No Spice

Paul Spicer (Doug Benc/Getty)

The Jaguars held their first of 14 off-season training activities Tuesday, and the biggest news was the absence of defensive end Paul Spicer. Spicer is coming off a career year in 2007 when he recorded 34 tackles and 7.5 sacks, but played much bigger than those numbers. Spicer was the Jaguars best defensive lineman a season ago, and probably the team's defensive MVP.

The reason why 90+% of players skip a "voluntary" OTA practice is the usual, money. Spicer signed a contract extension in 2006, and is due approximately $2.5 million this year in base salary. Whereas that certainly isn't chump change, Spicer sees the money defensive line-mate Reggie Hayward has already earned, and the money he is due in 2008 (approximately $3.5 million) while battling injuries for much of his tenure in Jacksonville. Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio was asked about Spicer's absence in today's press conference—

"I spoke to both of them this morning. I'll let you ask (Spicer) how he wants to present it," Del Rio said when asked if Spicer's absence is a result of contract discontent. "He expressed that he wouldn't be here. I expressed that I'd like him to be here."

Spicer's contract runs through the 2008 season, and despite his stellar play of a year ago, his future with the Jaguars is certainly still in doubt. Spicer is on the wrong side of 30 (will be 33 in August), and he will have to battle younger players with more upside not only for playing time, but a roster spot. The Jaguars spent all of their first-day draft picks on defensive lineman, in Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves, and with the top-ten money Harvey will be earning (likely more than Spicer this year), there will be some immediate pressure to get him on the field.

Basically, Spicer can easily see the writing on the wall. He may or may not be in the Jaguars plans past this season, and he feels he deserves another payday, based on the fantastic effort he's given the club during his eight-year tenure in Jacksonville. With this being a possible Super Bowl season for the Jaguars, they need to get all of their business issues resolved and Spicer back on the field before training camp officially begins in August.

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