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O-Zone: A matter of trust

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Roger from Whitehouse, FL

With a lot of people upset about Ridley leaving, they forget about all the wrong routes he ran, and games where he didn't do anything. The Jaguars are better off.

I sense we're nearing the end of the Great Calvin Ridley Debate here in the O-Zone. Ridley, a wide receiver who played one season – 2023 – with the Jaguars, signed with the Tennessee Titans this past week. He signed there primarily because the Titans offered more guaranteed money -- $50 million than the Jaguars would guarantee, with the signing not unexpectedly spawning debate over whether the Jaguars would be better with or without Ridley. It's a legitimate debate. Ridley was very good at times in 2023, and he caught 76 passes for 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns. There were games the Jaguars wouldn't have won without Ridley. He has special traits and showed them at various times with the Jaguars. There were also other times he and quarterback Trevor Lawrence lacked chemistry, and games that Ridley didn't produce like a No. 1 wide receiver. If Ridley had played like a "True No. 1 receiver" in 2023, I sense this all would be moot because the Jaguars would have signed him to a long-term contract in recent weeks. He wasn't quite a No. 1 receiver, so the Jaguars didn't think he was quite worth that – and therefore didn't pay him as such. Are they better off? Time will tell.

Biff from Jacksonville

I'm going to lean on you with full body weight for your golden insight. Ridley states the Titans will "treat me like a grown man." What's that all about? He's implying he had more than money as a reason to not go back to Rockville and waste another year.

Ridley said this Friday when speaking for the first time to media covering the Titans. I learned long ago not to try too hard to interpret cryptic quotes uttered in introductory media availabilities. Ridley seemed in my dealings with him this past season to be a good guy who tried to answer media questions as honestly as he could. He also seemed in my dealings with him to not really love speaking with the media. There were times this seemed to result in answers that really didn't get across exactly what he was trying to say. This is not uncommon for players who don't love dealing with the media. My impression from dealing with Ridley was he liked Jacksonville and the Jaguars, and that he would like to have continued his career here – and that he would have done so if not for an unreal offer from the Titans. Were there things he didn't like about Jaguars? Perhaps. Most people I know like some things about their place of work and don't like other things. Not loving a few things doesn't mean hating a whole place. Perhaps this is the case with Ridley. It wouldn't be unusual and wouldn't make him a bad guy and wouldn't make the team the worst thing in the world.

Doug from Jacksonville

When people make comments like no one reading this website would turn down $12 million  … well, no one reading this website is making $38 million with millions in the bank. Many of these readers do live in Florida where there is no state income tax. But let's listen to some clown who says everyone would take the extra $12 million like he has a clue.

My guess is there are some people worth a lot of money reading this website. There's a loooot of money in Jacksonville. I have comparatively little of it, but it's there.

*Mario from West Kelowna, BC               *

Zone. Please let your readers know that in the NFL is all about the money. Money, money, money. And money! And in case someone forgot ... it's all about the money! Can't blame any player for leaving a team to make money playing for another team. Money!

Mario, meet Doug. Doug, meet Mario. And never the twain shall meet.

KC from Miami

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but while I am happy about the Arik Armstead signing, I'm not super ecstatic about it like most others are. This is a guy who has been injury prone and other than a Walter Payton Nominee, doesn't really have any other accolades. Not even a Pro Bowl nomination! Am I in the wrong to think this way?

Former San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Arik Armstead signed with the Jaguars as a free agent Friday. When Armstead is healthy, he's really good. If he's healthy, he will help this defensive line – and the entire defense – a lot.

Al from Orange Park, FL

Do you expect Darnell Savage to play safety? Or nickel corner?


David from The Island

If you want to get a couple compensatory draft picks, let a couple players walk. Next year, sign a bunch of players because you're not getting a comp pick anyways. Repeat.

Or not worry so much about compensatory selections. They're important, but they're not everything.

Keith from Duval by way of Miami

What will the Jaguars do at the kicker position? They obviously do not have a lot of faith in Riley Patterson after replacing him with Brandon McManus last season and again with Wil Lutz this offseason before he agreed to stay in Denver. Do you see them bringing McManus back? Or is there a real possibility the team drafts a rookie kicker to compete with Patterson?

The Jaguars chose to let their kicker from 2023, McManus, become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. They did this after signing their kicker from 2022, Patterson, in January. I expect the Jaguars to either draft a kicker or sign one in free agency. When the Jaguars were searching for a kicker at the start of the 2023 season, Head Coach Doug Pederson – then in his first season with the team – stayed calm while observers panicked. Pederson figured the situation would resolve itself in time. I don't expect him to stress about the Jaguars' current kicker situation just yet. As for Patterson … yes, he's on the roster and he's a very legitimate possibility to kick. There's an equally legitimate chance for competition at the position. The Jaguars won't re-sign McManus. He signed this past week with the Washington Commanders as an unrestricted free agent.

Mike from Navarre, OH

What would you say are the chances the mayor of Sacksonville returns on a cheap, one-year deal?


Christian from La Habana

I am intrigued by the late-round defensive backs that we have drafted in the last two years. Do you have any candidates to break out during the 2024 season?

The Jaguars as of last training camp liked cornerback Christian Braswell a lot. A seventh-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, he missed all but three games as a rookie so it's hard for anyone – team included – to know just what the Jaguars have in him.

Rob from Pittsburgh, PA

Hey, John. Lots of pressure on Trent now to get Josh Allen deal now.

I expected the Jaguars to get a deal done with outside linebacker Josh Allen sometime this offseason before Ridley opted to sign with the Titans and I still expect it to happen sometime this offseason. Ridley signing with the Titans didn't change that dynamic. Does it change the "pressure" on General Manager Trent Baalke? From an observers' perspective, I guess, but I don't know that it changes the urgency in reality.

Jeff from Orange, CA

Sometimes I think people write to you expecting you to kick down management's door and advocate for our changes (i.e. upgrade the offensive line). My question is, why haven't your prior door kickings helped us out in the past, are you not looking out for us little guys?

Kicking down management's door is part of what is known around Miller Electric Center "insiders" as the daily "O-Zone routine." I usually hit the Keurig first, kick down Baalke's the door second, then put the feet on Lamping's desk until lunch. A case can be the "routine" is part of the reason my once meteoric career trajectory has stalled in recent years. I'm still holding out hope for that big promotion.

*David from Orlando, FL             *

Zone - On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (before 4 p.m. EST), teams reached agreements with free agents, which oftentimes include contract details. What's to prevent a player or agent from changing his mind (like K Wil Lutz deciding to stay with Denver) or leave the phones open for a better deal (like, Pats are accepting a 6th-round pick for Mac Jones, let's offer them a 5th)? It's presented as a done deal, a formality, but how binding is it?

No deal is official in the NFL until contracts are signed and transactions are registered with the league office. What prevents players from changing their mind? Their word – and agents/teams wanting to ensure they have reputations that enable them to make future deals.