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Calais Campbell picks Jaguars after mulling an offer from Broncos in free agency

Campbell turns 31 in September, but he’s been playing like he’s 26.

Denver Broncos v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Defensive end Calais Campbell will join the Jacksonville Jaguars after all, opting to take a four-year, $60 million deal with the team instead of a cheaper deal with his hometown Denver Broncos.

Campbell looked to be headed to Jacksonville when reports came Wednesday evening that he agreed to a deal with the Jaguars, but on Thursday morning came reports that Campbell was entertaining the idea of playing in his hometown of Denver for less.

But eventually Campbell opted to take $15 million per year from the Jaguars.

A small difference in the money offered to Campbell was close enough for the 30-year-old to consider playing for less in front of his family in the city where he was born and raised. But with no state income tax in Florida, the difference in money that will actually be pocketed by the lineman is much higher.

"Chose Jags because Tom Coughlin is a winner, they brought in two other big free agents and they also have been drafting well the last few years,” Campbell told ESPN’s Josina Anderson in a text. “They are a young and hungry defense that I want to lead."

Even at 30 years old, the 6-foot-8 defensive end is one of the best in the NFL. He can bat passes, score off turnovers, and do everything in between. One of the more effective interior rushers in the NFL, Campbell has tallied 56.5 sacks over his nine-year career, including eight in 2016.

It’s not often veteran defensive linemen like Campbell earn a second mega-contract, but in this case, his contract is understandable. Players as physically talented, hardworking, and mentally tough as Campbell don’t come around often. The longtime Cardinals defensive end doesn’t have jaw-dropping numbers, but his presence on the field goes far beyond the box score. Campbell often draws double-teams and sets up teammates from the interior, allowing guys like Chandler Jones to feast off one-on-one matchups and earn the sack instead.

Campbell is a multi-faceted player, and his numbers clearly show it. The aforementioned 56.5 sacks are impressive, but it’s his 42 career pass defenses, eight forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries, three interceptions, and two safeties which really highlight Campbell’s value on the field. He does everything he’s asked to do and more. And the results speak for themselves. Over the past few years, Arizona has perennially boasted strong defenses, in large part thanks to Campbell.

Now he’ll bring that to the Jaguars, a year after the team added former Denver Broncos lineman Malik Jackson to a blockbuster deal in 2016.