JACKSONVILLE – Ryan Davis knows the immediate future could bring change for the Jaguars defensively – big, high-profile change.
Now, he knows he has a chance to be a part of it.
Davis, a reserve pass-rushing defensive end, on Monday signed the one-year tender offer the team extended last week. Signing the tender means Davis will play the 2016 season on a year-contract, a deal he referred to on Monday as a big raise.
"You have to perform at the right time," Davis said Monday afternoon at EverBank Field. "I've been fortunate enough to be consistent and excel – and to put myself in a position to sign something like this. It's really humbling and I'm thankful for it."
It also means he has a roster spot as the Jaguars begin what is expected to be a major foray this week in the free-agent market – with a heavy emphasis expected on the defensive front.
"It means a great deal to me that they thought highly enough to include me in the plans," Davis said. "The coaches, they told me that, but it's different when you go in and sign the paperwork – then they really mean what they said.
"I think that's a big part of why I feel so good today. They backed up what they said. I'm just ready to go out and do my thing and get this thing back rolling."
Davis, who played collegiately at Bethune-Cookman, originally signed with the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent following the 2012 draft. He signed with the team during the tenure of Head Coach Mike Mularkey and General Manager Gene Smith, then moved onto the active roster in 2013 – after the hiring of General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Gus Bradley.
"I like to think they took a liking to me as a person as well as a player," Davis said. "Me working hard, really embodying what they were looking for, then keeping me around … I'm really thankful for that."
An undrafted free agent from one regime emerging to be a contributing, re-signable player in another regime is relatively rare in NFL circles, but Davis did that, registering 11 sacks in the last three seasons.
That total included a career-high 6.5 sacks in 2014 and 3.5 this past season. He also has 31 tackles (25 solo), an interception, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and four passes defensed in three NFL seasons.
"That's been the story of my career," Davis said. "I'm the type to dig in and adapt, then once you adapt, 'Excel.' For me, that's been a big part of who I am. I'm glad to see some of the benefits of it now, but I'm obviously not where I want to be.
"I still have a lot of work to do and it's going to get done."