Offseason Update: On Minshew, Ngakoue…

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Jacksonville Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell (left) and head coach Doug Marrone during pregame warm-ups against the Houston Texans during an NFL game Sunday, December 30, 2018 in Houston. (Rick Wilson via AP)

JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars' decision-makers spoke.

That made Thursday morning notable for Jaguars observers, and what General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone said about a couple of major offseason topics – Yannick Ngakoue and Gardner Minshew II – was notable to varying degrees.

The event: a video conference featuring Caldwell and Marrone discussing multiple topics, including next week's 2020 NFL Draft. We'll cover much of what Caldwell and Marrone said during the conference in the coming days, and we covered Caldwell's thoughts on a lot of key draft points in this story already posted on jaguars.com.

As far as what Caldwell said about Ngakoue?

"I don't really have a whole lot of news on that," Caldwell said.

That's consistent with the approach Caldwell and the organization have taken since placing the NFL's franchise tag on the veteran defensive end last month. Ngakoue had been scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent March 18, but the franchise tag limits his options because a pursuing team would have to give the Jaguars two first-round draft selections if they signed him away.

Ngakoue currently has the option of signing the tag and playing for the Jaguars in 2020 or not playing. The Jaguars have the option of trading Ngakoue.

Ngakoue, whose 37.5 career sacks in four seasons included eight this past season, on multiple occasions in recent weeks has expressed his desire to play elsewhere. The team has declined comment on the situation and Caldwell continued in that vein Thursday.

"We're a week away from the draft, and we've exercised a franchise tender," Caldwell said. "He's yet to sign it. Other than that, I don't have a whole to add. Out of respect for him and his team and our team, I think it's best that when I have news for you guys to let you guys know where we're at."

Also discussed Thursday:

Minshew, who went 6-6 as a rookie starter last season – first replacing an injured Nick Foles then returning to the lineup after Foles was ineffective in three November starts. The Jaguars traded Foles to the Chicago Bears this offseason, leaving Minshew – a sixth-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft – and Josh Dobbs as their lone quarterback.

With the Jaguars holding the Nos. 9 and 20 overall selections in next week's draft, and with multiple analysts projecting the Jaguars possibly selecting a quarterback at No. 9 or trading up for one earlier in the Top 10, Marrone on Thursday was asked about the team's commitment level to Minshew as the starter.

"First of all, we evaluate everyone in the draft," Marrone said. "We evaluated the quarterback position just like we evaluated the defensive end and running back position – everything. Right now, if we went to play, Gardner Minshew's our guy and I'm excited about that. But do I want competition for him? Absolutely.

"We want competition for everyone, though. I don't want to make it where I'm answering this question and it's, 'Marrone's not as confident …' or 'Marrone wants competition just for the quarterback.' I want competition for everyone."

Marrone on Thursday also praised Minshew's offseason approach and spoke highly of what Minshew accomplished last season.

"The one thing about Gardner is that he has shown some good things last year," Marrone said. "We did win obviously six games with him. He's a guy right now that's working his ass off. We're working on getting a better football team – if we can bring someone in, or the other thing is, 'Hey, bring some people around that can help that position at quarterback.'

"When people talk about, 'Hey, do you have confidence in this player?' … When you put a player on that field and he's a starter, what you're saying is, 'I have total confidence in this player.' Because if you don't, you're really selling the team short, the organization short and the fans short.

"But if you're asking me, 'Are you happy with Gardner?' Absolutely."

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