JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL
I liked the quantity-over-splash approach to free agency. But I still think the draft (unlike the Los Angeles Rams) is the best way to build a team. Still nervous Urban is going to overspend and trade away the future, only to lose and leave the Jaguars in a precarious situation. Well, he usually wins first and then leaves when conditions are less than ideal. Hopefully, the NFL is better to Urban?!? That seems way less likely. I'm a Jaguars fan, please excuse the pessimism.
This is perhaps a bit unfair to Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer, particularly considering health issues were a reason for his leaving Florida and Ohio State; he left his previous college jobs for bigger opportunities, as pretty much any coach would have done. But perception is perception – and your perception of Meyer is common. But it seems at this point you're worrying for nothing – or at least prematurely. The Jaguars showed little inclination to overspend or spend foolishly in this free-agency period, leaning far more toward the side of less risk and more prudent spending. Could they change their approach and swing bigger as they get the roster built? I suppose. If so, I wouldn't necessarily attribute that to Meyer. That's a pretty common approach to free agency as teams improve and get closer to contending for the Super Bowl.
Diego from South of Tierra del Fuego
Diego does not understand why the Jags threw good money after bad. If you added up what they paid for the players they chose, would they have not done better by focusing on two or three top-of-the-line players they needed to make an impact? For example, tight end. All we hear is how the team needs to upgrade at tight end. There were two top-of-the-line tight ends available. Even if they had overpaid, they would solved that problem immediately. Instead, all they got was a few players that their former teams chose not to keep. And the beat goes on … yikes!!!
All NFL free agents are players their former team chose not to keep. It's quite literally the definition of what it means to be a free agent. As for how the Jaguars approached this free-agency period, the feeling among the decision-makers was that they needed to use much of their cap space to improve many areas of the team as opposed to signing one of two top-of-the-market players. This was different than the approach many fans wanted, but perhaps the decision-makers were looking more closely at the entire roster than many fans. The Jaguars ultimately decided multiple capable veterans were needed immediately – particularly along the defensive line. They also did acquire a front-line corner (Shaquill Griffin) and significant help on the defensive line, including a likely starting nose tackle (Malcom Brown). As for the tight end position, it unquestionably still needs work. Still, while there were two well-known tight ends available in free agency, were they "top of the line?" Or where they the best available this offseason? I suppose that remains to be seen.
Vince from Farmington NM
Mr. O: There are reports of interest from other teams for Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II. I wonder if dealing him would be prudent, even for a draft pick. Let's say that the new coaching staff has through free agency balanced the team to be more productive on both sides of the ball. Let's also say that we draft well and add playmakers accordingly. We end up with the ability to better execute plays for Minshew, allow more of the playbook to be called because we will enjoy the lead more often, and allow Trevor Lawrence to benefit from a controlled release into the NFL instead of a trial by fire. Minshew is an experienced quarterback, currently at a very attractive salary, and gosh dang it, most of us want to see him succeed. Lawrence is still the heir apparent; he is placed into the role where we give him the best opportunity to succeed, and when it does become time to let Minshew move on, the probability of his value could be a much better return for the team. Better yet (in my opinion), we could also retain him and possibly have the best QB1&2 for the foreseeable future. I understand that many pieces have to fall into place for this scenario, but we are in the driver's seat to make it happen, and it feels like a good fiscal and tactical direction to move forward with to meet our objectives. Our quarterback room could be Flash and 'Stache, causing defensive coordinators lots of headaches. It worked well with the Saints with Brees and Hill. I hope we don't overlook a possible great tandem for a later draft pick on this.
I don't know if the Jaguars will trade Minshew, but it appears I haven't put as much time or thought into the matter as you. I wonder if anyone has.
Cathy from Ponte Vedra, FL
Are the Jaguars planning to sign Shaquem Griffin as well? I haven't heard anything more about him since the initial reports of signing his brother.
There have been some reports about the Jaguars signing former Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin, who became a free agent after Seattle opted not to extend him a tender offer. His brother, Shaquill, a cornerback acquired by the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent this week, said this when asked about the possibility of Shaquem joining him in Jacksonville: "At the end of the day, I know there's a business behind it. I told him, 'Just don't make a decision off [of] where I'm going, do what's best for you. You're your own athlete, you have your own story to write and at the end of the day, our story that we have together will always be there and we're still writing it. It doesn't matter if you go to the same team or a different team.' But we're hoping for the best and hopefully—you know, the best decision is coming here. But we just don't know yet, but until then, I'm supporting wherever he goes and whatever is best for him."
Reuben from Pikesville
Tampa Bay added premier free agents in quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Leonard Fournette – and all four were key contributors to a Super Bowl championship. But as someone said, you can't do epic things with ordinary people. Jags free agency (save Shaq Barrett) look decidedly ordinary to me. Too many never weres.
You clearly have a keen, confident eye for roster building and talent evaluation – and you're just as clearly disappointed with the Jaguars' free-agency moves. Considering this, I can't imagine how disappointed you're going to be when you find out the Jaguars didn't sign Shaq Barrett.
Dave from Jacksonville
Hey Zone, just wondering if the Jags were able to get back the $1.25 million in salary from running back Carlos Hyde that he stole from us in 2018, plus the fifth-round draft pick from his trade. He gave us no effort at all. I guess the new power structure must think we have short memories. After paying for season tickets for 25 years, why should I renew when I see this this type of personnel decision?
The new regime cares more about what it believes it can get from a player than what previously have happened with a player. The decision-makers have neither the time nor inclination to worry about how fans might feel about every transaction.
JJ from Yulee, FL
Does Baalke ever count his money when he is sitting at the table?
No. There'll time enough for counting later.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL
The secondary room seems like it's getting really crowded. Would there still be room for a rookie corner or safety? Excited for the competition at corner, are those FA safeties are week one starters?
There seems a greater chance for a safety than cornerback early in the draft. I would expect free-agent safety Rayshawn Jenkins to start Week 1. We'll see about the other safety position.
Edward from Jacksonville
Any idea on where the Jags will be on the salary cap in 2022?
It's difficult to project because the official cap for 2022 is unknown. According to Spotrac, the Jaguars currently are about $48 million under the cap for '22, so they're currently in fine shape.
Steve from Jacksonville Beach
Interesting fact. Most guaranteed money spent in free agency since 2016: 1, Jets ($341 million) 2, Jaguars ($318 million). Worst record in NFL since 2016: 31. Jaguars (25-55 W-L) 32. Jets (23-57 W-L) so it is funny when people say we should have been more active in free agency period.
That didn't strike me as funny, but this does: A disheveled guy walks up to a well-dressed man in Vegas. Disheveled guy says to the well-dressed man: "Please, sir, I need twenty dollars. I'm hungry and I haven't eaten in days. Can you help? I beg of you: I'm really in need." Well-dressed guy: "No. If I give you twenty dollars, you're just going to use it to gamble." Disheveled guy: "Oh, I've got gamblin' money!"