Jags clear $30M in space by cutting Jackson, Gipson, others

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars cleared $30 million in salary cap space by cutting five veterans Friday, including former Pro Bowl defenders Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson.

The team also released offensive lineman Jermey Parnell, running back Carlos Hyde and long-snapper Carson Tinker.

The Jaguars are expected to use the much-needed cap room — they now have about $32 million to spend in 2019 — to sign a quarterback in free agency next week, possibly Nick Foles.

Philadelphia opted not to use the franchise tag on Foles, allowing him to hit the open market. He could get a deal worth more than $20 million annually.

Foles led the Eagles to four playoff victories over the last two seasons, including the franchise’s first NFL title since 1960. He earned 2018 Super Bowl MVP honors and emerged as the league’s top quarterback commodity.

Jacksonville did not part ways with quarterback Blake Bortles, but might do so next week. Cutting Bortles would create another $4.5 million in salary cap space.

The Jags saved $11 million by releasing Jackson, a defensive tackle who was due to count $15 million against the cap. They saved $7.45 million by cutting Gipson, a safety who was due to count $9.05 million against the cap. They saved $6 million on Parnell, $4.7 million on Hyde and $860,000 on Tinker.

Jacksonville, however, will have $5.6 million counted against the salary cap from the Jackson and Gipson deals.

Jackson and Gipson were productive in Jacksonville, playing in all 48 games during their three seasons.

Jackson won a Super Bowl with Denver in 2016 and then signed a six-year, $85.5 million contract with the Jags. The deal included $42 million guaranteed, the richest in franchise history.

He notched 105 tackles, 18 sacks, eight pass breakups and four forced fumbles. He came off the bench late last season, a clear indication his future with the franchise was in jeopardy.

Gipson signed a five-year, $36 million deal that included $12 million guaranteed. He had 159 tackles, 16 pass breakups and six interceptions in three seasons in Jacksonville.

Both players should draw plenty of interest in free agency. Jackson is 29 years old and hasn’t missed a game since his rookie year in 2012. Gipson is 28 and hasn’t missed a game since October 2015.

The 32-year-old Parnell was entering the final year of his contract and was due a $1 million roster bonus on March 17.

Parnell missed three games because of injuries in each of the last two seasons, and the Jaguars believe they can get equal or better production for less money. And that’s necessary for a team with little cap space and plenty of holes to fill.

Parnell started 57 games over four seasons after signing a five-year, $32 million contract in 2015. The deal included $15.5 million guaranteed.

Tinker missed 27 of 32 games the last two years because of knee injuries, prompting the team to re-sign veteran snapper Matt Overton.

Hyde was a disappointment in Jacksonville, which acquired him from Cleveland last October in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick. The Jaguars had hoped he would fill in for injured starter Leonard Fournette, but Hyde managed just 189 yards in eight games.

Fournette, Thomas Rawls and second-year pro David Williams are the only running backs remaining on Jacksonville’s roster.

The Jags likely will address the position in free agency or the draft, or maybe both.

The 28-year-old Hyde should not have a problem finding a home elsewhere. He has 3,300 yards rushing and 26 touchdowns.

He signed a three-year, $15.25 million contract with the Browns last March. He became expendable in Cleveland when rookie Nick Chubb started looking like a second-round steal.

Hyde was due a $1 million roster bonus on March 15, the same day that $2 million of his base salary would have become guaranteed.

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