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O-Zone: Drawn in

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Brian from Round Rock, TX

Can we dispose of the myth that you overpay in free agency? I think the fact is veterans are expensive. You will pay a lot for veterans, internal or external. You should sign your own instead of someone else's because it's less risky among other reasons that they are more valuable. You should not assume that paying your own should be less expensive. What do you think?

I think it's not remotely a myth that you overpay in free agency. You absolutely do, particularly once the league year opens. That's because the league year opens as a seller's market, so and urgency (read: panic) can set in if teams fear being left without an upgrade at a certain position. That's absolutely a scenario that causes teams to overpay, sometimes alarmingly so. Now, you are correct that teams are often better served signing their own players because it's less risky. The benefit there also is teams signing their own can often negotiate in a more controlled atmosphere – i.e., before there is a bidding war. That sometimes can make the player at least slightly more affordable, not because the player wants to take less as much as the player is willing to sign a contract early rather than wait and risk not receiving a similar deal on the open market.

Seamus from Sioux Falls, SD

It's annoying that you and several readers keep treating the fanbase's ire as misguided, that Jaguars Owner Shad Khan made an initial decision and then changed his mind, and we can't seem to accept that. What you are, I suppose, ignoring is that there are other factors. He announced an executive vice president search that never happened. Tony Khan was recently cited as saying effectively saying as much! There are legitimate reasons we are highly skeptical of General Manager Trent Baalke, and it goes beyond the Meyer Failure. It all smells funky, and then you are telling us a search IS happening and there would likely be an announcement this week. I'm sure we'd all appreciate it if you stopped treating us as unreasonably angry. All we're saying is some BS seems to have been shoveled the last couple of months and it's a bit messed up, even if Khan *did* "change his mind." Thanks for listening.

People ask questions. I answer. I learned long ago that writing the truth doesn't remotely equate with people believing – or understanding – what is written. When readers ask questions that accuse Khan of lying, I will answer that that's not the case because that's not the case. I wrote that a search was happening and that I expected an announcement because I expected an announcement. Khan changed his mind, so what I expected to happen didn't happen. It happens. People change their mind. As far as you being annoyed …  fans have a right to be as angry and as annoyed as they wish. It's not for me to deny you that.

Bernabe from Monterrey, Mexico

Hey Zone, I was wondering if a team could use the franchise tag twice the same offseason. If, say, we tag left tackle Cam Robinson and then agree to a long-term contract can we then tag wide receiver DJ Chark Jr.?

No. A team may use the franchise tag just once per offseason.

Don from Marshall, NC

If I was one of those teams that needed a quarterback, I would go after C.J. Beathard. The guy is too good to hold a laptop. However, if I were the Jaguars someone would have to pay a steep price to get him. Do you think he is a starting quarterback? Go Jaguars!

I like Beathard very much as a backup, and he is an ideal backup to Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. He has enough experience to help Lawrence and he has shown he can function for a short time if Lawrence is unavailable. There isn't evidence yet to show that Beathard is a long-term, productive NFL starter. Perhaps that will change.

Steve from Nashville, TN

For the period you have been covering the team what players did you feel turned out to be really good free-agent signings?

Linebacker Paul Posluszny (2011), defensive tackle Malik Jackson (2016), defensive end Calais Campbell (2017), cornerback AJ Bouye (2017). Safety Rudy Ford and wide receiver Jamal Agnew were pretty damned good from this past season's class. There perhaps have been a few others. Those stand out.

Doug from Jacksonville, FL

It's easy to be mad at Khan for not putting a team on the field that wins 13 games a year. How many teams do that, by the way? However, to say Khan is some sort of con man is just ignorant. A con man would be in a brand-new stadium in a bigger market having the fans of that market loving him for bringing the team and selling out the new taxpayer-funded stadium. Instead, Khan continues to try to build a team and the city the team is in. Sure, if I live in Middleburg, I'm not going to spend money to stay at the Four Seasons downtown. And if live and work in Mandarin and never go downtown, I wouldn't see the growth that is occurring at least partly due to the NFL franchise in town. I'm a season-ticket holder and get as frustrated as anyone driving home after a loss, but I am driving home from an NFL game that I have season ticket for. One of only 30 cities in the world to be home to an NFL team. Win yes, complain and cry about being conned, no.

Good eye.

Stephen in 113 from Jacksonville via Pennsauken NJ

What are the rules about player contact with injured players? Chark, running back Travis Etienne Jr., running back James Robinson and Agnew all ended the season on injured reserve. With important decisions needing to be made shortly (re-sign Chark or not, do we need to find a running back....) how can the front office evaluate the various players' rehab status? Can the team doctor check in on these guys? I think it would be hard to sign Chark (or plan the free agency and draft strategy) without getting a good evaluation on their recovery progress. Thanks.

Teams can and do evaluate players medically, and players can be in the team facility rehabilitating and working with doctors, trainers and the strength and conditioning staff at any time – offseason or regular season.

Richard from Lincoln, RI

Wide receiver Allen Robinson, wide receiver Amari Cooper and wide receiver Cole Beasley. Do you see the Jags going after either one of these guys?

I expect the Jaguars to pursue a wide receiver in free agency. I don't expect to have a clear idea exactly who until much closer to free agency.

Jonathan from Jax

I'm still all in on Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton, however I doubt we are smart enough to choose the only can't miss prospect in the draft. So, I'll keep my comments about the big guys. North Carolina State offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu looks like a better prospect to me. He is super-aggressive and nasty on the field. He punished people across from him. He is a football player. You can always dial down aggressiveness but can't instill it into someone. Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal is huge, but who cares? The guy is just a cog in a very successful program and was surrounded by elite talent. Gimme the football player who enjoys embarrassing the guy in front of him.

OK.

KC from Orlando, FL

KOAF- I know fans have been clamoring for Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper, but I don't see him being worth $20 million a year to warrant trading a pick for him and paying him a great deal. However, wouldn't it be worth trading some of our late-round picks to teams who have good players who may become cap casualties? I thought our trade for defensive tackle Malcom Brown was a brilliant move to address our run defense. What do you think?

Sure, if there are players the Jaguars want who could be obtained for late-round selections, that's always a good use for a sixth- or seventh-round selection.

Hilarious from Funnytown

Would you do an even swap of Trevor for Aaron Rodgers? Why or why not?

I would not trade Lawrence straight up for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers because I would guesstimate that Rodgers has two or three years remaining to play at his current level. Even with Rodgers, who I consider the NFL's best quarterback, I don't know that the Jaguars are going to be ready to compete for a Super Bowl this season – and perhaps not in 2023. If the Jaguars' roster was a bit better overall, I would perhaps answer differently.

Howard from Homestead, FL

Mr. O, I'm trying to figure out why all these people who hate your writing and think you're just a company man bother to keep reading. Any ideas?

People are drawn to greatness even when they don't recognize it.

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