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O-Zone: Rambling man

Posted Mar 8, 2018

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Jessie from Orlando, FL:
John, how do you think Dave Caldwell will fill the void he made by letting Allen Robinson go? There is no No. 1 wide receiver on the roster and free agency doesn't look promising.
John: The Jaguars’ approach this offseason to Robinson – and the wide-receiver position as a whole – is something that will take a while to decipher and digest, I suppose. Still, it’s safe to say the Jaguars this offseason probably aren’t going to “fill the void” left by Robinson – at least they’re not going to fill it with a single player who causes the angry masses to stop at the iron gates and say in unison, “Aye, ‘tis indeed a fine replacement … now, let us cast aside the pitchforks, return satisfied to our homes and feast on our venison in peace.” So, what will happen? If the Jaguars indeed do not reach a long-term agreement with Robinson – and that’s not yet a done deal – they will move on from him not with the idea of finding a single replacement in free agency or the draft; rather, their hope will be to use the cap space and money to improve and solidify other areas of the roster. Remember: this is not just about the receiver position; it’s about the entire roster. Also remember: this is not an issue of liking or not liking a player or believing there is a replacement for that player. It’s a matter of setting a value on a player and not moving past that value to sign a player. As for your question … how will the Jaguars fill the void at receiver? Mostly likely with something relatively close to this: Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, Marqise Lee and/or Allen Hurns and a draft pick – and improvement elsewhere on offense. That may or may not look promising to you, but if the Jaguars’ decision-makers felt queasy about it they would re-sign Robinson.
Joe from Fleming Island, FL:
John: Tight end, wide receiver, interior lineman … which position would guess/think is more likely to be signed in free agency and start on opening day?
John: Tight end and interior lineman.
Thomas from Williamsburg, VA:
I understand why the franchise tag was not used on Robinson, but I would like to know why the transition tag wasn't used on him. I guess I don't see the downside of giving yourself the chance to match what he will be offered in free agency. If it's too high, you don't match it and it's the same as it would be if you just let him test out the market. Help me to understand this, please.
John: It’s actually not the same. The downside of the transition tag is that the tendered salary becomes guaranteed for the current League Year once a player signs it. That means if the Jaguars were to extend the transition tag offer to Robinson and he were to sign it, the transition tag number would be on their salary cap if he were to not receive an offer from another team – or if the sides couldn’t agree to a long-term deal.
Josh from Green Bay, WI:
I saw Chief Wahoo's comment that letting Robinson leave would be the worst mistake in franchise history and immediately had a few worse mistakes come to mind. Justin Blackmon, Matt Jones, Hugh Douglas and Jerry Porter. Did I miss any other big ones?
John: Probably, yeah …
Logan from Wichita, KS:
Seriously!?!?! How does anyone think playing the offense we did last year will have any success when teams KNOW for 100 percent fact we can't throw the damn ball because we have no wide receiver worth a crap to stretch the field? This is so so stupid to let Robinson go.
John: The Jaguars were the sixth-ranked offense in the NFL and won the AFC South last season. They also came within a few plays of the Super Bowl. I understand the desire to be better at wide receiver – and I understand the desire to get better overall – but to say the Jaguars can’t have any success playing offense as they did last season is categorically incorrect.
Charles from Midlothian, VA:
Fans gotta fan, but seriously … Would the Jags be better with A-Rob at a 100 percent? Sure, what team wouldn't? But the end of the franchise? The stupidest thing the team has done? The team did better without him than they ever did with him. Don't these fans realize we went to the AFC Championship Game without him? I am pretty sure we can do it again with OR without him.
John: You could have stopped after your first three words.
Dylan from Tulsa, OK:
Mr. O, the team not tagging A-Rob even though they have the cap room for it means one of two things to me. First and most hopeful, they are close to a deal and think they'll get it done soon. Or he doesn't want to be here and the team doesn't want to keep him.
John: I suspect it’s most likely neither. That’s because I suspect it’s more that the team would like Robinson to be here, and that Robinson would like to be here – but that Robinson doesn’t like what the team would pay to make that happen and that the team doesn’t like what Robinson wants to be paid to make that happen. Or something like that.
Paul from Jupiter, FL:
Don't get me wrong, I will hate to see Robinson go. But would it be so bad for us to end up with, say, Calvin Ridley on a rookie contract, keep Aaron Colvin and Marqise Lee/Allen Hurns and maybe bring in a free-agent lineman? People worry about a repeat of the salary cap woes after the late ‘90s success, but isn't taking a pragmatic stance on Robinson exactly what we should be hoping for?
John: Your theory depends on drafting well and the drafted players developing. That’s exactly what you must do to stay competitive over the long-term in the salary-cap era. Easier said than done? Yes. But that’s what you must do.
Robert from Reno, NV:
Hey John, I'm curious as to why the urgency for a new tight end? We currently have Marcedes Lewis, James O’Shaughnessy, Ben Koyack, Mychal Rivera (injured reserve) and I'd like to add Tommy Bohanon into the mix as a receiving option as well. Is it that none of these players are very good at tight end? Are we releasing any of them to perhaps cover the cost of someone better? I just don't understand the need. I'd like to see our focus on the offensive line and wide receiver positions.
John: The Jaguars have tight ends, and Lewis certainly will have a major role next season. But the Jaguars this past season lacked a player at the position who can get open consistently 15-to-20 yards downfield and who can provide a reliable bail out for quarterback Blake Bortles. The future of the position around Lewis will be interesting to watch. Rivera is scheduled to become a free agent after the Jaguars didn’t pick up his option, and Koyack is scheduled to become a restricted free agent. I would expect the Jaguars to address the position in free agency or early in the draft.
Dave from Glass Half Full:
Zone, it has been a couple of weeks, so let me chime in. Do you think Bortles, right now, is the best quarterback in our division? I do, and I'll go one further. Other than Tom Brady's resume, Bortles is ascending and probably better at this time. That guy in Pittsburgh gets away with a lot. We will see after he picks up a new offensive coordinator. My thoughts are we have the best quarterback in the AFC right now. I cannot think of anyone better.
John: C’mon, Dave …
Brian from New Hampshire:
Reports are the Jags are still looking at free agents to push Bortles. What are your thoughts on Teddy Bridgewater? Out of all the free-agent quarterbacks, I think he would be the cheapest and most likely willing to sign a deal to complete because of the injury. He would be an upgrade over Chad Henne for backup.
John: Some reports are more credible than others – and reports that the Jaguars are trying to find free agents to push for the starting quarterback position prove this point. I wouldn’t hold your breath on the Jaguars signing a quarterback in free agency for anything close to a salary that would make that quarterback seem a credible starter. Could something happen and that player emerges as a starter? Sure, you never say never with the quarterback position – but the Jaguars aren’t going to be in the market for high-profile, potential-starter backups at the quarterback position this offseason.
Brian from Staten Island, NY:
John, have you ever grown tired of traveling alone? If so, have Shadrick ride with you. It's more fun that way.
John: … says the guy who never has traveled with Shadrick.


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