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O-Zone: Best explanation

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Let’s get to it …

Jaw from Jacksonville

I thought at the end of last year the team should have re-signed Ramsey to an extension. Not because they “had to” – and I know it's "smart" to keep him on the cheap as long as they can –but because his value goes up every year and the market for a player like him continues to increase exponentially. The front office would be smart to resolve his future with this team before next season to avoid a holdout in my opinion. Plus, he deserves it. Some may not like his confidence on and off the field, but they should understand that's what makes him great on Sundays. He is the best player this team has ever had, and they need to treat him as such.

A couple of thoughts on your thoughts. First, there was a legitimate reason the Jaguars didn’t sign cornerback Jalen Ramsey to an extension after last season: because it would have been against NFL rules to do so. Drafted players can’t sign contract extensions until after their third NFL season, so the first time the Jaguars and Ramsey can negotiate a second contract is following this season. Also, while Ramsey indeed appears likely to be a great player for a long time, it’s far from an inarguable truth that he is the best player this team has ever had; Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor and Jimmy Smith were all among the best players in the NFL at their position in their primes – and Hall-of-Fame level talents. I agree the Jaguars should re-sign Ramsey – and I believe they will do that – but it’s tricky to determine when that will happen. They’re not going to save much by signing him this offseason as opposed to waiting. He’s going to be the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL whenever he signs a second contract.

Jerell from Columbia, SC

You have the captain of the team admitting that he is out of shape ... only the Jags.

That’s not really what happened, but whatever.

Johnny from Jacksonville

So now Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette’s answer to a very specific question is being taken completely out of context and damaging him. I honestly wouldn’t blame the players if they just don’t talk at all. The question was (paraphrased): The way your injury has lingered and missing games ... has that hampered the shape you want to be in this time of year? But it is simply reported as Leonard says he is not in shape. It’s just wrong!

That actually is what happened.

Lance from Jacksonville

Is it really such a good idea to draft a quarterback when the line gives up eight sacks a game and the receivers can't catch the ball to save their lives? We have no weapons or protection; a young quarterback would be wasted when our bad offense destroys his confidence. Right?

The Jaguars’ line hasn’t allowed eight sacks a game this season – and when players such as left tackle Cam Robinson, left guard Andrew Norwell and center Brandon Linder are healthy next season, the line shouldn’t be a weakness. The receivers and tight-end position also better be improved. As far as confidence, if a young quarterback is the right guy he can handle early adversity. And there’s really not much sense in waiting to get a quarterback. If the right guy is there, take him.

David from Chuluota

O-Zone: If the Jacksonville Jaguars used every first-round selection for the last 10 years on a quarterback, here’s who they would have drafted. This is based on where the Jaguars selected in that draft and the next available quarterback that was drafted by another team. So, from 2009-2018 here’s the list: Josh Freeman, Tim Tebow, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Tannehill, E.J. Manuel, Blake Bortles, Garrett Grayson, Paxton Lynch, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. So, in this scenario, in 10 years, we had a one (or maybe two) in 10 chance of drafting our franchise quarterback. I think most would have expected better odds then that considering how near the top we’ve been in the draft for that period of time. Thoughts?

Selecting a quarterback in the first round is tricky for even the best general managers. First, you must hope the right guy is there. Sometimes, there’s fortune involved. You draft, you develop, you hope. You play percentages. If you hit, you look great. If you miss, you often get blamed for circumstances beyond your control. Welcome to the life of an NFL general manager.

Kiel from LA

How can you live with yourself?

It’s not easy.

Marcus from Jacksonville

From what you have posted in the O-Zone lately, it seems there are two camps of people when it comes to Jalen Ramsey. There are those who love him, and those who want him out of Jacksonville. For me and those I know, we’re in the middle. I don’t like his selfishness and immaturity and I wish he would keep his mouth shut, but I also think he’s great and I would hate to see him leave the Jaguars. My question: Am I in the minority, or are you just conveniently ignoring those in the middle, making a slightly polarizing topic more volatile to fire people up in the closing weeks of a disappointing season when many people have already checked out? If so, you might have a future in covering politics!

People in the middle don’t typically write in with questions. What I can tell you is Ramsey absolutely is a polarizing figure. The reason I have been answering questions about him a lot is simple: There is a misconception about him among many national media, one that Ramsey helped create last offseason with a couple of high-profile interviews. That’s that he is a me-first player who is bad for the Jaguars. He’s not bad for the Jaguars, and I’m not even sure anymore the me-first tag is fair because I’m not sure Ramsey is any more me-first than any player. While Ramsey is a talkative player, the idea that he is selfish is incorrect – as is the idea that the Jaguars would be better off without him.

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

At least the helmets don't suck anymore.

OK.

Tucker from Nashville, TN

The Jaguars are not in cap hell. We have over $10 million in cap to rollover next year. The cap will also go up another $10 million by next year. Not including the cuts of safety Barry Church, Bortles, and defensive tackle Malik Jackson. Easily another 20 million, thank you John Idzik Jr.

You’re correct that the Jaguars won’t be in salary-cap hell in the offseason, and that Idzik – the team’s special assistant to the general manager – is a reason. The Jaguars during the 2016 and 2017 offseasons spent big in unrestricted free agency, structuring contracts in such a way that many of those players wouldn’t play out their contracts. That was not a case of mismanagement; it was the plan all along. That will mean releasing players, which has led to many believing the Jaguars mismanaged the cap to create “cap hell.” This is not the case, and you’re right that releasing players such as Church, Jackson and Bortles will help make the cap manageable. There will still be some difficult decisions involving players such as defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Marcell Dareus and safety Tashaun Gipson, but they will be manageable decisions.

Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL

Hi, John. My impression is that Cody Kessler was put in to see what they have in him. Not as our next starter, but rather to see if he can be a placeholder for a drafted quarterback next year or a serviceable backup should we bring in a veteran via trade/free agency. The way he’s played behind this offensive line makes me think he can.

OK.

David from Section 236

Phew, multibillion-dollar business and we’re just left with “sometimes it’s best to move on” … like it’s a middle-school crush. Oh well. Happy holidays and thanks for all you do, O

I have answered “sometimes it’s time to move on” when discussing why the Jaguars don’t go back to quarterback Blake Bortles as a shortened way of saying what I wrote quite often after the team replaced him in the lineup with Cody Kessler. While I and many others believe Bortles is better than Kessler, Bortles was struggling even more than usual in his last couple of starts. It seems after four seasons the team has decided he’s not going to be the quarterback anymore. There seems likely to be a reset at quarterback and a couple of other positions offensively. It appears the team doesn’t want Bortles to be part of that reset even though there are salary-cap reasons that it might make sense to have him as a backup or short-term option. So, yeah … when it comes to the quarterback position in the NFL, sometimes it’s time to move on.

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