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JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Greg from Boise, ID

While talking about receivers, I would say that we would be fine with a few "good" receivers without having a true No. 1 speed demon. Creating separation from the defensive backs is key. Also, we don't know what we really have with some of our receivers who have played sparingly such as Parker Washington. Obviously, if they thought he was better than one of the core of the group, he would get more playing time, but who's to say he can't learn enough to be in the discussion?

Washington, a sixth-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2023 NFL Draft, played sparingly through much of his rookie season before playing significant snaps following a season-ending injury to Christian Kirk. He flashed at times and made some rookie errors other times. The thought here is Washington's role in 2024 likely will be mostly as a reserve to Kirk – and as mostly a slot receiver. He has return skills, but likely won't play that role in front of newly signed free-agent wide receiver Devin Duvernay. He likely will need to take a significant second-year jump to be heavily in the rotation if Kirk remains healthy. Such a second-year jump is not unprecedented. He certainly ranks as a key Jaguars storyline in 2024. And yes … the Jaguars generally feel this offense can be productive without "True No. 1 receiver." A true No. 1 is a bonus, though not a necessity.

Ryan from Green Cove Springs, FL

Appreciate your insights! Regarding salary cap management, why don't general managers front-load more/all contracts with a Year 1 roster bonus, instead of a signing bonus? Using your five-year, $50 million signing bonus example (where $10 million per year counts against the cap), why not give a $50 million roster bonus in Year 1? The same amount of "real money" is paid at the same time and then in Year 4/5, roster decisions could be made solely on football reasons with "dead money" a non-issue. It would take time to transition to this approach (because of pre-existing contract dead money), but could be done during a rebuild (e.g., New England Patriots have $47 million in cap room to pull money forward) or over a couple of seasons. Maybe treat elite quarterbacks (and their 10-year contracts) differently, but otherwise what's the downside?

One reason teams don't take this approach is it would be really hard and take a lot of patience along with willpower on the part of a team's decision-makers. That's because this disciplined approach would mean dumping a lot of salary-cap dollars into the current season, which by definition would reduce a team's quality players/well-paid players in that season. The main reasons it doesn't happen are that there always is an assumption that the salary cap will increase over time and that teams can push cap hits into the future, creating cap and spending opportunities in the present. Many people in this world are fine with living on credit while pushing bills and payments into the future so they can live blissfully in the present. Many NFL general managers undoubtedly live the same way.

Darren from Fort Worth, TX

Yo, O. Did something big happen recently??


Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville, FL

I hope fortune falls our way more this season. If quarterback Patrick Mahomes went down for the year, the Kansas City Chiefs would still contend? Next man up is a great theory but reality is if the person behind the starter was just as good, he would be starting SOMEWHERE with few exceptions. Our issue last year was injuries at wide receiver more than quarterback. Kirk and Zay Jones being out extensively hampered our production, greatly putting the majority of the load on wide receiver Calvin Ridley and tight end Evan Engram.

There's truth here. I see the story of the Jaguars' 2023 season in retrospect as injuries sort of chipping away at the offense's effectiveness at key times throughout the season, with the season-long factor of the interior of the offensive line struggling so much that the Jaguars were rarely effective enough running. I thought the team impressively pushed through those issues through the first three months of the season before the simultaneous injuries to Kirk and quarterback Trevor Lawrence became too much to overcome in the final six weeks of the season. There were other factors, details and nuances, but that's the overarching view.

Nathan from Duval then, Sacramento now

John, you and I are a lot alike in terms of the skepticism about free agents. As I sit here seething on these kids with their hair and their clothes, I wonder if a team has access to free agent player's medical history. I can see there being great value in know exactly what injury a player suffered, when it happened, how it was resolved and on and on and on… Then I realize just how much of an intrusion on a person's privacy that is and I think that it should not happen. Does it happen?

Free agents undergo medical examinations before signing.

Deane from Daytona Beach, FL

Yo, O-Zone! I happened to stumble upon a news article that showed the Top 30 draft prospects for each team. I was perplexed to see some of the players that the Jags have brought in; especially some of the cornerbacks, and no defensive tackles, but a couple of edge rushers. The article says that one particular team brings some guys in because they can't draft them but want to look at them up close in case they can get them in free agency down the line. I would argue that some teams bring in others to personally gauge strengths and weaknesses themselves; maybe to gain an insight if a division rival picks them up. That brings me to ask the KOAF: The people that the Jags bring in or any team for that matter … is it a chess game with smoke and mirrors? Should a fan read into any of it? What is the likelihood that particular player is drafted if they come in? What says you, O-Zone???

This as might be expected can vary from team to team and sometimes year to year. The 30 prospects that teams can bring for in-person visits in before the draft are important enough that teams usually don't use many of them to create smoke screens. They are usually used on players in which the team is very interested because they're the best chance for teams to get extensive time with prospects. That doesn't remotely mean a team only selects "Top 30" players. The visits are mostly used to gather more information about a player. Sometimes this involves medical checks. Sometimes it's to better gauge the player's character, personality or football IQ. They're also not all used on first-round selections. Many are used on later-round prospects to "check" various boxes and increase comfort with a player. Bottom line: A Top 30 player typically has an increased chance of being selected by the team hosting the visit, but it should never be surprising when a team selects a player who didn't make a pre-draft visit to that particular team.

Crickets from Melbourne

Where does the team stand in regards to Trevor Lawrence now? Do they pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, and next offseason is when they look to break the bank to keep him? I don't see any way they can afford to do that this offseason now. Did he play his way out of that "break the bank" contract this offseason with his poor play (read: turnovers) down the stretch this year?

I expect the Jaguars to pick up the fifth-year option on Lawrence soon because there's no risk involved in the transaction – and because they absolutely want him part of their future. The Jaguars can afford to extend Lawrence this offseason. I don't believe he played his way out of a "break-the-bank contract in the last few weeks of the season because I think he had played well before Week 13 last season and that he struggled at least partly because of injuries after that.

Brendan from Yulee, FL

If former Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley had received the franchise tag from the Jaguars, then he would have been due Top-5 WR money, right? Looking back, I don't think that would have been worth it.


Don from Marshall, NC

Congratulations to Foye Oluokun and his family on his contract extension! What a stud he is and he gets my award for being all in all the time. Pro bowl player! He doesn't get a lot of press but make no mistake he is star player. Well, done Jaguars!

When it comes to Jaguars inside linebacker Foye Oluokun, Don remains passionately and strikingly persistently "all in."

Boxcutter Bill from Mass

Maybe the Jaguars do re-sign their own guys, when they actually have players worth re-signing.

Yep. This is true.