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Former Illini Dawuane Smoot re-signs with Jacksonville Jaguars

Arguably the best current Illini player in the NFL gets a new deal.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

The Urban Meyer and presumably Trevor Lawrence-led Jacksonville Jaguars will be one of the most intriguing teams to watch in the NFL this coming season. Luckily for Illini fans, one of their own will be part of the script.

Shad Khan, the Illini billionaire alum and owner of the Jaguars will be cutting an even larger check to Dawuane Smoot in 2021. Drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Smoot was on a 4-year, $3.84 million to start his NFL career. While the details of the payout of this current contract are still unknown, 2 years and a $14 million extension clearly drive his annual earnings up exponentially.

It’s well earned. He’s just 26 years old and he is coming off of his best season as a pro: 25 tackles, including 5.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Filling in for regular starter Josh Allen the last six games of the season, Smoot was relentless in going after the quarterback. 17 QB hits, constantly in the backfield — edge rushers are at a premium right now in the NFL, and Smoot likely had a long list of suitors before re-signing with the team that drafted him.

Dawuane Smoot has yet to hit his prime, and so far so good, and definitely good enough to earn that raise and likely even more playing time in 2021.