JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Gary from St. Augustine, FL
We need news, Zone. You know … information!? When will we know what's going on with Cam and DJ? And free agency? Enquiring minds want to know? Ohhhhhh … do we want to know…
Breathe, Gary, breathe. Got it? Good. Your offseason nightmare should soon end. No one's withholding information or being unnecessarily secretive here. Mid-to-late February and early March are traditionally the times of the offseason when we begin getting clearer ideas about NFL teams' offseason plans, with the Scouting Combine often when reports become clearer and at least closer to "official." I expect there's a chance we get at least a hint about the Jaguars' plans with left tackle Cam Robinson and wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. at next week's combine, with a new coaching staff then having had a chance to meet extensively with personnel officials to reach consensus on what positions are needs, what players should be priorities, what the team might plan for free agency, etc. Few outside the building seem to have a feel for how the Jaguars will approach Robinson – and there seems an equal chance he could re-sign, have the franchise tag placed on him or be allowed to test unrestricted free agency. The presence of second-year left tackle Walker Little and the possibility of selecting tackle No. 1 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft give that issue a very uncertain feel. Chark recently removed all reference to the Jaguars from his social media accounts, an indication perhaps he believes there's a chance he won't return. That doesn't mean anything is official with either player. Free agency begins March 16. The league's negotiating window opens March 14. Stay tuned.
William from Savannah, GA
O-Man, it's time to go big or go home. Splash the cash on D. Adams - yes, you have to overpay but you won't get a top-five wide receiver in the league in free agency without doing so. That will take the pressure off the other wide receivers and make them better. This will allow Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence to fulfill his destiny and bestride the world like a Colossus. Next, re-sign Cam. Hold onto talent; upgrade at the position down the road when the other glaring holes are filled and the average talent level on the team is much higher. Draft a pass rusher in Round 1 because there is No. 1 pick talent at the position. It is hard for team to score points when their quarterback is sitting on his behind. It's time to go big or go home and become this generation's Detroit Lions – good quarterback in Matthew Stafford and the Lions wasted his talent with mediocrity at most positions.
I expect the Jaguars to be more aggressive in free agency this offseason than last offseason. I also expect wide receiver to be an offseason focus, with the main question being the same question that faces any team trying to upgrade a specific position via free agency – i.e., whether there is true elite-level talent available for the elite-level money teams must spend to build a roster via that route. While Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams indeed is elite, there is zero guarantee he will become an unrestricted free agent on March 16. And while there certainly will be receivers available in free agency, it's quite likely other "premium" free agents no longer will be available once the period begins. And there's the reality that even the "elite" free agents are available for a reason. That said, if Adams happens to be available … then yes, your approach makes sense. Most of it, at least.
Marc from Oceanway
Have your (trade seventh-round picks) subliminal messages (trade seventh-round picks) posted around General Manager Trent Baalke's office (trade seventh-round picks) born any fruit? Any chance (trade seventh-round picks) you get to finish (trade seventh-round picks) the draft early again this year.
It's a process.
Nathan from Utah, US
Zone, I'm struggling to find which players are currently Ring of Honor Jaguars. Whose names are up there? If Greg Jones is not, do you feel he's worthy of the Honor? Thanks
Ring of Honor Jaguars: Offensive tackle Tony Boselli, running back Fred Taylor, wide receiver Jimmy Smith, quarterback Mark Brunell, Owners Wayne and Delores Weaver. I don't know that Jones is quite a Ring-of-Honor player, particularly not before wide receiver Keenan McCardell and running back Maurice Jones-Drew. I would have defensive end Tony Brackens and cornerback Rashean Mathis up for consideration, too.
Gary from High Springs
Hey John. With two outstanding wins at home last season and a couple of close losses, do you think we start to build an advantage here at home next season on our win totals? Or will it be too early?
Past results likely won't influence whether the Jaguars win at TIAA Bank Field next season or in the future – just as past results won't influence whether the Jaguars have a homefield advantage. They'll start being better at home when the team starts winning. At that point, it will get a lot tougher for opponents to play at the 'Bank.
Nick from Palm Coast, FL
Back in December, I asked you if the Jags should hire an executive vice president, you never answered my question. Now that they are "supposedly" interviewing for one, don't the Jags have to post who they are talking to so they comply with Rooney rules???
There is no requirement for teams to "post" candidates they interview. Teams must comply with the Rooney Rule where applicable, but the candidates interviewed don't always become public.
Jim from Jagsonville
How much tax revenue has the city of Jacksonville gained from the Jaguars being here? How about the increased value of the property around the stadium? Have other businesses relocated to Jacksonville in the last 25 years due to the exposure an NFL franchise brings? Do people really think the city is simply padding Owner Shad Khan's pockets for nothing in return? As a native, I know Jacksonville was before and after the Jaguars, as well as the difference between Wayne and Shad's tenures. Both men did great things for our community as a whole, even if the product on the field isn't what we hoped for. Duval 'till we die! Go Jaguars! I'll always bleed Teal!
Bradley from Sparks, NV
With Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal the popular choice for No. 1 overall, is it concerning what a dismal record offensive lineman drafted in the first two rounds from Alabama over the last 10-plus years have?
I'm sure this will concern some observers/fans. Where a prospect attended college never has concerned me that much. Some highly-regarded prospects succeed wildly. Some do not. You don't steer away from an offensive lineman from Alabama just because a few didn't succeed just as you don't draft cornerbacks from a certain school just because good ones have played there before. And the Jaguars shouldn't avoid players from the University of Florida just because a few players from there haven't fulfilled expectations. Do the research, identify prospects and make your choice based on you feel about the player – not the school.
_Brian from ROUND ROCK, TX _
By all means, draft great. However, don't replace quality veterans with rookies. How about we keep our quality veterans and draft great players. Sounds like a winning formula to me. Or should we keep letting our quality veterans leave and replacing them with young duds and other team refuse?
Your question illustrates the issue with discussing issues in generalities rather than specifics. NFL teams absolutely should re-sign quality veterans and draft great players. And NFL teams absolutely shouldn't allow quality veterans to leave and replace them with worse players/castoffs from other teams. But it's one thing to say you're going to re-sign your veterans and another to have that approach be the right approach. If a player's not very good and a position needs upgrading, it would be just as much a mistake to re-sign that player as it would be to sign a bad player as an unrestricted free against from another team. Formulas are only winning formulas if you insert the right people and players into the formula.
Brian from Gainesville, FL
Big O, can you explain why some of your readers insist that people stop writing you questions with their thoughts and comments? Seems like that would be counter-productive to the goals of the O-Zone column. The hundreds of us inexperienced general managers enjoy the offseason for exactly that reason - to play general manager. It's just more of fans gonna fan. Perhaps for some they should pay attention to something else until the season starts.
I don't try to explain why many people do many things, and I damned sure don't try to explain why readers of this column write some of the things they write. But there's no doubt fans fan, and thank goodness for that.
Sean from Jacksonville
If there were no sponges in the ocean, would there be more water?