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O-Zone: Everything counts

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Hulk from Las Vegas, NV

Yann appears to have caught the Jalen Ramsey bug. He has made more money on his current contract than he ever has had in his entire short 24 years of life at $4 million. And he slapped down an offer for $19 million, which is just shy of a 500 percent increase – because he feels he should get paid $21/22 million, which would almost be a 600 percent increase. That can't help but seem greedy and selfish. He knows the money is tied up in bad deals and the front office is trying to fix it for HIS benefit. Yet he's acting like a selfish, narcissistic brat – creating unwanted drama for a franchise that's obviously down. This whole situation says a lot about Yann and it ain't positive. So maybe we should trade him because team is not his MO. Self is – and that's on full display.

You may be overthinking it a bit – or at least taking the thought to the extreme. Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is acting as he's acting because he's in a contract negotiation – and because he has an idea about an amount he wants to be paid. That amount clearly doesn't match what the Jaguars believe they should pay, and evidence suggests Ngakoue is upset about the Jaguars thinking that. That's perfectly understandable in one sense; when a player works as hard as Ngakoue has worked, and when he sees other players get paid big contracts, it's natural that a lot of emotion becomes involved when it's time for that first big contract. On the other hand, there does come a point when a player must understand his real market value. Is he going a little over the top on Twitter and other social media? Yes, an argument can be made that that's the case – and clearly he's not helping his public perception there. But if you're waiting around for every player to act perfectly when they're upset over their contract … well, it's going to be a long wait. I don't know what the end game is for the Jaguars and Ngakoue. I don't know that a long-term contract will happen. I wish it would because I like covering Ngakoue and I think the Jaguars are better with him than they would be without him. But if it doesn't work out, it doesn't mean he's done anything wrong – or that the team has done anything wrong. It means the sides couldn't reach an agreement. After that, time would tell if the Jaguars made a mistake or underestimated his value. Anger of some portions of the fan base notwithstanding, there's no evidence to show that that's the case so far. Time would tell.

John from Jacksonville

Most people are missing the reality of situation around quarterback Nick Foles. Yes, there will be dead salary-cap hit this year following his trade to the Chicago Bears, but it is gone next year. Without the trade (and at least getting a fourth-round selection for him) this could have hurt us a lot more next season. While the signing didn't work out due to injury, and the excitement around Gardner Minshew II, I think it's a pretty solid job on getting out of that situation, agreed?


Jason from Jacksonville

KOAF, if we didn't get rid of Foles this year, would he have carried a dead cap next year?

Yes, to the tune of about $21 million.

Raymond from Jacksonville

John: You usually mention that former Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin is at least partially to blame for the recent dreadful draft picks. However, if General Manager David Caldwell had been doing a good job, there would have been no need to hire Coughlin.

And around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around we go …

Sqm from Sacramento, CA

Do the Jags go into the season with Jarrod Wilson starting at safety again?

Most likely.

Chuck from Jacksonville

So, former Jags edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr. just signed for three years at $16 million per. Yann is asking for $22 million, supposedly. The Jags offered $18 million, supposedly. My opinion is Yann has been better than Fowler and has more upside as well. So, the question: is the gap big enough to get Jacksonville to $22 million or will Yann and his team come to terms that $19 million per might be more realistic than they originally thought? Your thoughts.

I don't know what Ngakoue and his team will do, though I without question agree that Ngakoue has been better than Fowler and should be paid more. I will be stunned if the Jaguars pay Ngakoue $22 million a season, and I would be a little surprised if they pay him $20 million a season.

Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL

John: Since I'm stuck at home, I've been pondering the meaning of life. One of my ponders has been if a team re-signs one of their players who enters free agency, does that count as a free-agent loss or a signing for the draft compensation formula?

Neither. And both.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

So totally overpaying linebacker Joe Schobert is OK and totally expected given the Jaguars' situation, but overpaying their homegrown star is not? Why can't we overpay Yan?

Did the Jaguars overpay Schobert? I don't know that that's the unchallengeable truth that your question implies. And who says they haven't already tried to overpay Ngakoue? Even when you're willing to overpay there must be a limit to how high you will go.

Alan from Ellington, CT

I see a lot of big-name players getting released around the league. Good for Dave Caldwell getting draft capital for players that everyone knew we had to get rid of for cap reasons anyways.

Hey, one fer Caldwell.

Fred from Naples, FL

Hey. Zone … it doesn't look like we are addressing tight end thus far in free agency, yet Eric Ebron just signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers giving Big Ben another weapon. I assume we will address it in the draft but everything I read and hear is that we will address lineman and/or corners in the draft. We let Geoff Swaim go and that doesn't really leave us with much. Thoughts?

My thoughts are that addressing tight end was going to be tricky for the Jaguars this offseason – and that it was unlikely they would address it in a way that would excite fans. They weren't going to set the market at the position early in free agency, and it's not considered an elite class at the top of the draft. How will they approach it? Likely with a veteran in later-tier free agency, and perhaps with a mid-to-late-round draft selection. Josh Oliver, a third-round selection last season, will need to show next season he was worthy of that selection. He's feeling like a more and more important storyline for next season.

Scott from New York City

With the Jags stockpiling draft picks one begins to wonder, at what point do you have too many picks? How many players drafted in this offseason's draft do you think make the opening-day roster?

They're getting close. All of them.

Jefferson from Depression

I'm done. I can accept business decisions like trading NFL Man of the Year, Pro Bowler, and best piece of the team since he signed Calais Campbell, IF the team is consistently winning or competitive. They are not, and now I no longer believe they ever will be.

The Jaguars are gathering draft picks and shedding age for youth. When this happens, popular players leave. That hurts. It's emotional. It makes fans sad and angry. It doesn't mean the Jaguars won't ever be competitive – and it actually gives them a better chance for being competitive sooner rather than later.

Bruce from Owensboro by way of Jacksonville

With the addition of Schobert, how important is the Mike position, in your expert opinion, to the defense? It seems that position has been lacking leadership but not ability. How does this signing affect the defense moving forward?

The Mike – or middle – linebacker position is very important. It's not fair to say that Myles Jack wasn't a leader in the spot; he wasn't bad as a leader. He also didn't play poorly in the middle – hue and cry of the fans this past season notwithstanding. But he also wasn't over-the-top great at either role. If Schobert can improve the middle and Jack at the same can improve the weak-side position … well, then the Schobert signing has a chance to affect the defense positively. In a big way.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

Does dead money from Foles or other contracts count against the salary cap? If not, I hate it a lot less and don't want everyone fired. Jaguars Owner Shad Khan can afford it; I'm only mad if it effects how much talent we can pay on this year's roster.

Yes, dead money counts against the salary cap.