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O-Zone: Agree to disagree

Posted Mar 14, 2018

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Mark from High Springs, FL:
I know losing good players is a sign of having a good team. I know we can't expect to “win” every offseason. However, it doesn’t feel like we won lunch Tuesday. Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said we had the money for both A-Rob and Aaron Colvin; we lost not one but both – one to a division rival. The loss of Poz is understandable, but heartbreaking. Guard Andrew Norwell is a fine addition, but I just can't get excited over re-signing Marqise Lee. I don't have a problem losing Chris Ivory, but why risk losing Corey Grant? I know we still have the draft, but I can't shake the feeling that we've taken a step back after such a small window of success. Are things going the way Dave envisioned, or are we starting to see his vision blur here?
John: Breathe, Mark. Breathe. You’re upset and that’s understandable: A lot happened around the Jaguars from early Tuesday morning through late that afternoon – enough that seeing the big picture is difficult. So, let’s start with that big picture: while the Jaguars apparently let wide receiver Allen Robinson and cornerback Aaron Colvin leave in free agency – Robinson reportedly to Chicago and Colvin reportedly to Houston – there wasn’t a feeling inside the building Tuesday that the team “lost” lunch or got worse. That’s primarily because Norwell was far too important an addition to sum up as merely a “fine addition;” the Jaguars considered him one of the few true elite players in free agency this offseason, and the belief is that adding him should make a significant difference on the offensive line. While Caldwell did say at the NFL Scouting Combine that the team had cap room to sign both Colvin and Robinson, the price for Robinson got too high this week very quickly, prompting the Jaguars to commit fully to Norwell. And while the Jaguars very much wanted to re-sign Colvin, the Texans were willing to go a little higher. The decisions on both Robinson and Colvin came down to being financially reasonable rather than giving into emotion and overspending. Regarding Grant … the chance of losing him this offseason is slim; the Jaguars have right of first refusal if another team makes him an offer. Overall, Tuesday was in no way a case of vision blurring. While the Jaguars would have loved to have re-signed Robinson and Colvin, they’re better on the offensive line than they were this time last week – and considering how this team wants to play, that should be a significant improvement.
Geralt from Rivia:
I don't ... I just don't get the moves. Day started good with Norwell then one mistake after another.
John: Was there?
Chris from Goodnight, TX:
I’m no mathematician, but Allen Robinson > Marqise Lee plus Donte Moncrief.
John: Perhaps you will be proven right, but the Jaguars’ equation factored in a torn anterior cruciate ligament for Robinson and the risk of guaranteed money – not to mention not considering Robinson an elite, No. 1 level receiver. Those factors changed the equation.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
Explain this to me because apparently I'm just an idiot fan, fanning. We pay Bortles huge money to throw touchdown passes and run our offense.... THEN WE GIVE HIM NO ONE TO THROW THE DAMN BALL TO!!!! How does this make any sense?!?!?!?!
John: The Jaguars paid Bortles big money, but they didn’t pay him big quarterback money. But fear not: Fanning may make you a fan, and it may make you entertaining, but it doesn’t make you an idiot. Not just that, anyway.
Steve from Sunroom Couch:
Hi, John: Do you think you could give us fans No. 5 reasons why A-Rob left the Jaguars? Thanks!
John: Sure. Money, money, money, money and money – and because the Jaguars were hesitant about paying a high-level guaranteed contract to a player rehabilitating from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Another truth: while the Jaguars liked Robinson, they didn’t consider him an elite, No. 1 wide receiver and weren’t going to pay him like one. The Bears apparently considered him that and were willing to structure a contract for Robinson as such. We’ll find out which franchise was right.
Chris from Roseville, CA:
I'm going to go out on a very strong limb and suggest we will be very glad next year at this time that we didn't sign Kirk Cousins. As far as No. 15, we might still miss him, but I think he has been upset since Allen Hurns got extended a couple of years ago while he continued on his rookie contract despite a better 2015 than Hurns.
John: If Robinson was angry about that – and I don’t believe he was – the anger was misplaced. The Jaguars renegotiated Hurns’ contract during the 2016 offseason (following the 2015 season); they were not allowed to renegotiate at that time with Robinson. The reason is as follows: while both were entering their third NFL seasons, Hurns had entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and Robinson had been a second-round selection during that year’s NFL Draft. Teams can negotiate a new contract with undrafted rookies following their second seasons but must wait until after a drafted player’s third season.
Paul from Jacksonville:
If the reports about the Jaguars signing Norwell are correct, I imagine that will put a smile on Blake Bortles' face. Strengthen the interior line, help the rushing game, draft and develop receivers. This would seem to have decidedly less risk than re-signing Allen Robinson, yes?
John: Yes.
Ryan from Apopka, FL:
Maybe you know more than we all think. You predicted we wouldn’t re-sign Robinson due to the value he could get on the open market; now, the Jags reportedly signed Norwell, who you predicted the Jags would go after. Any other insights you wish to share?
John: I project and prognosticate based on knowledge of the team and what I hear. Sometimes I’m right and sometimes I’m wrong. I also wrote and said that I thought there was a good chance the Jaguars would pursue tight end Trey Burton of the Philadelphia Eagles and that I thought there was a strong chance Aaron Colvin would re-sign with the team. Burton is expected to sign with the Bears and Colvin apparently will sign with Houston. Sometimes I’m right and sometimes I’m wrong.
Mark from Oceanway:
Your prediction that the Jaguars would NOT make a splash early in free agency this year was juuuust a bit off.
John: … and sometimes I’m wrong.
Daniel from College Station, TX:
Not really a question, but let's hear a one fer Allen Robinson. Thanks for the contributions to the team and city and best of luck on his future career. From Jags Nation
John: Hey … One fer Robinson.
Toph from Portlandia:
O - When does Allen Hurns’ $7 million become guaranteed? If the team asks him to take a pay cut and he declines, when is the last day we could cut him?
John: Four million dollars of Hurns’ $7 million contract for next season becomes guaranteed Friday. That essentially makes Friday the last day the team likely would release him or renegotiate his contract.
Nolan from St. Augustine, FL:
I have complete faith in our front office. David Caldwell/Tom Coughlin/Shad Khan put together a team and staff that was two terrible referee moments away from playing in a Super Bowl. That being said, no organization is perfect. The Branden Albert acquisition last offseason was definitely a mistake. Not franchising Robinson feels about as weird as the Albert move. Having the opportunity to see the guy play for a year without the weight of a big contract would have been perfect. Definitely not an expert, but it really seemed like A-Rob was a top 10 wide receiver. The chance we find a top 10 wide receiver in the draft this year is very slim. There are definitely things that the fans have no perspective on, though – specifically things that happen behind the scenes. Do you think that locker room dynamics could have had any impact on the decision?
John: A few thoughts on your thoughts. One, your “complete” faith seems perilously close to “partial faith,” but that’s OK: there’s no rule that fans must have complete faith. Two, the Albert acquisition cost the Jaguars nothing but some offseason headaches and some wasted interview times, so it was a pretty small “mistake” in retrospect. Three, the issue with Robinson wasn’t whether or not the Jaguars think he was a good player; they do. It was whether they wanted to pay him $16 million for a year or his current asking price over an extended period. They do not want to do the latter. That’s the issue and all other issues had comparatively minimal impact.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
How many touchdowns has Norwell scored? If the Jags think they are going to just ground and pound, the regression will be big. 2-14?
John: Jerell and the Jaguars decision-makers are not in “lockstep.”


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