O-Zone: No-trade clause

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Brian from Gainesville, FL:
Big O, with a position like left tackle the analysis of the quality of a player is largely about the eye test for fans. What about professional analysts, coaches, general managers, etc.? What do they look for in a great left tackle? More specifically, what is it about Tony Boselli that allows us to say he was the best or among the best?
John: With a position such as left tackle, analysis indeed is mostly about the eye test – even for general managers, coaches, etc. That's because there are few statistics for left tackles, and those that exist are rarely discussed. But in reality, most of the NFL is about the eye test because statistics in the sport often deceive and often don't reflect the effectiveness of a player. In the case of Boselli, the eye test was perfect, because he looked the same to the untrained and trained eye: dominant and elite. General managers look for size, agility, strength and leverage in a prototype left tackle and Boselli was as prototypical as any left tackle to play in the last 30 years – perhaps ever. He also was as good or better than any left tackle over the same period. I heard an "analyst" earlier this week state that Orlando Pace – a Hall-of-Fame left tackle for the Rams – was better than Boselli. The analyst stated this confidently and as fact. This was a case of someone's confidence far overshadowing his knowledge, because there has not been a left tackle since Anthony Munoz who is matter-of-factly better than Boselli, and a strong argument can be made that in his prime Boselli was the best ever. What allows us to say he was the best or among the best? Watching him, talking with coaches about him, talking with opponents about him … oh, and it helps when you give up fewer than 20 sacks in a seven-year career and never allow more than one in a game.
Chris from Houston, TX:
Who is the best tight end in Jaguars history? Kyle Brady? Marcedes Lewis?
John: I'd give a slight edge to Brady here, though I wouldn't bang the table over it.
Steve from North Haven, CT:
Can we address the final play of the Super Bowl? I saw one or two clear holds in the running lane – and a running back who didn't cross the plane before his knee was down. I'm by no means a hater and was enthralled to watch a game where so many Super Bowl records were broken, but seriously: for a team with as many scandals and negative reviews [the Patriots], how can they just end the biggest game of the season in such a fashion? I turned to my father and said, "Let's wait for the official review because that was close and on the biggest play of the biggest game of the year … they definitely will review it." Well, I was wrong.
John: I was a little surprised there wasn't more issue made over the last play not being reviewed, but in replays I've seen, it looked like Patriots running back James White crossed the plane with the ball – either that, or it looked inconclusive. I certainly never saw any replay that showed White clearly was down before the ball crossed the plane. I've gotten some emails this week to the effect that the NFL slanted things to ensure the Patriots would win, or that they let the final play go for the same reason. The idea that the NFL might have conspired to favor the Patriots probably comes as an amusing surprise to the Patriots fans booing and lampooning NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell this week, but whatever.
Steve from North Haven, CT:
Oh, I forgot to add: How absurd it is that the biggest news after the Super Bowl isn't about the final touchdown that wasn't reviewed and looked well short, but where Tom Brady's jersey is ... wow.
John: I suppose Tom Brady's jersey is big news because the story of a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player's jersey going missing minutes after the game is an interesting story that extends beyond your common football fans. That's usually what qualifies as "big news."
Glen from Orange Park, FL:
If the goal is to win now then why not bring Jay Cutler in with a one-year contract to begin the season as a backup and give Blake Bortles a short leash? If Bortles proves himself, then he gets paid and Cutler walks. If Bortles flops, then lock up Cutler and we have a few years to find the long-term future. Either way, we have our franchise quarterback for 2018 - 2021 (Cutler is 33). It's about winning football games, not popularity contests.
John: I like the idea of at least exploring this. As I have said often, the questions about Cutler and any veteran quarterback will involve availability and price. Cutler is not yet available, though it seems likely he will be released by Chicago and become a free agent. The next question is price. Cutler remains a starting-level quarterback, and he almost certainly will command starting-level money – even to compete. This is true of most quarterbacks being discussed as competition possibilities for Bortles. How much will the Jaguars want to pay to create competition? That remains to be seen.
Joe M. from San Francisco, CA:
I'm still not convinced Brady is the GOAT.
John: That may be. But while you, sir, belong in the conversation, Tom Brady is correctly at the heart of the conversation right now.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
That Super Bowl was a case study for why a dominant and deep pass rush is important. The Falcons were getting terrific pressure from their front four in the first half and had Brady off his timing. In the second half, their starters got tired and they didn't have enough horses in the stable to make up for it, which resulted in Brady doing what he does to all teams who can't get front-four pressure. Should we get a pass rusher in the draft or free agency? How about both!
John: Both would be fine. Both would be good. You can't have too many pass rushers.
Mark from Section 213:
John, we all agree that the two most important things a team needs is a quarterback and someone that can disrupt the quarterback, but the disparity in value between the two doesn't justify passing on the guy every pundit knew had the talent to quickly become Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year for what would become the 28th-rated passer during that same time. You always say you think Dave Caldwell has done a great job of building the roster, but you have yet to offer even one example of where he has earned these accolades. Aside from the 2016 draft where we were incredibly fortunate with the players that fell in our lap, please tell us where else you believe Caldwell has succeeded?
John: I don't recall saying Caldwell has done a "great" job building the roster. I do recall saying that I believe Caldwell has improved the talent level and done a good job rebuilding the roster to the point where it is better than before – and yes, I think the core of this roster is to the point where solid quarterback play will start resulting in victories. I also never said Caldwell had done a perfect job. As far as selecting Bortles over Khalil Mack … yeah, right now that indeed looks like a decision most general managers would want back. But let's not paint it like Mack was a no-brainer pick. Yes, many believed he had the talent to become a star, but people were projecting Bortles at the top of the draft and there were questions about Mack, too. And when you're looking for a quarterback, you value that position over most others and you take risks. It's pretty close to unavoidable. The draft is not a science and no general manager is perfect. As far as examples of good selections, there are plenty: Telvin Smith, Allen Robinson, Aaron Colvin, Marqise Lee, Brandon Linder … Has Caldwell hit home runs every time? No. But Caldwell certainly has had his share of draft-day successes and the roster is in better shape than when he took over.
Logan from Wichita:
The absolute only way we can rationalize drafting a running back at No. 4 is if we get key free agents on the offensive line. If we don't address the line, the running back – no matter how good – will be a wasted pick.
John: I tend to agree and I would be surprised if the Jaguars don't address offensive line in free agency.
Jason from North Pole, AK:
Do you think the Patriots could find a team to give them enough draft picks to trade Tom Brady? It seems it would make more sense to keep Jimmy G. if he is the quarterback of the future and make a blockbuster trade to surround him with talent.
John: Are you serious, Clark?

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