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O-Zone: Deep thoughts

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . Tom from Charleston, SC:
Is Red Bryant the long-time help at his position of which David Caldwell often speaks or is he a Band-Aid for a short-term fix? His age and years in the league put him on the downside of his career. With all of the Jaguars' mention of youth, this signing seems to be somewhat contradictory with a four-year contract.
John: Bryant is currently 29 and will be 30 next season. While it's not reasonable to think Bryant will be a core player for the Jaguars in five seasons, it is reasonable to think he can be a productive part of the defensive line rotation for three or possibly four seasons. Defensive ends often have a longer window to be productive than, say, running backs, so Bryant can certainly contribute into his early 30s.
Tom from Jacksonville:
Most fans are calling for Blaine Gabbert to be cut this year. Some want to trade him, but it appears he has no trade value. If we kept him one more year and let him go into free agency, wouldn't that give us a high compensatory pick due to his draft position? Would we get a pick for cutting him this year?
John: The Jaguars have nothing to gain from releasing Gabbert immediately. That's not to say it won't happen this offseason – only that the Jaguars won't get anything for it. They won't get a compensatory selection if they release him this offseason, but there's no guarantee they would get one if he became an unrestricted free agent after next season, either. Compensatory selections are awarded based on a formula including the contract signed with the new team and performance with that new team. Where a player originally was drafted is not a factor.
Dane from Jacksonville:
It's smokescreen season! Smokescreen is a fun word. Sometimes I write questions with smokescreens in them because I like saying "smokescreen."
John: Hey! One fer smokescreen!
JB from Jacksonville:
Why did Seattle not want Red Bryant? Also, what is the difference between being waived and cut? Thanks!
John: Bryant was a salary cap casualty. Seattle is expected to have quite a few of these in the coming years. This was one of the first and in this case, it's to the Jaguars' benefit.
Clint from Victoria, British Columbia:
Red Bryant is obviously playing defensive tackle for the Jaguars. Correct?
John: No. Bryant will play the five-technique defensive end spot. It plays opposite the Leo pass-rusher position in Gus Bradley's scheme and is more of a run-oriented role. Tyson Alualu played it this past season, and Alualu, Abry Jones and Bryant should play it next season.
Doug from Jacksonville:
Yeah! We got the captain of the dominant defense that just won a Super Bowl!! We are going to be....oh wait … we re-signed and named Henne the starting quarterback in March? Never mind.
John: You seem to be on somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster, Doug. Let me help, if I can. Don't get too high or low on any one particular free-agent signing or release. Football is a team game, and these moves are pieces of a puzzle. Signing Red Bryant isn't going to put the Jaguars "over the top," but he should make them better on the defensive front. Signing Henne and naming him the starter won't do that either, and it doesn't mean he's the starter for the next 10 years. It means the Jaguars want to make sure they can make wise decisions at quarterback going forward. There likely isn't a quarterback available in the draft who's going to put a team over the top and because wishing doesn't make it so, the Jaguars are trying to put themselves in a position to address the position in the best possible way. That's not sexy and it doesn't translate well to Twitter, but that's what's happening.
Manning from Calgary, AFB:
I know we have to be mindful in free agency and not throw money around without thinking long and hard first. That said, is there a chance we open up the vault a tad to sign Michael Bennett? He fills a position of need, would probably become our best defensive player, and comes from the same system in Seattle that Gus Bradley and Todd Wash built there and are now trying to build here. If we're going to have one or two big signings this off season, he seems like one of the most obvious choices. Thoughts, O-Man?
John: I think the Jaguars will spend more than they did last season, and I think they'll target a defensive end. As for who exactly they will target, we shall see. Bennett makes sense, but reports are that Bennett likely will sign with Chicago. We shall see. The Jaguars' front office thus far have done a remarkably good job keeping their wish list quiet. I expect that's by design. In fact, I'm almost sure of it.
Michael from Orange Park, FL:
Have the Jags given MJD the range of numbers in which they will bring him back? I assume they have, but you know what assumptions do to people...
John: I don't imagine the sides have exchanged a hard, fast number. This is going to be about Jones-Drew and his agent getting an idea of the market in the coming days and perhaps weeks. How fast the situation moves likely will depend on the amount of the offers. If it's a large offer, it probably moves quickly and Jones-Drew likely signs elsewhere. If it's a small offer, it probably moves slower and there could be discussions on Jones-Drew returning.
Trey from Jacksonville:
I would say you are either blind or just flat out in denial if you don't think this is the end of the line for Alualu.
John: OK.
Dane from Jacksonville:
I love the Red Bryant signing. This has the look of one of Caldwell's best signings yet. With Bryant and Alualu anchoring the strong-side defensive-end position, our run defense will get a nice boost, and we have another position of strength solidified. Not much to not like.
John: I agree, just don't tell Trey.
Scott from Jacksonville:
With all the cap room we have, I wondered, "Why don't we just splurge?" Then it hit me. If you build through the draft like this year and last year and the team is basically first- and second-year players, then down the road in four and five years they are key contributors … we'll need that space to re-sign our own players, correct? What if we spend to the cap now and when rookie contracts are up we lose some of them because we are capped out? If it is for that reason, then I can as a fan be patient...
John: Welcome aboard.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
Love ya bro, but I don't ever want to see the word "gamble" in a paragraph regarding the Jaguars first round draft pick again. They tried that before remember? Reggie Williams over Big Ben and Matt Jones over Aaron Rodgers. You STILL want to counter my quarterback in Round 1 argument?
John: It's wonderful to be loved. Love is a good thing. I understand there are Jaguars fans scarred by past drafts, and I empathize. But you can't make draft decisions in 2014 based on whathappened 10 drafts before. David Caldwell is well aware of the value of a franchise quarterback. He's also well aware that one player – even a quarterback – isn't going to fix all of the Jaguars' issues. The Jaguars will address quarterback keep trying to improve that position, but it won't be at the expense of taking difference-making players where the opportunity arises.
Joe from Section 101:
We need to move the draft up, not back. Training camp needs to start no later than April. I am tired of no football and hearing people over analyze the draft! I'M JONESING JOHN I NEED FOOTBALL!!!
John: Easy there, big fella.
Shawn from Section 124:
Buy low, sell high. It is how you build a great portfolio by getting value. The roster is the Jags portfolio and by taking care of the future of it, success will come and it will be sustainable.
John: That is the plan. It's understandable that people get upset or confused when the Jaguars release veteran players, and there were some indeed upset and confused when the Jaguars released Uche Nwaneri this week. But just as the team felt a new direction was needed in the secondary last offseason the feeling is a new direction is needed on the interior of the line this offseason.
Redmond from Jacksonville:
I don't think Bradley and Caldwell had as much faith in Alualu as you did. It's pretty obvious they were concerned about the position when less than 24 hours into free agency they sign your replacement. Just saying one fer Red Bryant.
John: Yes! One fer Bryant! And one fer the Jaguars having a deeper defensive line on Saturday than they did on Friday.

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