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O-Zone: Lost in translation

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Chris from Fleming Island

O-Man, You said you wouldn't sign the franchise tag contract if you were Engram. Why not? He can still sign a long-term contract, and he's guaranteed to get paid. What is the upside to not signing?

You're referencing a recent O-Zone question-answer regarding tight end Evan Engram, on whom the Jaguars placed the NFL's franchise tag in March. He has not yet signed the franchise tender, and I indeed wrote Thursday that I wouldn't do it were I in his position. Here's why: The goal of any player on the tag is to sign a long-term extension – and the player in that scenario has little short-term leverage. Not signing the tag and not attending the voluntary offseason program are two of the only actions the player can take to exercise any leverage – short of sitting out the season. Since sitting out the season costs the player money and sitting out the voluntary offseason program does not, skipping the offseason program is the only reasonable action – and even that has little effect as a negotiation tactic. The moves are mostly about principle for the player. But the player has every right to take that action and I would probably do the same thing in Engram's position. Either way, this issue feels short-term. I expect Engram and the team to reach a long-term agreement before the July 15 deadline to do so. If that doesn't happen, I still expect Engram to sign the franchise tender and play for the Jaguars on a one-year contract in the 2023 regular season.

MrMakersMark from Section 408, Row A

Mr. O - After reading your brilliant answer to the Myles Jack Was NOT Down question, it made me think how different things could be if one tiny thing was changed about just that game. The Jaguars would have gone to the Super Bowl and we would have had the "Doug" Bowl for the first time. Jacksonville would not be the laughingstock we have been recently. Maybe Jaylen's back issues would not have flared up the following season and other players might have wanted to stay. Maybe I would have stayed with my girlfriend at the time, gotten married and adopted more children from Russia. Eh, it's a game of centimeters sometimes, which makes the butterfly effect a fun "what if? game.

I almost stopped reading at "brilliant answer." I then figured if this email was that insightful to start, it was worth reading on. The reality is it's hard to say how playing in – or winning – the Super Bowl following the 2017 season would have changed the Jaguars' future. How would the players' relationship with the front office have been affected? Would perception of the franchise nationally have changed for the long term? These are impossible questions to answer, and I don't know that even winning that Super Bowl would have changed all that much about 2018-2022. I tend to think it still would have fallen apart. Perhaps not at the same rate. Perhaps not enough to secure the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft that brought the Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Alas, we shall never know.

Nathan from Utah, US

Zone, about the NFL Draft. Production wise what is a team looking to get out of a player they draft in the first round? Is it "starter or bust." Take the 2023 Jacksonville Jaguars, who I think have no positions of need. Say the best OT available on your board is there and it's Ohio State Senior OT Dawan Jones.

Different teams face different circumstances and therefor want different things from the draft. A well-beat team often can allow a first-round selection to be a backup in the first season. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Jaguars selected an offensive lineman in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Cliff from Orange Park, FL

At this point, barring key injuries, can you see the Jaguars being more than a three-point underdog to anyone on their schedule? In other words, isn't this team poised to be more than competitive every Sunday

I don't spend enough time considering betting lines to have a real feel for next season's point spreads. But you're overriding point is well taken: There shouldn't be many – if any – games on the Jaguars' 2023 schedule that feel like mismatches in their opponents' favor entering the game, though there's every chance the Jaguars will have a disappointing game or two. That's usually true of even the most competitive teams. And there's no question the Jaguars should have a chance to win most Sundays. That's a more-than-fair expectation entering next season.

Brad from The Avenues

Morning, John. I just read an article citing that many Jaguar fans are more concerned with what the rest of the division does next week than what we do. I hadn't realized it, but I've been doing that myself. My confidence is obviously at a much higher level than it's been for quite a while. Some time back I mentioned that it all fells so different. So wonderfully, wonderfully different. GO JAGS!!

I am sure at least a few fans will concern themselves enough next Thursday with what the Jaguars do to complain about the selection. I'm less and less sure of more and more as I get older. But I am sure of that.

Al from Fruit Cove FL

KOAF, did the Jags restructure your contract so that they could sign Kai? Were those negotiations the reason it took five months to fill that slot?

An agent told me back when I first began covering the NFL that you can't restructure a minimum contract. That applies here.

Dallas from Sioux Falls, SD

I remember you saying that Jalen Ramsey was memorable because of his interviews and his attitude towards media (being nice, thems the rules). With Calvin Ridley allegedly shaking each reporter's hand, how different or odd is it that an NFL pro like Calvin Ridley do something like that?

Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley absolutely was memorable during his introductory press conference Wednesday, He did shake all media members' hands, doing so at the beginning and end of the press conference. I can't say I've never seen that, but it's rare. It set a notably positive tone. Ridley knew that would be a high-profile, much-examined moment and he handled it with confidence and poise. It was impressive. As for former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey, he indeed was memorable on this front – though there's really not that much of a comparison between he and Ridley here. Ramsey's interactions with media were memorable for the give and take – always entertaining, sometimes informative and often uncomfortable. While Ramsey wasn't friendly, he was always entertaining in his own way – and I always got the idea that somewhere deep, deep down Ramsey got the joke and enjoyed the interaction on some level. Maybe. Possibly.

Vance from Rockwall, TX

Jacksonville Jaguars Wallpapers.


Jim from Middleburg, FL

Hey, O. Got most position players coming back from a great team. Maybe draft best available that you can afford is a good way to go. You must consider need and budget. Just saying way to go!

Absolutely not. This was never a great approach to building an NFL roster, though escalating rookie contracts for a short time did force teams at times to consider salary in the top few selections of drafts. The need for that approach ended with the rookie wage scale's implementation following the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. Now, wages for the first four seasons of a drafted player's career are based on draft positioning no matter the position. No need to consider budget. Just draft, baby.

Bryan from Stumptown

Yo Grizzle Punk! Outside of quarterback, what position is most likely to be a bust in the first round? Seems CB has lots of volatility, as evidenced most recently by Jeff Okudah, CJ Henderson, and others. Or is that recency bias?

This is tricky – partly because of recency bias, partly because people define bust differently and partly because it's difficult to generalize such a question. Quarterback has a lot of busts, at least in part because teams need the position so much that they sometimes overdraft – meaning teams get so desperate for the position that they take a player in the Top 10 when they're less-than-sure he's "can't miss." Running back is historically easier to evaluate, so it seems it's a bit safer. There was also a time when wide receiver was considered high risk because of its difficulty to evaluate, but the thought here is that seems to have change a bit in recent seasons. My theory there is the college game has become so pass-oriented that it's a bit easier to project whether a receiver's skills will translate. The reality is all draft selections are risky. The pro and college games are different enough to be different sports in many ways. You just don't know for sure if any player's skills will translate until they're in the NFL.