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O-Zone: Closing in

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

John from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

If the concept of a new stadium had been floated after the 1-15 2020 season, the proposal would have been soundly defeated. I believe the new stadium proposal will now go through, so should it be named "The house that Trevor built?"

This is a common perception, and I have no doubt the "nays" would have been far louder regarding the Stadium of the Future in your scenario. But while you may call me a cockeyed optimist for saying this, I tend to believe City leaders will see this project for what it is – a long-term investment in a high-profile entity that's good for the city/area in good times and in bad. For that reason, I think City leaders and the team would have come to an agreement on a new stadium whatever the team's record the previous season. Either way, your view will be more widely held. So yeah … I can see it being called The House That Trevor Built. There are worse nicknames. King of All Funk comes to mind.

Sean from Jacksonville

I'd like to leave a wakeup call for any earth-shattering news. Please.

I get a few of these each offseason during the Dead Zone, people wanting to hear something – anything -that feels like news related to the Jaguars. And I get it: People are accustomed to hearing about the NFL twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three-hundred sixty-five days a year. But remember: NFL people are human. They need downtime, too. This is that downtime. And the issues for which Jaguars fans are waiting to hear news – the reported suspension of left tackle Cam Robinson and the contract of tight end Evan Engram – will play out soon enough. There's no rush. It seems likely we will hear something in the coming weeks about whether Robinson indeed will begin the season under suspension. And I suspect the July 17 deadline for Engram to reach a long-term deal with the team will pass without that deal getting done, which means he can play the 2023 season for the Jaguars under a one-year contract. If those two stories indeed go that way, then there really won't be any earth-shattering Jaguars offseason news. Then, everyone can relax. It would be OK if they did that anyway, actually.

Scott from Jacksonville

Hey, O-Man. Take Rat Dog and Wifey to London with you and your problem is solved. I mean, they must have pet-friendly hotels over there. Hell, they let you stay, so Rat Dog should be good to go.

There's a lot of paperwork involved to travel internationally with a dog and Mrs. O-Zone isn't big on flying over large bodies of water. This one's a no go.

Pradeep from Bangalore, India

Hi, John. Do you see by any chance we sign Marcedes Lewis this season, maybe at least for couple of games at a lower price? I wish Marcedes can sign off his career where it started almost two decades ago.

Lewis, a tight end selected by the Jaguars in Round 1 of the 2006 NFL Draft, indeed remains an unrestricted free agent after playing the past five seasons with the Green Bay Packers. My understanding is Lewis would still like to play. I doubt that will be with the Jaguars. Remember: The football operations and coaching staff currently in place has no connection to Lewis, who last played here in 2017. And while Lewis wants to play, I doubt he wants to play for a minimum salary. The Jaguars also like their current tight end room, and I don't know that they feel a need for a veteran presence. Here's hoping I'm wrong. I'd love for Lewis to be re-signed, and I sense most Jaguars fans agree.

Johnny B from Howey In The Hills

Mr. O: Great to see young players like Chad Muma hosting a clinic for kids with diabetes. Kudos to him. Also: I noticed in the pictures Devin Lloyd was one of his cohosts. It says a lot when Muma's biggest competitor for playing time supports his teammate like that. Very good vibe for team cohesion.

Jaguars second-year linebacker Chad Muma indeed recently hosted his first Muma Movement Minicamp for children with Type 1 diabetes. It's unsurprising that Muma would do this; he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 13 and is passionate about helping children with the condition. It's also unsurprising Lloyd was a cohost. Yes, they're competitors, but NFL players have competed with teammates their whole lives and they're teammates above anything else. Particularly when it comes to situations such as this.

Paul from Jacksonville

There would be some serious irony and likely pushback on any potential stadium deal that involved tobacco tax increases when you can't even use that at the stadium. How about a beer tax instead?

Tobacco is banned in many places. I can't imagine that would have anything to do with whether money from tobacco taxes would be used to fund the Jaguars' Stadium of the Future. This is all theoretical talk, by the way, and I have heard or seen nothing to indicate this will be an option.

Will from Jacksonville

You mentioned a couple days ago that you don't expect Evan Engram to re-sign before the July deadline. What makes you say that? I thought they were working towards an extension. I'm disappointed to hear that because he was such a big part of our turnaround and was a great player.

It would be surprising at this point if Engram signed a long-term extension with the Jaguars this offseason because the sides have been discussing it for the entire offseason and it hasn't yet happened. That doesn't mean it can't happen. It doesn't mean it won't happen. It means it would be surprising at this point. And I think both sides would share your disappointment if it doesn't happen. But a player's perception of his market value and a team's willingness/ability to pay what the player perceives sometimes doesn't match. So far, this is one of those times. Perhaps something will change. There's still time.

Mario from West Kelowna, British Columbia

Zone. I usually don't have any expectations for the Jags but this year I'm hoping Trevor Lawrence takes a step back and isn't as good as last year because that would mean his new contract wouldn't be as expensive as if the Jags won the Super Bowl this year. Money savings!

I'm assuming this is tongue-in-cheek. Either way, there's little reason for Jaguars fans to hope for this. Even if Lawrence isn't quite as good as last season, he's unlikely to regress to the point that people think he's not the Jaguars' quarterback of the future. And he won't lose significant market value. Either way, that's not why you play the game. You play to win and worry about the contracts later. Obviously.

Johnny from Westside

No one debates *why* Jaguars Owner Shad Khan wants taxpayer money for his team's stadium. It's so he doesn't have to spend that money. Capitalistically speaking it's a no-brainer. The difference is that regular taxpayers are being asked to pay - by force of law they must pay - for one person's business. So yeah, if someone else pays for my company, and I don't repay them, it's a genius investment strategy. This isn't capitalism, this is taxes being forced on EVERY citizen so that one-man benefits.

One not fer public funding, evidently.

John from The land of Indian River

O-Zone, the contract extension of Evan Engram is looking farther and farther from getting done. These kind of things seem to be much more complicated than we fans know. With the addition of wide receiver Calvin Ridley and how that should help wide receiver Christian Kirk, Engram should see fewer targets. I think the Jaguars are happy to have Evan sign the franchise tender. Do you think there's any way he holds out for the extension?

I think the Jaguars would love to sign Engram long-term. I think the addition of Ridley could help Engram just as much as it helps Kirk. I would be surprised if Engram holds out for any significant time, but I don't have a real feel for this. Stay tuned.

Don from Marshall, NC

You let the cat out with gambling as a way of tax revenue. To compete it only makes sense to have a game changer like a casino downtown. That area is perfect for that. Covers a lot of bases for development. Go Jaguars!

A guy in a suit is walking down the street. A shabby-looking man approaches the guy in the suit and says, "Can I have $20 for food?" The guy in the suit says, "How do I know you won't use it to gamble?" The shabby-looking man says, "I've got gambling money." I never get tired of that joke.

Michael from Newport News, VA

Are we there yet?

Jaguars 2023 Training Camp begins July 26.