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O-Zone: Cynically speaking

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Thomas from London, UK

We've seen a few members of the Jags' draft class sign contracts with the team. Obviously with the collective bargaining agreement, there are limits on rookie contracts. Picking one rookie completely at random, of course … what sort of things need to be hashed out between the team and rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence's agent, and is there any rule of thumb as to how long this process takes?

Lawrence's negotiations work a little differently than those between a team and, say, a fourth-round selection. As the No. 1 overall selection in the draft, there is at least some room to negotiate salary with Lawrence; there is significantly less room for this with later selections because draft selections' salaries are now "slotted" with the rookie wage scale. But even beyond No. 1, there are issues in all contracts that can be negotiated – workout bonuses, timing of payments, etc. They're comparatively minimal issues compared to salary, though they do take time. The positive is such issues are far easier to negotiate than before the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement implemented the rookie-wage scale, which all-but ended long holdouts and signaled the end of rookies being ridiculously overpaid. As for how long it will take, it really depends on the two sides figuring out when they want to get it done. As long as the negotiations don't lead to a training-camp holdout, timing changes nothing. Holdouts are exceedingly rare these days, and there's nothing to indicate that will be different with Jaguars rookies – Lawrence included – this offseason.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Would veterans like quarterback Gardner Minshew II or tight end Tim Tebow have to agree to go to the practice squad? Do they get paid the same as if they were on the active roster? If Minshew was added, I am sure he would have to be protected as some other team would surely pick up his relatively modest contract amount and claim him?

Yes, players can choose not to sign to a team's practice squad – and you're right, there's a decent chance Minshew would be signed by another team were he released with the idea of trying to sign him to the practice squad. Players can get paid whatever they and teams negotiate while on the practice squad. As far as protecting, that's not really possible. A player on the practice squad is a free agent and therefore able to sign with another team.

Dustin from Orlando, FL

John, it seems to me that with all the emotion around the Tebow signing, people have failed to look at the most telling aspect of it: the contract. It is a one-year, minimum salary contract with $0 in guarantees. This is the purest definition of a "prove-it" contract. If he indeed proves he can even be a role player, they've gotten one for the bare minimum cost. If he's not up to it, they can cut him with no loss. That to me is the most telling part of the deal that people seem to be overlooking. At most you could argue it cost them a place on the 90-man roster, but that would likely have gone to an UDFA that was highly unlikely to make the team anyway. If he plays, he stays, otherwise, thanks for stopping by. Would you agree?


Josh from Atlanta, GA

Can you explain for the audience why a ten-yard gain from the 10-yard line is so much more difficult than a ten-yard gain from the 30?

You're asking why offense is so much more difficult as teams get closer to the end zone. The reason is simple: The field shrinks, so the defense needn't worry about defending the deep pass. It's really just a math/space thing, though. There's more space for the offense to operate against 11 players in a 50-yard space than in a 10-yard space.

Jess from Glen Carbon, IL

Day after day after day it's Tebow, Tebow, Tebow. Goodbye, John, I'll check back in, in July.


Greg from Boise, Id

Every year we hear the same thing. Great energy, different feel, different energy, everyone is all in, excited, great group of talented players and so on. Been saying the same thing every year. Why is this year any different? I get the new coach/staff and quarterback standpoint, but the same thing has been said every year and we get all kinds of excited only to get progressively worse until we reached the bottom and "won" the first pick of the draft.

Fair. All the talk about energy is great – and the energy around the Jaguars right now is indeed real. But energy doesn't automatically produce results on the field. Will this group produce on the field? The coaching history of Head Coach Urban Meyer suggests that he has a good chance to succeed. So does the pedigree of Lawrence. But is winning guaranteed? Of course not. This is real life. If you want guarantees, watch scripted television.

Ray from Vernon

Mr. O-Zone, when will us fans get to see some live action in OTAs? Trevor throwing to Tebow and receivers. And by the way, I've never been a big Tebow fan, but I gotta admit it's exciting to think Tim can pull a comeback off. He certainly has a top-notch quarterback throwing to him. Thanks for your daily read.

Fans are almost never allowed to view organized team activities. Fans are expected to be able to attend 2021 Training Camp at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex.

Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer from New York, NY

Wait: So the guy who said "Even if he is released" got released? Then the Baguars signed a 32-year-old who was so long retired he didn't need to be released? Your modern world frightens and confuses me.

The Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer is not "all in."     

The Real One from Jacksonville

I understand you and Frank Frangie have the largest collection of Tim Tebow Ken Dolls. Do you guys plan on having him autograph them? Or perhaps your Tebow pajamas? Did you forget we signed Trevor Lawrence, or does Tebow make him just a mere afterthought?

People ask questions in this forum. I answer them. That's pretty much the formula since it began, and it will continue to be the formula.

Dave from Jacksonville

John, you're the coach. You need special teams and tight ends. How do you utilize tight end who can cause another team's coach to spend one rep in practice to account for this player? Would you find one of the best one-yard quarterbacks and convince them to play up blocker on punts? Say a former pro quarterback was found with that sort of reputation? Would you explore that option? Weapons are what you make of them, right? Can you think of another tight end who brings that? Sure could be out of the box. Even if nothing more than show, another coach has to deal with it. Only has to work once all year and it pays.


Michael from Jacksonville

Hey there! I'm of the predisposition that the Jaguars are going to perform WAY better than expected this upcoming year, barring significant injuries. We've got a young, arguably Top 10 receiving corps, two great running backs and TREVOR LAWRENCE! Defense is still a small concern but it's improved. How do you feel about next year?

I believe the Jaguars will be improved next season. I believe Lawrence has a chance to be a franchise-altering, franchise-defining player. I believe the Jaguars' receivers have a chance to be really good, and the addition of running back Travis Etienne Jr. as a weapon is intriguing. Will they be WAY better than expected? We'll see. There's a big gap between 1-15 and postseason contention. Much must go right – and even a talent such as Lawrence must develop and mature very quickly. I think seven or eight victories would be a major accomplishment. If that's WAY better than expected, then there's a chance. I like to see multiple experienced difference-makers on a roster before I believe a team is going to contend. It seems this next season could be about developing those players rather than being able to be a title contender immediately. We'll see.

Matty from Saint Augustine

Honestly, I was against Tebow coming on and trying out. But now I see that Trevor Lawrence sees it as a positive and likes him being there. Makes me ok with it. I was worried for him due to the media draw Tebow would demand. But seeing the Maturity and respect Lawrence has for Tebow and him being there, opened my eyes to more possibilities. I'll refer to your standard saying. "Let's get to it." Go Jags!!!!

Matt is "all in" on Lawrence being "all-in…"

Jozy from Jacksonville

What the hell else is Lawrence going to say while being pressed into questions about Tebow? That he sucks? Chances are slim? He is a locker room gnat? Chastising him on camera isn't a good look.

… and, alas, Jozy is not as "all-in" as Matty.