JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jared from O-Town
Hey, John-O! I was recently looking over a popular website that tracks salary cap numbers. A couple things stood out and I was hoping you could provide clarity. First, I saw there are 15 teams still over the cap. The 2021 NFL League Year started March 17. When do these teams need to be under the cap or when does the NFL start shaving players off their roster to meet that requirement? Lastly, there are some teams currently either over the cap or near it, and also near having the league-mandated 53-man roster number with the NFL Draft still upcoming (Tampa Bay: 58 signings, eight 2021 draft picks, $-1.5M cap; New Orleans: 59 signings, eight 2021 draft picks, $-6.3M cap; Atlanta: 48 signings, nine draft picks, $3.3M cap). Do you think these numbers could mean some harder cuts than normal come final roster trimming, resulting in a quality second wave of free agency just before the season starts?
I don't know which website you used; either way, I wouldn't be able to explain how a particular site calculated its cap numbers. I do know NFL teams must be under the cap by the start of a new league year, which this offseason was March 17 – though in the offseason, the cap is based on the top 51 cap numbers on the roster as opposed to all players signed. This enables teams to have up to 90 players on the roster throughout the offseason, with teams needing to be under the cap when they reduce their roster to 53 players for the regular season. While I don't expect a second rash of releases or a second wave of quality free agents just before the 2021 season starts, there will be veterans released throughout the offseason and preseason who sign with other teams. That's how it is most years and there's no reason to think this one will be different in that sense.
David from Oviedo, FL
Zone - The Jags currently have 75 players on the roster. Is that the max at this time of year?
No. The league allows 90 players on offseason rosters. The Jaguars currently have fewer than 90 players because they will be drafting and signing players immediately after the draft. They also likely will release some players as they add players around that time. At that time, the team likely will be at – or close to – 90 until they trim the roster to the regular-season limit in early September.
Mike from Atlanta, GA
I was really excited about moving to 3-4, because I thought the personnel fit it better. I was imagining situations where having the four linebackers would cause chaos and confusion for young quarterbacks. What's better is having the flexibility to run a 3-4. Or in a short-yardage situation run a 4-3 with the linebacker over the tight end. Or however you want the front seven to be without being rigid and running the same front over and over. It seems best to have the ability to run whichever front that gives you an advantage in whatever situation. So, has situational football become more important than the old days of Power I running and stopping it? It seems that playing situational ball is more the norm now. We see how in the old days you had 11 starters and you had backups, where now you have people all over the depth chart who play as much as "starters." If we look at many of the players brought in under the new management play specific roles like situational players. Am I reading this right? Seems like the new guys are big on taking advantage situationally on the field with the personnel.
You're reading it right.
Jim from Jagsonville
Did Tyson Alualu really decide to stay in Pittsburgh? What happened??
Defensive lineman Tyson Alualu, who agreed to terms to re-sign with the Jaguars shortly before the start of the 2021 NFL League Year, indeed reportedly agreed to instead re-sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He reportedly never officially signed with the Jaguars because he had COVID-19 – and during that time, he had a change of heart and decided to return to the Steelers. It's a loss for the Jaguars, to be sure. Alualu, originally the No. 10 overall selection by the Jaguars in the 2010 NFL Draft, would have given the Jaguars needed stoutness and depth against the run. It sounds as if he stayed in Pittsburgh for less than what the Jaguars were offering – and that he decided to stay because he and his family just really liked Pittsburgh. It's too bad. I like Alualu and it felt like it would have been a good fit. Oh well.
Nick from Oakland, CA
So, did Alualu realize he would rather be on a competitive team or did he realize the Jaguars organization was trash? Wait that is saying the same thing twice huh?
Wow. Do you spend time coming up with clever burns – or does the humor level of a 13-year-old just come easy?
Matty from Saint Augustine, FL
Tell me it isn't so Big O!!! Steelers re-signed DT Tyson Alualu to a two-year contract. After he signed a contract with us. :(
Alualu never officially signed with the Jaguars, but he did agree to terms. And yeah … it's so.
Ross from Jacksonville
Do you think Taven Bryan works better in a 3-4? He seems better at filling a gap than beating an offensive lineman as a three technique.
I anticipate Jaguars defensive lineman Taven Bryan getting a chance to play big end for the Jaguars' next season. There is some thought around the organization that this will be a good fit. We'll see.
Josh from Atlanta, GA
What a trade. The Miami Dolphins are going to be loaded everywhere for years, but do they have a quarterback is the real question. I too, in fantasy land, would love to see us trade up for tight end Kyle Pitts. With what the San Francisco 49ers gave up, I think people can finally give up on that dream. We would have to give up a literal fortune to do it. It has been said over and over we wouldn't due to the price tag, but seeing a real deal puts it in perspective. No, we won't be doing that. Nor should we.
You're referencing this past week's mega-trade between the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins. Even before that trade, I have would been surprised if the Jaguars gave up the equity to move from No. 25 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft to get into position to select Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. I still would be surprised if the Jaguars move up enough to select Pitts.
Nick from Milton, Ontario
So, Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer decided to skip Brigham Young quarterback Zachary Wilson's Pro Day. Seems like a good sign for those who are worried about the Jags passing up Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence for a different rookie quarterback.
Meyer stood a few feet from Lawrence throughout his Pro Day in February. He was nowhere near Wilson's Pro Day Friday. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever say never, but …
Bruce from Saint Simons Island, GA
O, I have seen tight end Pat Freiermuth from Penn State mentioned as a possible choice for the Jags. Also, Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed Seahawks has or is going to be released. Both seem to me to be good choices. Do you agree?
Freiermuth makes a lot of sense because of when the Jaguars will be selecting late in the first round and early in the second. He also makes sense because Jaguars tight ends coach Tyler Bowen coached him at Penn State. So, sure … Freiermuth on the surface absolutely makes sense and he wouldn't be a surprise selection. Reed is a former second-round selection who has played at a high level at times for the Seattle Seahawks, particularly against the run. If the value is right … sure, that one could make sense.
Erickh from Duval
Please tell Baalke if he has any sense, he'll trade for Ertz and sign Eric Fisher to end free agency moves. Make sense to you?
I don't mind the idea of trading for Philadelphia Eagles tight end Ertz – if it's a reasonable trade; remember: his contract runs out after this season, so there's a possibility of it being a one-year rental. Or at least the very real possibility of having to make a decision again in a year. As for Fisher, the former Kansas City Chiefs left tackle sustained an Achilles injury in January. That doesn't make him un-signable, but I wouldn't tell Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke he has no sense if he doesn't make the move.
Al from Orange Park, FL
I've lost track of all the defensive line guys kept and added. They can't ALL make the team, can they? Although w/ 3-4, I guess some will be called linebackers? Oh, I'm so confused!!