JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . .
James from Winston-Salem, NC:
I've understood or supported all of the free agency moves until now. Please send my thanks to Greg Jones for all of the memories. I hate the Texans.
John: We got plenty of emails along these lines Wednesday, as expected and as should have been the case. Jones was a wildly popular member of the Jaguars, and a productive one. He will be missed, and will be remembered as a valued member of the organization long after he finishes playing. There also were some readers upset the team didn’t retain Jones. I was surprised the Jaguars didn’t. I thought it was going to happen, but the reality of the Jaguars’ situation is they’re only bringing back older veterans at minimum contracts or something very close to that. The Jaguars did offer Jones a contract to return. Because he is a free agent, if another team beat that offer or if he thought there was another situation better, he was free to sign elsewhere. The latter was apparently the case. As much as fans want favorite players to return, general managers must set a limit in order to keep a sound salary structure. The limit for the fullback position, particularly for a team in the beginning of the building stage, is probably going to be pretty low.
Jim from the Couch:
Here’s a question. What did you want to be when you grew up?
John: Remembering when I had hope only makes the present hurt more.
Heath from Jacksonville:
With rumors of Matt Flynn potentially being traded to the Bills, Jaguars or Raiders it would be interesting to hear your general thoughts on Flynn's career through both college and the pros. Disregarding the trade and valuation aspect, what's GM Oeshers analysis of Flynn as a talent?
John: I have liked what I have seen from Flynn, though I must admit that – like just about everyone else commenting on him – the vast majority of my NFL judgment stems from two games when he played extensively for his former team, Green Bay. He wasn’t overly impressive in college, but in a loss to the Patriots in 2010, he threw for three touchdowns in prime-time and in the 2011 regular-season finale, he tied a Green Bay franchise record with six touchdown passes. Clearly, in the Packers’ system he had the ability in certain situations to produce big yardage and touchdowns. His arm strength isn’t great, but he seems to be able to see the field. Now, is he a fit for what the Jaguars want to do? Can he be a franchise player to a young team that probably isn’t as set in terms of scheme and personnel as Green Bay was when he played? Those are the moving parts that make decisions like this difficult. If you’re giving up a lot, that scares me, but if you can get Flynn for a late-round selection, then he makes sense. If it happens, fans must remember that – just like the quarterbacks already here – he’s not a finished product or a cure-all. If he was, he probably wouldn’t be available via trade.
Heath from Jacksonville:
I'm sorry I mispelled your last name in my question about Flynn. :(
John: No worries. You misspelled “misspelled” in this one.
Alon from Boston, MA:
You said you would take the Matt Flynn trade if it was for the right price. In your personal opinion is that a fifth-round pick? A fourth-round pick? Or even a third round pick? I'll admit I don't know the true value of these picks to an NFL GM, but to me the chances of finding a third-round pick that is as valuable as Flynn is right now are low.
John: Again, this depends what you think of Flynn. If he turns out to be Mark Brunell, who was acquired in a pre-draft trade in 1995, then he’s worth a first-round selection, maybe more. If he’s a stop-gap, then he’s worth a seventh. I’d say the right price will be a fifth-round selection. Considering how valuable draft selections are to David Caldwell, if the Jaguars give up more than a fifth for Flynn, it means they think pretty highly of him.
Ryan from Boynton Beach, FL:
My fiancé and I just closed on our first house together. Any words of advice?
John: Yes. You are about to embark on years and years of bliss, fundamental agreement on issues big and small and from your perspective, perhaps a lifetime of driving home and saying to yourself “Gee, this was a great decision on my part.” So, my advice? Sit back, relax, enjoy your happiness.
Tim from St. Augustine, FL:
How about bringing Vince Young to training camp to add to the competition. Do you think there is any interest from the Jags?
John: With rare exceptions, I am not stunned by things that happen in the NFL. That would be an exception.
Greg from Memphis, TN:
Love the "omelet du fromage" reference and I'll add another part that was in the act..."It's like those French have a different word for everything!" ... I wore out that Steve Martin Album of my father's.
John: I’ll have a shoe with cheese on it.
John from Jacksonville:
That's it, I’m done. Tell Caldwell he is a complete moron for letting Jones go. Look forward to our first pick of next year’s draft.
John: Let’s be clear on this. The Jaguars would have liked to have had Jones back. At the same time, you have to set limits on what you pay certain positions, and in terms of salary, fullback is a very limitable position.
Bob from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Do you believe the current penalty of "spot of foul" defensive pass interference (on a long pass) will soon be modified to a more reasonable 15-yard penalty from the line of scrimmage?
Tim from Southside:
O-man, even with a journalism degree, you should be able to see build-through-NFL-draft-math will never work. Somewhere around 20-30 percent (10-15) free-agent acquisitions each year is a must to succeed. With a 53-man roster and seven picks per draft, hitting on 70 percent or 5/7 each year, you will only add what will become free agents each year assuming four-year rookie contracts. And with an average career of 4.5 years, you will NEVER be able to produce a championship franchise with the draft only. Even if you were 100 percent successful drafting seven players that make your squad, it takes 7.5 drafts to replace 53 positions that average 4.5 year careers. All above was simple math for you to consume as it did not factor injured reserve, where Jags have had 53 on IR for last two years, which magnifies the need for free agents. Please share how you can draft your way into a quality squad in less than five years unless you have no IR and are 100% with your draft selections?
John: I’d start by saying, “Please share how you can sign 10-to-15 established, veteran free agents each year and make the cap work,” but I don’t want to be snide. The fact is, at no time did David Caldwell – or of far lesser importance, myself – say the Jaguars were going to build solely through the draft. Caldwell has said since taking over that the idea is to build through the draft this year and perhaps next year, then supplement it at times with free agents. That should be the plan for the early years, with the idea after that to eventually avoid free agency whenever possible and aim to manage the roster with the draft. Still, despite your math, it very much is possible to build almost exclusively through the draft. The key is having elite quarterback play, core players at critical positions, then drafting, developing – and perhaps being willing to let players go via free agency. That means having, say, a franchise quarterback, an elite receiver, an elite left tackle and a veteran center. You could then have an elite pass rusher, top-tier defensive front and perhaps a very good veteran corner with a reliable veteran middle linebacker. At the other spots, you could have drafted players in their first contracts with the idea of likely letting those drafted players hit free agency. The reality in the NFL is no team has front-line, veteran players at all positions, and in the salary cap era every team – with almost no exceptions – has holes. That’s why good franchises depend on the draft and also dip into collegiate free agency. You need to have young players making your roster and contributing around the core players. Is that a difficult, stressful yearly struggle for even the best general managers? No question. But to think you can acquire 30 percent of your roster each year by veteran free agency – well, the salary cap math on that I assure you won’t work, not to mention the problem of filling your roster with too many players that other teams simply don’t want.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
I would like to see Jeff Logaman in the Ring of Honor at some time as well as Mark Brunell and Brad Meester
. Do you think that they have a chance to make it in there?
John: I’d love to see Jeff get in the Pride of the Jaguars. I’d really love it if they spelled his last name “Logaman” when they did it. I wouldn’t stop grinning for a month.