Jags officially send LB Joe Schobert to Steelers, will receive a 2022 sixth-round pick

It’s official, Joe Schobert is now a Pittsburgh Steeler and the Jags will be getting a six-round pick (and more importantly more cap space) in exchange.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have officially traded linebacker Joe Schobert to the Pittsburgh Steelers the team announced Saturday. The move comes after various sources reported the news Thursday night as the Steelers were on the field against the Philadelphia Eagles for their second preseason game.

Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Jags will specifically be receiving a sixth-round pick in 2022 in exchange.

With the Jags not receiving a player in exchange, it’s clear they wanted to rid themselves of an expensive contract. Schobert, who joined the Jags last season when Dave Caldwell was the team’s general manager, signed a five-year, $53.75 million contract. However, Caldwell didn’t make it through the whole 2020 season as the Jags’ general manager and changes have been occurring ever since.

The Jags have a new regime in place now, and one of the players they’ve been impressed by is free agent addition Damien Wilson, who previously played for the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s been more along the lines of what they want at interior linebacker, and as a result, the Jags didn’t view Schobert as a fit heading forward.

With the sixth-round selection they are receiving from Pittsburgh, the Jags could have 10 picks next season if Josh Oliver, who was traded to the Baltimore Ravens, makes the final 53-man roster of his new team. They also have a conditional fifth-round selection coming in 2022 for trading Yannick Ngakoue. 

Jaguars will receive late-round compensation in return for LB Joe Schobert

Schobert’s compensation didn’t yield a player like some had hoped. Instead, Jacksonville simply looked to offload an expensive deal.

Jacksonville Jaguars fans hopeful that the Joe Schobert trade with Pittsburgh would yield a player may be disappointed. It was reported on Thursday night while the Steelers were in action against the Philadelphia Eagles in the preseason that Jacksonville would be sending Schobert up north, and according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the compensation for the Jags will be an undisclosed late-round pick.

Due to Pittsburgh’s depth at the tight end position and Jacksonville’s needs there, there was a thought that the Jags could attempt to acquire one of those tight ends for Schobert. However, it seems the intent of the trade from the Jags’ perspective was to simply offload a fairly expensive deal.

Schobert should be a much better fit with Pittsburgh, who runs a more traditional setup for its linebackers. Jacksonville values speed and athleticism a lot more, and the team likes what it has in Damien Wilson, an offseason addition from the Kansas City Chiefs.

It was a relatively disappointing 2020 season for Schobert, who was the Jaguars’ marquee free-agent signing last offseason, and it seems that the new staff is eager to move on from him.

Though the trade didn’t yield a potential starter at tight end like Eric Ebron or Zach Gentry, it does improve the cap situation even more for a Jaguars team that still leads the league in cap space.

LB Joe Schobert confirms trade, expresses excitement to work with Mike Tomlin, Steelers’ DL

Joe Schobert is going to a new team and it’s one he’s very familiar with.

While he’ll be playing in a place with colder weather conditions, linebacker Joe Schobert expressed his excitement to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler Thursday night, confirming that the deal is done. And while he wasn’t able to share the details, he told Fowler that he’s ready to work for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and flourish behind their talented defensive line.

The news of Schobert being traded surfaced as the Steelers were on the field for their preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Once the game ends, it’s possible more details could surface on what the compensation will be.

Schobert only got to spend one season with the Jags, who signed him out of free agency to a five-year, $53.75 million deal last season. However, with linebacker Damien Wilson impressing the Jags in training camp, Schobert became expendable.

The veteran linebacker should fit right in with Pittsburgh due to his familiarity with the AFC North. He rejoins the division after playing with the Cleveland Browns from 2016-19.

Jags agree to trade LB Joe Schobert to Steelers

The Jags have once again tried their hand in the trade market and will be sending Joe Schobert to the Steelers.

With their first preseason game on the horizon, the Jacksonville Jaguars have once again tested their hands in the trade market. The team will be sending veteran interior linebacker Joe Schobert to a rival of theirs in the Pittsburgh Steelers.

USA Today Sports Media Group senior editor Neal Coolong reported the news this evening, and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero later confirmed it. However, the compensation is unknown at the time.

This move makes a lot of sense for both teams as the Steelers are familiar with Schobert, who once played for their division rivals in the Cleveland Browns from 2016-19. They also are a team deep at tight end, where the Jags need help, with Eric Ebron, Pat Freiermuth, and Zach Gentry at the top of their depth chart. That said, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Jags add a player not named Freiermuth (who the Steelers just drafted this year) at the position.

As for the Jags, they have good depth at the interior linebacker position and could be fine with starting Myles Jack and Damien Wilson this season.

Schobert joined the Jags last season during the early stages of free agency. He started in all 16 games for them but got off to a slow start in terms of finding his footing. However, later in the season, he started to find a rhythm, but Wilson seems to be having a better camp than the former Wisconsin Badger.

Schobert will enter his career with the Steelers with 526 total tackles (313 solo), 11 sacks, 24 pass breakups, and nine picks. As a Jag, he was able to accumulate 132 total tackles (75 solo), 2,5 sacks, four pass breakups, and three picks.

Myles Jack and Joe Schobert mentioned among the best NFL linebackers

Jack cracked the top 10, while Schobert earned a shoutout as an honorable mention.

Jacksonville’s defense wasn’t particularly effective in any aspect last season, finishing 27th in the league in passing yards allowed and 30th in rushing yards allowed. With that in mind, you wouldn’t think that the Jaguars would boast one of the better linebacker duos in the league.

But perhaps the team thinks otherwise. Aside from adding Kansas City’s Damien Wilson (and maybe the addition of Dylan Moses), the Jags didn’t make any major changes to the group this offseason, and their projected starters remain the same.

The obvious headliner is Myles Jack, now entering his sixth season. The veteran has been productive for Jacksonville, but he had some of the best play of his entire career to begin the year in 2020.

It’s for this reason that Jack ranks No. 10 in the NFL linebacker rankings from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, who based his list on the opinions of executives, coaches and players from around the league.

Jack was underachieving at middle linebacker; the arrival of free agent Joe Schobert slid him to the outside. That might have been the best move Jacksonville made during a brutal 1-15 season in 2020.

“He played like an All-Pro last year,” an NFC exec said of Jack.

Jack showed his range with 49 run-stop tackle wins (plays within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage). One AFC coach called him more of a “listener than commander,” hence the move to the outside suiting him.

Our final top-10 linebacker, Jack edged out Deion Jones, whose elite speed landed him in the top five last year. But Jack is fast too, and he has nearly 20 pounds on Jones (244 vs. 227).

“Would like to see him more consistent, but it is really tough to get past him,” an NFC coach said. “[The Jaguars] are letting him play fast and float to the ball.”

Jack is certainly the highest-profile player the team currently has on the roster who isn’t named Trevor Lawrence, but his success in 2020 can’t be discussed without mentioning the addition of Schobert.

The middle linebacker wasn’t absurdly impressive in his first season with the team, but he was solid and started every game, clearing the way for Jack to play in his more natural position on the outside. Schobert’s production was still enough to get a mention from an AFC defensive coach, though he didn’t crack the top-10.

“Good field general, great in zone coverage,” the coach said. “Never going to be the big, physical guy.”

Between Jack and Schobert, the Jags should have a solid starting duo, though depth at the position still leaves a bit to be desired. The team will certainly hope so, as it will need its defense to perform much better in 2021 if it wants to be competitive in the AFC South race.

Joe Schobert discusses how Jags’ defense could differ from 2020’s unit

It seems the Jags are installing way more blitz plays in their scheme this year in OTAs, which is something they didn’t do a lot of in 2020.

With five years of experience to his name between playing with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns, linebacker Joe Schobert has seen a lot defensively. That’s exactly why he may be the most equipped player to adapt to the Jags’ new scheme as they’ve made drastic changes.

When speaking to the media this week, the veteran linebacker said he had a pretty good understanding of what was going on, but the key would be more so to get the verbiage down.

“Once you get to a certain point, all NFL defenses are the same, you just have to learn the verbiage and the language of the defense to be able to communicate effectively on the field,” he said on Tuesday.

“… It’s just tough to learn the verbiage at first. You’re always going to associate things you did in the past and there’s always going to be a way that you thought you liked the best. But once you get through OTAs and mandatory minicamp and training camp, that’s three times we’ll have installed the whole playbook and everything going forward.”

Schobert’s understanding of the playbook will be huge for the Jags as he’ll be one of their defensive leaders heading into his second season with them. This time though, he’ll be leading a scheme that’s expected to be vastly different under new defensive coordinator Joe Cullen.

In last year’s scheme, the key was to get pressure with the front four linemen, but Cullen has already shown signs that the Jags will blitz way more in 2021 based on what Schobert and company have worked on in OTAs.

“I’d say like 50 percent of the plays in spring we’ve been running blitzes, so I think there’s going to be a lot of pressure,” said the veteran linebacker “[Defensive Coordinator] Coach Cullen’s not afraid to get after it and put some guys in man coverage, get pressure on the quarterback, try to force him to make mistakes, so it’s going to be fun to see what he has dialed up in games actually in the fall.”

Schobert’s statements don’t come as a surprise when looking at the Ravens’ statistics. While Cullen was just the defensive line coach, he was a part of a unit that blitzed at a rate of 54.9% in 2019, then 44.1% in 2020. If OTAs are a true sign of what the Jags are trying to install, fans should expect to see Cullen bring some major heat this season and possibly register a rate near 50%.

Winners and losers from the Jaguars 28-14 loss to Colts

While the Jags ended up losing Sunday to the Colts, receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. couldn’t be stopped on offense.

It seems that victory has escaped the Jacksonville Jaguars even in the new year.

The Jacksonville Jaguars ended their season on a sour note as they fell to their AFC South rivals in the Indianapolis Colts by the score of 28-14. With the loss, the Jaguars end the 2020-21 season with the NFL’s longest losing streak at 15 games and finish the season with the worst record in the NFL with a 1-15 mark.

While the losses have been frequent, the silver lining is that the Jaguars will finish the season with the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and a whopping eleven draft picks overall.

The Jaguars looked to repeat their Week 1 magic where they defeated the Colts 27-20, but that would not be the case as a strong running game and pass rush guided the Colts to victory. It was not all bad, though, as some players on the Jags’ side shined while some faded to the background.

Here are the winners and losers from the Jaguars’ season finale loss to the Colts:

Winner: WR Laviska Shenault Jr.

Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars could have possibly found their cornerstone wide receiver in Laviska Shenault Jr.

The rookie out of Colorado had an incredible day, finishing it with the first multi-touchdown game of his career along with six catches for 68 yards. When factoring in last week’s game, Shenault ended the season with a touchdown in the Jags’ last two contests.

The No. 42 overall pick of April’s draft finished his rookie campaign with five scores on the season to go along with 532 yards and 52 receptions. He has also shown some versatility as he’s also lined up in the backfield 17 times, averaging a 5.5 yards per carry clip.

Shenault has shown great ability to shed off tacklers with his imposing 6-foot-1, 227-pound frame and become a trusted safety valve for each of the Jags’ quarterbacks. He will be a crucial part of a young Jaguars’ offensive core going forward with fellow receiver D.J. Chark Sr. and running back James Robinson.

Loser: The offensive line, yet again

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars offensive line did not have an easy day against one of the premier defenses in the NFL.

The Jags’ offensive linemen gave up a whopping six sacks on the day and had zero answers for Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner as he finished his day with two sacks. Colts stud linebacker Darius Leonard got in on the action as he not only got a sack but also was credited with a forced fumble that was eventually recovered by cornerback TJ Carrie.

The Jaguars pass protection has been a mixed bag of results as they have had stretches where they have played well, such as Weeks 12-14 where they only gave up only two sacks. However, this was a game where they did not hold up well against a Colts defense that only ranked No. 16 in sacks.

Winner: Chris Conley

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)

With the receiving corps missing their main weapon in Chark, Chris Conley stepped up positively.

Conley finished with a season-high of 87 receiving yards and seven receptions. His yardage output was his most since Week 1 of 2019, where he had 97 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs. Conley has been a secondary weapon of the Jaguars offense but filled in quite admirably when called upon to be a major part of the offense.

Conley will be an unrestricted free agent after the season after coming to Jacksonville on a two-year $4.5-plus million deal. With his ability to stretch the field vertically, time will tell if he will be back in Duval.

Losers: Joe Schobert/Myles Jack

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The Jaguars linebacking corps may have had their absolute worst game all season.

While the defense played solid against the Colts by the standards of a one-win team, Joe Schobert and Myles Jack struggled. Colts rookie running back Johnathan Taylor had his way with the pair as he ran en route to a season-high 253 yards and two touchdowns.

Schobert took poor angles all day in the run game, and one prime example was on Taylor’s 45-yard touchdown where the Jags’ linebacker got faked out in the trenches and was beaten for the long score. Schobert was also practically nowhere to be found on the rookie’s 56-yard run that later led to a one-yard touchdown.

Jack couldn’t find any room to get open as his block shedding left a lot to be desired. The star linebacker had issues when blocked by Colts tight end Jack Doyle and was completely erased from the play previous to Taylor’s 56-yard touchdown run. Jack was also virtually nowhere to be found on any of Taylor’s large runs leading to a practical one-man dissection of the Jags’ linebackers.

The defense overall did a great job in pass coverage in slowing down Colts quarterback Philip Rivers, however, Taylor ran roughshod over two of the more talented linebackers in football. While both have played well this season, this game against the Colts was one where they definitely might want to forget about.

Joe Schobert expecting a lot of playmaking opportunities in Todd Wash’s defense

Joe Schobert has been great for the Jags during camp and feels the Jags’ defense offers playmaking opportunities for him and the linebackers.

When looking at the defensive side of the ball for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Joe Schobert has definitely been a standout in training camp. Now, he’s looking to transfer that to the regular season and believes Todd Wash’s scheme will allow it.

“I like [Defensive Coordinator] Coach [Todd] Wash’s scheme, obviously just from a first couple of weeks in it, with not having an offseason,” said Schobert. “But, I just feel like the way that me and Myles [Jack] are able to play as linebackers [and] the way the scheme is set up, there’s going to be a lot of opportunities for us to run around the field, make a lot of plays on the ball, and have a good time doing it.”

Schobert is a player who many media members have praised for always being around the ball, or making a play. That’s exactly what the Jags were going for at the MIKE linebacker position as Myles Jack struggled there last season and was out of place. Now that Schobert has joined the team, however, Jack has been moved to his natural position at weak-side linebacker.

It appears Schobert has especially been active in pass coverage so far as he’s picked off starting quarterback Gardner Minshew II twice. Those instances not only showed the media what Schobert could do in coverage, but it’s also provided a few teaching moments for Minshew.

“A few times he’ll come up, not even when he does turnovers, just after practice in general,” Schobert said when asked if Minshew asks him about the turnovers he’s committed in practice. “If there’s a look that we’re giving him and he doesn’t quite understand what we’re looking for, he’ll come up and ask what our thought process was in that certain look versus what they were doing. So, he’s definitely been eager to learn in those situations and doesn’t take [it] as a negative. He tries to learn from it and turn it into a positive, so it’s been good to see.”

While some may be alarmed when hearing the word “interception” connected to a starting quarterback, it’s worth noting that it hasn’t been at an alarming rate. It’s also nice to know he’s communicating with one of the defense’s most experienced players to correct his mistakes.

As for Schobert, the focus will be to get the Jags defense ready for the Indianapolis Colts Week 1. With Philip Rivers coming into town and the Jags having a young defensive group, it will be a huge task on Schobert’s shoulders, but one that he’s proven to be fit for so far.

Joe Schobert says Jaguars’ young LBs are coming along better than expected

Joe Schobert, a leader of the Jags’ locker room, talked about being impressed with the Jags’ young linebacking core early in camp.

When looking at the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roster, most would agree that linebacker is a strength of the team. After a 2019 season where the group exited as a weakness of the roster, the Jags front office came into the offseason looking to strengthen the unit, and in the early stages of camp, it appears they may have succeeded.

They started off things by adding veteran Joe Schobert to man the MIKE linebacker position and move Myles Jack where he’s more comfortable: on the weak-side. That killed two birds with one stone, giving the Jags one of the league’s better linebacker duos on paper.

Afterward, they spent a first-round pick on K’Lavon Chaisson in the draft, who will be a part-time linebacker and will battle to start on the strong-side. They also drafted Jacksonville native, Shaq Quarterman, in the fourth-round and added a leader from Central Florida’s defense, Nate Evans, in undrafted free-agency.

When combining those moves with what they already had, the Jags seemingly compiled a young deep group that can spearhead the team into new heights. This was something the group’s leader, Schobert, spoke on in Tuesday’s meeting with the media, stating that he’s been impressed with how quickly the players behind him are picking up things.

That certainly should be music to the ears of fans as the Jags will have to start 2020 off strong. The front half of the schedule is going to be the weakest, and if the Jags don’t take advantage of it, their season will pretty much be a wrap.

Fans will get to see what Schobert and company are made of right out of the gate with the Indianapolis Colts coming into town Week 1. The group should expect a big-time challenge from Philip Rivers through the air and tailbacks Marlon Mack and Johnathan Taylor on the ground. However, if the Jags win, the linebackers will play a significant role in a victory, which would be huge for the team’s momentum out of the gate.

Listen to the latest from Jags Wire’s own James Johnson and Phil Smith on their podcast “Bleav in the Jags.” Subscribe via Apple Podcasts and check out our archived episodes via Bleav Podcasts.

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3 new faces that could help change Jags’ fortunes in 2020

The Jags will be dealing with a lot of turnover in 2020, which means they are going to need some of their new faces to change their luck.

When/if the Jacksonville Jaguars take the field in 2020, they will look significantly different than the team fans saw in 2019 due to a great deal of turnover. The reason for that is because they needed to reallocate money, with several aging veterans eating up their salary cap.

Despite the steep contracts the Jags had on their roster, the last two seasons were lackluster as they registered a 5-11 record in 2018 and a 6-10 record last season. Clearly, a new direction was needed to change their luck.

Now, after retooling and acquiring a variety of starters this offseason, the team will need a lot of their new acquisitions to perform well heading forward. Here are three in particular that we think can change their fortunes this season:

Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Schobert

Since Paul Posluszny left, things haven’t felt the same in terms of the Jags having a defensive field general. Things haven’t felt the same in the locker room, either. That’s exactly why Joe Schobert’s addition was huge for the Jags in free agency.

With the standard Posluszny set for leading the Jags on and off the field being so high, fans shouldn’t expect him to be exactly what Posluszny was. However, he has started in 49 games and played in 61 in the AFC North, which means he’s seen a lot of quality opponents. That will definitely be valuable as he puts the Jags’ defense in position while also giving them a little more in coverage than Posluszny could.

In the end, Schobert’s signing could be significant for getting the Jags’ defense back to what it was, especially when considering all of the young players they will have on the unit.