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O-Zone: Figuring it out

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Brad from Orange Park, FL

Just given the history with the Jaguars and rookies, don’t you think it’s less risky and more feasible to generate success for the young quarterback to sit behind a veteran - a la Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes? You threw me for a loop saying the other day you foresee the Jaguars drafting two quarterbacks if they don’t secure a veteran in free agency, but you also have broken the news many times that quarterback Blake Bortles will not be a Jaguar next year. So, two drafted quarterbacks behind Cody Kessler - or – Nick Foles, Tyrod Taylor (please no) Joe Flacco in front of Kessler with no investment in an immediate starter (first- or second-round) drafted?

Breathe, Brad. Breathe. While the Jaguars’ history with quarterbacks – and with drafting in the Top 10, for that matter – has caused you and many observers/fans much angst this offseason, history should have little to do with what the Jaguars do at quarterback moving forward. You don’t base personnel acquisitions on history; you evaluate, decide, act and move forward. As for possible quarterback scenarios for the Jaguars next season, there are far too many to list all of them in one answer – and perhaps that explains your angst and confusion. And when it comes to me throwing you for a loop, I was simply asked if I thought the Jaguars could draft two quarterbacks if they don’t secure a veteran in free agency. I did answer yes, but that in no way means I believe the Jaguars will go that route. I think the Jaguars either will sign a free agent veteran such as Foles, Taylor or Flacco. If it’s Foles, I don’t believe it’s feasible to draft a first-round quarterback because you’re signing him to be the starter for the foreseeable future and his contract will dictate as much.

Jason from Yomitan

Why are you constantly advocating for the return of Parnell? Do you know something that we don’t? The man is as average as the day is long. It is time to move on from him and A.J., four years of average at best play should be enough.

I was surprised to learn of my advocacy for Jaguars right tackle Parnell, but if that’s how people see it … fine. The thing to remember about Parnell and guard A.J. Cann is if you let them go you must replace them with someone as good or better. It’s one thing to say you can do that, and it sounds good; it’s another to actually do it. You say Parnell is “average;” perhaps that’s true, but it’s difficult to find Pro Bowl guys at every position. The Jaguars have many needs in the draft and probably aren’t going to spend a great deal on the offensive line in free agency. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Parnell or Cann – or even both – return.

Greg from Satsuma, FL

Could the Jaguars trade Bortles and maybe throw in a draft pick to get out of his contract? The Jaguars were wrong to re-sign him so maybe a team will do the same and trade for him!

This won’t happen. The Jaguars re-signed Bortles to a relatively affordable contract last offseason because he had played well in the 2017 regular season and postseason within their scheme. They took a calculated risk that they could win with him doing what he had done well in 2017 and with a lot working right around him. Finding another team that will assume the same risk and his contract is highly doubtful.

Rusty from New Iberia, LA

Uh, oh. Bortles was removed from the opening video of the app. Maybe he won’t be back with the team next year!

Sometimes, it’s time to move on.

Michael from Elberton, GA

O-Man, you've said it isn't feasible for the Jags to sign Foles and spend a high draft pick on a quarterback. Would the same be said of Fitzpatrick? Is he only going somewhere he can be the starter? He did go to Tampa Bay where Winston already was. I know he has faults, but I when he is on ... he is on.

No, the scenario would not be the same with Foles and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Whereas Foles likely will be able to demand a contract with enough money guarantee to ensure he will be the starter for two seasons, the same is not true of Fitzpatrick. If he were to sign with the Jaguars, he likely would be a “bridge” quarterback.

Nate from Granby

Do you think the longer Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray takes to make a decision about which sport he wants to play that it could hurt his draft position in the NFL?

Yes. At the same time, his baseball option could hurt his draft stock anyway. No matter what he says, teams could still worry over his ability to leave football and return to baseball.

Glenn from St. Mary’s, GA

I agree with Tim from Peoria. Draft the best quarterback. Keep Bortles. Let them compete. Bortles was OK with our starters on the offensive line, better receiver play, and a quality tight end. Think about it. This solves a lot of the cap issues, gives time for your future QB to develop. With everyone healthy, we did OK in 2017. You can trade or release Bortles later, if needed.

It’s wonderful that you and Tim agree. The two of you are not alone and there are many Jaguars fans who feel this way. Those feelings do nothing to change the fact that sometimes it’s time to move on, which is what the Jaguars will do soon enough.

Mike from Jacksonville

Would you be in favor of acquiring Foles from the Eagles for a third-round pick and then acquiring wide receiver Antonio Brown and a third-round pick from the Pittsburgh Steelers for our second-round pick? I think Foles and Brown would be very attractive to each other on the same team.

Sure, though I don’t know that the Jaguars are going to part ways with draft selections for Foles – and I’ll still need to see the Steelers part ways with Brown before I believe it. #trademachine!

Neil from Gilbert

O, I'd rather see the Jags pick up Fitzpatrick (or another journeyman quarterback), take a top- tier offensive or defensive lineman in the first round of the draft, then go quarterback in the second. I don't want the Jags to be taking a lower-level quarterback because we happen to be drafting high in a year with a lackluster quarterback crop. It reminds me of the year everyone thought we'd draft Geno Smith with the No. 2 overall selection of the 2013 draft. There's literally nothing worse than taking an iffy quarterback in the first, because you're screwed for five years if he doesn't pan out. It's a lot easier to move on from a dicey second-round quarterback than a first0rounder.

I can think of things worse than taking an iffy quarterback in the first round. I lived through the 1990s. Celine Dion was popular then.

Dave from Oviedo, FL

Zone - Draft a quarterback, and let him play. After season one, determine if he is the franchise quarterback, if you’re not sure that’s not good enough, move on and draft another. Sure, you might give up on a quarterback that eventually becomes something, but it also prevents you from wasting five years trying to convince yourself your turkey is a peacock. Yes, draft picks are valuable, but without an elite quarterback, you’ll likely never reach the top. Thoughts?

Doing that every season is extreme. Doing it once every two seasons? I could see it.

Steve from Jacksonville

John, with the offseason and free-agent discussions coming into view does it ever get exhausting listening to players act as if they're paupers? Especially being around them all the time? Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott spoke about not taking a team discount because he's the breadwinner in his home. Seriously, the NFL rookie contract minimum has a player in the top one percent of earners in 44 of 50 states. By Year 3 they're in the top group in all 50 states by quite a bit. The fan sucks up ever increasing ticket prices and insane concessions while we also built their workplace and the garage we park in and then get charged $40 a game to use! Would love to just hear one player acknowledge what a great life they have and say thank you.

Many NFL players on some level realize they have a great life, and I have heard many players acknowledge as much. I have heard many speak of what football has given to them. But does it bother me to hear players talk – and sometimes complain – about money? Does it bother me that they make so much? I suppose If I disliked and got annoyed by everyone who made more than me, I would dislike everyone I met and would be constantly annoyed. Wait …

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