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O-Zone: Conspiracy theory

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it... Mark from Archer, FL:
O-Man, you covered Peyton Manning in Indy for years. I have heard he loves the game, especially the mental aspect of being a quarterback. Do you think he could turn into a coach somewhere? Something tells me he could be a very good coordinator or coach if he wanted to.
John: I don't think there's any doubt Manning, who informed the Denver Broncos on Sunday he will retire after 18 NFL seasons, could be a good NFL coach/offensive coordinator. And I expect that may be something he at least will consider. But I honestly think that will be a difficult fit because it will be tough for Manning to find a quarterback and other players who take a similar mental approach to the game as he did. His singular, maniacal focus to preparation/study/improvement was off the charts, and most players/coaches don't/can't match it. I tend to think Manning's leaning more toward ownership/front office. A role similar to the one John Elway has in Denver makes sense. I haven't spoken to Manning in a long, long time, so I don't pretend to know his thoughts on the matter, but from afar, that seems like something that interests him and something that would be a fit.
Eric from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Just like Elway, Peyton is going out on top. Jags fans have all been frustrated by him and enjoyed the few times we got into his head. Proves the point that when they go down hard, they think about it. Good Luck, Peyton. #DTWD
John: #DTWD
Salty B from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
John, what do you Sea Best for the Jags in Free Agency? Do you think we will cast our line for Alex Mack; he would be a great catch. Nothing like the great taste of a good free-agent addition. I also hope in the draft we Sea Best players being drafted now that we don't have to draft by position. Do you agree?
John: I think the Jaguars will cast a wide, wide net when fishing in free agency, and whatever they pull out of the ocean next week will Sea some of the Best, most-pricey contracts seen around these parts in a long time, matey.
Zane for Neptune Beach, FL:
Oliver Vernon to the Jags? Yes or no? And with his type of tag, if a team offers him a deal and Miami chooses to match is a different team allowed to offer a deal?
John: I think there's a good chance the Jaguars will pursue Olivier Vernon heavily – and no, once the Dolphins match an offer sheet signed by Vernon, he would be under contract with the Dolphins.
Levi from Bloomington, IN:
I've seen several mocks where Noah Spence falls into the twenties. If that happens do you think the Jaguars, or other teams, would be scrambling to trade up to get him? Also, found it very surprising no general managers or head coaches were at his Pro Day. That might be saying something.
John: I doubt teams will "scramble" to get Noah Spence in the 20s, not if scrambling means a sudden flurry of teams jockeying for position to trade up. I do think someone probably takes him there or before because I think the temptation to take a pass rusher of his skill will be … well, tempting. But I wouldn't read too much into a lack of attendance at his Pro Day. There are usually only one or two head coach/general managers at any Pro Day not involving a quarterback. Also, Spence's came less than a week after the combine and a few days before free agency; teams not only pretty much knew what to expect from him, they had some other stuff to do, too.
Mike from the Comments Section:
O'man. I finally got my own troll in the comments section. Don't be jealous, but maybe you should visit sometime. I bet you'd have a blast. Much cooler place than the Jag's Fan Dreamhouse and dare I say better company than the Culligan Girl. Ok, well that last part isn't true, but still. Aren't you missing out?
John: No.
Alex from Los Angeles, CA:
How do roster spots work this time of year? Does it jump back up to 90 on Monday? #DTWD
John: The 90-man roster is in effect the entire offseason.
Aaron from Chantilly, VA:
By most accounts Luke Joeckel had a decent year in pass-blocking minus the last game. Looking ahead next season it appears the Jags plan to emphasize the run. Will the team be able to run off the left with Joeckel beating his guy or do we go to the right more?
John: Joeckel is not a liability in the run game; in fact, in three seasons he has been better there than in pass protection.
Alex from Los Angeles, CA:
O-Man, am I the only one that would rather see us sign one of the talented, young guards also available on the market than Alex Mack? If the staff believes Linder or Cann is talented enough to play center, I would rather see us have a young offensive line that can play together for a long, long time.
John: I wouldn't rule that out.
Ron from Jacksonville:
Is there any real foreseeable ceiling to the revenue growth/salary cap growth we've seen for as long as it's been around? Ideally, a team like this could target a couple free agents and keep rolling the space forward until the cap growth slows. I just don't know if that would be in my lifetime if history tells us anything.
John: The cap typically goes up from year to year, but it doesn't always take major jumps – and there have been multi-year stretches with a relatively flat cap. Historically, this offseason is one of the bigger jumps in recent memory, so yes … a team could try to approach it your way … but it wouldn't always work.
Nate from Dillsburg, PA:
It's no secret the Jags are going to be offering big money to the players they want. So do you think players will be holding off on signing with other teams in hopes that the Jags do make them an offer?
John: No. The players the Jaguars are pursuing will know very quickly. Since this O-Zone is posting Monday morning, I suspect most will know in a few hours.
Josh from South Texas:
Just to say, fan since '95 and through thick and thin this Jag fan will never jump ship! Win, lose, or draw. DTWD!
John: #DTWD
Dave from Pensacola, FL:
So Wizard of "O," take us mere mortals through this next week up till 09 March. Who is talking to who? Is it just the general manager contacting player's agents? Are agents contacting teams to determine interest? Can coaches talk to players? I would think players are recruiting other players, but what does that entail? How are backroom values being determined and deals being made, John "Wizard of O"?
John: Once the legal tampering period begins March 7 (today), general manager and agents do the bulk of the early talking. It is typically by telephone. At that point, agents and general managers are pretty much contacting each other non-stop. Once negotiating and signing begins March 9 … yes, coaches and assistants get involved – and anyone else a team can get involved to sway the player.
Cliff from Summit, NJ:
First-time submission, long-time reader, and (I guess I'm not doing this right; no question) I just wanted to point out that being a devout fan since its inception, the Jaguars' UK presence is one of the coolest things about the franchise. Not only is it financially beneficial for the Jaguars and stability in Jacksonville, but seeing how invested and dedicated our UK fans are to learning everything they can about the game and our team? One fer Jaguars UK!
John: You're doing it fine – and yeah … one fer that.
Steven from Duval:
I'm not big on conspiracies, but I definitely think the "ballooning" of cap space league wide isn't fair to the Jaguars and Caldwell, who has set us up with an excellent cap situation. It allows teams who haven't planned as well or been as patient to get out of cap trouble; in some cases, they can now go after players they otherwise wouldn't have been able to pursue. Which drives up the market even more. I'm not sure it's a conspiracy, but it sure seems to put a little damper on this offseason we have been not-so-patiently waiting for. In my uneducated opinion it should be a standard percentage increase or something that is standard so it's planned for every year and doesn't bail out teams that overspend.
John: Nah, there's no conspiracy – and it's not fair or unfair. Every general manager in the league knows there's a chance the cap can go way, way up in the offseason or that it could just go up a little. It goes up based on revenue, and it treats all teams evenly. The Jaguars still have the most space; it's just a whole lot of other teams have some, too.

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