Coleman signed with the Jaguars during free agency last offseason to a three-year contract worth $7.4 million. His release will save the team $1.75 million this season.
The move is somewhat of a surprise as Coleman played in all 16 of the Jaguars during the 2011 season in which he played nickle back. Not only was Coleman healthy, but he played exceptionally well for most of the season. Coleman racked up 46 tackles with two sacks and two interceptions last year as he played more than half of the Jaguars total defensive snaps.
Coleman’s release is a sign that the Jaguars are comfortable with the recovery of cornerback Rashean Mathis from a torn ACL. Coleman may also have been expendable with the signing of veteran defensive back Aaron Ross and the drafting of cornerback Mike Harris in the sixth round of last week’s NFL Draft.
Coleman’s lack of versatility may have also played a role in his departure from the Jaguars. The only role Coleman played last season was nickle back, he did not contribute on special teams and was not able to move outside last year when the Jaguars secondary was decimated by injuries. The Jaguars have some younger options at the position like William Middleton and the newly drafted Harris who will also be able to contribute on special teams and have a more versatile skill set than Coleman.
The Jaguars will likely replace Coleman in the nickle back position with Mathis or Ross next season.