When the Jacksonville Jaguars declined to exercise Dante Fowler’s fifth-year option they put him on the clock. Now he’s determined to put on a show in 2018.
Dante Fowler has a lot of motivation to have a career season in 2018. Firstly, he’d like to help the Jacksonville Jaguars made a deep playoff run. Of course, the talented defensive end would also like to make the team’s front office deeply regret their decision not to exercise his fifth-year option this offseason.
At least the former Florida Gator isn’t short on self-confidence. He recently told reporters that he “knows how good a player [he] is.” It seems that Tom Coughlin’s decision not to extend his contract this summer hasn’t negatively impacted his frame of mind. In fact, it might pay off for Fowler on the field this year.
In fairness to the Jaguars, the decision over whether or not to give Fowler a fifth year was a pretty tough one for the team. He did finish 2017 with eight sacks to his name, but he hasn’t developed into the complete defensive end the team envisioned when they drafted him. There’s certainly value in a quality pass-rusher, but the Jaguars aren’t exactly short on talent in that regard.
Now, Fowler is more determined than ever to show his full range of talents. He understands he needs to put up stats and create “good film” if he wants to get paid this summer. It’s very possible his new contract will come from someone other than the Jaguars.
One challenge for Fowler is that he isn’t currently projected to start for the Jags. Yannick Ngakoue is currently slotted in as Jacksonville’s starter at the left defensive end position. The reality is that while Fowler is a good pass rusher, he isn’t quite as dynamic as Ngakoue is in that regard. The 2016 third round pick put up 12 sacks last season. Fowler is still going to get some snaps, but there isn’t anything he does that’s clearly superior to Ngakoue.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a very motivated Dante Fowler on their hands this season. They’ll hope he can channel that motivation into production on the field. If he does it will help the Jaguars win even more games than last season. Unfortunately, it could also cost Jacksonville a fortune next summer if they want to retain their former first round pick.