JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Bill from Danville, NY:
It's jaguars.com policy to not post things on this site until they are official. There, just helping you out, Zone.
John: True that – and thanks for the help. It indeed is jaguars.com policy that we do not publish news regarding trades, releases or player signings until such things are official. That's why we published a story Monday on defensive end Jared Odrick being released and it's why we haven't published speculative stories on potential trades involving Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas and/or Miami Dolphins left tackle Brandon Albert. Now, what we can do is discuss the potential for such trades here in the O-Zone. And so we shall. According to reports on Monday, the Jaguars traded a seventh-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft to the Dolphins for Albert, who reportedly visited EverBank Field Monday and who reportedly is warm to playing for the Jaguars. That solidifies the left-tackle position that was made uncertain when the Jaguars opted to not exercise Kelvin Beachum's four-year option last week. The Jaguars also in a separate deal reportedly traded Thomas to the Dolphins for a seventh-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. That means that in one day the Jaguars parted ways with the two highest-profile players from the 2015 unrestricted free agency class – Thomas and Odrick. If there is a move in recent days that's surprising, I suppose it was acquiring Albert and not taking Beachum's option. That's a risky move because of Albert's age (32), but the Jaguars felt Albert was enough of an upgrade to be worth the risk. As far as the decisions to move on from Thomas and Odrick, it frankly felt as if those moves were coming since last season. While an argument could be made to keep both, and while both are talented players, neither flourished in Jacksonville. It felt in both cases like time for both sides to move on.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
I don't like these moves. Albert is on the back end of his career and has injury history, Thomas could be used better and he would make up for the last two years easy and Odrick was very productive – and VERY passionate about winning. Beachum will be healthier and he is young, so his best years are in front of him. We are getting worse every day. Great. …
John: The moves indeed carry some risk. Beachum, Odrick and Thomas are talented, and all could contribute quickly for other teams. I imagine Beachum will be an NFL starting left tackle for a long time, and there's a good chance he will be pretty good. The Jaguars need to get quality left-tackle play from Albert immediately or that will look like a bad move. I also imagine Thomas will be productive somewhere and it's a shame for the Jaguars that somewhere couldn't be Jacksonville. As far as Odrick, yes … he was productive in 2015 before injuries kept that from being the case. Was he passionate about winning? I suppose so, but on-field theatrics and carrying-on aside, I didn't find him more passionate about winning than any other Jaguars player. Will all these moves look silly if all of these players flourish elsewhere? Sure. But a 3-13 team is making changs in the offseason. This isn't a shock.
Aaron from White Hall, AR:
So, do you think the reason the Jaguars are trying to bring in Branden Albert is because this is considered a weak draft class for offensive linemen and they could just be using this as a stopgap solution for at least a year or until the next strong draft class within a year or two?
John: I think if the Jaguars are exploring acquiring Albert it's because they're trying to upgrade the offensive line, and yeah … the fact that there appear to be no offensive tackles worth selecting at No. 4 overall means it will be difficult to draft 2017's starting left tackle. Is Albert a stopgap? Perhaps. He's 32, so he logically can play a couple of more seasons – but probably not, say, five more seasons. But remember: the idea for the Jaguars is to accelerate the building process and win more games immediately. This is a bit less about a long-term build and a bit more about trying to win now. Acquiring Albert makes sense in that vein.
Dave from Duval:
That sums up where we are perfectly as a franchise. In the Top 10 plays of 2016, Jalen Ramsey's pick-six was the number one play of the year. Admittedly it is nice to see a pick-six go our way every dozen or so the opponent gets.
Bruce from Gotham, NY:
Mr. Coughlin always has believed in the mantra of it all starts up front. He has a keen eye for talent when it comes to the big guys on both sides of the ball as he has shown with both the Jags and Giants. I know this will be a big area of focus for him [especially the offensive line] and expect both lines to be an area of strength in two years. Once that is done, if it is needed to draft a quarterback [which I believe it will], it will put that person in a better situation to succeed. Do you feel that to be a reasonable expectation, Mr. O?
John: I do believe Coughlin will focus on building the offensive line, and I don't think there's any question Coughlin understands well the importance of a dominant pass rush. Will those areas be strengths? That absolutely will be the objective. But if there's an undercurrent in your question that Coughlin is thinking it's OK to wait and get quality quarterback play in 2019, I don't think that's his timeframe. I can't imagine Coughlin waiting until 2019 to try to improve any part of this roster.
Dylan from Yukon:
Why is no one talking about Cyprien? He's our best potential free agent and it's like everyone forgot about him. He had a great season and will demand big bucks, but we have the big bucks to sign for a long-term deal. We're not going to get Eric Berry and Tony Jefferson is probably the next best safety and he's a step down from either of those two. So let's do this deal and re-sign Cyp!!!
John: Hey, one fer Cyp!!
Keith from Palatka, FL:
I may not agree with every opinion you have, and have even questioned at times the veracity of your statements. What I have learned in setting my own record of reading every O-Zone ever published is that you are if nothing else brutally honest. It may not be what we want to hear, but you always give an honest response. That is integrity, sir, and I admire that.
John: I appreciate your veracity regarding my veracity. Honestly.
Jamie from Santa Rosa Beach, FL:
Quick question, O-Man: Do you think the Jags may be interested in Le'Veon Bell if he becomes available? That way they could turn their attention to something other than running back at No. 4 in the draft.
John: If Bell becomes available this offseason, yeah … I think the Jaguars could well be interested. Here's what is known as an insider tip, and I say this with great veracity: if Le'Veon Bell is available as a free agent there's just a smidge of an inkling of the slightest chance they might not be alone in that regard.
Travis from St. Louis, MO:
I was listening to John Clayton talk the other day about how only one of the 12 teams in the postseason last year made it with a running back selected in the first round. So, wouldn't it make more sense to draft the best player available at a position of need? Or at least shore up our offensive line?
Travis from High Springs, FL:
Hi, John. Everyone is saying that Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook are the two best running backs in this year's draft. Would you say that either of these two have a running style similar to Fred Taylor?
John: No. Fournette appears more of a straight-ahead, power back who has a rare combination of size, power and speed. Cook appears to be more magically elusive with elite breakaway speed. Taylor was all of the above.
Enuff from Banner Elk, NC:
What the what???? We traded the $46 million man, Julius Thomas, for a seventh-round pick! Are you kidding me? And to add insult to injury, we are going to give up a pick and increase the salary of a washed-up left tackle that the Dolphins were going to cut anyway! The Jags literally created leverage for Brandon Albert! C'mon TC you're better than this!!! Isn't he?????
John: I suppose I'm a bit surprised at the tremors and shockwaves over these moves. The Jaguars went 3-13 last season and brought in Tom Coughlin to run the football operations with final say. Did people think that final say was going to stand idly by and say, "It's all good; let's stand pat?" The Jaguars are moving on from some players they don't feel will help enough to merit keeping them. It's what teams that go 3-13 and change leadership do.
O-Zone: All good
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Bill from Danville, NY: