JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Steven from Ponte Vedra, FL
If/when the City of Jacksonville agrees to pay for a portion of the stadium upgrades, just curious what options you think the city might have to come up with the funds. Sales tax increase, property tax increase, hotel tax increase? Maybe force Gary to come up with the money? And why not work to get those increases starting ASAP to start building up the coffers?
Public discussions on this haven't begun, so I don't have a sense about the exact source of public funding for the Jaguars' proposed Stadium of the Future. Stadiums around the nation in the last two decades have been publicly funded in various ways, including: Increased sales taxes; increased hotel and car rental taxes; gambling, cigarette and hospitality taxes; tax exemptions. As for the timing, the first step is to begin discussions with the city. Those likely will start relatively soon after Donna Deegan is sworn in as Mayor on July 1. The Jaguars would like to get an agreement by next spring. Speeding anything before that isn't likely.
Andrew from Duuuval
Melvin Gordon recently said that running back is the worst position to play. Dalvin Cook was cut after being the best running back in the NFL not too long ago. We're seeing fewer and fewer running backs get second contracts no matter how good they are. What effect do you think this will have on the position long-term? Do you see a future where there are no more running backs and teams just hand the ball off to wide receivers and tight ends?
I do not see a future in which there are no running backs. I see the future of the position essentially being the same as the present in that teams will only draft the position in Round 1 if the player is very special – and that teams will rarely give running backs second contracts. While this understandably doesn't sit well with running backs, this is not a "respect" thing. Nor do teams have anything personal against running backs. It's a simple reality that the physical nature of the NFL takes a greater toll on that position than any other, and that running backs typically play at a high level far fewer seasons than most positions. Remember: Teams don't "reward" players with contracts. They sign players to contracts to pay for future production. The productive future of a running back entering his second contract is typically too short to merit the contract. This is a business trend, nothing more.
Woody from Dunlap
KOAF: I lived in the Tampa Bay area for 35 years. I experienced what Jeff Vinik (Lightning Owner) did for the downtown Tampa and Ybor City areas with his willingness to partner with the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County (for roughly two decades I was a professional consultant for the county). I see Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan's commitment to Jacksonville in a similar light. Mr. Khan's current and future investments in the City of Jacksonville will almost certainly enhance (substantially) Jacksonville's reputation nationwide (which directly enhances municipal and county profitability, which in turn provides more money for public services). I recommend anyone who doubts this projection to visit downtown Tampa today. Focus on the area around the hockey stadium. Then ask any long-time residents what the area looked like before Vinik and the Tampa Bay Lightning. With a Shahid Khan willing to help "prime the pump" for the city, I envision a major success story for Jacksonville (with the increased revenues to help fund multiple public enhancements). What say you, KOAF?
James from Salt Lake City via Jacksonville
OK, Mr. O. After pretty much getting reprimanded on my last question, let me say one more thing about the stadium and I'll go to bed and not worry about it anymore: It seems to me that when the government wants to spend your money for their projects, they pretty much tax us without asking us.
James wrote in a recent email that in all his years paying taxes he never had noticed what the government did with his tax money and to "ask the people in Jacksonville when was the last time they remember paying a big tax and seeing anything that helped them." I answered that people have every right to notice what they notice. This was not meant to be snide or a reprimand. Rather, it was to make the point that many people aren't going to like the idea of public money going toward a professional sports facility – and although the Jaguars' Stadium of the Future will have other uses, at its core it will the Jaguars' home. People indeed have the right not to like it. I hope for the sake of people who love the Jaguars in Jacksonville those opinions don't prevent an agreement between the City and the franchise. That would be a shame.
J. Hooks from ORANGE PK
Hey, John. With the new stadium design being released and the Miller Electric Center opening right around the corner, do you know if they plan on keeping Daily's Place and the adjacent practice field in the plans? I couldn't really tell from the renderings.
Yes, Daily's Place and the indoor facility will remain in place.
John from Jacksonville
Is Evan Engram considered a member of the team even though he hasn't signed the franchise tag? Can he use team facilities to work out? If he works out on his own and sustains an injury, does the responsibility fall on him? If the Jags don't intend to extend him, it seems like a huge risk not signing the tag. Especially if his salary is guaranteed as soon as he signs.
Tight end Evan Engram received the franchise tag in March and has not yet signed a long-term contract or signed the franchise tender, the latter of which would be a one-year contract. As such, he is not under contract with the Jaguars and may not attend practice or work out at the facilities. Players in this situation typically insure themselves against injury to protect themselves from potential financial loss. I don't expect the teams to agree to a long-term deal before the July 17 deadline to do so. I also don't expect Engram to miss time in Training Camp, so I expect him to sign his tender before that begins in late July. We'll see.
Cory from Alexandria, VA
After signing their head coach and general to extensions, the Buffalo Bills' owner said head coach Sean McDermott is a "proud, Christian, determined man." Inclusion of the word "Christian" in this description is in obvious violation of many federal employment laws and regulations stating that an employer shall have no bias toward an employee's or applicant's age, race, religion, gender, ethnicity, orientation, etc. Don't all NFL teams have in-house legal counsel? If the Bills ever pass on a minority head coach or general manager candidate in the future, this statement by Pegula could become Exhibit A in a legal proceeding. How in the world did this description of Sean McDermott by owner Terry Pegula ever get released?
He's the owner. Perhaps he said, "We're releasing this statement."
Marc from Oceanway
Zone, is it true that in 1993, the NFL was ready to award St. Louis the 30th NFL franchise when word got out that Gene Frenette preferred that Jacksonville get the franchise and St. Louis then immediately withdrew its candidacy?
Longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette is adept at backroom deals. He has "pull" in these arenas. That's all I feel comfortable saying about this.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, I'm not going to question your journalistic integrity, but I'm curious: If you sleep in before heading into the office, nap throughout the day, and leave early to beat the traffic, how exactly do you know what's going on at the stadium for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
What's a "journalistic integrity?"
Travis from High Springs
If for some reason left tackle Cam Robinson were to not get suspended, would Walker Little then move back to right tackle? Or would Anton Harrison remain there and Little become the swing tackle?
All indications during 2023 Organized Team Activities and Minicamp in May/June were that the Jaguars hadn't finalized their plan regarding the offensive line, this scenario included. The feeling I got listening to coaches discuss this was they want to get their five best linemen on the field, and Little is in that group. Coaches also worked Little at both guard and tackle during the offseason program. That could mean a scenario in which Robinson plays left tackle with Harrison at right tackle and Little at left guard. Stay tuned.
Stuart from Cottonwood, AZ
I vote you start calling Brenton Starnge "The adjective." I've already had to re-read a section because you only used his last name.
I vote you start spelling his name right.