three starts while playing 34 percent of Buffalo’s defensive snaps. But last week’s return to the starting lineup, and subsequent solid results (five total tackles), now feels like a showcase by the Bills. Beane seemed to directly dismiss that notion though, by saying the Jaguars initiated contact.
It’s not as if Jacksonville needs a lot of help defensively, with the league’s sixth-best overall defense (300.3 yards per game) and second-ranked pass defense (161.7 yards per game). But stopping the run has been an issue (138.6 yards per game; 31st in the league), and Dareus can definitely help there. He’ll also reunite with head coach Doug Marrone, who was Buffalo’s head coach for both of Dareus’ Pro Bowl seasons (2013 and 2014).