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O-Zone: Mean machine

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jerry from Riverview, FL

Excluding free agency and BAP considerations, how would your nine draft picks go – by position of need?

I wouldn't draft that way because I wouldn't have much faith I could fill needs and get immediate help from more than two or three draft selections, much less nine; young players usually take at least close to a full season before they're truly helping you win. Still, the Jaguars clearly have needs they must address this offseason. If I was listing those, I would say: starting defensive tackle, starting linebacker, starting corner, starting offensive lineman, starting tight end, front-line wide receiver, rotational defensive tackle, rotational safety and perhaps another offensive lineman, tight end or wide receiver. At least.

Josh from Jacksonville

Y'know, for a Q&A column, folks sure seem to submit a lot of statements.

What do you mean?

Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

John, will the Jags be paying any of former quarterback Blake Bortles' salary in 2020? Go Jags!!

No. Bortles is an unrestricted free agent after playing for the Los Angeles Rams this past season, so there's no set salary for him next season – and the guaranteed part of Bortles' second contract with the Jaguars ended last season. The $5.5 million the Jaguars paid of Bortles' 2019 salary was the last money the team owed Bortles. He was a $15.5 million cap hit last season because of the salary and prorated bonus, and he is now off the team's salary cap.

Diego from Tierra DeL Fuego

Diego would love to see Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette traded to another team which has a good offensive line to see how good he could be. Talent gone to waste here.


Charles from Savannah, GA

Leonard Fournette fired his agent Ari Nissim last week. Nissim represents Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue as well. There is uncertainty of Yannick's future with the Jaguars. Could there be uncertainty of Fournette as well because of these latest developments?

A player's relationship with his representation is important to the player, and it is important to the team in the sense that the representation advises the player on contracts. If a team and agent don't get along, that can make negotiations difficult. But a player firing an agent wouldn't create uncertainty between the player and the team.

Radley from Orange Park, FL

For sure, the biggest thorn in former Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell's side was former Titans cornerback Samari Rolle. Most, if not every, time those two suited up when the Jags and Titans played, Brunell ended up without a lunch - because Rolle ate it.


Chris from Roseville, CA

Without a doubt, Peyton Manning is the biggest thorn for the Jaguars.

Also fair.

Josh from Pensacola, FL

In regards to the biggest thorn in the Jags paw of all time, I would have to say Peyton Manning. There were seasons where 11-5 and 12-4 were only good for wild card spots because of the Colts.

Hey, another fer Peyton!

Travis from High Springs, FL

I've often heard NFL players say that when someone's coming back off a serious knee injury that they can be fully recovered but not play at 100 percent until their second season back from the injury. Because it takes a while to fully trust that it's completely healed and they spent so much time rehabbing instead of working out for football. Do you believe that this a possibility with Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson, and he could make a big jump next season? He's still a young player, only playing his rookie season and then last season coming back from a serious injury.

That's absolutely a possibility with Robinson, and make no mistake: The Robinson situation is tricky. He is a talented player with potential, and he played well for a rookie in 2017. He struggled at times, but that was normal for a rookie. He also struggled early in 2018 before a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear, and he needed at that point to improve if he was going to be a starting NFL left tackle for the long term. He again struggled at times last season in his first season back from the torn ACL, which means Robinson is more in the category of "question" than the category of "liability." He is capable of starting and he still has potential, but there are still an unusual – and concerning – number of questions around him for a fourth-year player.

Joe from Far, Far Away

Hey, O … Wouldn't Yannick in the long run be better off just signing the tag, and playing on it? Yes, there is an injury risk. But with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement more than likely being signed, the increase in the salary cap is expected to be 15-20 percent. If he signs a contract now, odds are that he has an outdated – and much lower deal – than he can get next year. Thoughts?

I think you have a point, but Ngakoue is a prideful person who has been motivated by the prospect of a life-changing second NFL contract for a long time. As much as he wants – and deserves – life-changing money, he also likely wants the respect/acknowledgement that comes with being one of the (if not "the") highest-paid defensive ends in the NFL. Also, your point is a logical one. Logic doesn't always prevail in contract negotiations.

Dave from Waunakee

Since the Astros seem to have gotten away with cheating their way to a World Series how does the NFL react to ensure integrity within football?

The NFL will do this the way any sport does – by having rules and people/systems in place to enforce those rules. Any sport – the NFL very much included – is always walking a line where players and coaches push for every advantage they can possibly get and where rules must be in place to ensure a level playing field. The enforcement of those rules is critical because the worst thing that can happen to any sport is for fans to not believe that what they are watching is honest, real and untainted.

Bryan from Jacksonville

Sorry O, but an NFL middle linebacker that makes very few tackles is a liability to that team's defense. Excuse away Myles Jack's ineffectiveness, but at the end of the day it's about tackles. Upfield, downfield, wherever. Tackles, not hype.

Your statistical analysis, while "awesome" and passionately stated, isn't all that pertinent—or accurate. Jack makes plenty of tackles, and he was on pace for 95-to-100 tackles this past season had he played in all 16 games. And for a linebacker, it's really not "just about tackles upfield, downfield, wherever." It's very much about where you make the tackles; if you're making 100 tackles too far downfield it means very little in terms of being an effective player. This is not to say Jack was good enough this past season; he wasn't. But to criticize him for making "too few tackles" isn't valid.

Mike from Eagan, MN

Jacksonville now isn't affluent? Man, you Jaguars' front-office types don't know how to just NOT insult Duval, do you? Enjoy your ivory tower...see if I offer you Boone's Farm the next time I see you in your fancy tuxedo, penguin man.

Is it really an insult to say Jacksonville and the surrounding area doesn't have the financial power of larger cities with more population and more corporations? Seriously?

Jonny on the Spot Ramblin Man

I'm starting to loosen up on the London thing (partly because of you). I think fans need to just wait and see what happens with Jaguars Owner Shad Khan's "plan." If Lot J and the Shipyards turn out to be as prosperous for Jacksonville as ownership hopes, then the London games will go away and everything will be right in the world. We can't spend time worry about some conspiracy theory that the Jags are leaving. I know you agree with me though two Johns don't make a right, right? Also, it'd be cool if you gave your opinion on some of these trade scenarios that fans keep asking you. They do it because they actually like your intellect and opinion on such matters. No more "Trade Machiiinnneee!!!!"

Your approach to thinking about London makes sense, though I have little faith that your viewpoint will be anything close to unanimous anytime soon. As far as my answers regarding potential trades, here's why I typically answer with "trade machi-i-i-i-i-i-i-ine" rather than serious analysis: To discuss in detail every question that involves the Jaguars trading a player or draft choice for a player reportedly on the trading block would mean answering so many questions about this topic that they would overwhelm all other questions. If there is a credible report, or if I hear something that leads me to believe a trade is a possibility rather than a Madden-esque toss at the wall, then I'll address it. Otherwise, "trade machi-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ise" as a response makes as much sense as anything.