O-Zone: Heat it up

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Josh from Fernandina Beach currently in Fort Lauderdale, FL

I haven’t heard much discussion on what we are anticipated to do if we pass on Foles, and Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray are off the board by the time we pick (which seems like a scenario that might materialize). Do you have any insight on whether the Jaguars’ brass likes any of the remaining quarterbacks in the class well enough to forego trading back, or selecting non-quarterback at seven, if they find themselves in this circumstance (and, “too early to tell” is not an approved response – looking for some inside-track info here)? Thanks and Go Jags!

Sorry, but it indeed is too early to tell – and anyone who tells you different is … um … “stretching the truth” because the Jaguars aren’t going to indicate who they like or how much they like them before the draft. They’re not going to indicate who they like before free agency, either. Remember: when the Jaguars selected quarterback Blake Bortles No. 3 overall in 2014 few people outside Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell knew the team’s planned direction before the draft. That’s not only how it should be, that’s how it must be. What I can tell you is how this most likely will play out given the possible scenarios. If the Jaguars do not acquire Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, I expect them to sign a free-agent quarterback and draft a quarterback in the first round. If that scenario takes place, I expect them to enter the draft with a price they would be willing to pay to move up for a quarterback – presumably Haskins. It’s also possible they will like enough quarterbacks from a group that includes Haskins, Murray, Daniel Jones and Drew Lock that they will be comfortable staying at No. 7 overall and selecting the best quarterback available. That’s really not inside-track info, but it’s the best information there is right now.

Baker from Ocala, FL

Is it true that they are putting the Culligan cheerleader in the Ring of Honor?

I still to this day have no idea what you’re talking about.

Chris from Houston, TX

Hey John. I'm curious as to why Nick Foles isn't a free agent and must be traded. Didn't he buy out his player option, thus making him a free agent? Or would that make him a restricted free agent?

Foles is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 13. The thing that could keep that from happening is the Eagles have the option to place the franchise tag on him, something they reportedly are considering doing. The deadline for teams to apply the tag is March 5. If the Eagles do not “tag” Foles by then, he indeed will become an unrestricted free agent on the March 13 start of the 2019 NFL League Year.

John from Starke, FL

What is the CAP for the 2019 season?

The NFL’s salary cap for the 2019 League Year is expected to be between $187.0 to $191 million with the Jaguars expected to be able to roll over $11.6 million in cap space from 2018 to 2019. That leaves the Jaguars currently about $4 million over the cap for the start of the new league year, a situation that will be resolved between now and then by players being released or contracts being restructured.

Jon from Jacksonville

The difference between so-called self-proclaimed expert fans and analysts, compared to Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin/Caldwell/Head Coach Doug Marrone, is stark. Fans and analysts can quickly disappear after who they lobby as their hot picks turn into duds while the Jaguars’ decision-makers have to live with it. Do you ever get tired of all the what ifs and prefer to write about the facts? The dead zone is so tiring, but I keep reading daily. I guess the King of all Funk has morphed into a dynasty. Something on par with Tom Brady?

This isn’t really the dead zone; things don’t really deaden until July-ish, but you’re right that the last few weeks have leaned toward being tedious in terms of Jaguars topics. That makes sense because the No. 1 question around the franchise is quarterback, which means a dramatically high percentage of questions will focus on the topic. I expect more variety of topics once the team determines its direction at the position. As for your daily reading habits, perhaps you’re right. Perhaps this indeed is a dynasty. I suppose that means I’m not just the King of All Funk but the King of All Funk for All Time. Whodatought?

Chris from Nashville, TN

This guy in my office is sick and won't quit coughing. He also likes to cook fish in the microwave during lunch. I am disgusted by this man.

Sexton changed jobs? I’m torn between ecstasy and elation.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

I feel like the Jaguars would rather have Haskins than Foles, but might sign Foles because they can’t know if they will get Haskins. If my first speculation were true, do think that makes sense? Or will the Foles decision be made in more of a vacuum (strictly, will he get us to the Super Bowl)?

Here's the first thing to remember about your question: while you and many other Jaguars observers undoubtedly by this point have developed feelings about how you think the Jaguars are viewing their quarterback situation, those feelings in fact mean little. That’s because your feelings don’t matter; rather, it’s because no one outside of a select few in the organization – have the slightest notion how the team really feels about the quarterbacks involved. There has been so much speculation and discussion about the topic that people may be reading a lot into that talk and speculation, but that in no way means it’s what the Jaguars are thinking. I see this as very much a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C situation. I would guess the Plan A is to pursue Foles as a free agent; if they can acquire him at a price their willing to pay, then fine. I would guess the Plan B is to sign a veteran quarterback other than Foles, then pursue Haskins via the draft; if they can acquire him at a price their willing to pay, then fine. And so on. The bottom line is they’re caught in a tricky spot because I don’t see them trading up to No. 1 overall before the draft. If a team isn’t willing to do that, then, by definition, it will enter the draft not knowing what it will be able to accomplish. If you’re depending on the draft to decide your quarterback situation for the ensuing season, that’s about as tricky a spot as you can imagine.

Junior from Jax

Do you remember the millennium and in January I wrote the O-Zone and said we should look into the Michigan quarterback in the draft? Do you know we took Brad Meester in that draft and he is 67 years old now? I think your answer was ... someday soon I will be the King of all Funk. I didn’t really understand your answer then, but now it all makes sense. Remember that?

Yes. And Brad Meester’s not 67. Not quite. Not yet.

Pradeep from Bangalore, India

Hey John, is there any chance of keeping Bortles and signing another quarterback for competition? Even if we cut Bortles we gonna lose money in dead cap. Why don’t we keep him?!!

There is a chance the Jaguars keep Bortles because until he officially is released there is technically a chance he won’t be released. That chance is slim enough that I wouldn’t spend much time considering the possibility.

Mark from Archer, FL

O-Man here is my thought. Get Nick Foles and trade for Antonio Brown. Do you think it is possible the Jags could swing that and would it be a good move if they could do it?

I think there’s a better-than-50-percent chance the Jaguars will acquire Foles – perhaps in a trade, but more likely as a free agent. I don’t consider him an ideal choice, but he makes sense as a multi-year approach who will make the team immediately better at quarterback and perhaps give it a chance to contend for the postseason. If your idea is to win now, then he makes the most sense. And while the Jaguars certainly could swing a trade for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, I lean toward that not being a good move. While I usually err on the side of talent over all else, Brown from all appearances is the rare player whose baggage and off-field on-goings on is enough to negate his Hall-of-Fame talent. Perhaps Brown would change in a new environment. Evidence suggests that’s a long shot.

Mom from Jacksonville

What time does the concert end?

It’s over when I say it’s over. And I want turkey pot pie.

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