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O-Zone: Maybe, maybe not

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Art from Drexel Hill, PA

We had the most cap room in the NFL last offseason and had a subpar free agent class. Why should we believe it will be different this year?

This is a fair question, because the Jaguars didn't "go big" in free agency last offseason. The franchise made the philosophical decision to build the talent level/depth at multiple positions rather than spend big on premium, higher-profile free agents. This offseason will be different if the Jaguars' decision-makers decide to spend big and go for home-run free agents. I don't know if the Jaguars will do so this offseason. Few know, because teams typically discuss such things very minimally publicly – if at all – before free agency. But I absolutely expect the Jaguars will be more aggressive with high-profile players this offseason, particularly at wide receiver. And possibly on the offensive and/or defensive line. Free agency begins March 16. Stay tuned.

Russ from Jax

Cam allowed one sack last year. Why do a lot of the fans want him gone?

Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson indeed has proven himself a capable starting left tackle. I suppose some fans want to see a change there for multiple reasons. One is he is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent and will be expensive to re-sign. Another is while he has been good, he hasn't been elite – so some fans see this offseason as a chance to improve left tackle. Another is that the Jaguars hold the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft and Alabama left tackle Evan Neal seems a logical choice with that selection. Also: the Jaguars' offensive line has been a constant source of angst for many fans in recent seasons – sometimes rightly, other times wrongly. So, some fans want change on the line regardless of position or how a player actually played. We'll learn the Jaguars' approach with Robinson in the coming weeks. The Jaguars could re-sign him to a long-term contract, place the NFL's franchise tag on him or allow him to leave as a free agent. This feels like one that could play out either way.

Scott from Palatka, FL

Just curious, how many people do you think caught the Warren Zevon quote from the other day?

At least one.

David from Oviedo, FL

Johnny O. The league does a lot in the way of parity, but I think in one specific area it comes up woefully short. Teams with new head coaches are not allowed enough time in preseason to "gel" and end up entering the regular season with the training wheels still on. One might say that teams with new coaches are allowed two additional weeks and the league is leaning towards player safety, but how can an additional two weeks put you in position to compete with experience teams? Here's my solution, teams with new coaches get to start a month early, limiting contact for player safety. This allows additional time to implement schemes and get the mental side in order. What do you think?

You're not wrong, but it's not particularly a safety issue – nor is it really fixable. The NFL and NFLPA have specific rules governing when offseason programs begin and end – and those rules must be collectively bargained. With the expansion of the regular season pushing the Super Bowl into mid-February, players are now limited essentially to a six-to-eight-week offseason before the voluntary offseason program in April. Teams with returning head coaches begin in mid-April; teams with new head coaches begin in early April. Giving teams with new head coaches more time on the front end of that timeframe would mean pushing the start into mid-March. It would be stunning if the NFLPA were to give on that issue, and it's not something for which owners likely will fight.


After almost a decade of mediocrity exactly when should the fans panic? When the moving trucks are loaded?

The Jaguars haven't been mediocre for the last decade; they have – except for one season – been bad. Either way, I don't know if I understand the question. There's an implication that the Jaguars might move. They're not going to do this. Ground has just been broken on a football training facility adjacent to TIAA Bank Field. The next step is major stadium renovation. These are not the actions of a team preparing to move.

Nathan from Utah, US

Zone, I noticed no "Strength and Conditioning coach" on Pederson's staff. Who will assume that role? What will that look like? Thanks.

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said Friday this is being evaluated. I expect the answers to your questions shortly.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, do you ever get tired of answering questions and wish perhaps that maybe you were the one asking the questions?

Not really, no.

Luke from Brisbane, Australia

Do you think the Jags' priority this offseason will be to look to plug some holes in the draft and free agency, or to look to find some "championship-caliber" pieces to plug in and develop? Exhibit A being Robinson. While left tackle is far from our most pressing need, it's also arguably a position where you need an elite guy if you want to be there come finals time. (Noting you could say the same about a pass rusher!!)

I expect the Jaguars to be more aggressive in free agency than was the case last offseason. This is a tact that must be taken carefully in free agency, because finding true "core" players there is far more easily said than done. But you're correct that Robinson is an example of multiple dilemmas facing the Jaguars this offseason. They have a lot of players in a lot of positions that have played well and are legitimate NFL starters. They don't have nearly enough difference-makers. At some point, they must replace OK with great.

Kevin from Currently Nashville, TN

What are the chances we actually trade out of the No. 1 spot, even if not for as much capital as usual? And with that, I've also not seen anyone mock Kyle Hamilton to us, who looks like an absolute stud. I know safety at No. 1 doesn't happen, but if this is a deep offensive tackle, edge, and wide receiver class, why can't we go offensive line and receivers with our three picks between Rounds 2 and 3?!

The chance of trading the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft seems minimal, but two months remains before draft – so much theoretically can change. I'm kindasortaalmost intrigued by Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton at No. 1 because this seems like a draft in which weirdness could happen. But I would be surprised. There appear to be offensive tackles and pass rushers available at No. 1 that make sense and those traditionally are No. 1 worthy positions.

Al from Orange Park, FL

In your way-too-early opinion, are the top offensive lineman and edge rushers in this years draft difference makers, worthy of a No. 1 overall pick? Or, merely the best that this year's draft has to offer? Let's trade that No. 1 someone already proven to be really good.

When suggesting trades, it's always important to remember that they involve two teams, not one.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

With the newest incarnation of the USFL around the corner, a quick trip down memory lane seems in order. The Jacksonville Bulls led the old USFL in attendance, which in my opinion, paved the way for the NFL to award an expansion franchise to Jacksonville. And although it was a "lesser" league, it was not strictly unknowns. Fast forward to the new USFL. What does your crystal ball tell you about how this league might affect the NFL down the road?

The new USFL appears to bear little resemblance to the 1980s USFL, and its aspirations certainly appear different in that it seems to have little intention of competing with the NFL for players. I would expect little impact on the NFL, though players will benefit from the opportunity.

Terry from Jacksonville

When can the team go back to the original uniforms with the gold in them?

I've never had the impression Jaguars Owner Shad Khan or anyone making such decisions desires to return to the Jaguars' original uniforms. Either way, the NFL allows teams to change uniforms every five seasons if teams wish to do so. The Jaguars had new uniforms in 2018, so they could change again in 2023. If they so desire.

Dave from Orange Park, FL

Zone, most of the mock drafts have us taking Evan Neal with the first pick. What makes him any better than the last "plug and play" left tackle from Alabama that we drafted? Walker Little (with a limited sampling) graded better than Cam Robinson, so why not let Cam and his 16.5 mil franchise price tag hit the streets, give Little the full time shot at LT?

Perhaps they will.