JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A person familiar with the transaction says former Arizona defensive lineman Rodney Gunter has agreed to a three-year contract worth $18 million with Jacksonville.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because NFL teams aren’t allowed to announce free-agent additions until players pass physicals and signs deals.
The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Gunter totaled 126 tackles, 11 sacks and two forced fumbles in five years with the Cardinals. He will be asked to help replace five-time Pro Bowler Calais Campbell, who was traded to Baltimore last weekend for a fifth-round draft pick. The 33-year-old Campbell played outside on first and second downs and moved inside for obvious passing situations.
Gunter played in 13 games last season, all starts, and finished with 31 tackles and three sacks. He played on a one-year deal worth $1.75 million.
Jacksonville is undergoing a complete rebuild. General manager Dave Caldwell has cleaned house by trading Campbell (Baltimore), cornerback A.J. Bouye (Denver) and quarterback Nick Foles (Chicago). Caldwell also opted not to pick up an option on defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, allowing him to hit the open market. Those moves created $51.125 million in salary cap space in 2020.
Gunter is the third defensive player to agree to terms with the Jaguars in the past two days. Cleveland linebacker Joe Schobert agreed to a five-year contract worth $53.75 million and includes $22.5 million guaranteed. Cincinnati cornerback Darqueze Dennard agreed to a three-year deal worth $13.5 million and includes $6 million guaranteed.
Schobert spent the past four years in Cleveland and led the team in tackles twice and made a Pro Bowl. Dennard served mostly as a nickel cornerback during his six years in Cincinnati, but he will get a chance to compete outside in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville’s most important phase of its rebuild will happen in the draft. The Jags have 12 picks, including seven in the first four rounds.
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