Colts fans in Indianapolis should be loving the demise of the Jaguars.
It wasn’t too long ago that the Jacksonville Jaguars were widely considered as the next perennial championship contender in the AFC. That’s downright laughable when you remember that they managed a losing record in six consecutive seasons prior to 2017, when they finished first in the division with a 10-6 record and held a double-digit lead over the New England Patriots in second half of the AFC Championship Game, doing what the Colts seemingly couldn’t for 15 years.
Pundits in the media subsequently tabbed Jacksonville, led by its world-beating defense, as a dynasty in the making, and obvious trouble in the AFC South for the foreseeable future.
Fast forward to the present, however, and almost every key member of that unit is no longer around.
The Jaguars offense was never anything to write home about, but its most important component, running back Leonard Fournette, was released on Monday after numerous failed attempts to trade him this offseason. This really put the nail in the coffin of Jacksonville’s championship window, if you can even call it that, and Indianapolis Colts fans should be loving every second of it.
Fournette’s surprise release came just a few days after the Jaguars traded Yannick Ngakoue to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2021 second-round pick and a conditional 2022 fifth-rounder that could become as high as a third-rounder. That’s a markedly underwhelming return for a player who’s tallied 37.5 sacks, 85 QB hits and 14 forced fumbles since entering the NFL in 2016.
What made that deal even more humiliating for Jacksonville was that the Pro Bowl defensive end actually took a pay cut in order to complete the trade. For context, he was originally slated to earn $17.8 million under the franchise tag and willingly chose to sign a one-year, $12 million contract with Minnesota.
The departures of Fournette and Ngakoue come after the Jaguars jettisoned the likes of Jalen Ramsey, Allen Robinson, Dante Fowler, Calais Campbell, AJ Bouye, Barry Church, Malik Jackson, Telvin Smith and Tashaun Gipson — all of whom were members of their promising core — over parts of the last three seasons.
Want to feel even better, Colts Nation? The Jaguars drafted Fournette at No. 4 overall in the 2017 Draft over generational quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson because they felt he would make the life of then-starting gunslinger Blake Bortles easier. As we know, the Central Florida product was gone after the 2018 campaign.
Fans in Indianapolis should be thanking their lucky stars that general manager Chris Ballard is running the show for the Colts, because Jacksonville has literally been run into the ground over the last three years.
Consider another potential division rival preemptively defeated by Father Time.