INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – David Caldwell put it as succinctly as possible.
Caldwell, the Jaguars' general manager, covered a lot of topics at his 2018 NFL Scouting Combine media availability Wednesday – and we'll cover a lot of what he and Head Coach Doug Marrone said on Wednesday in the bullet points below.
But when it came to perhaps the franchise's primary issue entering the combine – the free agent futures of wide receiver Allen Robinson and cornerback Aaron Colvin – Caldwell needed just two words.
*Does the team have the salary-cap space to retain both? *
"We do," Caldwell said Wednesday.
Robinson and Colvin are both scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on the March 14 start of the 2018 NFL League Year, and Caldwell said Wednesday the team is working to retain both players.
Caldwell spoke about both players during his 15 minutes at the podium Wednesday, calling Robinson "a team kid" and saying "There are a lot of things we like about him, but we just have to make sure it is the right thing for the team."
He spoke immediately thereafter of Colvin, saying he has "found a niche in the nickel corner spot" and saying "once we moved him to the nickel, he has redefined that position to a degree."
Speaking to a smaller group after leaving the podium, Caldwell was asked if placing the franchise tag on Robinson was a possibility.
"It's an option," Caldwell said.
Caldwell then noted that the tag would cost the Jaguars nearly $16 million this season.
"It's a lot of money that would prohibit us from doing some things to help the team around him"," Caldwell said, adding that had Robinson not sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the regular-season opener at Houston last season it's possible a long-term deal between the sides could have been reached during the regular season.
"I think we were trending that way," Caldwell said.
The Jaguars signed two other players from Robinson's 2014 draft class – fifth-round linebacker Telvin Smith and third-round center Brandon Linder – to long-term extensions last year, with Smith re-signing during the season and Linder re-signing just before training camp.
Caldwell noted that the Jaguars are "still in a really good cap situation.
"We can afford to be aggressive in this free agency and try to finish off what we started," Caldwell said.
Also on Wednesday:
*Caldwell, who discussed quarterback Blake Bortes extensively on Wednesday, said the extension Bortles signed through 2020 this past Saturday helped the Jaguars' cap situation. He added that the extension's timing "was driven by the fact that we wanted to get it done before the combine … so we knew where we land [as a team] for the rest of free agency."
*Caldwell called the Bortles extension "a good deal for us," adding that Bortles' $10 million cap number his season is less than five percent of the team's adjusted cap number for 2018. "We feel like that is a good portion to put for your starting quarterback and it allows us the financial flexibility to take care of other positions, which Blake made it clear that he wants to try to keep this team together as much as possible."…
*Caldwell addressed backup quarterback, noting that Chad Henne – the backup since Bortles became the starter in 2014 – is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent March 14. "The back-up quarterback is something we will have to address, whether it is through the draft or free agency," Caldwell said, adding later that there is a possibility Henne can return. ……
*Marrone and Caldwell both discussed the wide receiver position, with Marrone saying of rookie wide receivers Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook, saying "I'm really expecting great things out of both of those players moving forward." …
*Caldwell addressed wide receiver Allen Hurns, calling the fourth-year veteran "a fantastic leader" and saying "We have to define his role going into this year and then go from there." Hurns currently is under contract for two more seasons with a $7 million salary for next season. It has been speculated that Hurns would need to renegotiate that salary to remain with the Jaguars and it also has been speculated Hurns could be released. "Nothing has been decided on that yet," Caldwell said of Hurns possibly renegotiating. "We will look at that." …
*Marrone discussed running back Leonard Fournette, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft who rushed for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie. "Obviously, it's an elite league and very difficult," Marrone said. "He really did everything we thought he would be able to do." Marrone said the Jaguars were surprised with the level of Fournette's ability as a receiver and his pass protection on third down. "Leonard really worked hard to get himself prepared from the protection aspect of it," Marrone added, noting that Fournette was particularly strong in that area in the AFC Championship Game loss to the New England Patriots. "Those were things he worked on during the year," Marrone said. "He's looking to get more out of himself, too.'' …