O-Zone: A question of pride

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Mason from Palm Bay, FL

I agree that the Jaguars’ starter at quarterback next year will most likely be Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles or Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State. However, if we do not sign Foles, teams will probably know we are targeting Haskins. I think the price to trade up could become absurd. The decision-makers have a lot of homework to do before free agency starts.

The price to move up in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft always is steep, and that would be true for the Jaguars in the ’19 draft whatever free agency brings. I continue to believe Foles is the most likely Jaguars quarterback next season followed by Haskins. But for all the outside focus on Foles and Haskins, that’s all it is for now: outside focus. We don’t really know the decision-makers’ plans. What we do know is they will have done mammoth homework on multiple free-agent and rookie quarterbacks. And while Foles and Haskins are plausible scenarios, veterans such as Case Keenum of Denver, Tyrod Taylor of Cleveland and Ryan Tannehill of Miami also are plausible. And there are respected people who believe Daniel Jones of Duke and Drew Lock of Missouri could push to be the first quarterback selected in the 2019 NFL Draft rather than Haskins or Kyler Murray of Oklahoma. I continue to believe staying at No. 7 and selecting Lock or Jones could be in play on draft night – particularly if the Jaguars don’t sign Foles. Bottom line: The Jaguars will have multiple plans, and they will have done their homework on all of them. How that plan will play out will be one of the league’s most fascinating stories over the next few weeks/months – and this franchise’s most important development in recent memory.

Alejandro from Mexico City, Mexico

Hi Mr. O. I've heard many times that Foles is a system quarterback. Which are the needs that Foles requires in his system? Thanks and saludos.

Good tight ends. Good wide receivers who can make plays. A strong offensive line. And a strong running game.

Keith from Jacksonville

Lest Ron from Ponte Vedra forgot, Telvin Smith was a fifth-round pick himself. It’s entirely possible the Jags could replace him after the third round. That being said, I am also of the camp to give him one more year before releasing him. Until 2018, he played much too well even on our bad teams to release him so quick.

OK.

Red from O-Zone Comments Section

Hey John, you sure seem sure that Bortles’ entire salary for 2019 is just $6.5 million. You sure that's right? Various websites dedicated to NFL player salaries say Bortles' 2019 salary is $14 million and he's due a roster bonus of $1 million on March 17 as well as $62,500 in bonus for every 2019 regular season game he's on the active roster. It looks as if Bortles would make $16 million if he's retained by the Jags for the coming season and is on the active roster every game. Are these websites confused and his salary is actually only $6.5 million for 2019?

It appears I have created confusion. That’s unsurprising, because it’s difficult to discuss in detail every aspect of Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles’ 2019 contract when trying to address salary-cap ramifications. Bortles is guaranteed $6.5 million in 2019. That’s the part of his contract with offsets, which was what we have discussed in the O-Zone in recent days. He would make a $14 million salary plus a $2 million roster bonus with $1 million of that due March 17 – and yes, his dead cap number is $16.5 million if he is released.

Joshua from Lynchburg, VA

Do you think Brad Meester will ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame?

There’s a relatively good chance former Jaguars center Brad Meester is someday inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars. I do not see a scenario in which he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Mike from Jacksonville

Let us assume that we sign Foles as a free agent and then we grab a top-tier tight end at No. 7. Blake Bortles, Cody Kessler and Tanner Lee are all released. Who do you like for a backup quarterback? Do you take one in Rounds 2 or 3, or do you sign another free agent, or do you keep Kessler or Lee?

I might take a quarterback in the later rounds as a developmental player because why not, but in your scenario, I would look outside the organization for a backup. I wouldn’t want an untested, green rookie quarterback – particularly a non-first-round rookie quarterback – as the backup.

Travis from High Springs, FL

Last year during training camp there were a lot of statements made about ASJ being one of BB5's favorite targets and making big plays and actually being a better blocker than the Jaguars initially thought. He obviously got injured early in the season and didn't get to play much, but do think the Jaguars may be giving up on him to soon? Especially given the lack of players we have at the tight end.

This makes sense on paper. Sometimes in reality, it’s time to move on – and the Jaguars moved on from tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins last week by declining to pick up his option. That can be true at quarterback and at other positions, too. Bottom line: The Jaguars believe it’s time to hit reset on a few key positions, and tight end – perhaps as much as quarterback – is in dire need of a reset. In this writer’s view, it’s time to invest heavily in the draft at tight end and get the pass-catching threat at the spot that the team has lacked for far too long.

Daniel from Urbandale, IA

Case Keenum? Really? I'll admit I didn't follow the Broncos season closely, but it didn't appear as if he was having much success there. It’s hard to see that as an upgrade over Bortles?

There’s no such thing as a perfect quarterback solution for the Jaguars this offseason. All of the scenarios have flaws, and all are risks. Foles is the Veteran Quarterback of Choice for many because of his postseason success in recent seasons, but he has had concerning ineffective stretches throughout his career. Taylor, Tannehill, Teddy Bridgewater … all have strengths, but all major concerns, too. Keenum has struggled a lot in his NFL career, but he also recently had a very effective year in Minnesota. My point in saying Keenum should be considered by the Jaguars is this: If you’re not getting Foles, you’re probably getting a quarterback such as Keenum, Taylor, Bridgewater or Tannehill. If you’re looking at that group, then yes … Keenum should be carefully considered.

John from Cape May Courthouse

Enough of this tomfoolery. Foles? Stop it. The guy had one magical playoff run akin to Eli Manning and Joe Flacco. And much like those two, he hasn't done much outside of those Super Bowl runs. Foles ain't the answer we’re looking for. Offensive lineman in the Top 10? Stop it. You need to draft difference-makers in the Top 10, and I define a difference-maker as someone who can win you a game. For how great Tony Boselli was, he never won the Jags any games; I can't recall any offensive linemen ever being the reason their team won a game. Lastly, T.J. Hockenson at No. 7? Stop this nonsense! He may not be the best tight end from Iowa in this draft. What tight end drafted in the top 10 has ever been actually good? Maybe Vernon Davis? And Hockenson certainly isn't Vernon Davis. I'm starting to believe that the reason we suck at drafting so much is because Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin and Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell listen to the opinions of those who write on this blog. If that's the case, Tom ... Dave ... listen to me” all you need to concern yourself with is, how do we put ourselves in a position to take Kyler Murray? You will save your jobs if you take him, I promise you. Go get Murray.

Your passion is as admirable as your statements are inaccurate – and that’s no small feat. But you’re severely short-changing both Manning (two Super Bowl titles) and Flacco (five consecutive playoff appearances) to say they both had one magical playoff run. You also aren’t going to draft very well if you only draft quarterbacks and wide receivers in the Top 10. And the idea that Coughlin and Caldwell read this “blog” or are somehow influenced by it is silliness. But perhaps your silliest point is believing that Boselli never won a game for the Jaguars. He won plenty of games. In fact, he was responsible for just about every victory during the time he played. I know this to be true because he told me himself.

Advertising