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O-Zone: Math hysteria

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Brian from Round Rock, TX

How do you think Coach Doug feels about being swept by his mentor and then losing to the team that fired him? I wouldn't be happy.

I'm sure Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson didn't like losing any games in 2022, though I don't know that this subject is an offseason obsession for him. The Jaguars indeed lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, a team coached by his "mentor" Andy Reid, twice this past season – once in the regular season and once in the postseason. The Jaguars also lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, who Pederson coached to a Super Bowl victory following the 2017 season, in the regular season. I imagined those losses irritated him. I also imagine Pederson knows enough about the NFL to know the Chiefs were Super Bowl champions in 2022 and perhaps the league's best franchise over the last half decade. And I imagine he knows the Eagles were the NFL's second-best team this season – and its best team much of the season. I imagine, too, he realizes the Jaguars had the NFL's worst record in 2020 and 2021, and that they improved dramatically in 2022 – and that they had a chance in the fourth quarter to beat those teams on the road. Because he knows these things, I imagine he sleeps OK at night and feels good about how the Jaguars played in 2022 – and where they appear to be headed moving forward. So, no … I don't think Pederson is happy with those losses. But I do think he knows that the Jaguars probably weren't as good as those teams in 2022 – and that the idea is to keep improving and get to those teams' level very soon.

Daniel from Jacksonville

I think all of the talk about Jawaan Taylor versus Walker Little at right tackle is shortsighted with regards to long-term roster and salary-cap structure. The real move is to re-sign Taylor with a lower base salary for 2023 and a higher base salary for 2024, then cut left tackle Cam Robinson next offseason to free up cap space to accommodate it. Use Walker Little as left guard this season and then replace Cam at Left tackle in 2024, where Little is a more natural fit.

It's difficult to project such moves a year out because you're projecting how players will develop over the course of a season. Remember: We weren't discussing Taylor as an elite-level right tackle last season and now many consider him just that, but yes … considering the contracts and cap ramifications of all players involved your scenario is plausible. Can the Jaguars re-sign Taylor before he becomes an unrestricted free agent when the 2023 NFL League Year opens Wednesday? Stay tuned.

George from Drummonds

Morning, John. Do players receive royalties from the sale of Jaguars merchandise? Thanks.

Players receive money from the sale of items with their number and likeness, which in most cases is also merchandise representing the team.

Scott from Gilbert, AZ

Zone, I keep seeing tight end mocked to the Jags in Round 1 and maybe a guy like Darnell Washington gets to No. 24, but I'm thinking tight end Mike Gesicki in free agency while thanking Jawaan Taylor for his service on his way out the door to cash in elsewhere, then some combination of right tackle, nose tackle and cornerback on the first two days of the draft would be a better use of limited cap space and draft capital for both building out the 2023 roster as well as establishing a nucleus in the trenches to protect Lawrence and plug the middle of our defense moving forward.


Don from Marshall NC

How complicated are NFL contracts? Are they based on performance numbers? Are they too complicated or pretty standard? Are they private?

It varies. For players "lower" on the roster, contracts are relatively simple with moderate signing bonuses and straightforward salaries – and few, if any incentives. For higher-profile rookies – and – more commonly, for high-profile veterans – they can include guarantees, workout bonuses, roster bonuses, incentives and payment timings that make them far more complex. And yes … contracts are private, though agents and teams often "leak" contract details.

Cristiano from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

"…though the Jaguars very much want to not let Taylor sign somewhere else in free agency." You know something we don't, don't you, Johnny-O?

The Jaguars want to re-sign Taylor. This is not inside information or hinting. I don't know that they will be able to do it, but I know that's their hope.

Richard from Orange Park, FL

I was certain wide receiver Calvin Ridley would be reinstated. With that being said, I do hope he has been conditioning properly on his own since he was suspended. My fear is that he will get into training camp and have an injury. Do coaches take this into account before pushing players too hard that have been away from the game for an extended period? I know they proceed with caution for players who suffered a serious injury, but am curious if that same approach would be used in Ridley's situation. I certainly would hate to see Ridley get hurt before he even takes a regular season snap.

Ridley reportedly is in top physical condition. Jaguars trainers and conditioning staff undoubtedly will focus on working with Ridley to ensure he returns at the proper pace. He is expected to participate in the Jaguars' entire offseason program, leaving ample time to prepare.

Fred from Naples, FL

Lawrence to Ridley after Ridley's letter to the tribune... "Powerful stuff bro. Glad you're a part of the family. We got your back.". Yet one more example of Trevor's growing leadership role on the team. Absolutely outstanding.


Audie from Alamo

Hey O, this has probably been addressed before, but have you analyzed the Jaguars' 2023 schedule? I think that the Jags will surely be tested in the coming season and if they can pull off some major upsets on their schedule, then they truly deserve the best that Jacksonville has had since the beginning. What say you?

I say it's tricky – and perhaps impossible – to analyze an NFL schedule before free agency, or before the draft, or before teams play four or five regular-season games. Teams simply change too much from year to year to pre-analyze with any accuracy a schedule's difficulty. Remember: When the 2022 season opened, Los Angeles Chargers observers probably didn't see the Jaguars as one of the tougher teams in the schedule. The Jaguars beat them twice – once in the regular season and once in the postseason. But one factor that will be significant is the Jaguars' first-place schedule in 2023 means they will play the Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills. If the starting quarterbacks on those teams are healthy, history does tell you those will be tough matchups. If the Jaguars are competitive in those games with a victory or two … yeah, it will say a lot about the franchise.


Winning is fun and us Jags fans definitely like it. Also. I don't care what Gary says about you. You are definitely the king of all funk!

I am the king of all funk.

Frank from Jacksonville

What is to become of Marvin Jones Jr? Will he officially be a free agent after March 15 or will he need to be released by the team for cap space? He has always been a dependable receiver and a couple of years ago was the best receiver on our team. We have come a long way since then. SHOUT OUT to Marvin Jones Jr. for helping us get there.

Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in the 2021 offseason, is scheduled to become an UFA on the March 15 start of the 2023 NFL League Year. He therefore can't be released for cap reasons. I don't expect Jones to return. This isn't in anyway an acrimonious parting. I sense if Jones plays next season it might be on the West Coast, where I think he plans to settle after football. As for the Jaguars, they will be paying three veteran receivers – Ridley, Zay Jones and Christian Kirk – in addition to wide receiver/returner Jamal Agnew and tight end Evan Engram – next season. Jones indeed was a valued veteran leader. He was a big part of the rebuilding process and the 2022 AFC South title. He's a pro and should be remembered as such by the Jaguars and their fans.

Gero from Wenden, Germany

Hi, John. The salary cap was increased over $16.6 million from 2022 to 2023. Even though contracts were restructured and players released or not extended, the Jaguars stand at over $7 million in available salary according to my information. Was the difference of about $9 million already factored into free agent contracts last year or why are the Jags "missing" money?

The syllabus said there would be no math.