O-Zone: Happy(?) return

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Richard from Duval

How are the Jaguars going to be competitive next year? What are their strengths? We are shedding veterans and young stars with no replacements on the horizon. Why is Jaguars Owner Shad Khan letting General Manager David Caldwell run another rebuild that got us to this point? As a fan from the beginning, the Jaguars seem to be at their nadir. I cannot think of a worse time that bad. No hope or joy or anything really.

This email came Tuesday immediately after news broke that the Jaguars had agreed to trade cornerback A.J. Bouye to the Denver Broncos for a fourth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. The news prompted a flurry of O-Zone emails expressing shock and disappointment. But while the Jaguars trading Bouye apparently surprised many people, it didn't have that effect on anyone following the team closely in recent weeks or months. Bouye, a 2017 Pro Bowl selection, was going to either be released or traded on or before the March 18 start of the 2020 League Year; his salary-cap number for 2020 as well as his level of play this past season made that clear. The significance Thursday was the Jaguars were able to get a fourth-round selection for him. That's undoubtedly a good deal considering there was a real chance the Jaguars would release him without compensation. As for the Jaguars being at "their nadir," this has been a difficult offseason. No question. Fans are angry and see little hope. There's little I can say to change minds right now. This isn't going to be a case of the Jaguars "winning this offseason." What Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone must do is execute their plan and win next season. That will bring joy and get fans believing in good times again. Nothing else.

Dave from Los Angeles, CA

This roster does not appear poised to "win now." Do you disagree?

I don't agree any more now than I would have a month ago. The Jaguars so far are doing exactly what was expected this offseason.

Diego from Tierra Del Fuego

Is Caldwell such a pushover that he could only get a fourth-round pick for Bouye? Also, why put a franchise tag on Yannick when he has stated he does not want to be a Jaguar? I am sure there are third-round selections out there just as good as him if you look for them. I like Yannick, but his days are over here and the sooner he is out of here the better. Jags need to move on from players like him and former cornerback Jalen Ramsey. In years to come, both will nothing more than footnotes in Jaguar history. No reason to keep dissatisfied players as a distraction.

Getting a fourth-round selection for Bouye was a huge victory for the Jaguars. You put the franchise tag on defensive end Yannick Ngakoue because you don't want to let him leave in free agency without compensation, but I don't know that it's as easy to find players on Ngakoue's level in the third round as you believe. If there were, teams would do it every year. They don't.

Matt from Green Cove Springs, FL

Now that Bouye has been traded, who's the next to go? I have a feeling the Jags aren't done yet as they ramp up for free agency.

We'll see.

Richard from Virginia Beach, VA

With the trade of Bouye, does his entire $15.5 million cap hit come off the books? Or are Jags still on the hook for some salary?

The Jaguars save about $11.5 million on the cap by trading Bouye. He has a "dead cap" hit of $4 million for the 2020 season.

Paul from Duval

Team should do the right thing for both parties and let the man, myth and legend Calais Campbell go so he can join a team that has a chance to compete. And save Jaguars some bucks; I heard the team is having serious cash flow problems. This team isn't going to win more than six games; why is Caldwell in charge? Nothing makes sense. We are lost and hopeless. Hopeless O. Totally and completely hopeless.

Nothing yet has happened this offseason that wasn't long expected to happen, and that includes the contractual impasse with Ngakoue. The Jaguars so far have parted ways with some familiar names, but the offseason has just begun. The plan has not yet played out.

Richard from Duval

Cool, getting a pick for a guy we should probably cut anyway. So, who is making the picks? Oh, the same people that have gone nowhere the past eight years? TAKE MY MONEY, PLEASE.

So, one fer the trade and one sort of not fer it …

David from Jacksonville

I told my rep that I would buy season tickets again if they brought the Culligan cheerleader back. Fair?

I have no idea what you're talking about.

Seamus from Vancouver, BC

You keep treating Ngakoue as a sort of isolated case in a vacuum. You say they shouldn't just "pay Yann" so that he doesn't hit free agency. But isn't free agency where most team overspend? Didn't we "pay Calais" or "pay Foles" or "pay Norwell" with contract a that seemed bigger than their stats? We certainly "paid Blake" after a single decent season. No, to get this ship right, the Jags really need to "pay Yann."

You can't compare what teams do at the quarterback position in free agency to what they do at other positions. As far as overpaying for left guard Andrew Norwell … yes, an argument absolutely can be made that is the case. The Jaguars need to stop doing that.

Cliff from Callahan, FL

When I graduated from high school (a looooong time ago), my best friend had the fourth-best GPA but still felt she should have been valedictorian anyway. Basically, she felt she *was* the best student even though her grades didn't reflect it. She ended up skipping the graduation ceremony. Pride can make us do unreasonable things at times ...

Fair.

Billy from Orange Park, FL

Greetings KOAF. I want Yann to be here as much as anyone. That said, I like to think that I'm a realist. If that is not gonna happen, a different approach will be necessary. I say tag him with the non-exclusive tag and see if he can reach an agreement elsewhere. If he does, we get two first-round draft picks. Should I call our brilliant GM forthwith and advise him on this, or am I oversimplifying this?

You're not oversimplifying, but you're discussing what essentially is an implausible scenario. No team is going to sign Ngakoue to a long-term deal that he considers acceptable – AND give up two first-round selections. If the Jaguars apply the franchise tag to Ngakoue, he must decide if he wants to sign it and play under essentially a one-year deal with the Jaguars or not sign it and not play.

Dan from Las Vegas, NV

In your humble opinion are the JAGS the laughingstock in the NFL, the way the front office is handling contracts and players the only way we can convince a free agent player to sign is significantly overpaying. With all the crying from the owner and the president about the lack of money how is it even possible?

No, the Jaguars are not the laughingstock of the NFL. Jaguars fans are angry, frustrated and disappointed – and therefore they understandably see every mistake and miscue as a reason to believe the Jaguars are the laughingstock of the NFL, but fans seeing it that way doesn't make it so. As far as your last question, Khan and President Mark Lamping discussing local revenue doesn't have anything to do with the contract negotiations with players. It's a different issue.

Dakota from Dupree, SD

Zone, how awesome/lucky would it be if Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah fell to 9?

Pretty awesome. Pretty lucky.

Josh from Pensacola, FL

In my opinion this draft class is loaded at almost every position. If you were in charge, which player would you be most tempted to draft even though they weren't a position of need for the Jags.

What position do the Jaguars not need? I mean, even assuming they don't believe they need offensive linemen, it wouldn't feel ridiculous to take one. I suppose Ohio State defensive end Chase Young would qualify as an answer to your question, though considering Ngakoue's contract status even that wouldn't be completely shocking.

Logan from Wichita, KS

These mouth-breathing wastes of space in charge of the roster all need to be fired outright. How is it acceptable to scare away multiple TOP-LEVEL TALENTS, burn big money on BUMS and waste countless first round picks on BUSTS?? My God! If I was even a tenth as incompetent at my job as these idiots... I WOULD QUIT FOR STEALING TIME AND MONEY!!!! But then again: my job requires I succeed every year and I guess theirs is happy with a successful fluke once every couple decades ... so what do I know?

Logan's back.

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