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Bills surprisingly trade Marcell Dareus to already scary Jaguars defense

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A formidable Jaguars defense just got scarier.

The Jacksonville Jaguars defense is already one of the best units in the NFL and now it stands to be even better after the team just acquired Marcell Dareus from the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills announced that the compensation is a sixth-round draft pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but the real coup for the Bills is sending away a huge contract to the Jaguars that the team no longer wanted on the books.

According to Adam Schefter, the pick could become a fifth-rounder depending on the performance of Dareus in the remainder of the 2017 season.

Dareus, 27, is a two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle who once notched 10 sacks in a season in 2014. During that season his head coach was Doug Marrone, who has since taken over for the Jaguars.

However, in the last two and a half seasons combined, he has just 6.5 sacks.

Why does this trade make sense for the Jaguars? With monsters like Malik Jackson and Calais Campbell already in the middle of the Jacksonville defensive line, the danger is that the Jaguars will take on large cap hits until 2021 for a player who is just a rotational piece on a defensive line that was already on pace for a record-breaking sack total.

But the biggest advantage of bringing in Dareus for the 2017 season is how much he should be able to bolster the team’s run defense.

While Dareus hasn’t been able to replicate his sack totals of 2013 and 2014, he’s still someone who consistently makes plays behind the line of scrimmage.

“Marcell Dareus is an experienced player who has been productive throughout his career,” Jaguars executive Tom Coughlin said Saturday. “He will be a good fit with our team and our defense. We expect him to be stout against the run and to be able to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. This was a great opportunity to acquire a proven player who can come in and help us immediately.”

The Jaguars defense is especially strong against the pass, but has struggled to stop opposing running backs and has given up 5.2 yards per carry so far in 2017. If Dareus can amend that issue some, it makes Jacksonville an even tougher to team to beat.

Why does this trade make sense for the Bills? The most important part of this deal for Buffalo is escaping a contract the team no longer wanted a part of. After giving Dareus a six-year deal worth more than $100 million, the Bills stood to take huge cap hits in each of the next four seasons after 2016.

Buffalo has already made moves to distance itself from previous regimes, trading Sammy Watkins, Ronald Darby, Reggie Ragland, and Cardale Jones before the regular season began. But even after those deals, the Bills still look like they’re in decent shape under Sean McDermott and started the season 4-2.

Following the deal, the Bills have two picks in each of the first three rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft, one in each of the fourth and fifth rounds, and three sixth-round picks.

Via SB Nation’s Bills blog, Buffalo Rumblings:

“For the Bills, this is an admission that Dareus wasn’t a great schematic fit and that the new Bills regime didn’t like the way his off-field baggage clashed with the culture they wanted to build. It’s also another strong lean in the direction of new management’s vision. The Bills accelerated $14 million of Dareus’s upcoming cap hit by trading him, but ultimately will save $2 million in cap space.”

The baggage refers to a 2014 arrest of Dareus for a car race that landed him seven charges and suspensions in 2015 and 2016. Earlier in 2017, Dareus was sent home for violating team rules and was forced to sit out of a preseason game.