JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There are going to be significant changes to the Jacksonville Jaguars' roster as executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin, general manager Dave Caldwell and coach Doug Marrone try to rebound from an awful 2018 and return to the playoffs in 2019.
Before the trio can concentrate on potentially available free agents and the draft, however, they have a lot of decisions to make about their own personnel -- especially regarding some key players. Here's a look at those players and predictions on whether they'll be on the roster in 2019.
Players under contract
QB Blake Bortles: Bortles started the season finale, and the offense wasn't any better than it was with Cody Kessler. The Jaguars managed just 119 yards, the second fewest in a game in franchise history. Bortles regressed in 2018 after the best season of his career, and things fell apart for him and the offense after his five-turnover performance against Kansas City in Week 5. The offense's struggles weren't all on Bortles, but he was unable to make up for the injuries along the offensive line and tight end, the lack of production from the receivers other than Dede Westbrook and a lackluster season from running back Leonard Fournette. The Jaguars have to start over at quarterback, even though that means a $16.5 million dead cap hit by cutting Bortles. In five years he's proved to be a streaky player who can't sustain a high level of play for more than a few weeks. Teams can't win consistently that way. Prediction: He's gone.
DE Calais Campbell: He has been the best free-agent signing in franchise history after becoming the first Jaguars player to record double-digit sacks in back-to-back seasons, including a franchise single-season record 14.5 in 2017. Campbell had 10.5 sacks this season, which gives him 25 in 32 regular-season games with the Jaguars. Coaches praised how well he played the run this season, too. Prediction: Campbell said on his weekly TV appearance that he was told he'll be back in 2019 (at $12 million), so, he's back.
RB Leonard Fournette: It was a massively disappointing season in which he missed seven games with injuries and another because of a suspension. He averaged just 3.3 yards per carry and there are questions about his commitment and work ethic. Coughlin ripped him for his demeanor on the bench in the season finale. The Jaguars built their offense and run game around him and used the fourth overall pick to select him in 2017. That should buy him at least another chance to prove he can act like a pro and help the Jaguars win games. Prediction: He's back.
FS Tashaun Gipson: The emergence of rookie Ronnie Harrison made strong safety Barry Church expendable, and the Jaguars might opt to part ways with Gipson and go with fourth-year player Jarrod Wilson in 2019. Gipson didn't play at the same level he did in 2017 and the Jaguars had numerous coverage busts in the secondary. He did, however, do a good job in one-on-one coverage against tight ends. Though Gipson wasn't the Pro Bowler he said he would be, there's no pressing performance issue significant enough to cut him. However, the Jaguars would save $7.45 million by doing so. Prediction: He's gone.
RB Carlos Hyde: The Jaguars gave up a fifth-round pick to acquire him via trade from Cleveland in October, but he never got into a groove with the Jaguars other than in Week 16 (47 yards on eight carries against Miami). He was inactive the week before so the Jaguars could get a look at rookie David Williams. Hyde complained publicly about his lack of work and the team isn't enamored with his approach. Hyde is set to make up to $4.75 million in 2019, but carries no dead money, so the Jaguars can cut him without penalty (other than admitting they wasted a fifth-round draft pick). Prediction: He's gone.
DT Malik Jackson: Jackson went from a starter to a third-down pass-rush specialist in the last month of the season, and it's clear the Jaguars don't view him as part of their future, and not at a salary of $13 million in 2019 (they can save $11 million by cutting him). Jackson did have 17.5 sacks in three seasons, which is darned good production from an interior rusher, and he made the Pro Bowl in 2017. Prediction: He's gone.
Pending free agents
RG A.J Cann: He started 59 of the 61 games he played since the Jaguars drafted him in the third round in 2015, and 2018 was by far his most consistent season. He was the only member of the projected starting offensive line still on the field in the final two weeks of the season, and missed just three games because of injury in his four seasons. Prediction: He's not a high priority to bring back. He's gone.
K Josh Lambo: He has missed just three of his 41 field goal attempts (and only three of 44 PATs) since joining the Jaguars in October 2017. That included a franchise-record 24 consecutive field goals. Prediction: This season has provided ample evidence of the need for a reliable kicker. He's back.
WR Donte Moncrief: The Jaguars gave Moncrief a one-year contract worth a guaranteed $9.6 million in free agency last March. He ended up with 48 catches, which means the Jaguars paid him $200,000 per reception. Not exactly a great investment. Prediction: He's gone.
TE James O'Shaughnessy: He has more receptions (38) and receiving yards (363) than any Jaguars tight end over the past two seasons. He averaged 9.6 yards per catch (though only one TD), which was the second best of any Jacksonville tight end. The Jaguars are expected to address this position in free agency or the draft this spring. They failed to do so last year and were burned by that when Austin Seferian-Jenkins went on injured reserve after Week 5. O'Shaughnessy is a fit as a third or fourth tight end, but only at minimum money. Prediction: He's back.
RB T.J. Yeldon: Yeldon filled in for an injured Fournette as the starter early in the season and ended up as the Jaguars' second-leading receiver (55 catches), but his production fell off significantly in the second half of the season. He was inactive in Week 16 and didn't touch the ball in Week 17 despite being active. He has 1,872 yards rushing, which ranks fifth in team history, in his four seasons. Prediction: Any chance he had of coming back (which was pretty small anyway) was dashed by his actions during the season finale, which prompted Coughlin to release a scathing statement. He's gone.