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O-Zone: Kids change everything

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Duval Doom from Section 217:
Dave Caldwell isn't going to put himself in a position to be unable to sign guys he's drafted. He just isn't. Beyond that, WHO CARES HOW MUCH WE PAID MALIK!? So tired of hearing about it being a "bad deal" because of the money.
John: You've touched on a couple of important topics. First, you're right the Jaguars won't have trouble re-signing players they want to re-sign. One reason Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell hasn't gone rogue and signed every high-priced free agent on the open market in recent years is he has been planning ahead to re-sign the team's own coveted free agents. That's what a draft-and-develop plan is all about. As for the Malik Jackson free-agent contract being a "bad deal," I haven't heard too much of that and I'd also find it ironic if I did. I've gotten slews of emails in recent offseasons and seasons from people criticizing Caldwell for not using free-agent dollars to improve the roster. Well, if you want to play in big-time free agency you're going to play with dollar amounts that fundamentally represent bad deals. There's no such thing as a good deal when signing big-name free agents – except when those big names are already on your roster.
Nathan from Vermont:
Hey, O! I know the Jags need to make a decision on whether to pick up Luke Joeckel's fifth-year option soon. I've heard talk about how they won't do that, but it is always followed by the assumption he won't be on the team next year. Are the Jaguars allowed to not pick up the option and still sign Luke to a contract extension?
John: I would be surprised at this stage if the Jaguars pick up Joeckel's option in May. But yes, they absolutely can still sign Joeckel to a contract extension after that – or during the 2016 season – if he plays well enough to merit that.
Mike from Des Moines, IA:
It will be difficult to argue against Blaine Gabbert as the Jaguars' worst pick because of the cost to get him. Add to that the fact that J.J. Watt was available when they selected him. I still remember the R.J. Soward fiasco. I wager that you will get a bunch of us old salts writing in about Soward. I bet you will also hear about Fernando Bryant, Matt Jones, Derrick Harvey and Bryan Anger.
John: I might hear about Bryant, but I'd laugh if I did. No way was he the worst draft selection in Jaguars history – and no way does he belong in the same conversation as the other players on the list. Honestly? Anger doesn't, either – not only because missing in the third round doesn't have near the ramifications as missing in the first round, but because he wasn't a bad punter.
Corey from Orange Park, FL:
I don't like losing a division game anymore than anyone else, but I dislike the thought of losing all of our games to another city significantly more. I can deal with one game if it means the Jaguars stay with Jacksonville for an extended period. That being said, if Myles Jack and Jalen Ramsey are there, who do you take? I say Ramsey, but only because of how good I think he could be.
John: You make a lot of good points early in your email, and it's a well-worn topic, but yes … losing a division game is a small price to pay for long-term franchise stability in the market. As far as Ramsey-Jack, I don't think the Jaguars will have a chance at Ramsey. If they do, he'll be tough to pass.
Joe from San Antonio, TX:
A new aspect of Shad's vision came to mind. Once the Jags finally become a winning team, these London games could easily be among the most high-profile games of the season. That would be cool.
John: Yes.
Ross from Mechanicsville, VA:
Noticing all the departures from Denver got me thinking. It is obvious the idea is NFL success breeds big paychecks for winning individuals. But it seems many from the Broncos have left … a little more than past Super Bowl Champs. Is it possible some did not like playing for Denver or anything like that? Thanks for the perpetual brilliance you always offer O3.
John: The Broncos' free-agency departures this offseason have come largely for salary-cap reasons; to my knowledge, they have not come because of a dislike for Denver. This was a team that played heavy in free agency with the idea of winning a Super Bowl during a certain window. It was, in a sense, very similar to the approach the Baltimore Ravens took a few years back. The Ravens won the Super Bowl following the 2012 season, then had some free-agency losses and have made the playoffs once in the last three seasons. We'll see what happens with Denver.
Sam from Jacksonville:
Caldwell mentioned a few days ago he would be open to trading back in the draft, but he wouldn't want to drop back any further than the early teens. I know trading back isn't as easy as it sounds on paper. Still, if it happened what kind of compensation would you expect to get if the Jags traded back to say, pick 12 (the Saints want their quarterback of the future)? Thanks for all you do. #DTWD
John: I estimate that it would probably take a second- and a third-round selection to drop from No. 5 to No. 12 or 13 or so.
Finster from Aisle 7 of Target:
I see many mock drafts that have the Jags trading up with the Chargers. I am so hoping this is not so as there are enough quality choices if they stay at No. 5 and not give away precious picks. You think there is any situation where Dave Caldwell trades up in the first round?
John: The San Diego-Jacksonville scenario makes sense because Caldwell and Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco worked together in Indianapolis and are close. It also might make some sense if the Browns don't take a quarterback at No. 2 and Caldwell decides there might not be a player he wants at No. 5. I'd guess against the Jaguars trading up. The Jaguars appeared to have filled enough needs in free agency that Caldwell doesn't have to give away selections to move up a spot or two.
Alex from Los Angeles, CA:
Just wanted to say, your response to Trae was amazing. There is only one element I think you were missing: the camaraderie of a fan base rallying together behind their team. There is nothing more awesome than 80,000 people all gathered together experiencing the same highs and lows.
John: Thank you. I got a lot of positive responses to my last answer in the O-Zone Thursday – a reaction that detailed my level of irrational idiocy while a fan of the Washington Redskins. The positive responses meant a lot and I appreciated them. I never experienced much of the camaraderie with Redskins fans growing up because I lived in Jacksonville. For me, it was more us-against-the-world, so finding a fellow Redskins fan was like a beacon in the night. But when I talk to Jaguars fans and Bold City Brigade members and the like … yeah, the camaraderie stuff is cool. I like it.
Greg from Jacksonville and Section 122:
Wow, O-man … thanks for that trip down memory lane. You and I are about the same age and I remember going to RFK stadium with my dad to see the 'Skins and the Raiders in a Super Bowl rematch. I remember seeing my first sick-to-my-stomach injury when Theismann fell over backwards while his leg split into three pieces on Monday Night Football. And I remember the last time Riggo took the field. Before the Jags the Skins were my first love and it was the one thing my dad and I always agreed about. Thanks again, O-Man; that was one of the best answers ever. Nice to see the human side of the O-Zone.
John: Thanks, but you've got the wrong guy: I don't have a human side. I'm all dried up inside.
Sunil from Jacksonville:
Hey Ozone! Your answer to Trae about fanning was perfect. Those of us who live and die with our sports team can relate to everything you wrote. I am now 43-years old and I still have the same emotions when the Jags win or lose as I did with my childhood team (the Dolphins) many years ago. I am just better at hiding it now. You know … because of the children and all.
John: Ah, kids … they are indeed precious, aren't they? I was still SuperSonics fanning in 1997. My son, Jacob, was about to turn one and asleep on a blanket on the floor during a playoff loss to Charles Barkley's Houston Rockets. I was so irate during an anger fit that I nearly stepped on him. I vowed to change my ways and become more calm and controlled when watching my favorite teams – and then I, you know, didn't.

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