O-Zone: Indeed

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jason from Jacksonville

John, Sunday's tragic events involving Kobe Bryant and his daughter transcend sports, but also connect them. Professional athletes are heroes and role models to many of us. We hold them to a higher regard because they are who many of us want to be but can never be. They are perceived as insulated, protected and invincible. Sports are great that way, they produce bigger-than-life heroes. But nobody, not even our heroes, are bigger than life. We're all the same that way. RIP, Black Mamba.

Words fail when trying to put into perspective Sunday's loss of former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant; his daughter, Gianna; and seven others who died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. This incident shocked sports fans and non-sports fans, young and old, etc. – and many of those fans will remember Sunday the rest of their lives. And yes … a day such as Sunday provides perspective on what's important and reminds us that we indeed are all human and therefore anything but invincible. As for thoughts on Bryant, I was around him a couple of times while doing some work for NBA.com while living in Indianapolis in 2009-2011, and I was struck by his command of the game and professionalism – and obviously his otherworldly talent. Beyond that, I have no real thoughts that would provide meaningful perspective. I do know fans of Bryant are hurting this morning, and I know that hurt is real. This is brutally sad and unfair. Life's short. Savor it, enjoy it and be thankful.

Big on Blake from Philly

KOAF, look at them Jags! DJ Chark with a touchdown, Calais with a sack and Josh Allen with a sack and a tackle for loss! Can we now definitely say the Jags have the BEST players in the NFL?

Slow down, "Big" guy. The Jaguars indeed had a memorable day at Sunday's Pro Bowl, and it was cool to see defensive end Calais Campbell earn Defensive Most Valuable Player honors – just as wide receiver DJ Chark Jr's. touchdown and rookie defensive end Josh Allen's sack were cool. That's a lot of cool, and it was a cool way to end the 2019 season – and to begin 2020. Can we say the Jaguars have the best players in the NFL? Well, let's just say Sunday was cool. And fun. We'll leave the "best" stuff for another day.

JT from Fort Worth, TX

First, we hear the Kobe news. Then, we read the Donovin Darius news. Thoughts and prayers for No. 20. Hope he gets the help he needs.

Former Jaguars safety Donovin Darius reportedly was arrested Sunday afternoon and charged with driving under the influence. He also reportedly was hospitalized under the Baker Act for a mental health evaluation after ingesting numerous pills following the arrest. The Baker Act allows an individual to be involuntary institutionalized if the individual possibly has a mental illness or is in danger of harming themselves or others. That's what has been reported by multiple outlets, but yes – here's hoping Darius gets the help he needs.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, is it possible to not love Campbell's smile? I hope somehow he can come back another year. How can anyone not love him?

Good question.

Mark from Prescott, AZ

Tag "Ngakoue" and be done with it! All the drama doesn't help this team at all. Time to focus on improving for next season.

A couple of thoughts on this thought. One is that the Jaguars can't place the franchise tag on defensive end Yannick Ngakoue until February 25, after which they have until March 10 to do so. And the drama won't stop if/when the Jaguars place the tag on Ngakoue. It probably would be just beginning.

Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

John: I remember an old Vince Lombardi quote: "There is no substitute for speed." I particularly cite the Kansas City Chiefs, where they seem to have an abundance of speed in all three phases of the game. Yes, we need large men in the trenches. I just hope Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell and company keep their eyes open for a couple of comets in the draft. Go Jags!!

I don't know that Lombardi said that. Good point, though.

Captain from Fernandina Beach, FL

Mr. O, Isn't it a shame in a year when the Jags have a Top 10 pick, and there are three quarterbacks that are potentially available in the Top 10, our team is constrained by the "win now" necessity of its coach and general manager that they will not even consider a quarterback?

If the Jaguars pass on a quarterback that they genuinely believe will be a franchise quarterback at No. 9 overall … well, yes … that would be a shame.

Stormy from Jacksonville

Who would you prefer, Yan or Calais? At this point Calais looks to be cheaper, is a force in the passing AND rushing game, doesn't play the same position as Josh Allen and is an outstanding leader.

There's no question you would take Campbell in his prime over Ngakoue. He is by far the more complete, consistent player over the course of his career. But right now? In 2020? You must take Ngakoue in his early 20s over Campbell in his mid-30s. But this won't be a Campbell-Ngakoue decision. It's not either/or. It's about figuring if Campbell's level right now is worth his cap figure, or if they can renegotiate. And it's about figuring if they can find a number with Ngakoue that will work for both sides. It's going to be a busy offseason for these teams – and these two contracts are a major reason.

Spazman from Jacksonville

I have a question related to the question you answered the other day from Nicholas from Mogadishu, Somalia. I thought money paid by players for fines imposed by their teams went to charities and not back to the teams' coffers?

They do.

Scott from Medford, NJ

John, put on your general manager hat. Would you be open to tagging and trading Yan if it's clear he wants out? Then go out and sign Dante Fowler Jr. to a four-year, $60 million contract. Would be a real BB type of move.

It's not unreasonable to think the Jaguars could place the tag on Ngakoue, but they won't sign Fowler to a four-year, $60 million contract – or any kind of contract, for that matter. There is a perception among some fans and observers that the Jaguars trading Fowler to the Los Angeles Rams in 2018 was a mistake. This is not a perception shared on any significant level within the organization.

Bill from Jupiter, FL

Regarding Yannick, what do you think about the idea of tagging and trading him? Could the Jags get a first-round pick for him?

It's possible, though we're a long way from either the franchise tag or the Jaguars trading Ngakoue. This situation is tricky, but there is a lot of time left to solve it. If the Jaguars do trade Ngakoue, it would probably be for something along the lines of a second-round selection.

Mark from Archer, FL

So, Zone: I hear you say that a player like cornerback A.J. Bouye will most likely be cut and I have heard fans ask why they won't just take a pay cut to stay – and you have said why would they? You make a good point, but then I was thinking if they get cut, they are most likely not going to be paid close to what they would have made with the Jags this year. They are not in their prime like they were when they signed their big contracts with the Jags. I have seen many players get cut and then they play on a much lower contract. So why don't the players just stay with the Jags and take the lower pay.

This is often about timing and ego. It's difficult to approach a veteran player and ask him to take a pay cut before free agency begins because it means telling the player the market's not going to believe he's worth his contract. The player and the agent understandably at that point often want to test the market, because they believe at least one of the other 31 teams may value the player. Sometimes, the player and agent are correct and there is a team willing to offer the player more than the original team was willing to offer. Many times, there is no team willing to pay what the original team was offering. When that's the case, it's often difficult for the player to return because of the hurt feelings upon being originally asked to take the pay cut. That's why you don't see a lot of players take pay cuts and it's why players rarely return once they're on the free-agent market. It doesn't make re-signing a player at a lower cost impossible. It does make it a lot more difficult than many believe.

Gary from Palatka, FL

RIP, Kobe. RIP, Gianna.

Indeed.

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