Calais Campbell believes his play justifies '20 salary

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  • By Jelani Scott NFL.com
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As the oldest and most decorated member on the Jacksonville Jaguars' roster, Calais Campbell has become the defacto mayor of sorts in Duval County.

The decision on whether or not Campbell will be back for another term, however, falls in the hands of the front office. In the eyes of the 33-year-old defensive lineman, who is playing in his third straight Pro Bowl in Orlando this weekend, his play has more than justified the pay he's owed in 2020.

"You have to pay for talent, and I'm a very talented player. So I don't think my cap number is too high at all, based on my performance," Campbell said, per John Reid of the Florida Times Union. "But I understand what the situation is with the team not in a great cap situation. But these guys are really good at this, and they're going to make it work."

In March 2017, Campbell signed a four-year, $60 million contract with the Jaguars, spurning offers from the Cardinals, the franchise that drafted him 50th overall in 2008, and Broncos -- his hometown team. In the final year of that deal, Campbell is set to make $17.5 million, the third-largest cap hit on the team.

Should Jaguars owner Shahid Khan and GM David Caldwell decide to release him, they would save $15 million while eating $2.5 million in dead cap. Choosing to keep the fan favorite would be costly, but losing his production could be even more detrimental.

"I know what I bring to the table. I'm pretty confident they know what I bring to the table," Campbell added. "When you talk to the coaching staff and front office, they know my value. I'm not worried at all."

Campbell also noted that he feels he can play at a high level for another two to three years before calling it quits. 2020 will be his 13th season.

The 2019 campaign saw Campbell, who has not missed a game since 2014, tally 53 tackles and 6.5 sacks. It's worth mentioning that this was the first year since 2015 that he registered less than 10 sacks; he led the team in that stat both of the previous two seasons.

His numbers over this three-year stretch -- 31.5 sacks and six forced fumbles -- and impact on the Jags' defense have been impressive, without question. Given his age and how cap-strapped the team is, though, his stay in Jacksonville could depend on his willingness to restructure his deal. He has said more than once that he'd be open to having that discussion, but that has yet to transpire.

With the pending free agency of fellow defensive terror Yannick Ngakoue looming, Campbell will be just one of the Jags' major offseason storylines. It'll take some serious number-crunching to get this all to work. Or maybe it won't when it's all said and done.

Still, Campbell's loyalty to his teammates and the organization remains steadfast.

"I think we have a good core and a young nucleus," Campbell said. "I just know I love to play the game, it has been fun and [I] want to keep playing in Jacksonville. I want to help Duval win a championship, and we'll see what happens."

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