JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL
John: All the whiners who want us to re-sign everyone, sign all free agents and trade for everyone should ponder on the Los Angeles Rams. How's that working out for them now?
This touches on a topic sure to be discussed often this offseason and future offseasons. The Los Angeles Rams indeed went "all in" in recent seasons, trading draft selections for star veterans – and signing multiple expensive free agents. That "all-in" approach meant a talented – and expensive – team in the short run with the accompanying near-guarantee that a large part of the team would be disassembled in some upcoming offseason. This turned out to be that offseason. This would be a cautionary tale except for the very important fact that the Rams won the Super Bowl following the 2021 season. Does that mean all teams should take a similar all-in approach and mortgage the future to win a Super Bowl? That would make sense – IF the approach guaranteed a Super Bowl. Or even if it guaranteed success. But no approach guarantees anything in the NFL. Whatever approach a team takes when building a roster, wise decisions must be made, players must perform, drafted players must develop and acquired must fit together. To answer your question: It's not working out for the Rams this offseason, but it damned sure did in 2021. The dilemma continues.
Don from Marshall, NC
The draft is going to be critical at this point. The Jaguars are still going to sign some free agents, you would think. It's hard to see how the Jaguars have gotten better so far. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley has potential. Any money left in the petty cash to get a player?
The 2023 NFL Draft will be important for the Jaguars – for the long-term future. But most of the improvement on the Jaguars in the 2023 season can – and should – come from within. This is a team that improved late in the 2022 season. The offense will be in its second season in Head Coach Doug Pederson's system. The receivers will be in their second season working with improving quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Running back Travis Etienne Jr. will be in his second season. Linebackers Devin Lloyd, Travon Walker and Chad Muma will be in their second NFL seasons. There are a lot of elements in place for big improvement.
Dallas from Cotter, AR
No question, just major kudos to the Jags audio-visual team. The Sounds of the Season video is over the top. I am Sooooo looking forward to next year. IWATJ!!
Hey … another fer the supporting cast.
Bradley from Sparks, NV
I believe only two starters remain from the 2020 team that went 1-15, and every position besides right tackle and perhaps center has been significantly upgraded and set up for the future. Have you ever seen a better two-year rebuild?
This is an impressive building process. It compares at this point with the building process of the Jaguars of the mid-1990s. While that was an expansion team in 1995 and therefore not a "rebuild," then-Head Coach Tom Coughlin built that franchise from nothing into a four-time playoff team that made two appearances in the AFC Championship game in four seasons. That Jaguars team also made the AFC Championship Game in its second season. Maybe it wasn't a "rebuild," but it shouldn't be overlooked.
Eric from Jax Beach
Feels good to win the regular season instead of the offseason.
J Hooks from Orange Park, FL
I think what Jeremy was asking is how the hell can the Chiefs afford a super big contract for former Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor while also paying mega money for quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce and seemingly not losing any of their core players? Wouldn't they be in "cap hell" as well?
The Chiefs, like all NFL teams, make choices. And they lose key players. Remember: They lost All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill when they traded him to the Miami Dolphins last offseason. No NFL team can pay all its important players. It's about choices, planning and timing. The Jaguars by necessity chose to sign a lot of high-priced free agents in the 2021 and 2022 offseasons – and they want to have cap room in future offseasons. Because of that, they're spending more frugally this offseason. That's their choice.
Marc from Duval
Engram, Ridley, nose tackle DaVon Hamilton, offensive tackle Walker Little, cornerback Tyson Campbell, outside linebacker Josh Allen, Lawrence. Those are just the top of the roster names that will be, as of now, entering unrestricted free agency or likely looking for first-time contract extensions when the league year starts this time next year. When put into that perspective, seeing Trent Baalke and the Jaguars' frugality this March is not hard to understand. In fact, it's possibly franchise-altering.
I Hate Entering my Email twice
How do the Chiefs afford Taylor and Kelce? By having literally no talent at receiver. We have the league's best receiving corps and they have nobody. They just let wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster walk so they got the kid from the New York Giants and Sammy Watkins? We have wide receivers Calvin Ridley, Zay Jones and Christian Kirk and tight end Evan Engram… plus someone to fill Taylor's spot. Well worth it. We are killing it this off-season. Go Jags!
Sean from Saint Johns City
Do you have any insight on Baalke's draft philosophy? Do you think he drafts best player, matching need to value, or some combination?
Pretty much all NFL general managers want to draft best available player when possible, but all general managers realistically match need to value because there are times you have to take need into consideration on some level. Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke is no exception.
Jake from Cary, NC
With respect to Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker: you told us multiple times last season that it's hard for rookies to improve mid-season. What is/should Walker be doing now that it's the offseason to improve for the upcoming season?
Resting his mind, staying in shape and preparing to report to the Jaguars' offseason program in April 17. Then he should be ready to apply what he learned and how he matured as a rookie when training camp begins in late July.
Howard from Homestead
Children who got their Christmas presents early should not complain about a bare tree on Christmas day. #Ridley
This email makes the point that Ridley was actually a top offseason acquisition by the Jaguars, even though the team acquired him in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons last November. The email also seems to make the point that people who are complaining about the Jaguars' "lack of acquisitions" this offseason might be forgetting about Ridley. The email makes some good points.
Brendan from Yulee, FL
I had the pleasure of attending high school with Derrick Henry 30 minutes north of Jacksonville, over 10 years ago. I 100 percent believe he is the best player that this area has ever produced. There are so many good high school football memories that I cherish because of him. One for Derrick!
This email kind of, sort of references a recent email in which I asked about the best player ever from Duval County. I favored former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Bob Hayes over former Green Bay Packers safety LeRoy Butler and former Philadelphia Eagles/Denver Broncos safety Brian Dawkins. Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry is from Yulee, which is in Nassau County. That's next to Duval County, so Henry can not be the best player from Duval County. He certainly belongs in a discussion about best NFL players from this area. I still probably will go with Hayes, Butler and Dawkins because of their Hall of Fame status, but Henry belongs in the discussion.
Armand from Jacksonville
Of the remaining unsigned free agents, who can the Jags least afford to lose?
The Jaguars reportedly agreed to terms with cornerback Tre Herndon Saturday and defensive lineman Adam Gotsis Sunday, meaning six of the 10 Jaguars' unrestricted free agents entering the 2023 League Year have signed somewhere. The list: safety Andrew Wingard (Jaguars), Herndon, Gotsis, right tackle Jawaan Taylor (Kansas City), tight end Chris Manhertz (Denver) and outside linebacker Arden Key. That leaves defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot, wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr., tight end Dan Arnold and defensive lineman Corey Peters unsigned. The player the Jaguars can least afford to lose? Let's go with Smoot, providing he can be at full strength – or close to full strength – from a torn Achilles sustained in late December.
Mario from West Kelowna, BC
Zone, I wish you had a separate column dedicated to fans not fan-ing. Get over it, people. Players will be gone. Players will be signed. Some will be good and some will suck. It's part of football.
Good eye, but speak for yourself when it comes to a separate column. That would require on my part what is known as "extra work." Nah.