As expected, the Jaguars released veteran defensive end Joel Smeenge, one of six roster moves the team made today in its ongoing efforts to comply with Friday's $67.4 million salary cap deadline Smeenge, the second-leading sacker in Jaguars history and a member of the team since its first season, had become too expensive for the cap- trapped Jags to afford. The same applies to veteran long snapper Quentin Neujahr and former star punt-returner Reggie Barlow. Neujahr and Barlow are joined by safety Rayna Stewart and last year's fourth-round draft choice, offensive tackle Joe Chustz, as having been waived this afternoon. In another move, the Jaguars did not make a tender offer to reserve fullback Jermaine Williams.
The moves save the Jaguars just over $9 million against their 2001 salary cap. Smeenge would've been a $5 million hit this season; Neujahr $1.95 million; Barlow $1.5 million; Stewart $500,000; and Chustz $160,000. Williams would've cost $500,000 in a tender offer.
The total of the reductions immediately left the Jaguars at about $17 million over the salary cap. The deadline for being in cap compliance is the start of business Friday morning. Each NFL team will submit its cap report to the league office by four p.m. this Thursday, but will be given until the league office opens Friday morning for cap clean up.
Smeenge is one of the most popular Jaguars in team history.
Neujahr came to Jaguars in 1998 as insurance for center Michael Cheever. When Cheever's career ended with a training camp recurrence of his back injury, Neujahr stepped into the starting lineup for the remainder of the regular season. His starting job was claimed by John Wade in the '98 playoffs, when Neujahr was sidelined by a pinched nerve in his neck.
Barlow was one of the league's best punt-returners from 1997-99, but suffered a knee injury late in the '99 season that required surgery from which he did not recover. He was ineffective as a punt-returner last season and had failed in his attempt to become a dependable third wide receiver.
Stewart's release was made possible by the contract restructuring this week of veteran safety Carnell Lake. The Jaguars have several contract re-structurings that are awaiting signatures, which will greatly reduce the team's current cap excess. However, the major emphasis this week is on signing quarterback Mark Brunell to a new contract. There were no new facts to report on that matter as of five p.m. today.