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O-Zone: No matter what

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Levi from Huntsville, AL

John, question about Travis Etienne. I know it's early, but do you get a feeling either way on if the Jags will re-sign him? I feel like he has been a major contributor and has earned a spot here for a while, but with running back being a devalued position, I worry he'll be let go.

This is a fair sentiment and concern, and this indeed increasingly is a topic among O-Zone queriers. The reason it's a fair sentiment/concern is your premise that running back is a devalued position is correct, which makes contract situations such as Etienne's tricky. While he is a very good player, even really good running backs tend to not get signed to long-term second contracts on par with other positions because the perception is they tend not to stay really good players as long as players at other positions. And while this may seem unfair to running backs, history has proven this perception true as often as not. I expect the Jaguars will approach Etienne wisely and in a similar way many teams approach very good running backs these days – trying to pay fairly and also trying to keep in mind the likely long-term production of the player. Remember: The Jaguars earlier this offseason exercised the fifth-year option on Etienne, which means they control his contract through this season and next. They also have the option of the franchise tag after that, which means they can control his contract through 2026. I could see the Jaguars trying to reach a short(ish)-term extension to pay Etienne fairly after this season, with the idea of paying him when he is projected to be in his prime and productive. Could this get tricky? Absolutely. That doesn't mean the Jaguars don't value Etienne. It's just the nature of the position these days.

DMiz from Sacksonville

For those putting quarterback C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans on a pedestal and blasting the Jags for choosing Doug Pederson as our head coach: Even though the Texans' prior two seasons were similar to the Jags' two seasons prior to Stroud's pick, it must be noted that the Texans were FAR better than the Jags in the 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons (see below). While this is a basic analysis, the Texans' probably had a much stronger overall team before picking Stroud than the Jags did before picking quarterback Trevor Lawrence (and of course you must include Trevor's first year under then-Head Coach Urban Meyer before we chose Dougie as the head coach in this comparison). Yes, Stroud looks great and so do the Texans, but they only won one game more than us last season when we had TONS of major key player injuries. Comparing ONE season DOESN'T mean the Texans are soooo much better and that Dougie was a bad hire. We will certainly know more this next season, but let's be true and give credit where it's due. We have TWO winning seasons after being the worst team in the NFL. That's important Texans 2023-24 10 W 7 L 2022-23 3 W 13 L 1 T 2021-22 4 W 13 L 2020-21 4 W 12 L 2019-20 10 W 6 L 2018-19 11 W 5 L JAGS 2023-24 9 W 8 L 2022-23 9 W 8 L 2021-22 3 W 14 L 2020-21 1 W 15 L 2019-20 6 W 10 L 2018-19 5 W 11 L.

Wow. There's a lot of math and a lot of records in there. Somewhere. I have no interest here in denigrating what the Texans have done on and off the field in the last 10 months or so. They won the AFC South and appear to have done a nice job drafting. They also have been aggressive in free agency. They probably will be the preseason AFC South favorite in 2024, and deservedly so. And there are people who indeed think Stroud worlds ahead of Lawrence and the Texans worlds ahead of the Jaguars. That's fine. These people indeed seem to put little stock in the fact that the teams split the season series last season, with each team winning on the road. They also seem to forget that Lawrence – then healthy – played very well in the Jaguars' late-season victory at Houston, also forgetting that Lawrence played through injuries the last five or six games last season. We'll learn soon enough which franchise is ahead of the other. Maybe it's the Texans. Maybe it's the Jaguars. Have people perhaps been a bit quick to crown the Texans? Probably, but that's fine. 'Tis the season for these discussions – and for crowning. This season gets forgotten pretty quickly come September.

Bob from Sumter, SC

My preseason Jaguars media personality power rankings are in: 1) Frenette, 2) Stevens, 3) Sexton, 4) Lageman, 5) Shadrick, 6) Oehser (low ceiling and floor)


Marty from Jacksonville

John, You said the Jaguars would like to frontload Trevor's contract as much as possible, but why would they need to do that? Unused cap space can be carried over. So frontloading the cap number in his contract has no particular effect.

Teams frontload contracts as much as possible mainly to keep contracts in "real time," which helps prevent astronomical cap figures later in the contract forcing teams to release the player – or other players. But your overriding point is a fair one. With teams able to restructure contracts and roll cap money over, the cap resets enough each offseason that front- or back-loading isn't as significant as otherwise might be the case.

Steve from Hilton Head, SC

John, I lived in Orlando for ten years, centered around 2000. We tried to go to one game per year in Jacksonville. It is indeed inconvenient to drive between the two cities (even back then). A 1 p.m. game means leaving at 8 a.m. and getting home at 8 p.m. with a fair bit of white knuckle driving on both ends. Once per year was enough.


David from Orlando, FL

KOAF – If the Jaguars end this season 9-8 for the third year in a row, will we be happy with the decision to sign Lawrence to a five-year $270 million contract extension or are we feeling a little buyer's remorse? I love Lawrence, but I think it's reasonable to wait on a contract extension to give him another year to prove that he's more than a 9-8 win quarterback. Yes, if he proves he is the franchise quarterback, it will cost us a little extra, but if he's not the guy, we don't have to hitch our wagon to him for the next five-to-10 years. Thoughts?

Your question suggests that the Jaguars need more time to determine if Lawrence is the "franchise quarterback." The Jaguars do not believe this to be the case.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

I was forced to study the pseudo science of body language for years as a child and reluctantly became expert. It is actually highly accurate although it can backfire spectacularly. I now only use it (consciously) for in-game wagering. I bring it up because of the kicker situation. I know Riley Patterson has been a semi-effective NFL kicker but I have to say his body language screams " big misses" while Cam Little – at least in college – has next level body language and I am predicting a long and fruitful career from the former Porker. I was wondering how the kickers are looking at OTAs?


Richard from St Augustine, FL

O great King of all that is funk, I know your understanding is there would be no math, but I think your answer to Rob was off the mark: 17 years for $1 billion is only $58.8 million per year average. We don't know what Trevor and the Jags will ultimately agree to, but we do know currently the figure for deserving quarterbacks is about $52 million. So $58.8 million sounds about right for a total. The guaranteed money is a whole 'nother issue! Sadly, it is crazy to think that is where the numbers are headed though for a 20-year career. Great work when you can get it! Here is to having Trevor for 20 years though! Go steazy and Go Jags! DTWD

You're right that 17 years, $1 billion for Lawrence unbelievable probably theoretically isn't all that high. It's a little too long for a second contract, though. So in that sense, it's still a little high.

Andrew from Little Elm, TX

Over the last two years, Trevor has missed on a lot of throws into the end zone from close range. They seem to be just out of reach of the receiver, or the throw is too late and the receiver can only get one foot down. It seems like something that should be cleaned up by now and should be turning into touchdowns by now.


Gary from St. Augustine, FL

Even when they get rid of OTA's, you still will suck.

Let's go, Jaguars