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O-Zone: Suspicious minds

Posted Feb 25, 2018

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Alan from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
So, now the Jaguars signed Blake Bortles to an extension. Does that mean he’s the guy – no questions asked – or will the Jaguars draft a quarterback early to develop behind him?
John: Bortles is the Jaguars’ starting quarterback for the foreseeable future. What does that mean? His contract now runs through 2020. While no one can guarantee the future, the idea behind the extension is for Bortles to be the Jaguars’ starting quarterback for the next three seasons. That means no big-name quarterback signed for “competition” in free agency, and it means no quarterback selected in the first round of the NFL Draft this offseason. Could the Jaguars select a quarterback somewhere in the draft? Of course. I imagine that’s a very good possibility. Will he be selected with the idea that he will seriously push for a starting position here in the short term? No.
Frank from Orange Park, FL:
Now that the Jaguars have figured out Blake’s contract that means A-Rob’s back, right? Right? RIGHT?!!
John: Not necessarily. Not necessarily. NOT NECESSARILY!! Bortles extension does give the Jaguars cap flexibility – but it doesn’t not remotely make it a lock that wide receiver Allen Robinson returns next season. I would be very surprised at this point if the Jaguars place the franchise tag on Robinson because I do not believe they will pay him $16 million for a season. Can the sides get a long-term – or short-term – extension done? Perhaps, but that’s dicey at this point.
Trevor from Jacksonville:
Zone, I feel your love for A.C. I do. But there’s no way he returns next season. And there’s no way there’s a better chance of him returning than A-Rob. It just doesn’t work.
John: I don’t know that I have “love” for Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin, though I do like the guy a lot and believe he’s critical to the defense. But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter how I feel about Colvin. What matters is the Jaguars believe he’s important to the defense. Very important. I continue to believe there’s a very good chance he returns. A better chance than Robinson returning? We’ll see, but it’s nowhere near as ridiculous as some people seem to believe.
Bill from Melbourne, FL:
Have you ever been caught barking up the wrong tree?
John: Caught? No.
Carlos from Mexico City, Mexico:
I’m guessing the Jags will have their choice of either the best tight end in the draft or the fifth/sixth-rated quarterback at the top of their board at No. 29. If you ask me, I would take the tight end, re-sign A-Rob and shore up the O-Line in the second round and free agency. Blake is young and has a ton of experience – and he never really has had a functioning surrounding cast on offense. A-Rob, Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole, Leonard Fournette and a stud tight end – with solid offensive line play – and we'll sign him to a megadeal on 2019 to contend for years to come.
John: My guess is you will see something close to your scenario come to fruition. I would continue to caution against assuming that re-signing – or even retaining – Robinson is a given; that’s a tricky negotiation that doesn’t feel like it’s going to get any easier. I also would guess you’ll see far more improvements through the draft this offseason than through free agency – particularly if Robinson returns – and it feels as if signing their own players may be the Jaguars’ big free-agency splashes. That’s often the offseason formula for a contending team, and it could be the Jaguars’ formula in the coming months.
Bill from Jacksonville:
John, it was clear in his rookie season (and even in final season of college) that Leonard Fournette had some medical issues with his ankle(s). When/will we hear from the Jaguars and/or Leonard about what the plan is regarding his injuries? Is the plan to simply rest and rehab it? Will he have surgery; if so, when? For a player that was drafted so highly and is considered so important to the direction and attitude of the offense, it strikes me as strange that we haven’t heard anything about this. Thanks! Go Jags!
John: While I understand people are curious about Fournette’s ankles, the lack of news about them this offseason absolutely isn’t strange – and it’s actually pretty normal. NFL teams typically go pretty dark in terms of information flow for a month or so after the season, and the Jaguars indeed have said little in much of an official capacity since the immediate aftermath of the AFC Championship Game last month. The first offseason availability will come this week when General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone speak to the media during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. But even when the team’s key decision-makers do speak publicly, I wouldn’t expect more on this front than an acknowledgement that a surgery has or hasn’t taken place. This team’s approach these days isn’t exactly to be a river of information when it comes to injuries.
Nick from Kingsland, GA:
John, I've read on here numerous times now that we shouldn't expect Marqise Lee or Allen Hurns back next season due to the cap space. Now I'm starting to get the vibe that the possibility of losing A-Rob is rapidly growing. From 0 to 100 percent, what’s your honest opinion on the possibility of losing all three?
John: Honestly? About 25 percent or so – and I would be very surprised if more than one of the trio returns. I believe there is little chance of Hurns returning, and I believe the chance of Robinson returning is about 50-50. Would the Jaguars try to get something done to retain Lee if a deal can’t get done with Robinson? We’ll see.
Paul from Saint Johns, FL:
With the news of Tom Coughlin, Doug Marrone and David Caldwell being given extensions, I have to assume they all got raises, too. Which makes me wonder, does executive pay count towards a team’s salary-cap figures?
John: No.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Except center, I believe we can upgrade every member of the offensive line. Cam Robinson is too inconsistent at left tackle ... move him to guard. A move tight end is very much needed. I am one to see if A-Rob can recover from surgery; a one-year "show-me" contract or a franchise deal I believe is worth the risk. Don't know if it can be done but I would love to see Aaron Colvin back this coming year. Remember: We were lucky with injuries this past year. If Jalen Ramsey or A.J. Bouye go down we will feel whatever we paid A.C. to stay would be cheap. Go Jags.
John: A couple of thoughts on your thoughts. One is that I continue to be intrigued by the frequency with which people suggest teams sign players to one-year, prove-it deals – as if players were lining up with giddy grins to accept contracts slanted in teams’ favor. The reality is players only accept such deals if they have no other choice – and most players fans want have plenty of other choices. Also, while I agree that offensive line will be addressed, let’s not be quite so quick to write off Robinson at left tackle; rookies are inconsistent more often than not. Robinson showed more than enough potential in his first NFL season to believe he can develop into a very reliable – even a front-line left tackle.
Matt from Fort Worth, TX:
With all this talk about A-Rob, I'd like to give a shout out to Caldwell for selecting Dede Westbrook in the fourth round and putting us in a position to identify wide-receiver talent with undrafted free agents (Hurns and Cole come to mind). Dede was supposedly the scum of the earth, but Dave saw something different and believed in the kid who definitely did wrong, but was willing to do the work to change into a public advocate for victims. Maybe it was luck on Dave and Dede's part, but I think different. Not to presume upon the future, but I am extremely optimistic about Dede being a Jag. My opinion here too: having a guy like T.C. around breeds a culture where these stories seem more likely to end in success than failure.
John: Hey … one fer Dede – and Caldwell! And Coughlin!
Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK:
Oh Mighty 'O...” my much-ballyhooed, much-debated Flock-of-Seagulls haircut era in college …" Pictures, or it never happened!
John: Lack of photographic evidence notwithstanding, it happened. Oh, it happened.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
If 12 months ago you would have told us Coughlin, Caldwell and Marrone would be extended by two years after one season together I bet you would have been run out of town. Now, it's almost like if they were not extended you would be swarmed with questions as to why they weren't already. How do you handle our turn-on-a-dime fanning, O?
John: With great suspicion.


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