After managing a league-low 14 sacks during the 2009 season, the Jacksonville Jaguars went out and signed former Green Bay Packers DE Aaron Kampman on Sunday. Terms of the signing were undisclosed.
Whenever Jacksonville ventures out into free agency, I cringe with trepidation. Unfortunately, this signing does nothing to calm my nerves. After racking up the fifth-lowest sack total in NFL history in 2009, the Jaguars were compelled to address the issue.
Why am I still nervous?
Kampman played only nine games during the 2009 season before tearing his left ACL, and he will turn 31 this season.
Clearly, the Jaguars need help—big time—at the defensive end position. Current defensive ends Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves are coming off their second NFL seasons, and have both not lived up to expectations.
Is Kampman's signing a message to both Harvey and Groves, or simply a move to shore up, and/or help mentor these two young players?
I hope the latter.
Age is definitely not on Kampman's side. However, he is known as a serious gym rat, and loves to work out and prepare. Anytime a player tears an ACL, it takes time to recuperate and get back to optimal playing shape.
Perhaps he is simply being brought in to backup either Harvey or Groves. That would be the safe move. Relying on him to possibly replace either one may be bit of a stretch though.
What's more, Kampman also suffered a concussion the game before his knee injury.
Regardless, his production was considerably lower in 2009, but for good reason. He was in the midst of a transition from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Green Bay was eager to resign him. Kampman never complained about the transition, but clearly he was uncomfortable playing in the 3-4. Returning to a 4-3 defense may prove to be exactly what he needs.
Let's just hope it's what the Jaguars need too.