ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — First-year general manager Brandon Beane continued his overhaul of the Buffalo Bills’ roster, trading two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team announced Friday.
The Bills will receive a 2018 sixth-round pick from Jacksonville. A source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that the selection can become a fifth-round pick based on Dareus’ performance.
The trade reunites Dareus with Jaguars coach Doug Marrone, who coached the Bills from 2013 to 2014.
The Bills will save $5.73 million off their 2017 salary cap and $2.375 million off their 2018 salary cap by trading Dareus. They also shed the 2019 through 2021 years of Dareus’ deal at cap numbers of $16.985 million, $16 million and $14.65 million.
On the Jaguars side, Dareus will have a salary-cap number of $5.73 million in 2017. His salary-cap number in 2018 will be $10.175 million, including $7.35 million guaranteed. His future salary-cap numbers will be $14.6 million (2019), $14.6 million (2020) and $14.65 million (2021). None of his contract is guaranteed after 2018.
The trade allows the Bills to clear the salary of their highest-paid player off their books. Under the direction of former general manager Doug Whaley, the Bills signed Dareus to a six-year, $100 million extension in September 2015 that included $60 million guaranteed.
Beane, who replaced Whaley after he was fired in May, and first-year coach Sean McDermott are in the midst of a restructuring of the Bills’ roster and salary-cap structure. The team traded top wide receiver and former No. 4 overall pick Sammy Watkins in August to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for a 2018 second-round pick and cornerback E.J. Gaines. Buffalo has also parted ways with several of Whaley’s former draft selections and free-agent signings.
Once benched late in the 2013 season by Marrone for being late to team meetings, Dareus’ discipline had come into question this season after he was sent home from a preseason game in Baltimore for violating a team rule. McDermott later said he needed to see a more consistent effort from Dareus.
After starting in all but four games in which he played for Buffalo from 2011 to 2016, Dareus had seen a decreased role this season under McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. He did not start in consecutive games against Atlanta and Cincinnati in October, seeing fewer than half of the team’s defensive snaps in each of the games. He returned to a starting role last Sunday against the Buccaneers and earned the praise of McDermott for his improved effort in practice and play in the game.
Dareus had a history of off-field trouble in Buffalo. In 2015, the NFL suspended Dareus for the first game of the regular season for a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy after Dareus was arrested in Alabama in May 2014 for possession of marijuana. He later entered a pretrial intervention program to have the charge dropped.
In May 2014, Dareus was arrested in the Buffalo suburb of Hamburg on street-racing charges after crashing his vehicle in a restaurant parking lot. He later agreed to a plea deal that reduced the charges to traffic tickets.
Dareus was suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the 2016 regular season for another violation of the substance-abuse policy. Dareus, who later said he missed a drug test, received treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) before returning to the team in October.
The No. 3 overall pick in 2011, Dareus had 35 career sacks for the Bills over 91 games. His best seasons came in 2013 and 2014, when he had 7.5 sacks and 10.0 sacks, respectively. He earned trips to the Pro Bowl each of those years.