JACKSONVILLE – Look-ahead Wednesday …
Let's get to it …
Steve from Somewhere in the Lower 48
If you were the incoming general manager, when do you redo Jaguars rookie running back James Robinson's contract and for how long? We all have seen running backs get paid with a less impressive 10-game resume.
You may have seen running backs get paid with a less impressive 10-game resume, but you haven't seen them get paid in their first NFL season. Or after their first season. Or during their second season. NFL rules mandate that undrafted rookie free agents such as Robinson can sign second contracts with their organizations only after their second NFL seasons. Drafted rookies can sign second contracts after their third seasons. If Robinson continues to play as he has in his first 11 games, I would expect the Jaguars to renegotiate a contract following the 2021 season – and to do so for three or four seasons. He will still be young –24 – and that length would give him an opportunity to actually play out a second contract.
Bob from Sumter, SC
Are there league rules that prohibit teams from interviewing/hiring another team's front-office person during the season?
Yes. According to the NFL, "no club may request permission to discuss employment with a non-player football operations employee of another club (whether or not that employee is under contract) during the employer club's playing season – defined as the period from the opening of the club's preseason training camp through the club's final game of the season, including postseason if applicable." Translation: A team can't hire someone working for another NFL team's football operations as general manager – or to any football position – before the end of the candidate's current team's season.
Nicholas from Fort Hood, TX
KOAGF: Remember way back when after the Jaguars' first victory of the year that rookie wide receiver Collin Johnson did a backflip with the team in victory formation and Head Coach Doug Marrone said he talked with him and that it would never happen again? Out of all the bad things to happen this year, at least the backflip problem has been solved.
Fair – and a little funny.
Dave from Dallas, TX
Hey Mr. O: Boselli as GM?
Stranger things have happened than former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli running the team's football operations. It worked in Denver with the Broncos and former quarterback John Elway running the team and it worked in San Francisco with the 49ers and John Lynch – a great player for other teams. I don't know that this will happen. I suspect it won't. But why not?
Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL
I would continue to argue that it started with paying quarterback Blake Bortles before the 2018 season. He then proved the very last doubter (General Manager David Caldwell) that he was horrible beyond any shadow of a doubt. In 2019, we had to eat his dead money while using the rest of the current and future salary cap to pay quarterback Foles. That left little money left to pay your three ascending drafted defenders or keep the rest of your elite defense in place. Starting with Bortles, then with Foles all our cap money was given away to terrible quarterbacks while our elite defense (the reason we were good) was not prioritized. They started to behave in a disgruntled manner throughout that season because they felt underappreciated. The decision to extend Bortles remains the biggest mistake in my eyes but signing Foles for such a high amount is also up there. Extending Bortles had a multiple year effect on the cap if you recall.
I don't know that the Jaguars would have given defensive end Yannick Ngakoue what he demanded whatever their cap situation in recent offseasons. The Jaguars' belief was the demands dwarfed the real market, and remember: No team has yet met those demands. We'll see. Either way, you're correct that when a team gets quarterback wrong, it has a dramatic negative effect. When a team gets it wrong twice, it has a worse dramatic negative effect. When those wrong decisions come attached to big contracts, the effect is even worse.
Edward from Los Angeles, CA
I really like Doug Marrone, but I think the decision to go for the two-point conversion Sunday is a great example of why he should be fired at season's end. That was a horrible decision. It gives the other team an opportunity to beat you with a field goal instead of tying you. It's illogical. Saying that it's a personal rule to always go for two in that situation is an insufficient excuse. As a coach, you must be able to read the room, so to speak, and modify your approach based on the circumstances.
What if it had worked?
Alejandro from Mexico City, Mexico
Dear KOAF, do you think that former Jaguars with bad endings with the management could be signed next year? If the problem is gone, why could keep wide receiver Allen Robinson or Ngakoue out of the negotiating table?
I suppose odder things have happened. I can't think of very many – or any, really – but I suppose it's possible.
Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach
Why would any organization fire anybody on a Sunday? Pacify fans? Back in my days, corporate organizations had the decency to make sure that it was not a weekend, or birthdays or not any family crisis. You said that Caldwell will have no problems finding a job fast. Nevertheless, we live in a very cold world.
The Jaguars indeed dismissed Caldwell on a Sunday – shortly after a loss to the Cleveland Browns this past Sunday, in fact. There's usually no good time to fire anyone. Owner Shad Khan respected Caldwell and Caldwell worked very hard for this organization for nearly eight years. So, I don't doubt that Khan tried to be as "decent" and sensitive as possible. Still, within the context of the NFL, Sunday is a workday. It's really no more indecent to fire someone that day than any other.
Steve from Nashville, TN
I notice all the remaining Jaguar opponents this year have legitimate playoff aspirations and probably have that game marked as a W when mapping out their path to the playoffs. Do you think the Jaguars will have a lump of coal for any of these remaining teams on their schedule for the Holidays?
Yes, though I'm perhaps not quite as passionate about that belief as I was a month ago.
Scott from Gilbert, AZ
Zone, I think you might be missing the point on the whole London thing as it relates to whether "Khan is a good owner in that sense." The fact remains that if he had hired a competent GM upon acquiring the team, monies from home playoff games, regular season sellouts, household-name jersey sales, sponsorships associated with higher-profile broadcasts and greater national visibility, etc., would have negated the need to extend the initial London contract. While there are more hurdles to being financially successful in a small market, the NFL salary cap and profit sharing models make being competitive viable for teams that can evaluate the quarterback position, while drafting, developing and retaining surrounding talent; Khan's personnel hires have proven inept. It will be interesting to see if he continues to prioritize negotiating his settlement with the insurance company, as opposed to calling the fire department before it burns completely to the ground?
I'm not missing the point. The Jaguars' people whose job it is to understand the financials don't agree with you that winning and making the postseason would solve the team's local-revenue issues. That can be debated ad nauseam, but that's their belief. You say Khan's not a good owner because his teams have failed on the field, and that by succeeding on the field they could have done things differently on the business side. Perhaps. I say he's a good owner because he's willing to spend on football and give people running football operations the resources needed to win. I say this because I know from experience sometimes good owners go a long time without winning because of the competitive nature of the league – and because winning so often depends on good fortune and finding a quarterback. Fans don't like that answer, and many fans think the London games make Khan a bad owner. My answers aren't going to change the minds of fans who feel that way. Bottom line: if the general manager Khan hires in the coming weeks gets quarterback right, more fans will think he's a good owner. If not …
Dave from Los Angeles, CA
I know it's not supposed to work this way, but if I was Shad, I'd pay Marrone an extra $1 million to lock in a 1-15 record. Draft Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and know within two years whether you're a SB contender, or spend another decade trying to do it "the right way."
What if 1-15 doesn't get you Lawrence?