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O-Zone: A true visionary

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Ryan from Jacksonville:
I wanted to thank Rashean Mathis for his dedication and professional approach to the Jags. He has been a class act and one of my favorite Jaguars, possibly the best in the organization's history. Best of luck to him.
John: I'll happily post this, and as I do, I'll say that I received many emails like this Tuesday night and Wednesday. I spoke with Mathis Wednesday and he was moved by the response of fans upon hearing the official news that he will not be offered a contract this offseason to return next season. Mathis was criticized at times late in his career, but it seems fans are remembering him as he should be remembered – as one of the best defensive players in team history and a guy who was a very good player and a class act for a long time.
Joey from Middleburg, FL:
What factors motivate players to re-sign without hitting free agency? I get the ones who extend their current deals early to offset the risk of injury, but if the last season of your deal has passed and you're still negotiating, why sign without testing free agency?
John: There are several factors. Some players realize they fit well within a certain organization and re-sign because they know playing with that team is best for their longevity and productivity. Other times, the current team will make it worth the player's while to stay. Other times, a player will take the deal with a current team because it's better to take a deal on the table than test the market. Each case is different. Eventually, it comes down to what it takes to make a player happy and comfortable.
Anthony from Madison, WI:
John, I'm disappointed in you. You know the only difference between journalism on and is that a lot of the titles on have catchy puns. = "striving for purrfection." You could've made it to the big leagues man!
John: Anthony, if I wanted to hear how much I had disappointed someone, I'd just stay at home and talk to my wife.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
I've never really been on the side of the players when it comes to the amount of money they get paid. I know it's a dangerous game and careers are short, but I still think they get paid very well for what they do. However, I do feel like the new (but probably not so new) approach by teams of signing guys to huge contracts, then asking them to restructure for less money or be cut is a little messed up. That is all.
John: I'll repeat a point I made quite often last season when Maurice Jones-Drew was holding out, and that's that the guarantees for players in contracts have nothing to do with the salaries each season and everything to do with the signing bonus. This is just as true for players being asked to restructure. Don't paint these restructurings this offseason as something that surprises the player or that is terrible for the player. Players get their guarantees in signing bonuses up front. After that, the NFL is very much a year-to-year proposition and players know this going in. At least they should.
Dan from Gainesville, FL:
Any news on what the current staff thinks about Jordan Shipley? Seems like a Stokley type receiver, would be nice to see what he offers in a full season.
John: Shipley is seen as a guy who has a chance to compete for a slot receiver role. In the long run, you would probably like to have more than you saw from him overall last season. At the same time, he showed positive signs late and would seem to have a chance to earn a roster spot.
Corey from Section 107:
John, do you think the Jaguars will be active in free agency? I wish they'd just let us know or something what the plan is.
John: Yes, they need to communicate that a bit better.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
Please help me understand something. So the new regime is essentially rebuilding the roster (again) and resigning the fans to waiting another 2-4 years before we are serious playoff contenders? I don't understand that approach. I get this roster needs upgrading, but allowing the only proven talent we have on this team to walk away in free agency seems shortsighted and foolish. This fan base has endured so much losing and mediocrity. Why would you also not try and build for winning now?
John: No one has said the Jaguars don't want to win now. Gus Bradley's message has been pretty clear that his goal is about getting better every day, and trusting that that will lead to the desired results. He's not putting a timetable on that, and though it's probably not realistic to think the team is going to contend for the Super Bowl next season, no one has ruled that out and certainly there is a belief that results should be seen in 2014. To go a little deeper into your question, though, it seems the talent people are concerned with walking away is cornerback Derek Cox, linebacker Daryl Smith and defensive tackle Terrance Knighton. It appears Cox and the Jaguars may be too far apart to hope to re-sign him, and while Cox is a talented player, considering his injury history it makes sense to not break the bank. Knighton, too, is talented, but has not been as consistent as you want from a core player at that position. That leaves linebacker Daryl Smith. If he is not re-signed – and with less than a week remaining before free agency that's a possibility – there's no question a good, reliable player would be leaving. At the same time, when building a roster you have to put value on positions, and an outside linebacker entering his 10th season is often a player you don't pay big money – particularly when you're restructuring the roster.
K.C. from Jacksonville:
John, I find myself conflicted.... on the one hand I find myself loving the Jaguars regardless of play because they've been my team growing up and most likely always will be. But on the other hand, I'm a season-ticket holder who wants to see a winner put on the field. If the talent difference in this league is as infinitesimal as the league preaches, then it shouldn't take a three-to-five-year process to construct a winner. I'm a medical student, and I would be out of a job if it took me three-to-five years to get the diagnosis right for a patient. Am I amiss in this?
John: Who said anything about five years?
Sam from Pomona, CA:
Looking way ahead here, but this Clowney guy is the real deal, huh? I have read that some teams would even be willing to give up the same package the Redskins gave up for RGIII to get Clowney. I have watched all of this guy's games and he is an absolute stud. Are you as high on him as everyone else is? Oh and I'm sure his 4.5 40 time is worth mentioning too.
John: No question he is a stud and looks like he will be an impact player. As far as teams giving up an RGIII-level package, I'd be skeptical because Griffin is a quarterback and Clowney is not. That means Griffin almost always will be more valuable. But do I think Clowney will be a dominant player? Sure, it's difficult to project otherwise.
Ramos from Los Angeles, CA:
Who's reaching out to capture a moment, everyone knows it's Johnny.
John: This is getting weird.
Caryn from Jacksonville:
JaMarcus Russell, Vince Young and David Garrard are all attempting to play this season. Who do you think has the best chance to make it and even if they do will they have the chance to play meaningful minutes?
John: I'd be surprised if all make rosters, and if any play meaningful minutes. But hey, I've been surprised before.
Jerrell from Columbia, SC:
Over-under two on jags win total next season? I say under because the team that won two games has more talent than this upcoming team prized with UDFA and rookies.
John: Well, Jerrell, we'll just agree to disagree.
Bill from Jacksonville:
Since the Jags are rebuilding and would like more picks is it possible for Caldwell to convey to the other teams that we are not following the draft-value chart and will take any trade into consideration or is that communication against the rules?
John: Teams typically talk to most every other team in some capacity before the draft just to get a feel for how open they might be to draft-day maneuverings. It's safe to say David Caldwell will have those conversations. At the same time, I doubt he's telling them the Jaguars aren't following the draft value chart, and the Jaguars certainly will want value for their selections. They're trying to add quality players, not give away equity for bargain-basement costs.
mike from middleburg:
you are the man the best in all and all in the best you are the greatest and the greatest of all mr o oh by the way I prefer sushi thanks man
John: you are visionary and what you lack in capitalization you make up for in perception thank you to

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