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O-Zone: Lucky me

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get it …

Rick from Jacksonville

The Jaguars waited until May 8 to release former quarterback Cody Kessler. The Philadelphia Eagles signed him to a contract a few days later. Had he been released earlier in the free-agency process, would Cody have qualified as a "loss" in the compensatory-pick formula or did he not have enough playing time or stats to matter?

Kessler doesn't figure into any team's compensatory-selection formula, but that has nothing to do with his playing time or statistics. The compensatory formula only takes into account unrestricted free agents – i.e., players who play out their contracts and don't re-sign with their former teams. It does not include players who are released by teams or released players who sign with new teams. Because Kessler was released, he doesn't figure into the equation no matter when he was released. I must say here that I am intrigued by the recent rise in interest in compensatory selections. While compensatory selections have existed for years, no one outside of some league executives seemed to take much interest until recently. Suddenly, they are quite the rage. That's not to say compensatory selections aren't cool. They are. Football people like them. And they are valuable. But I don't know that they're cool or valuable enough that every offseason transaction must be viewed through the lens of whether said transaction will cost or provide the team a compensatory selection.

Andrew from Duuuvaaal

Hey, O: Do you think there's any chance Johnathan Cyprien signs with the Jags to play backup tight end if they don't pan out at quarterback?

Goodness gracious.

Steve from Duval

Do you know if Nick is going to sponsor a quarterback/wide receiver/tight end offseasons throwing/bonding session? What is your opinion of whether he should do something like that? I think his contract should allow him to drop a few grand for something like that. I love (OPM) other people's money.

The Jaguars will throw plenty during organized team activities and training camp. New Jaguars starting quarterback Nick Foles also can bond with the receivers and tight ends during those times. They don't need to make smores.

Braddock from Jacksonville

John, I look at the New England Patriots and it's easy to say, "They have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick." They also draft better than any other franchise and they bring older guys back from other places that want to win a championship at a discount. They do it every year, so I won't bore you with examples. It was a nice addition to bring in Nick Foles but don't you think, at some point, other teams should follow their example? How many second-to-fifth-round quarterbacks have they brought in as insurance over the last 15 years have they parlayed into first- and second-round selections. Then they just go get another. It's more than just Brady and Bill. They are smart.

You're right to a point – but only to a point. It's never accurate in the NFL to say that one or two people are solely responsible for the success or failure of an organization. If one person/player decided everything, quarterback Aaron Rodgers would have the Green Bay Packers within a game or two of the Super Bowl every season. No, pieces must be placed around even the best franchise quarterbacks for teams to succeed. And even Hall-of-Fame, elite coaches such as Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick need talent and pieces to win. Still, in the case of the Patriots, Brady – and to a degree, Belichick – is the foundation from which everything else grows. You say they draft better than any other franchise? Perhaps, but it's remarkable how much easier it is to draft – and how much better draft selections play – when they are playing in a system built around an elite quarterback. And those older guys from other places wanting to win a championship? It's remarkable how much easier it is to sign those players for slightly more competitive salaries if they're going to be playing with an elite quarterback. The Patriots because of their success also make wiser decisions with the salary cap because they can allow marginal-to-good players to leave. Those decisions are easier to make when you have an elite quarterback that can hide bad decisions and roster flaws at other positions. So, no: it's not "all Brady and Belichick," but make no mistake: It starts there, and having those two – particularly Brady – allows all the other things you so admire to happen.

Ian from Leeds

Didn't former Jaguars tight end Zach Miller switch from college quarterback?

Yes. This references a recent O-Zone question asking what players had successfully transitioned from other positions to tight ends in NFL. Miller did transition from college quarterback to tight end, and he did have several productive seasons in a career dramatically diminished by injuries. Did he have a successful enough career to be included in said example? That's a different question.

Alan from Bangor, ME

Being that it is legal in many NFL cities, does the league still test for and ban players for marijuana use?

Yes, marijuana is still among the league's banned substances – with players subject to suspension after two positive tests. The NFL according to some reports could soften its policy in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, and that idea seems to be gaining traction. Look for that to be a storyline in CBA negotiations between owners and players between now and the 2021 offseason.

Sam from Orlando, FL

Tell Tony Khan that for the first AEW pay-per-view, we wanna see you in a cage match with Gene and Boselli. Time to put your money where your mouth is.

Longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette knows where to find me. That goes double for Boselli.

Peyton from Knoxville, TN

Zone, if you volunteered to be in the voluntary, then you would be in voluntary, however if you opt out you would not be in voluntary, but if it were truly a volunteer thing then the voluntary and the volunteering is up to the volunteered. So, to not be at the voluntary is simply not to volunteer. Don't you agree? I know because I have volunteered before.

I'm not big into volunteering. It goes against my longstanding philosophy that what's good for me is good for me. Besides, the word "volunteer" conjures up images of exerting effort without personal benefit. I won't criticize others for partaking, but I don't get it.

Nate from Fort Duval in York, PA

Did someone seriously just suggest moving a quarterback to tight end?

Yes. It has been a "whole thing."

Robert from Moorpark, CA

What do you expect from guard Andrew Norwell after a season where he might not have lived up to the hype or contract?

My expectations for Norwell depend largely upon health. If he is relatively healthy throughout training camp and the regular season – something that was not the case last season – I expect him to be a very good player. Injuries were why he was perceived as "not living up to the hype or contract" last season. I don't know that I expect Norwell to be an All-Pro Player or a Pro Bowl player. Voting for linemen can be weird for those awards, and a lot depends on reputation. I also don't know that he ever will live up to the contract he signed as an unrestricted free agent last offseason, because how can an interior lineman live up to a contract? I expect him to be good, though. He did nothing in his first season with the Jaguars to make me expect otherwise.

Al from Orange Park, FL

Sorry John, but I still want Tashaun Gipson back. Can you make it so?

You're living in the past, man.

Ryan from Jacksonville

I, for one, approve of the obscure line of Johnathan Cyprien questions. I bought his jersey in his rookie season and let's just say I didn't get a lot of mileage out of it. If he does indeed play backup quarterback to Nick Foles, I sure hope the NFL lets him wear No. 37.


Chris from London, UK

Zone, I keep reading fan debates about Josh Allen playing linebacker or end or both but surely the decision is simple you play him in the position that he was so productive in college making him a top 10 draft choice!! Though admittedly not following the college game I don't even know the answer to that. It would just be crazy to draft a player so productive in college and change where he plays.

It's not really simple. The college game can be dramatically different than the NFL, and players are asked to play different roles in different schemes. But Allen will be asked in the NFL to do what he did well at Kentucky: rush the passer. That is that simple.

Crash from the Westside

In the 90s for OTAs! That's hotter than the sweat band inside of a fireman's helmet during a three-alarm fire!

Yeah, I can't wait.

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