The Jacksonville Jaguars will be without linebacker Telvin Smith during the upcoming season. Smith, who is 28 years old and led the Jags in tackles with 134 last season, announced on his Instagram page that he will be stepping away from the game this season in order to “give this time back to myself, my family, & my health.”
It doesn’t seem like anyone knows exactly what’s going on here. After Smith made his announcement, the Jaguars released a terse statement indicating that they hadn’t known the news was coming. The statement ended, somewhat confusingly, with this: “If there is a way we can support him we need to understand that.”
It’s entirely possible that Smith, who has been one of the very best linebackers in the NFL during his five seasons in the league, got tired of the Jaguars spending this offseason being cagey about his place on the team. Smith signed a four-year deal with $20 million guaranteed in 2017, but spent the offseason hearing rumors about how Jacksonville might want to trade him for draft picks. When GM Dave Caldwell was asked during the draft if he expected to have Smith on the roster in 2019, all he said was, “We’ll see.”
Whatever the Jaguars’ actual intentions may have been, they’ve pretty well blown it now. Instead of getting rid of a defensive star and getting some solid young players in return, they’ve now lost their leading tackler for nothing. As always, things are going great in Jacksonville.