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O-Zone: Glory days

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Dan from Charlotte, NC

KOAF. I know you work for the team, but you saying players should honor contracts they sign is a bit too much towing the company line. NFL contracts are not worth the paper they are written on as long as the team has the right to cut a player, or basically force them to renegotiate at will or get cut. This is all done in service of an arbitrary salary cap that has one purpose: keep the majority of the funds in the billionaire owners' pockets. I know that it is the way "it's always been done," but that doesn't make it equitable. I know fans gonna fan, but "representing my city" is meaningless compared to BUSINESS, which is what the NFL is. More player empowerment is coming, and it is long overdue. What say you?

I say my thoughts on this have nothing to do with working for a team; it doesn't bother me one iota that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott signed a four-year deal with $160 million nor would it bother me if he had signed for $500 million. And no one from the league or the Jaguars would remotely care about my opinion on this matter, certainly not enough to establish some arbitrary line to tow – or toe. Or whatever. It's also not about wanting things done a certain way because they always have been done that way. Nor is it about "representing the city," whatever that means. It has more to do with this hackneyed idea that somehow NFL players are being treated unfairly these days. While that has become a popular "take," the opinion here is that's very much not the case. Although all NFL salary is not guaranteed, there absolutely is guaranteed money in NFL contracts. Signing bonuses are guaranteed. Early years of a contract are guaranteed in many cases. Players and agents understand this the moment they sign a contract, which is why NFL contracts usually are reported in terms of guaranteed money rather than in terms of duration and total money. That's their guarantee. That's their long-term security. You're probably correct that we're entering an era in which players will have more power, but do I think it's a good thing when players can force trades on a whim? No, and here's why. Let's assume a player such as Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson wants out for legitimate reasons – and perhaps he does. But what's to stop a team from building the salary cap around, say, an elite quarterback only to have the elite quarterback decide he wants a trade because he doesn't like the color of the uniforms? Or the texture of the toilet paper? At what point does it end? A team giving a player significant guaranteed money – and therefore structuring the franchise around that player – must be at least relatively sure it's going to have that player for a certain amount of time. If not, let's just set it up where players get paid per game, take away all guaranteed money and allow them to change teams by the week. Hell, I'd click on that.

Rob from Jacksonville

Assuming the 17thgame becomes a reality, will players current salaries get adjusted up to reflect an extra week's worth of work?

Yes, with an upper limit of $250,000 on the 17th game. That means all but the most highly paid players will get a proportional increase. I would expect even the highest-paid players to be proportionally compensated for all 17 games as the league continues forward with the new scheduling format.

Steve from Hilton Head, SC

Isn't the backup quarterback the best job? You get to wear a cap on backwards, carry a clipboard, high five a few guys and get paid a couple million.

If you think that's easy, you should see Sexton crank out a nine to five.

Todd from Nashville, TN

John, you "answered" my question about the offensive line being below average on Thursday by saying "While it's nice to believe you know how an offensive lineman played by watching television, you just can't." Then proceeded to say, "As for why I say the offensive line was better than most believe, there are a few reasons - One reason was what I saw last season." Wouldn't that be the same thing as what I saw on television or at the 'Bank for that matter? We watched the same games ya Muppet.

Me discussing the line based on what I saw isn't the same as people believing they understand offensive line play because of what they see on television. First, I said what I saw was quarterbacks struggling with pocket presence behind the line – and while you can see this on television, most people underestimate the importance of pocket presence/throwing in timely fashion when analyzing an offensive line. More pertinent to this discussion, I listed multiple other reasons for saying the Jaguars' line is better than most believe – most importantly, talking to people who understood what they were seeing after watching game tape AND watching that tape while knowing assignments and play calls. Did we watch the same games, you and me? Sure. Do we analyze it the same way? Sure … if you believe that, go with it.

Steve from Nashville, TN

So, a quarterback with good "pocket presence" can make his offensive line look good? Have you had any time to watch tape on TL to see his pocket-presence body of work?

A quarterback with good pocket presence absolutely makes an offensive line look good. I haven't studied Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence's pocket presence to know how it will translate to NFL. From what I've seen, he doesn't tend to leave the pocket early and he seems capable of stepping aside and avoiding pressure without seeming panicky and running into sacks. That doesn't always translate from college to the NFL because NFL pressure is different from college pressure. Still, Lawrence reportedly is elite. Elite quarterbacks typically have elite pocket presence because their offenses usually don't run efficiently without it. I will assume his pocket presence is fine until I see otherwise, and I would be surprised if I see otherwise.

Logan from Wichita, KS

Many people will be upset with the Jaguars franchising left tackle Cam Robinson. Honestly, I think it is kind of encouraging to see. He isn't a superstar. He is inconsistent, but by tagging him Head Coach Urban Meyer is saying, "We trust our ability to coach decent players to play above expectations." Also: The door is still open to trade Robinson and bring in a top-tier free agent, so this is a caution move. A decent left tackle that has team chemistry is better than nothing.

You've changed, man.

Michael from Middleburg, FL

We get the idea of securing an incumbent left tackle ahead of presumptive No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence's arrival, but guaranteeing $14.5 million to Robinson on the tag after the vet graded among the worst pass protectors of 2020 in a contract year? Don't love it. Why not use the cash to spend big for, say, Trent Williams or another free agent?

Because spending big for Trent Williams means waiting to try to do so until March 15 or so, and not knowing how much it's going to be to get Williams – and not knowing if you'll sign Williams no matter how much you're willing to spend. And because the Jaguars don't see Robinson as one of the NFL's worst pass protectors.

Robert from Jacksonville

I've only written in maybe five or so times. Never once have I tried to be snarky or cutting. After writing about coach's communication skills, I realized I might have been just a bit less than fair and perhaps something of a jerk with my comment. I really did feel badly about it for a few minutes. Then you posted and responded, and your answer came off as either pretty offended or at least annoyed. I felt better immediately. Call it even? Don't hold it against me?

No. We're done. Don't ever text me again.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

I didn't really think the defensive ends that are hitting the market would be there. Obviously, defensive tackle is a *huge* need, but with the draft being talked about as comparatively weak at the D-Line position, would you be surprised if we spent big money on both DT and DE? A few very intriguing, younger options seem ready to cash in (Shaq Barrett, Carl Lawson, Haason Reddick and my personal favorite Trey Hendrickson to name a few). You can never have too many pass rushers and the need (lack of depth) matches the situation (weaker draft/huge cap room).

I would be very surprised if the Jaguars aren't active at defensive tackle in free agency. I wouldn't be surprised if they're active at edge, but the need there perhaps isn't quite as great as on the interior.

Cliff from Jags4life Partyville

You're not invited.

What is this? High school?

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