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GM Caldwell on Scobee trade: "Toughest decision we've had to make"


JACKSONVILLE – Jason Myers is the new Jaguars kicker.

That means Josh Scobee no longer has that role, and that's a decision Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said wasn't easy for anyone involved.

"This was easily the toughest decision we've had to make in our time here," Caldwell said late Monday afternoon.

Scobee, the Jaguars' kicker for the last 12 seasons and one of the most popular players in franchise history, on Monday was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for the Steelers' 2016 sixth-round draft selection. The trade became official shortly after 4 p.m.

Caldwell addressed the Scobee trade on a conference call shortly thereafter, at which time he also discussed a report by Adam Schefter of ESPN that tight end Julius Thomas may need surgery on the hand injury sustained in the preseason opener against Pittsburgh August 14.

Caldwell said Thomas will go for a second opinion Tuesday.

"My understanding is that if he does need it (surgery) it's only going to push him back a couple of weeks in his return time," Caldwell said. "He was going to be 50-50 for the (regular-season) opener (against Carolina at EverBank Field on September 13)."

Caldwell said the trade for Scobee developed in the last 24 hours, with Caldwell first speaking to Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert around 4:30 Sunday. Caldwell said he informed Scobee's agent of the trade Sunday night, then spoke to Scobee later that evening.

"I told him it was easily the toughest decision we've had to make here in our time," Caldwell, in his third season as the Jaguars' general manager, said. "Whatever you think of Josh as a kicker, which he was very good at, he's even a better person.

"He's a tremendous leader. He was great to our young players. He was great in our community. He and his family were very active in the community. As much as he will be missed here, he'll be missed even more so in the community."

Myers, who played collegiately at Marist, signed with the Jaguars on March 3 this offseason, and has impressed with accuracy and distance throughout the preseason. He has made four of his five preseason field-goal attempts, converting from 38, 49 and 55 yards against the New York Giants in Preseason Week 2 and converting from 35 yards against Detroit in Preseason Week 3. He also missed from 58 yards against Pittsburgh in the preseason opener.

"He's been very good," Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said early Monday afternoon. "Very solid, consistent, his demeanor – nothing really rattles him. He's been very good, very good."

Added Caldwell, "Jason's done a great job. The only thing he's missing is really the experience. He's going to get that. Through this process, we've said, 'This is a guy we can grow with as a team and as a franchise.'"

Myers also spent time with Arizona and San Jose of the Arena Football League in 2014. Jaguars director of player personnel Chris Polian and director of pro personnel Chris Driggers scouted Myers at Michael Husted's kicking camp in Mobile, Alabama, shortly before the Senior Bowl in January.

Take a look back at some of Josh Scobee's most memorable moments in a Jaguars uniform.

Myers then kicked well the following week in Jacksonville in a workout that was attended by Caldwell, Bradley and special teams coordinator Mike Mallory.

"His leg strength was eye-catching and his accuracy on the field goals was very good," Caldwell said, adding it became apparent midway through the offseason that Myers could push to be the kicker.

"We knew we had value there between both guys," Caldwell said.

Caldwell said he discussed the possibility of trading both players with multiple teams, with the offer from Pittsburgh the best deal he received for either player. But he also said that the team had decided and felt strongly that it did not want to part ways with Myers.

"There was a resounding feeling that whatever happened we did not what to lose Jason for the future," Caldwell said.

Scobee's contract is up after this season, and Caldwell said he didn't feel strongly the team could find a kicker as good as Myers to replace Scobee at that time.

"It was a very close battle," Caldwell said. "To get a sixth-round pick for a kicker, we felt like was good value."

Scobee, a fourth-round selection in the 2004 NFL Draft, is the franchise's all-time leading scorer with 1,022 points. He has played the third-most games in franchise history with 168, behind only center Brad Meester (208) and wide receiver Jimmy Smith (171).

Scobee converted his only two field-goal attempts of preseason – from 36 yards in the preseason opener against Pittsburgh and from 52 yards a week later against the New York Giants. He converted 20 of 26 field goals last season – including three of six from beyond 50 yards – and was successful on 23 of 23 point-after attempts.

Scobee, a fifth-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2004 NFL Draft, converted 235 of 291 career field goals for the Jaguars for a percentage of 80.8. He made 26 of 42 field goals from 50-plus yards.

Scobee's 59-yard field goal against Indianapolis on October 3, 2010, is the longest field goal in franchise history. It also remains the third-longest game-winning field goal in NFL history.

Scobee had eight game-winning field goals with the Jaguars, including a 43-yarder to beat the New York Giants on November 30 of last season.

In other Jaguars news:

*The Scobee trade opened a spot on the roster. Caldwell said the team "rescinded" defensive end Camaron Beard. That means instead of being released Beard will rejoin the Jaguars and play against the Washington Redskins in the preseason finale Thursday.

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