NFL: Jags open spot for Alualu, release 2-time Pro Bowler DT Henderson
By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars released two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle John Henderson on Monday, opening up a starting spot for first-round draft pick Tyson Alualu.
The team also released defensive tackle Montavious Stanley and linebackers Brian Iwuw and Tank Daniels, and withdrew its qualifying offer to linebacker Clint Ingram.
The moves continue an overhaul of a defensive front that finished with a franchise-low 14 sacks in 2009. Jacksonville drafted four defensive linemen, traded underachieving end Quentin Groves, released defensive tackle Rob Meier and traded for veteran linebacker Kirk Morrison.
The Jaguars tried to dump Henderson during the draft, got no takers and decided to part with the eight-year veteran whose production dipped in recent years.
A first-round pick in 2002, the 6-foot-7, 335-pound Henderson averaged 84 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks during his first four seasons. He averaged 56 1/2 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks the last four years.
The Jaguars selected California's Alualu, a Saint Louis School product from Kalihi, with the 10th overall selection, then added fellow defensive tackle D'Anthony Smith from Louisiana Tech in the third round. Throw in Terrance Knighton, who started every game as a rookie, and Jacksonville had little use for a 31-year-old lineman due to make about $5 million in 2010.
"Obviously we look at numbers at positions going into rookie minicamp and I feel very good where we're at," general manager Gene Smith said.
Henderson is free to sign with any team.
Many believed Henderson would be released last June after coach Jack Del Rio ripped him for pulling out of offseason drills, suggesting he wasn't committed and was faking a shoulder injury to avoid work.
Henderson and Del Rio eventually worked out their differences in a private meeting, and Henderson vowed he had "bought in."
Still, that was yet another problem for Henderson. His clothing company — For Big Men, By Big Hen — folded after opening in 2007. One of his closest friends, Marcus Stroud, was traded in March 2008. He also had other undisclosed personal issues that admittedly affected his play.
Stanley, Iwuw and Daniels were role players. Ingram, a starter the last four years, became expendable when Jacksonville acquired Morrison from Oakland.
Ingram, a third-round pick from Oklahoma in 2006, had 117 tackles as a rookie. But he hasn't been nearly as productive since. Jacksonville might have tried to trade Ingram during the draft, but he hasn't been medically cleared following a shoulder injury and arthroscopic knee surgery.