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O-Zone: Moving forward

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
I would like further clarity on the whole let-the-players-test-the-market thing. Is this happening because the team never had an intention of re-signing them or did they have talks and the players pay expectations were way too steep? If you never had intentions of re-signing them, you are really saying, "Your services are no longer required." It would be refreshing to see the whole double-talk, politically-correct, politeness thing dropped and call it what it is: "You are fired; thanks, but we think we can do better. Good luck." You said teams rarely re-sign players in this situation, so this what is really happening, right?
John: Not exactly. Teams sometimes indeed let a player test the market with no intention of re-signing the player – and with the idea that they'll click their proverbial heels when that player is gone. That's not the case with Johnathan Cyprien and Prince Amukamara. The Jaguars liked those players, and I think they would particularly like to have Cyprien back. But both Cyprien and Amukamara also are being mentioned among the top free agents at their positions. When players are among the top free agents at their positions, they often get paid well beyond their true value. So, teams let those players test the market hoping their market is in line with what the team is willing to pay, but knowing that's probably not going to be the case. So, no: if the Jaguars don't re-sign Cyprien and Amukamara they're not firings. It's just a case of the Jaguars not wanting to pay what those players likely will receive on the open market – and believing they can get better by going a different direction.
Travis from Analla:
We gave Amukamara a one-year, "prove-it" deal and I feel he more than proved himself. Could him possibly walking be the product of such a good class of defensive backs in the draft and in free agency?
John: Yes.
Mark from Jacksonville:
Do you think Dwight Freeney could be an interesting option to add some veteran presence to the Jags' pass rush?
John: Freeney absolutely would be a good option for veteran pass rush, but I don't think Freeney would want to sign with Jacksonville this offseason. He is by every definition an aging veteran, and aging veterans typically want to sign with teams with a chance to contend. I believe the Jaguars will have a chance to push for a .500 record next season, but there certainly would be other teams that would appear to be closer to contending.
Paul from San Antonio, TX:
Hey, O: Do you think the Jaguars will pick up a quarterback sometime during this year's draft? I know Coach Doug said Blake is still the guy at quarterback, but do you think competition may boost his play?
John: I think the second-to-fourth rounds of the draft in late April will be interesting on this front. I wouldn't project the Jaguars taking a quarterback there, and I don't think they'll go into those rounds thinking, "We must take a quarterback." But if the right quarterback with the right value is available at spot – say, a player the team has graded a round higher – is available … yeah, maybe.
Anthony from Lancaster, CA:
Is it possible that we will start Chad Henne for the 2017 season or will Blake Bortles be our quarterback again?
John: Bortles is the clear favorite to start at quarterback for the Jaguars next season. I don't foresee a scenario other than injury in which Henne starts at quarterback for the Jaguars next season.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
We have $70 million to spend ... SO WHY would we not re-sign players that have played well for us???? Sign back Cyp, Prince, Joeckel and Beachum, then try to bring in top free agents. If they don't sign, we are fine; if they do, then we have two top end players actually competing for a starting spot. Now, we have to hope and pray we get the players we want in free agency and the draft, both of which are a crap shoot. I would rather have a guy that we know will do "x, y, z" than gamble on a rookie or someone just looking for money. Letting Cyp and Prince go was a horrible mistake.
John: Front-line free agents don't sign with teams to compete for starting positions, and teams don't re-sign players to front-line free-agent contracts with the idea of having them compete for the positions. The NFL's salary-cap structure doesn't allow it.
Steve from Section 215:
Some people actually write questions in search of a serious answer without the gratuitous smart-aleck remark. For example, not being able to hear the question during the video press conferences. Rather than trying to "get a refund," it might make sense to see if there is actually something that can be done. Maybe a variation of closed captioning? Inserting a text version of the question? Other? As a season-ticket holder since Day 1, I don't consider the website free. I believe most season-ticket holders feel the same way.
John: First, I never take the money season-ticket-holders spend on the Jaguars for granted. Second, I answered the question to which you refer and have addressed the issue more than once. But to go over it again: My supporting cast at indeed makes every effort to allow viewers to hear the questions in videos when possible – i.e., at EverBank Field and in many other situations. In a podium situation at the NFL Scouting Combine, that typically is not possible and it also is not feasible to provide close caption or a text version of the question. The alternative in this case is to not run the video. That doesn't seem fair to the many viewers who seem to enjoy the videos on this (not free) website. I hope that answer comes somewhat close to making the reader whole when it comes to the financial outlay this site requires. I also always have thought of the many stories and videos on the site – as well as a daily question-answer forum for the reader – as a similar return on that investment, however paltry that return may be. As for the smart-aleck remarks, those truly are free of charge. My treat.
Ryan from Apopka, FL:
Booger McFarland recently compared Jamal Adams to Ed Reed and said he believes Jamal to be the most ready player in the draft this year. What are the chances that the Jags let Cyprien walk and draft Adams at No. 4.
John: I'd say it's possible. I wouldn't say the chances are as good as the Jaguars selecting a defensive lineman there, but it's definitely possible.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
Why do some fans seem to think that a free agent who was a really good stopgap until better talent is found (Davon House) was a poor decision? Oh, I forgot, fans gotta fan....
John: True that, Al. True that. And because free agency.
Bob from Sumter, SC:
If Jonathan Allen is gone at No. 4 is Solomon Thomas a reach or a legit Top 5 pick?
John: The closer the draft gets the more it seems he may be a legitimate Top 5 selection. Stay tuned. He looks like he will be one of the most-discussed players when it comes to the Jaguars in the coming weeks.
Ray from Monroe, CT:
Do you think the Jags potentially consider picking up Darrelle Revis and making him a safety? Kind of like what happened with Charles Woodson? Better question: do you think Revis can make that change and be as good as Woodson ever was at safety?
John: I didn't cover Revis closely this past season, but people who did believe his play declined dramatically. They also believe that he wasn't particularly strong tackling. If that's true, then Revis playing safety would be a tough sell.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
Jags could sign the Top 5 free agents and get A on all their draft grades and I still wouldn't be excited for this year ...
John: OK.
Brian from Charlottesville, VA:
John, I get that Jared Odrick, Davon House, Dan Skuta and Julius Thomas have fallen out of favor and haven't performed to their contracts. By all means, the Jaguars should try to upgrade the positions (and in theory any position where you're not elite). With that being said, these all appear to be capable, slightly above-average players. Considering that all play different positions, it is almost a guarantee we will be looking for help at one of their respective spots due to injuries next year. Considering we have all the cap space in the world, why release/trade valuable depth that can help you fill a gap if an injury occurs? Ask the Packers how much valuable depth would have helped them in the playoffs.
John: The Jaguars feel they're better without those players, and that the depth/starters they can acquire elsewhere will be a better option. Remember, you can roll over cap space into future years, so saving it is a good thing. If you are absolutely sure you don't want a player, then it's better to release him and move forward.

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