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O-Zone: Many thanks

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Tom from Cairo, Egypt

Don't you think the main reason they chose to use the tag on Evan Engram rather than Jawaan Taylor is that we have a second-round pick offensive tackle on his rookie contract who has played decent football when called upon, as opposed to next to nothing behind Engram at tight end?

I have said and written often this offseason that one particular factor rarely decides roster decisions, and that holds true here. I believe the main reason the Jaguars opted to use the franchise tag this offseason on tight end Evan Engram rather than right tackle Jawaan Taylor is that the $11.3 million needed to franchise Engram is more workable under the Jaguars' current salary cap than the $18.2 million it would take to franchise Taylor. Seven million dollars may not seem like a large number in the NFL world to observers, but when you're trying to make the salary cap work it's sure not nothing. There's also little doubt having Walker Little as a possibility to play right tackle factors into the decision. The Jaguars like Taylor very much and he's the better, more-experienced option. Little also hasn't played as much at right tackle as he has at left tackle. But the Jaguars have confidence in Little, a second-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. You must draft and develop players to have them ready to replace players you can't afford to sign – and you must be willing to go that direction when necessary. That's certainly a factor in the Jaguars' approach to Taylor this offseason, though perhaps not the "main" factor.

DenMiz from Jax

KOAF, now that Calvin Ridley is reinstated, how are the Jags so sure he won't gamble on one of our games? Seems like a big risk because history has a way of repeating itself. Especially with gambling or any other addiction.

I've received multiple versions of this question, and the answer is a version of pretty much any answer when the question is, "Can you be sure?" No, because there are no guarantees when it comes to human beings. We don't know what the future holds for any of us. Players can become injured. They make silly mistakes. Because they're people and not robots. Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended for a year for violating the NFL's gambling policy. Could he gamble again? Sure. But you know what else he can do? Learn from his mistake and not gamble again. There is risk involved in any player acquisition, and remember: The Jaguars acquired Ridley for very reasonable draft compensation. It was a risk-reward decision and the reward here is very much worth the risk.

Dan from Munich, Germany

Hi, Zone. While we were told that Engram and the Jags mutually wanted to continue working together, the franchise tag was used. I'm sorry but that means it doesn't matter how much Engram likes Head Coach Doug Pederson and the Jags, he wanted more money than the team was offering.

The Jaguars using the franchise tag on Engram this offseason means the sides couldn't yet agree to a long-term deal. Does that mean he wanted more money than the Jaguars were offering? Sure. There is a point in pretty much any negotiation where a player wants more money than the team is offering. That's why it's a negotiation rather than the team just shouting out a number and the player joyously shouting "OK!!!"

Curious George from Jacksonville

If the Jaguars sign Evan Engram to a long-term deal today, can they then tag Taylor or have they used their one for the year?

The Jaguars officially have placed the franchise tag on Engram. Once a team places it on a player, the team may not remove it and place it on another player that offseason – even if the originally tagged player signs a long-term deal.

Rob from The duuuuu

I could go either way on Taylor. I do like the idea of prioritizing the offensive line and re-signing him would be showing how important protecting quarterback Trevor Lawrence is and would give us enough depth to maintain through an inevitable injury during the season. I also remember how many drive-killing offsides penalties he has caused which leads me to my question: If Taylor had been called for the offsides in the end of the Chargers game, are we even considering extending him today? To me, that would have been the reason we lost the game and the final straw for a player who has repeated the same mistake too often. But they didn't call it … so now he is the best in the league.

One penalty, even in that situation, wouldn't have changed how the Jaguars approached negotiating with Taylor this offseason.

Jaghawk from Palatka, FL

KOAF, please clarify how the two first-round picks work in the non-exclusive franchise tag. Does the team signing the player away from his original team give up this year's first and next year's first?

The signing team in that scenario gives up its next two first-round selections to the original team.

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - Does the Ridley trade and re-instatement essentially give the Jags an early "splash" ahead of the upcoming free agency? There may not be much else splashy upcoming, but it appears we scored a good player. By the way, why is the term splash used a lot?

Splashes mean nothing. The Jaguars have splish-splashed a lot in the offseason over the last decade. Sometimes those flashes were followed by success. More often, they were followed by frustration. I expect the Jaguars' 2023 offseason to be comparatively quiet, but can acquiring Ridley matter a lot next season? Absolutely.

CaptBob from J-ville

I know you're going to say, " hire that man," man. But here goes. If the franchise tag is $11.345 million for Engram, then why not offer $12.2 million loaded with incentives? Not good enough?

No. Players in Engram's situation are looking for a long-term deal with an upfront signing bonus. Engram's signing bonus – his guaranteed money – likely will be significantly more than his $11.345 million franchise tag.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

If Ridley can return to his usual form, this could be a pretty special year coming up.


Bo from Linwood, NC

Without putting cap into the equation, if you could either bring back wide receiver Jamal Agnew, defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot and outside linebacker Arden Key or just Taylor, which would you do?

For one season? Probably Agnew/Smoot/Key. For building a roster over the long-term and protecting Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, probably Taylor. This is partially because Taylor is a relatively young player who plays a position at which he should have longevity at his level of play. And he has potential to be a Pro Bowl-level player deep into his second contract. That seems less likely of the other three. But yes … it's a good discussion.

Ben from Santa Rosa Beach

Well, Calvin Ridley was reinstated. Just as you said, KOAF, you were right on point! Why do so many readers doubt you? Nicely done, sir.

I am the king of all funk.

Bruce from Owensboro, KY

I think with this offense now that the expectations should be around 24 or more average points per game. Too lofty, John?

Not at all. The Jaguars scored 23.8 points per game last season. A jump in production could be reasonably expected because it will be the second season for Lawrence in Pederson's system, and because most key pieces – wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, Engram and running back Travis Etienne Jr. – were returning in that system. Adding Ridley into the equation should make them all the more potent.

Nick from Annapolis, MD

Been on a bit of a break because I need to give myself a year off from the nonsense that is annual draft talk, so forgive me if I'm off topic, but ... man ... one for the entire 2022 Jaguars squad. Just re-watched a few highlights and it was truly an unbelievable season. So many unforgettable high drama moments that came together to create a truly epic chapter in Jaguars' history.

Winning is cool. Fans still like it months later.

Chris from Fleming Island

Are teams allowed to contact a player's agent prior to their contract expiring? As an example, could the Chicago Bears contact Jawaan Taylor's agent and say, "Don't know what the Jags are offering, but we'll pay $20 million a year." I'm sure this kind of thing happens, but is it against the rules?

Players become unrestricted free agents at the start of the NFL League Year. A so-called "negotiating window" opens at noon two days before that. Agents and teams may negotiate beginning in the negotiating window. Doing so before that is against the rules. Is it realistic to think no conversations of any kind ever, ever take place before that? Not really, no.

Nelson from St. Augustine, FL

Thanks, John.