O-Zone: Guessing game

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Bill from Jacksonville

So, apparently Dante Fowler Jr. took to Twitter Saturday and said the Jaguars tried to take the fire out of him. What did he mean by this, Zone?

This is a good question. Former Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. did post a few tweets Saturday evening regarding his time with the team. While a few of the tweets later were (wisely?) deleted, Fowler appears to have tweeted “they tried to take that (fire emoji) out of me” and “I was never beat out in Jax; I was benched for my off-field actions that lead up.” I don’t pretend to know Fowler well enough to explain his thoughts. I do know his off-field actions were an issue while with the Jaguars, and I know the reason Yannick Ngakoue started ahead of Fowler for three seasons was because Ngakoue outperformed him – consistently. Here’s what’s also true: any implication from Fowler that the Jaguars treated him unfairly defies logic. They drafted him No. 3 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft and therefore had every reason to want him to succeed. Why in the world would they want any different or conspire against him? Fowler, currently with the Los Angeles Rams and scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on Mach 13, will have an opportunity to play somewhere next season. He doesn’t need to tweet about the past. He will get plenty of chances in the future to show his fire.

Jaginator from formerly of Section 124

I will predict this right now. And I will give you a 100-percent, guaranteed, you-can-have-my-house-if-I’m-wrong, failsafe assurance that the Arizona Cardinals will NOT trade Drew Rosen.

Fair. And good catch.

Mac from Jacksonville Beach, FL

I'm a Bortles guy and hope he stays. But, am I right in saying the Jags owe him his full salary for 2019, which would be offset by whatever he gets from any team who signs him? If yes, what's stopping Bortles from telling whatever team gives him the best chance to start that he'll take the league minimum since he'll still get his full guaranteed salary anyway? I think any team would be happy to pay him the league minimum. That way he'll get a chance to start again and, if he plays well, an opportunity for another big contract.

The Jaguars owe quarterback Blake Bortles his full salary of $6.5 million next season, and his salary from his next team indeed will offset that. That means if a team pays Bortles $3 million, the Jaguars will pay the final $3.5 million for next season’s salary – and they should save the corresponding $3 million against the salary cap. I expect Bortles will sign somewhere for not much more than a few million – in part because of the offsets and in part because comparatively few teams are seeking a starting quarterback.

That guy from the cubicle by the door

The microwave was made to warm up my sardines! The rest of the office needs to get over it!

Fair.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

I honestly forgot that wide receiver Donte Moncrief was on the roster until I read his name here. They have three receivers definitely worth keeping: Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook and DJ Chark Jr., do you think they will bring in another mid-level veteran receiver?

Moncrief remains on the Jaguars’ roster for now, though that will change once he becomes an unrestricted free agent on March 13. I expect Lee, Westbrook and Chark to be the core of the Jaguars’ receiving corps next season, and I expect Keelan Cole to be given an opportunity to respond after a subpar second season last season. I do expect the Jaguars to sign a veteran wide receiver in free agency, though I don’t expect them to make the sort of investment they made in Moncrief last season.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

If the Jags sign Foles and then Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins falls to them at No. 7 overall, what would you say is the chance they draft him? One percent? Ten percent? I would really like it (unless there’s a really good offer to trade back), but you seem to indicate that would be extremely unlikely.

I would consider the Jaguars signing Foles and still drafting Haskins a wise approach – particularly if the Jaguars like Haskins as much as many observers like him. And whatever the makeup of the roster at quarterback entering the draft – whether it’s Foles is on the roster, or Case Keenum, or Blake Bortles – taking a quarterback at No. 7 is something the team must seriously consider and evaluate because you only get so many chances to take a premium quarterback. The idea behind acquiring Foles would be that they will contend for the postseason next season, which would mean not selecting in the Top 10 next offseason. That means the time to get a highly-rated quarterback in the draft theoretically is now. That’s the argument for signing Foles and still selecting Haskins. The argument against is that the Jaguars have other pressing needs that could be filled with the No. 7 overall selection. The guess here is those needs win out over the two-premier-quarterbacks-in-the-same-offseason approach.

Bryan from Tampa, FL

I was looking at recipes online for how make your NFL franchise a perennial loser and the first ingredient was to tie up all your salary cap space on underperforming quarterbacks. We should be trying to get Doug Peterson, not Nick Foles. Foles can barely throw the ball 10 yards and he moves like a sloth while doing it. On the other hand, Case Keenum will be available and he is a way better QB than Foles and will probably be a lot cheaper. Why are people not mentioning Keenum as a possible target?

Because he never was the Most Valuable Player of a Super Bowl. (And I think you’re right that Keenum could and should be a target).

Jon from Jacksonville

I've expressed my elation and frustration here and social media. It doesn't matter. However, man how cool would it be if we replaced Leonard Fournette with Benny Snell Jr. in the later rounds? Dude has the size, the lineage, the passion, hands and production to be a first-round pick but will be available later because he is a running back. Let's go Jags!

OK.

Jason from North Pole, AK

Will it be easier and cheaper for the Jaguars to acquire Nick Foles if he is tagged then traded or if he becomes a free agent?

The Jaguars would have more control over the situation if Foles is tagged and traded because they could trade for his rights, but that would cost the Jaguars draft selections as compensation. That probably would be cheaper in terms of salary because the Jaguars wouldn’t have to compete with another team.

Fred from Naples, FL

Sign Foles and draft Dwayne Haskins at No. 7. Let Haskins sit for a couple of years behind Foles and learn. It seems like it worked out for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, no?

This is a good plan in theory, and I wouldn’t mind seeing the Jaguars take this approach. The quarterback position is that valuable, and the Jaguars have struggled there far too long. Remember, though: When the Packers selected Rodgers late in the first round in 2004, they were deep into a long run of success with Brett Favre long established as their quarterback. While investing heavily in free-agency dollars and draft-selection equity could be good for the future, the Jaguars at the present have enough other needs and I doubt they will take that approach.

Paul from Washington, DC

Hey O, you keep mentioning that the Jaguars could acquire Foles via trade with Philly. But that would mean Philly would have to franchise Foles. What about all of the talk in the media regarding the Collective Bargaining Agreement and its verbiage stating that players cannot be tagged by teams who are not at least in good faith attempting to keep and re-sign the player? Doesn't this prevent the Eagles from tagging Foles? Also, given Foles unique history of both bust and Super Bowl hero, what would his services likely cost?

There is language in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that indicates teams can’t apply the franchise tag unless there is a good-faith intention to negotiate with a tendered player. But there also is language that permits trades, which indicates that the Eagles indeed could franchise with the intent to trade – something Adam Schefter of ESPN confirmed to a Philadelphia radio station last week. If the Eagles can franchise Foles, I expect it will take around a third-round draft selection and around $18-to-$20 million to renegotiate a long-term deal. If he is a free agent, I would expect at least a mild competition for his services to drive his price up a bit to around $21-to-22 million. That’s the guess here, anyway. It’s probably as good as anyone’s.

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