O-Zone: High priority

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Sam from Winter Park, FL

So, we were told by the Jaguars’ brass – Tom Coughlin and Dave Caldwell – that we were structuring all of our free agent contracts in such a way that it would allow us to avoid the salary-cap perils that beseech teams – and allow us to re-sign players. So far, it seems like we still have salary cap problems and can't re-sign our own players. One would have to wonder if Yanny would still be without a new contract if the team didn't rush to re-sign Bortles to an absolutely ludicrous extension. Bortles was worth it, but Yanny and Jalen aren't? Tom needs to swallow his old-man pride and admit the extension was a mistake.

The Jaguars did structure past free-agent contracts in a way to allow for future flexibility and for re-signing their own players. That doesn’t mean the Jaguars will be able to re-sign every good player they draft because no team that drafts well can re-sign every good player they draft. It also doesn’t mean they can re-sign every player exactly when that player wants to be re-signed. Remember: While defensive end Yannick Ngakoue understandably wants a new contract now, he remains under contract with the Jaguars for one more season. That’s his deadline and he has a right to that deadline. But that’s not necessarily when the team must re-sign him. That’s the Jaguars’ leverage in this negotiation – and just as Ngakoue must use his leverage so must the Jaguars use theirs. And the Jaguars still control cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s rights for at minimum two years, and perhaps more. As for former quarterback Blake Bortles’ 2018 contract extension, I understand it factors into this discussion because it was an expensive extension that turned out to be a mistake. But the Jaguars’ decision about Ngakoue has less to do with Bortles and more about projecting how Ngakoue’s contract fits with the Jaguars’ future cap. Either way, I don’t expect Jaguars Executive Vice President Tom Coughlin or General Manager David Caldwell to “admit” anything about the Bortles extension or even discuss it too much anymore; people who lead NFL franchises tend by necessity to look forward rather than back.

Johnny from Syracuse, NY

I am thoroughly disgusted with this ridiculous holdout. You're under contract, play the game. You're offered a “life-changing” $50 million. Take the money and play the game. This league has become a disgrace. It sickens me to have to witness this crap.

It’s not quite that clear-cut, but OK … one not fer Yannick.

Frank from Duval

Blake’s contract was easy because he had no leverage and no other team would have paid him what we did. Yannick is a Pro Bowler. Jalen is all-time. If we don’t pay, then someone else will.

Well, yes.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

Wanting to set the market or be paid at the top end of the market and wanting it a year early. Seems somebody wants their cake and to eat it too.

Fair.

Steve from Atlanta, GA

I’m all for players having personalities and having fun. Arriving to training camp in armored truck with a hype man just makes the man look like a dufus. I don’t care that the man isn’t a team leader, but he may want to think a bit more carefully about what image he puts out there. Just sayin’.

You’re referencing Ramsey’s arrival to Jaguars 2019 Training Camp Wednesday, and you certainly have the right to your opinion. As for your advice on how to shape his image, I’m sure he’ll lose sleep.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, I for one liked the show and swagger that Ramsey showed. This is about entertainment, right? What’s not to like?

I don’t know.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

Zone, in still in my 20s (barely, and maybe prematurely a crotchety old man), but I thought Jalen’s stint was kind of dumb. I wasn’t offended; I just didn’t think it was that funny. But it got a lot of attention nationally, and it brought more attention to Yannick Ngakoue’s potential hold-out, which brought attention to how good Yannick’s actually been the last three years. Sure, smart football people knew about him, but I would love to see him become more of a household name. And especially for a fan base that airs a lot of resentment over not getting enough attention, I think this is something everyone should just shrug their shoulders at and either laugh at it, or just shrug and say “Jalen gonna Jalen”. But if course, we know who else gonna do what they gonna do...

I don’t know that Ramsey’s arrival was dumb as much as it was silly. But you know what? Of course it was silly. And that’s OK. This is the NFL. The people playing it for the most part are young people barely into adulthood. They’re playing a game for millions of dollars, and fans watch it because it’s fun. And entertaining. So, Ramsey was a bit silly Wednesday. So what?

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

Pos over Hardy and Mike P? I don’t know about that. Pos was great but it was mostly during very dismal years when our defense overall was very bad. He made a lot of tackles and plays, but we were losing –and the other teams were scoring often. Kevin Hardy and Mike Peterson were the leaders and arguably best players on some of our best defenses during our best years. Taking the team somewhere with your play means something – and unfortunately for Posluszny, he played during our worst times at no fault to himself.

A couple of thoughts. First, a strong case indeed can be made that former Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny at No. 11 was a few spots too high on the All-25 team currently running on jaguars.com. The list was decided by vote of multiple media members who covered the team for all or large parts of its history. But people angry about this might be nitpicking just a touch; Peterson, Hardy (No. 15), Smith and Posluszny were all between 11 and 20 – so all four players are in essentially the same range, and my sense is the difference probably was a few votes. I do wonder about your reasons for believing Posluszny was too high, though. First, I wouldn’t say Hardy or Peterson were the best players on their respective defenses; end Tony Brackens and tackles Marcus Stroud and John Henderson probably were better players on those defenses – and I don’t know that it’s fair to penalize Posluszny for playing on bad teams. If you’re not playing quarterback, you can only elevate your team so much. Either way, I would consider all four linebackers on All-25 pretty close – and I could see good arguments for all four being ranked first in the group. The media voting for the All-25 apparently felt the same way.

Joe from Fleming Island, FL

Mr. O: What is your take on how this offensive will change, understanding that Doug Marrone is still the head coach, but having this particular new offensive coordinator?

I expect the Jaguars’ offensive to be more pass-oriented – in part because of new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and in part because of greater trust in new quarterback Nick Foles. That’s not to say the Jaguars are going to set records for attempts per game, but I anticipate a greater percentage of first- and second-down throws and fewer runs into the interior to “establish the run.”

JT from Fort Worth, KS

John, if the Jags become the franchise that is known to not pay the homegrown players, then no one is going to stay. Hope Ngakoue's contract gets figured out soon. We did pay Telvin, so I hope he gets his worth because he has balled out for the team.

Just because the Jaguars haven’t paid Ngakoue second-contract money yet doesn’t mean they won’t ever pay him that money. Also, when you draft well, some players are going to leave. Not all, but some. It’s the way of the NFL world.

Jeff from Jacksonville

I’m aware that each player is ultimately responsible for what goes in his body. Ninety-nine percent of the time, when a player tests positive for PEDs, the player says they “don’t know how it got in my body.” Given the amount of resources available to players and teams, shouldn’t players go to their teams and have them make sure whatever substance they want to take will not violate the rules?

Yes.

Emile from Tallahassee, FL

I may have missed something, but referencing a question in Thursday's O-Zone, where was it indicated that the $50 million the team offered Ngakoue was guaranteed?

This was my mistake. The $50 million reportedly is in the first two years, which makes it very probable to be earned – but not quite guaranteed.

Cap from Miami, FL

Jaguars fan like to nitpick at even the dumbest things, such as the All-25 list. What do you say to those fans who are upset that Poz is listed ahead of Daryl Smith, Kevin Hardy and Mike Peterson?

I suppose they could start by find something important to get upset about.

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