JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
David from Chuluota, FL
KOAF: This free-agency period, the Jaguars chose to stay away from high-priced free agents and focus on more affordable options. Many would agree with this approach of fiscal responsibility, but I'm going to play devil's advocate because that's what I do. Due to special circumstances related to COVID-19, the salary cap did not increase as normal. Many teams had some tough decisions to make to remain under the cap, which led to an increased number of high-caliber talent hitting the market. The Jaguars had more cap space than any team and were in position "stock the shelves" with talent and make a run this year. Instead, they did not go "all in," which says to me the team does not believe it can win the division or make the playoffs. If the team is competing at the end of the season and falls just short of the playoffs, one might reason that a more aggressive approach in free agency might have made all the difference. Thoughts?
The Jaguars indeed could have spent more in free agency during the 2021 offseason, but remember: When teams are planning their free-agency approach, they must do so balancing the short-term and long-term view. Remember, too: Even in the "best" NFL offseasons, free agency is a high-risk way to pursue talent that by definition is usually not elite – and "stocking the shelves" with free-agent talent typically is a bit of a misnomer. As such, free agency is often an overrated means of building a roster – and the draft is usually a far preferable path. Could the Jaguars have increased the talent on the roster by spending to the cap this offseason and going "all in" in free agency? Perhaps, but not spending to the cap is in no way an admission that the team can't succeed this season. I would consider it more an acknowledgement that there are many more offseasons to come as this team builds around quarterback Trevor Lawrence and other young talent. As the young talent matures, those players will need to be paid and roster holes will need to be filled. Taking a measured approach in 2021 should allow more flexibility and more ability to build a strong roster going forward. Balancing that and the desire to win now is the key to making this a sustainable model and not one with a short window.
Ryan from Detroit, MI
O-man, if Jacksonville were to bid on hosting the NFL Combine, would the on-field workouts be most likely to take place in TIAA Bank Stadium, the Dream Finders Flex Field, or the yet to be corporately branded practice facility proposed near Gate 2?
I would be surprised if Jacksonville hosted the combine soon; hotel infrastructure at a central location is a key component, and downtown Jacksonville seems a few years from that. If Jacksonville were by chance to host the combine, I would guess it would be in the Flex Field because having it indoors would minimize the potential effect of weather on the event. Once the new facility is complete, the indoor portion would be an option. One would think.
Steve from Random Locations
No speed in the Zone? How do you explain those smoking keyboards in your office closet?
There's speed in the fingers. Not in the feet.
Brandon from Duval
John, about college players getting paid, do you think it will cause more players to stay in college another year or two when they wouldn't have before? They can still make something, earn a degree and get bigger, faster and stronger. Then the NFL gets better-equipped draft picks and the league gets better?
The rule that will allow players to profit from their name and likeness in college could cause some projected fourth-to-seventh-round selection to remain in college – and that likely will help those players become better prospects. I expect it will cause those players to enter the NFL at a different time/age, though I don't know if it will make the NFL all that much better as a whole.
Steve on his Desktop from Jax Beach
Regarding your comment to a recent question: "And no … Lawrence and the wide receivers can't throw on the field – although they are free to do so elsewhere." In this situation if any of the players were unsigned and suffered an injury while practicing at say, Bishop Kenny, would they be protected financially?
No. NFL teams have no contractual obligation to pay salaries for players if they are injured working out away from a team's facilities. Those injuries are considered non-football injuries and not protected by the player's contract.
Nicholas from Fort Hood, TX
KOAF: I know we are in the Dead Zone, so other sports are referenced frequently. Did you see the replay of James Conrad last Sunday when he nailed the 250-foot disc golf shot on Hole No. 18 to force a playoff and eventually win a world title? Might be one of the Top 10 best individual clutch performances ever.
I did not see that.
Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville, FL
Simple solution to all these college athletes who want compensation. Fine, you choose when you pick your school. You either get your scholarship – or in lieu of that, you get compensation from your school for performance and likeness. Then quickly the reality will set in once most of the lower-tier athletes aren't getting enough to pay their way through school. Should the school be able to profit from their likeness? I don't know … it seems there are not enough of these situations actually happening to make a real issue. Outside of your once-in-a-generation stars do they really get that much money? Seems the only really fair solution is to give them a choice so maybe the concept of how much a college education actually costs will become clear to these people.
I like this idea in concept, though I doubt we'll see it implemented. Some people have this weird notion that the expenses that get covered by a scholarship somehow aren't real and don't count as compensation. As someone who recently paid for a college education, I assure you that the expenses are real. And they count. And yes … giving the athletes this choice would bring some clarity to the discussion.
Eddie from Jacksonville
On the subject of college players, let's not discount the amount of football education they receive while attending their university of choice. TL definitely made a lot of money for Clemson, but in the end, it didn't work out too badly for his own wallet.
Dan from Somewhere in the back
_John the Baptist of Health-rodian Kingdom: Many have written in with win/loss estimates and it seems to reflect the general feelings of excitement and positivity surrounding the Jags. Maybe it's my skepticism, but I feel it will be a big win for the franchise if Lawrence plays the whole season, stays healthy and progresses. Anything more than that is icing on the proverbial cake. IF Lawrence were to get hurt, would he be treated at Baptist Health? _
You shut your mouth, Dan.
Dave from Jacksonville
KOAGF, Bullet from "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh" was magical and the ladies dug him. I'm not sure, but I think that was Earl "The Pearl" Monroe. Preacher was Meadowlark Lemon and that Julius Erving fellow went on to get his Dr. in the NBA. I heard that later a news anchor guy, Ron Burgundy, tried to do a remake. Turns out his version was only "Semi-Pro." Those Pisces were good. Definitely ahead of their time. Best basketball movie ever?
Bullet in "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh" was played by Malek Abdul-Mansour. And "Hoosiers" was the best basketball movie ever, followed closely by "Fast Break." Don't tell me Gabe Kaplan couldn't coach.
William the Contemplator from Jax
As unlikely as it seems, I agree with you. I think paying college players is a bad idea. Not only do they get a free college education, but they get coaches, weight training, game experience, name promotion and other perks needed to prepare them for the NFL. And under the new compensation system, only a few top players are going to get paid. Just think of how that's going to be received by their teammates. The ultimate answer is the baseball system, where there are both minor league and college systems. What do you think?
I think an extensive minor-league football system is unlikely because the exorbitant expense involved with the sport, and the comparative lack of interest in minor-league sports. That lack of interest makes it difficult to cover the costs of running such a league. That's why college football is the most viable minor-league system; it often can bring in the revenue to justify the expense.
James from Titusville, FL
I sent in a terribly dumb question a few weeks back. Did you get it and did you publish it?
You'll have to be more specific. Much more.