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O-Zone: New ideas

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Brent from Jacksonville

I've seen it said that the Jaguars were stupid for not re-signing Allen when they had the chance last season. I've also seen it said that Allen would have been stupid to sign then. Help me understand, Zone.

I've heard multiple people make this same point recently – that the Jaguars were negligent in not re-signing outside linebacker Josh Allen last offseason "when they had the chance" and "when it would have been affordable." My thought is this view contains a good measure of convenient amnesia. It absolutely made sense for the Jaguars to wait until after the 2023 season to try to sign Allen to a long-term deal. While Allen had been very good during his first four NFL seasons, he had had just one double-digit sack season during that span – and if Allen was going to sign a mega-extension, the team had every reason to want to make sure he could produce a pass-rushing season that commanded such a contract. Your second point is correct, too – that it made sense for Allen to want to wait. With the Jaguars unlikely to sign Allen to a top-of-the-market contract at that time, and with he and his representatives likely wanting such a contract, why in the world would he have signed a lesser deal before it was necessary? Allen knew entering the 2023 season he hadn't yet earned the contract he coveted. He did everything possible to earn it in 2023, but it would have been really difficult to find common ground before this past season.

Mark from Sobieski, WI

"O," I don't know why, but I just can't shake the feeling that we aren't going to be a better team this year. Sorry, but I lost a lot of faith after the losses of last season and can't seem to get excited again and I have been a fan since the team's inaugural season. I do hope I am wrong.

This is a fair and understandable feeling. The Jaguars lost five of six games to end the 2023 regular season and miss the postseason. That's a big and bad enough collapse to color the offseason mood of observers and team alike. I expect many fans will feel skepticism with a twirl of malaise until the Jaguars show next season that they are better than they played during the late-season collapse. It's up to the team to avoid letting the late-season collapse bring the franchise down, then win enough to re-win the fans.

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - I've seen a couple times of mention that 25 percent of the Jags' run plays in the 2023 season were for no gain or a loss. Those plays are equivalent to an incomplete pass or a sack. That seems to be a very high percentage for run plays. Do you know what is considered average? How bad is 25 percent?

What is considered average? Not 25 percent. How bad is 25 percent? Bad.

Jon from Jax Beach

Thanks for the clarification on the Hall of Fame general managers. All seemingly deserving. For the modern era, would you put anyone above Ozzie Newsome?

Former Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome is by any measure one of the top general managers of the "modern" era – or any NFL era, for that matter. If by modern era, you mean Super Bowl era, I would have to include Ron Wolf (Green Bay Packers), Bill Polian (Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts) and Bobby Beathard (Washington, San Diego Chargers) among the best along with Newsome. John Schneider of the Seattle Seahawks somewhat quietly has had a very long impressive – and consistent – career as well, as did the late/former Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson. I'm probably leaving a few out. Those are a few of the best.

Michael from Orange Park, FL

What? No high fives for Sexton?


Marcus from Jacksonville

You mentioned that the increase in the salary cap over what was projected could be a factor that leads to wide receiver/returner Jamal Agnew being re-signed. If the salary cap increase was more than what the Jags were anticipating, as seems to be the case, would it be more advantageous for them to use that "extra" money on a guy like Agnew – or add it to what they were willing to offer Allen even if that put him at or near the top of the edge rusher market? I know there are a lot of moving parts in contracts, like length and guarantees, but for simplicity sake, let's say they were already prepared to offer him $28 million a year, in line with TJ Watt and above Miles Garrett (both signed their deals three-to-four years ago). That seems reasonable, given the contracts signed this season by Montez Sweat and Rashan Gary, who are not as good as Josh. If that's where the team was willing to go, wouldn't it be better for them to let Agnew walk, and take that $5 million a year and add it to Josh's deal, putting him in the realm of Nick Bosa as the highest paid edge? I just feel like the benefit of having him in the fold long term and freeing the tag for Ridley is more valuable than Jamal Agnew. Am I crazy?

Every general manager/NFL decision-maker face some variation(s) on this issue in pretty much every offseason. While the recent NFL salary-cap increase changes the numbers, the issue of paying an "impact" player at a premium position versus retaining one or two "supplemental" players is a complex one. It's why elite quarterbacks are so important – because the presence of one can counter the loss of multiple role players. An elite pass rusher is perhaps only second in impact to elite quarterback. If Allen indeed is an elite pass rusher – and he certainly played like one last season – then you do what's necessary to keep him so long as he is playing at that level.

Reese from Camden NJ

We need wide receiver help. So what do you think about us taking Brenden Rice?

The Jaguars from this view need to develop a young, drafted wide receiver into a premier and long-term player. They haven't done it in far too long – like, ever.

John from Jacksonville

Some are calling running back Tank Bigsby and tight end Brenton Strange busts already. I believe Strange had an injury that kept him out. If running back Travis Etienne Jr. couldn't average four yards a carry, what do you expect Bigsby to average? What if they turn into running back Maurice Jones-Drew and tight end Marcedes Lewis?

Then they were good selections.

Boxcutter Bill from Mass

It still feels a little weird not caring about the draft as much as I'm accustomed to, because we're always in the top ten and whoever we draft brings so much excitement because he's being looked at as the savior. We have our savior, and I think this offseason should be about solidifying the offensive line and defensive line. I keep seeing cornerback mocked to us, but can't you find good corners later in the draft?

You can find good players at any position late in the draft. Your chances of finding really good ones at important positions – and cornerback is an important position – go way up in the first round.

Bill from Bostwick

The Jaguars have not drafted a quarterback since Trevor Lawrence in 2021. Prior to that, the last quarterback drafted was Gardner Minshew II in the sixth round (178th overall) in the 2019 draft. I understand and agree with having a veteran quarterback as the backup for Trevor, and really liked the signing of an experienced, award-winning CFL quarterback before Jacksonville let him slip away. When do the Jaguars start spending a Day 3 draft pick on a quarterback to develop as a No.3/practice squad? Or does the team ever do such a thing while Trevor is under contract?

A late-round quarterback makes sense on occasion. I could see the Jaguars seeing such an occasion in the next offseason or so.

Tom from The Mean Streets of Nocatee

It's good to see that the Urban Meyer stench didn't stick to Nick Sorensen.

Sorensen, who was named the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Saturday, was the Jaguars' special teams coach under then-Head Coach Urban Meyer in 2021. He was hired in June of that year and Meyer was dismissed in December. That's about six months. That's not long enough for stench to stick.

Don from Marshall, NC

Travon Walker is so athletic that he could play a role on offense. I would love to see someone try to tackle him in the open field. He has great hands and he is durable. I bet he even has a good arm. Go Jaguars!

When it comes to Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker playing offense and perhaps even quarterback, Don remains "all in" – and perhaps more than a bit "out there."