O-Zone: Best-laid plans

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Jake from Hawthorne

I like the Nick Foles move, but I’m trying to understand the contract. Were there teams out there competing against us for Foles?

The Jaguars on Monday reportedly agreed to terms to sign Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles as an unrestricted free agent, with the contract reportedly four years, $88 million with potential for $102 million. Foles also reportedly will receive $50.1 guaranteed. It’s a franchise-defining transaction, and your question – just why the contract is so much – understandably will be a major topic in the coming weeks and days. I doubt we’ll ever know the full extent – or lack of extent – of other teams’ interest in Foles. I wouldn’t be surprised if other teams contacted Foles’ representation at least to gauge interest and price, and I at the same time wouldn’t be surprised if Foles’ representation exaggerated said interest when speaking with the Jaguars with the idea of maximizing Foles’ contract. Foles’ representation at this point has no reason to reveal anything nor do any interested teams. I expect the Jaguars believe – and may say – there was some interest, but I wouldn’t expect much in the way of irrefutable knowledge. So, why did the Jaguars pay so much? There is merit to the thought that you don’t want to lowball Foles and prompt interest from other teams – just as there is merit to the idea that you don’t want to lowball an expected leader of the franchise. Make no mistake: Foles is pricey; a little more than $50 million guaranteed is the most the Jaguars ever have paid. But his $22 million average salary puts him at about the middle of the pack for NFL veteran starting quarterbacks. If you wanted the Jaguars to sign the top quarterback in free agency, then you can’t complain about the price.

Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

John, I'm a simple man with simple wishes. I like Foles because he does not throw helicopter passes. Thank you.

Hey, one fer Foles ...

Biff from Jacksonville

I’m indifferent about the Foles signing because the ROI is predicated on performance. Maybe he tanks. Maybe he wins Super Bowls. No idea, but for the money it seems a bit too much based on the body of work, right? Still, I love my quarterback when he’s my quarterback. Until he no longer deserves my love. I will Silver Lining Folesbook this signing for at least two years. You cool with that?

… and another – somewhat philosophically – for Foles, I think …

Bryan from Tampa, FL

This Foles talk has me sick! If they sign him as reported to four years, $20 million-plus per, they have literally signed the franchise up for another six years of rebuilding. How exhausting and discouraging for a fan. I wonder who our coach and general manager will be next year.

… and one not fer.

Paul from Jacksonville

John, if the signing numbers for Foles being rumored are true, I assume this removes all doubts as to who the quarterback will be for at least three years? I can't imagine drafting another quarterback unless a late-round developmental guy.

Foles reportedly will receive about $46 million of his $50.1 million in guarantees in the first two years of his contract. That’s the closest thing possible to “removing all doubt” for at least two years. I say “closest thing possible” because guarantee is a tricky word in NFL circles. Conventional wisdom, for example, was that quarterback Blake Bortles’ 2018 contract extension guaranteed he would be the starter through 2019. That obviously wasn’t the case. But in terms of this year … no, I can’t imagine the Jaguars would select quarterback early in the draft.

Tony from the Land of Confusion

Leaders get to be leaders by leading, not by getting big paychecks. Foles has a history of being a true professional – he'd have done his job and led this team for $18 million a year just the same as he will at $22+ million a year and just like he did in Philly last year at $13 million. I like Foles and think he'll do well for us, but overpaying like this to buy him respect (or however you want to phrase it) just makes his job harder. Is there something more to this than the national media is reporting? If not, then this is another headscratcher from the Coughlin front office.

First, while we can assume Foles’ asking price, we don’t know for sure what it actually would have taken to sign him. Second, paying Foles $22 million a season as opposed to $18 million in no way makes his job harder.

Sean from Jacksonville

I can't help but feel sorry for your inbox over the next four or five months. Good luck.

The inbox made it through six consecutive losing seasons, and it made it through a disastrous 2018 season. I suspect it will be fine for the foreseeable future.

Victor from Albany, NY

I bet Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell pays for the undercarriage cleaning at the car wash too.

I laughed at this …

Mike from AK

We should hire a coin to run the team for a while. At least that way we have a 50/50 chance of not blowing tons of money on an average quarterback every offseason.

… this not so much.

Sam from Orlando, FL

It seems like everyone wants us to go all offense in the draft and free agency. I ask them to look at the depth chart at corner, safety and linebacker. It’s scary. We need talent and depth everywhere.

The Jaguars have some needs, particularly at tight end and on the offensive line. They’re not as deep at a lot of spots that would be ideal. That’s true of the other 31 teams as well. Quality depth is a myth in the NFL. Almost no team has it – and the ones that get relatively close to having it don’t have it for very long. The salary cap and free agency don’t allow it.

Steve from Key West, FL

Foles for $88 million with $50 million guaranteed???

Apparently.

Mark from Archer, FL

If the report that the Jags are signing Foles is true I like it. I think he is a QB who has never been given a real chance to be a starter. That being said, why does it seem like the Jags like to overpay their QBs? They severely overpaid Bortles with the contract last off season, and if reports are true that the Jags are really the only team seriously interested in Foles and the terms that I have read are true they are also overpaying Foles.

The Jaguars don’t “like overpaying quarterbacks.” They pay veteran quarterbacks what veteran quarterbacks pretty much cost.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, it seemed like we would never be in a situation where we had to let good players go. I hate to see it, but this is a much better situation than not having good players to let go. Is it more common for good teams to let good players go?

Yes.

Ken from Jacksonville

When a current player is released such as happened Friday ... how is it done? Is he released through contact with the player's agent or is the player contacted directly by Tom or Caldwell or is he called to come into the stadium and informed? I would guess that all playbooks are collected at the end of the season so there would be no reason to bring him in?

Teams typically make every effort to contact players in that situation. They typically do not have to come to the facility.

Eric from Columbus, IN

Is this April Fool’s Day? Are you kidding me? This contract is going to HAUNT us for years to come. What a joke! No wonder we lose for a decade!

It’s not April Fool’s Day. April Fool’s Day is April 1. And the contract reportedly is essentially a two-year deal. It won’t haunt the Jaguars for years to come.

Brad from Orange Park, FL

Any team(s) that come to mind, were they in the exact circumstances that the Jaguars are in this coming draft, that you think “would” sign Foles & still go after a quarterback? Just curious what your estimation is of why they wouldn't?

The reason the Jaguars wouldn’t do that is because of needs at other positions.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

Does this mean it’s unlikely the Jaguars try to draft a franchise QB in 2020 as well?

That very much remains to be seen. Signing Foles certainly indicates that their plan is not to draft a quarterback early in the 2020 NFL Draft. You don’t pay a quarterback $50 million guaranteed if you don’t think he’s good enough to get you to the postseason, and teams in the postseason one season usually aren’t in a position to select a quarterback early in the next offseason’s draft. If Foles doesn’t work out and the Jaguars struggle enough to select in the Top 10 next offseason … well, if that happens it’s quite possible the people doing the planning now may not be around to do the planning in 2020.

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