Jags indeed interested in Taylor, but is he long for the NFL?
Last week I told you in this forum that Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio was interested in the idea of trading for Jason Taylor, according to two league sources. I told you I would try to flush the issue out further at the NFL annual meetings.
Although Del Rio has deflected several attempts to pin him down on the matter publicly, I've confirmed that the coach not only likes the idea of trading for Taylor, but also for Carolina's Julius Peppers -- whichever might be the best deal in his mind.
Realizing there are folks thinking about Peppers, Carolina coach John Fox on Wednesday morning basically told them to look elsewhere: "I love Julius Peppers," Fox said. "We are not looking to trade Julius Peppers. We want him with us for some years to come. He did not have his best season a year ago. I won't argue that. He won't argue that. But we're ready to move on."
If Del Rio can't find a way to add one of those two premier pass-rushers, he'll continue his search through other means because he figures his team is a fine pass-rusher from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Del Rio has declined to speak on the record about either Taylor or Peppers. But he's made no secret of the Jags' need to find a defensive end.
"We're going to do the best we can with the people we have but we’re not done collecting the people we’re going to have in 2008," Del Rio said Tuesday. "There are always a combination of ways that you can disrupt the quarterback. And the number of sacks is not the most important thing, disruption of the quarterback is the most important thing whether we’re bringing blitzes, whether we’re using waves of people, whether we end up with a player or two who can legitimately get after the quarterback.
"We're going to find a way and we’re very open minded in terms of how we’re going to go about it and going to find a way to make sure we disrupt the quarterback and the timing of what they want to do offensively."
The Jaguars have no intention of giving up a first round pick for that pass rusher if he comes in trade. They also don't want to give up their second round pick. They seem open to the idea of giving up a third rounder.
Obviously Carolina seems intent on keeping Peppers, if one believes Fox. The Dolphins also have expressed their desire to keep Taylor, as both Bill Parcells and coach Tony Sparano have made that point.
But the situation is simply different for Miami so it might be more inclined to settle for a second round pick for Taylor.
Unlike Peppers, who is 28, Taylor will be 34 next season. It is simply logical that a team in rebuilding mode, a team that wants to acquire draft picks, would consider moving a 34-year-old player. Not to do that is stubborn.
Also, based on what I've been told about Taylor's future goals -- which today are to play in 2008 then really, really seriously consider retirement thereafter to enter show business -- it would seem to be a grave mistake to hang on to him.
Let's hope the Dolphins don't outsmart themselves because this is the first significant test of the personnel prowess for the new Bill Parcells regime - ahead of the upcoming draft even. How the regime handles this matter will determine the initial grade it receives as it tries to rebuild.
It should be interesting.