AP source: Jaguars to sign LB Schobert to $53.75M contract

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars have agreed to terms with free agent linebacker Joe Schobert, filling one of the team's biggest needs.

Schobert spent the last four years in Cleveland, where he led the team in tackles twice and made a Pro Bowl.

A person familiar with the transaction says Schobert will sign a five-year contract worth $53.75 million and includes $22.5 million guaranteed. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the deal won't become official for another day.

Jacksonville had been looking to upgrade its linebacking corps after failing repeatedly to adequately replace retired starters Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith. The Jaguars drafted Murray State's Quincy Williams in the third round last year, but he didn't pan out and ended up getting benched. They also moved Myles Jack to the all-important middle linebacker spot in their 4-3 defense, and Jack responded with one of his worst seasons.

Jack seems better suited to play outside and likely will return to his former spot with Schobert in the mix. Schobert had 408 tackles, 20 pass breakups, 8 1/2 sacks, seven forced fumbles and six interceptions in four years in Cleveland. He played in 61 of 64 games, including 49 starts, since the Browns drafted him out of Wisconsin in the fourth round in 2016.

He made the Pro Bowl as an alternate in 2017.

Jacksonville's defense was at its best in 2017 with Posluszny, Smith and Jack locking down the middle of the field. But Posluszny retired after that season, and Smith stunned the Jaguars by calling it quits last May "to get my world in order.” Smith has given no indication he plans to return in 2020.

Jacksonville also applied an exclusive rights tender on veteran linebacker Austin Calitro, keeping him on the roster in 2020. He will make $750,000 next season.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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