JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Jerry from Jacksonville
I like what the Jaguars did with signing quarterback Nick Foles. I don’t like that they didn’t address receiver, tight end or offensive line. I fear they will reach for those positions in the draft rather than selecting the best available player. Please ease these fears, Zone. Isn’t BAP the best way and drafting for needs a fool’s game?
I don’t want to get into a theoretical discussion on best available player versus drafting for need; I’ve read and written enough about it over the years that the subject now sort of makes my eyes glaze over. Just know that every team ideally wants to draft the best player on their board with every selection – and every team usually factors need into the equation at some level in every draft selection. While overemphasizing need raises your chances of reaching – and missing – on a player, the realities of roster-building usually make it unrealistic to not consider need. Referencing your question, know this: The Jaguars have done and will continue to do everything possible during free agency to have 22 starters with whom they would feel comfortable entering the season. They will do that so that they can emphasize need as little as possible during the draft. They signed Foles, and they are signing and pursuing “bargain” free agents at offensive line and/or tight end and/or tight end. This won’t satisfy a lot of observers who have grown accustomed to the Jaguars filling multiple perceived holes with high-priced free agents in recent seasons, but holes sometimes must be filled from within and through the draft. That’s NFL reality.
Sam from Orlando, FL
How was Ereck Flowers for us last year? Did he show improvement from his time with the Giants?
He was OK for a backup, not for a starting left tackle.
Neil from Jacksonville
Does taking the cap hit from cutting quarterback Blake Bortles this year as opposed to a post-June 1 cut give the team more options when it comes to extending Yannick, Jalen and possibly others? If so. that's encouraging. I would hate to lose them even as the team adds Nick.
Taking all of Bortles’ $16.5 million cap hit in 2019 is essentially a bookkeeping maneuver indicating that the Jaguars believe they can absorb the hit this year. Had they opted for a post-June 1 designation, they would have had more cap space available in 2019 – with the option to roll that over in 2020 if it went unused. Here’s the thing about extending cornerback Jalen Ramsey, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and other first-contract players: The Jaguars will be able to do so if they desire. They likely will have to restructure and/or release other players along the way, but that’s always going to be the case as your roster matures.
Joseph from San Marcos
The Foles deal actually seems quite reasonable. He'll be the 21st highest-paid quarterback (by cap hit of $12 million) for 2019, with a cap hit of $21 million next year (would be 14th-highest). If they cut him at the start of Year 3, his dead money would be only $12.5m (not a cap killer by any means). When I heard we signed Foles, I thought we mortgaged our future; this deal really isn't all that bad, even if we have to get out of it after two years.
Royce from Jacksonville
Mr. O. did Jags football Boss Tom say that extending Blake and cutting while owning him $16 million was the right move for the team?
Of course. Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin has final say over all football decisions. He wouldn’t so something if he didn’t believe it was the right move for the team.
Al from Orange Park, FL
We got Swain! O.K., in your humble opinion, what did we get?
When the Jaguars signed former Dallas Cowboys tight end Geoff Swaim Friday they signed a serviceable veteran tight end.
Jim from Neptune Beach, FL
With so many Jags on the offensive line hitting free agency, can you discuss what you think will happen going forward? Will the Jags resign any of the free agents? We depended on so many of them last year. And I'm curious about Will Richardson. He was a fairly high draft selection last year with the thought of him developing into a contributor. How's his outlook? Could he be the next right tackle? Or just a backup?
The Jaguars allowed seven lineman who started at least one game last season to become free agents last week. The list: guard Patrick Omameh, Flowers, guard Chris Reed, guard/center Tyler Shatley, Flowers, guard/tackle Josh Walker and tackle Corey Robinson. My sense is the Jaguars could perhaps re-sign one or two of them, but that they feel no urgency to do so. Regarding Richardson, I expect him to compete for a starting position, but I don’t think the Jaguars will enter training camp penciling him in as a starter.
Alan from Ellington, CT
Do you think Grant will get re-signed? He seems to be the Darren Sproles type of player that Foles had a lot of success with in Philly.
I would be surprised at this point if the Jaguars re-signed running back Corey Grant. His foot injury was a serious one. Would they consider re-signing him if they felt good about his health moving forward? Possibly.
Joe from Fleming Island, FL
John, what is the logistical aspect of free-agent contract negotiations? Phone conference, secure emails, teleconference … no way it's face to face. How does the back and forth work?
It’s a lot of phone calls between general manager and agent, and between player and agent. It’s rarely – if ever – face to face.
Ed from Jacksonville
People have been complaining that we need to improve our quarterback. In Foles, the Jaguars paid a mid-price salary to get the best available free-agent quarterback. Yet, people are still complaining. Gosh. What do the fans want the Jaguars to do?
Nate from St. Petersburg, FL
Fans are funny. So much hatred for the front office last year for not "upgrading" the quarterback position ... so they go out and drop the largest contract in team history on a Super Bowl MVP-winning guy with the highest playoff completion percentage in history, and they're upset. Am I missing something? Is Aaron Rodgers suddenly available? Brady asking for a move south? It's pretty annoying.
My sense is many fans are mostly annoyed that the Jaguars opted against selecting Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes when they had the opportunity to do so. It’s easy to say now the Jaguars missed on those players, so those feelings are understandable.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville
The level of classlessness by some of this fan base is beyond belief. I could get it if someone was a jerk to the team and community, but cheering on Blake getting released? What if this was a co-worker, neighbor, or family member? Would you be giving the high five as they got walked out? Show some class, people. Blake was not a great quarterback, but he was a Grade A person and Jaguar. Always great with media, time for the fans and the best part: He took ALL THE RESPONSIBILITY. That takes leadership and character right there. So ,while I understand we have to move on, let’s just wish him the best of luck and thanks for everything you did for us. #oneforblake
Bortles indeed conducted himself professionally. Most fans respected and liked him because of that. But some fans gonna fan.
Ryan from Las Vegas, NV
If you were the one making the final personnel decisions, which route would you have chosen? Nick Foles or the draft?
I ideally would choose the draft because I would want to have an eye on the long-term and the best way to find a long-term, franchise quarterback is the draft. Perhaps Foles will prove the exception to this and be the quarterback for a half-decade or more. It’s possible.
Thomas from Williamsburg, VA
So, if the Jags go 7-9 and miss the playoffs with Foles at the helm, what happens to the front office and coaching staff?
Good question. Any worse than that and it would be trouble. It might still be trouble at 7-9, but that would be close enough to a .500 record that it would be an interesting season.
Josh from Lynchubrg, VA
Your "Garrard-in-2007-type-of-year" comment in regards to Foles put things into perspective for me. I can see that happening, and now I have a bit more optimism for 2019. I also think wide receivers Dede Westbrook and DJ Chark are going to have breakout years. With just a little bit of production from Marqise Lee and Keelan Cole – and with the addition of a top tight end in the draft, Foles will have targets to capitalize on.
I’m happy the comment helped you. If I had been the one who said it, I’d be ecstatic.