It has been 25 years since the Jacksonville Jaguars originally became an NFL organization. The current AFC South franchise is now a staple of the league’s 32-team format. Despite the fact that the Jaguars have never even appeared in a Super Bowl let alone won a title, Jacksonville has won three divisional crowns while making a total of seven playoff appearances as this franchise continues on its rollercoaster ride of an existence.
Even though there has not been a ton of success down in Jacksonville with this organization typically coming up just shy of sustaining a winning culture for a lengthy period of time, the Jaguars have definitely employed more than a few notable players over the years. With this team often drafting talent or even luring veteran free agents to Jacksonville, the well-known trades that the Jaguars have made sometimes get swept under the rug in discussions surrounding the franchise’s lineage.
Nonetheless, there are five trades in particular that have helped shape the foundation of the Jaguars in the past, present and future.
1. Running Back Fred Taylor / Quarterback Rob Johnson (Buffalo Bills)
Arguably the best all-around player in franchise history, longtime Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylorwas originally selected by the organization with the No. 9 overall pick in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft. However, the Jaguars first needed to acquire such a pick via trade with the Buffalo Bills, who actually sent not one but two first round picks in 1998 to Jacksonville in exchange for quarterback Rob Johnson. With Taylor coming off the board to the Jaguars inside the top 10 following a trade that perhaps not many across the football landscape associate with the renowned rusher due to the fact that he was ultimately drafted by the AFC franchise, the Jacksonville legend still serves as the team’s all-time leading rusher thanks to his 11,271 yards and 62 touchdowns on 2,428 carries. A Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro selection, Taylor helped the Jaguars reach the postseason four times, a run highlighted by a pair of divisional titles.
2. Quarterback Mark Brunell / Future NFL Draft Picks (Green Bay Packers)
In April 1995, the Jacksonville Jaguars traded third and fifth round NFL Draft picks from that same year to the Green Bay Packers in exchange for a veteran quarterback. Little did the Jaguars know, that quarterback, Mark Brunell would help change the trajectory of the franchise forever. With Brunnell leading the Jaguars to a pair of divisional titles and four trips to the playoffs, he would go on to become the franchise’s all-time leading passer as well. Currently still atop the team’s all-time ranks as a passer, Brunnell logged 25,698 yds and 144 touchdowns through the air as a member of the Jaguars. During his time in Jacksonville, Brunnell reached three Pro Bowls, the only three appearances of his career, in addition to leading the NFL in passing in 1996. It is also worth noting that this deal wasthe first trade in franchise history for the Jaguars.
3. Quarterback Nick Foles / Future NFL Draft Picks (Chicago Bears)
After making a huge mistake last offseason, the Jacksonville Jaguars were quickly — and luckily — bailed out by the Chicago Bears this offseason. The Jaguars originally signed journeyman quarterback turned Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl legend Nick Foles to a four-year, $88 million free agent contract ahead of the 2019-20 campaign. With a late round NFL Draft pick in Gardner Minshew II emerging as the team’s quarterback of the future in the absence of the injured Foles during his rookie year in 2019-20, the Jaguars were able to unload Foles’ massive contract to the aforementioned Bears in exchange for a compensatory fourth round 2020 NFL Draft pick. This obviously cleared up a large amount of available salary cap space for Jacksonville as the Jaguars continu to rebuild from the ground up. Not only that, but Foles isn’t even starting for the Bears despite the team having to pay him quite the large sum of money to sit on the bench.
4. Pass Rusher Yannick Ngakoue / Future NFL Draft Picks (Minnesota Vikings)
Originally selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft, current Minnesota Vikings pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue made it pretty clear that he no longer wanted to suit up for the AFC South franchise earlier this year. In August, the Jaguars were finally able to ship Ngakoue out of Jacksonville while trading him to the aforementioned Vikings in exchange for a 2021 second round pick and a conditional fifth round pick. Off the hook for Ngakoue’s franchise tag and the salary that comes along with it as he clearly didn’t want to play for the Jaguars, Jacksonville also wound up getting something relatively substantial in exchange for the disgruntled pass rusher before he hit the free agent market next offseason. Even if the Jaguars were willing to pay Ngakoue in the end, not even loads of money could have saved this situation as it was just simply best to go their separate ways in the end.
5. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey / Future NFL Draft Picks (Los Angeles Rams)
Similarly to his former Jacksonville Jaguars teammate in pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue, current Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey did not want to remain with the AFC South franchise. With the relationship between the two sides growing more and more tense as Ramsey wanted a new contract with the Jaguars not really seeming to want to part ways with that much money, a trade across the country to Los Angeles midway through last season was the eventual result. However, it was actually a win-win for both sides in the end as the Jaguars managed to acquire multiple future first round NFL Draft picks, alongside a future fourth rounder as well, in exchange for Ramsey, who has since become the highest-paid defensive back in NFL history. Ramsey infamously inked a five-year, $105 million contract extension with the Rams earlier this month. The absence of Ramsey, and his brand-new $105 million contract, has allowed the Jaguars to save a ton of money while being able to continue the team’s rebuilding efforts as well.