The Jaguars declined a trade offer from the Minnesota Vikings that would've required the Jaguars to give the Vikings safety Donovin Darius and multiple draft picks in exchange for the Vikings' first pick in the first round of this year's NFL draft. The Vikings currently have the seventh (from Oakland for Randy Moss) and 18th picks of the draft.
"There were multiple picks involved in the original trade offer," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio told jaguars.com on Tuesday afternoon. "We had discussions. They had the freedom to talk to (Darius') agent. In the end, it wasn't something that would've worked for either side."
Del Rio was asked if at any time in the trade discussions the Vikings offered the seventh pick of the draft for Darius and the Jaguars' pick at 21. "No," Del Rio said.
Contract negotiations with Darius also became a stumbling block in completing the trade and the whole matter died when the Vikings were able to sign safety Darren Sharper to a contract on Saturday. Sharper was released by the Packers on Friday.
The Jaguars and Vikings discussed several trade scenarios. The Jaguars wanted the Vikings' pick at number 18, but the Vikings held firm to that pick.
This year's draft is considered to have less of a division between the top and bottom of the first round. Some draftniks have suggested it's a good year not to have a high pick.
Darius maintains the ability to scout for a team willing to trade for his services. The Jaguars gave Darius that freedom after he complained bitterly about being "franchised" for the third consecutive year. Dallas and Cleveland are two teams that had also been rumored to have interest in Darius.
As a "franchise player," Darius would earn about $5 million this season. That money became guaranteed recently when Darius signed the Jaguars "franchise" tender. The Jaguars can not cut Darius without paying him that full amount, but they can avoid paying him that salary by trading him. Darius, of course, is seeking a team with whom he might negotiate a long-term contract.
In other Jaguars news today, the team re-signed wide receiver Troy Edwards and running back Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala. Edwards was second on the team in pass receptions last season with 50 catches for 533 yards and one touchdown. Fuamatu-Ma'afala rushed 20 times for 69 yards and one touchdown. Both players became unrestricted free agents on March 2.
Edwards' best performance last season was against the Steelers, the team that selected him in the first round of the 1999 draft. Edwards caught five passes for 90 yards and one touchdown.
In two seasons with the Jaguars, Edwards has 85 receptions for 1,015 yards and four touchdowns. He was the Jaguars' number three receiver last season, as Jimmy Smith and Reggie Williams were the starters in 15 of the team's 16 games.
The Jaguars' wide receiver ranks now include Edwards, Smith, Williams, Ernest Wilford, Cortez Hankton, Chris Cole and Huey Whittaker.
Fuamatu-Ma'afala played in seven games in 2004. He saw his most action against the Steelers, the team that drafted him in the sixth round in 1998, carrying the ball six times for 20 yards. He came to the Jaguars in '03, after being cut by the Steelers at the end of training camp.
A combination running back/fullback, "Fu" joins backfield mates Fred Taylor, Greg Jones, David Allen, LaBrandon Toefield and Rich Alexis on the Jaguars roster.
"With Troy, we get a guy who caught 50 balls and was good in the slot. We bring back his play-making ability, let him compete and solidify our wide-receiving corps. The challenge for Fu is to stay healthy. No one has ever questioned his ability to play at a high level," Del Rio said.