McCray, Naeole skip Jags’ first camp
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville’s three-day passing camp is voluntary. Even if it was mandatory, defensive end Bobby McCray and guard Chris Naeole probably wouldn’t attend.
Both players are trying to work out contract disputes with the Jaguars.
McCray, a seventh-round draft pick from Florida in 2004, is a restricted free agent who has refused to sign a one-year tender offer worth $1.85 million.
Naeole, heading into his 11th season and sixth with the Jags, is apparently unhappy with his current deal that pays $1.8 million in 2007.
McCray and Naeole were the most notable no-shows during Jacksonville’s first camp, a precursor to the team’s three-day minicamp that begins Saturday.
“I think it’s most important that we focus on the guys that are here and make sure we’re spending the energy, spending the time with the things that we have control over,” coach Jack Del Rio said.
Running back Fred Taylor and safety Donovin Darius also skipped the passing camp. Taylor was working out in South Florida for the second consecutive offseason, and Darius was a guest speaker at the NFL’s annual rookie symposium in West Palm Beach on Wednesday. Both players were expected to attend minicamp.
Unlike McCray and Naeole.
McCray and agent Drew Rosenhaus want a long-term deal after the 6-foot-6 pass rusher led the team with 10 sacks last season. Until they get one, Rosenhaus has advised McCray to skip offseason conditioning drills and minicamp. He can’t be fined because he’s not under contract.
“Bobby and I wish he was there,” Rosenhaus said. “We’ve made our desire clear to the Jaguars, and we’re hopeful and determined to work out a long-term deal.”
The Jags put a first-round tender on McCray in March, essentially guaranteeing him the one-year, $1.85 million deal — more than he made in his first three seasons combined. Other teams could have offered McCray a new contract before the draft, but they would have had to give up a first-round draft pick to get him. No one did.
“We’ll take it one step at a time,” Rosenhaus said. “Hopefully, we’ll get the situation resolved.”
Naeole’s situation is even less clear.
The 330-pound right guard has started 79 of 80 games for the Jaguars in five seasons. His decision to skip team drills seems to coincide with the addition of right tackle Tony Pashos, a free agent who signed a five-year, $24 million contract in March.
Naeole has three years remaining on his current contract. Although he has played well for the Jags, his bargaining power could be diminished by Dennis Norman, a veteran who can play every position along the offensive line.
Norman filled in for Naeole the first two days of passing camp.
“Dennis can play just about anywhere,” Del Rio said. “We plugged him in and we’ll keep rolling.”