O-Zone: No vacancy

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Sam from Winter Park, FL

In reference to the gentleman asking about arm strength, it needs to be said that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has one of the strongest arms in football. While 41-year-old Tom Brady of the New England Patriots isn't what he used to be, back even a few years ago a cornerback wasn't able to break on a deep out from Tom. Nobody is saying Minshew's arm is Chad Pennington-esque, but his arm strength is likely to be the biggest reason he does or doesn't succeed in the NFL. Because on highlights, it's lacking.

You’re referencing a recent O-Zone question about arm strength, and you’re right: Both Brady and Rodgers had/have at minimum very good NFL arm strength. When watching Brady in person when the Jaguars and Patriots practiced in the 2017 preseason, what stood out wasn’t his arm strength on deep passes. Rather, it was the pace and power at which the ball arrived on pretty much every throw. When you combined that with phenomenal decision-making and command of the offense, it made him incredibly hard to intercept. And while I wrote those last few sentences in the past tense, it’s not as if – even at 41 – he’s easy to intercept now. Referencing Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, he doesn’t have elite arm strength. That’s a major reason he wasn’t selected earlier in the 2019 NFL Draft; remember, sixth-round quarterbacks are sixth-round quarterbacks for a reason. But he appears to at minimum have adequate NFL arm strength. Combined with his football intelligence, it should give him the opportunity to at minimum be a backup with a chance to perhaps eventually start. By the way, you know I’m serious about this answer. While it’s true I didn’t use CAPITAL LETTERS or exclamation points!!! I did use italics. THREE WHOLE TIMES!!!

Knox Jag from Jacksonville

John, with the news that Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith is going to sit out the 2019 NFL season, it is my understanding the Jags will get salary cap relief for his salary this season. Will he also be fined for each day he doesn’t report to mandatory workouts? Won’t that add more to the available cap room?

The Jaguars indeed would get salary-cap relief for Smith – providing he indeed does follow through on his recent announcement that he will sit out the 2019 season. If that happens, Smith likely would be placed on the Reserve/Did Not Report list. In that scenario, the Jaguars likely would save an estimated $12.5 million against the cap. The Jaguars theoretically could fine Smith for not reporting to mandatory workouts, but the fines wouldn’t help or hurt the Jaguars’ salary cap.

Brian from Jacksonville

If Smith’s reason for sitting out is medical or psychiatric to treat disease, then the paranoid statements (although hard to listen to) are tolerable – and I for one, will shut up and hope to see him return to health. This doesn’t feel like that. This feels like sour grapes. Smith should communicate. In Standard English. “Man up,” as it were. The Jags’ brass has been patient and supportive of Smith publicly, but they already had Plan B emerging as Smith’s situation surfaced. Unless the Jags know the reason is purely for disease treatment, that planning has certainly included consideration of a trade. Because TS’s contract essentially freezes if he follows through with sitting the year out, would trade interest be enhanced at all because money wouldn’t be involved initially, or at all until Smith plays again? Will there be a market for Smith if he won’t agree to play immediately?

There’s little-to-no need to spend much time talking about trading Smith. Until more is known about why he is staying away from football – and until he makes clear when/if he plans to return – why would a team give up anything for Smith?

Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville

I don't know many employers that would tolerate behavior like Telvin Smith is exhibiting. I am betting at least half the other teams in the league would have taken an action by now. Question, O-man: would it be better or worse for the team if he came back to the locker room now? Given everything that has transpired and gone over social media, I think it would cause a good deal of unneeded drama and tension in the locker room.

First thought: You would lose your bet. The Jaguars haven’t acted in the Smith situation yet for a couple of reasons. One is there is no reason to act yet because it’s May 14 and there’s no need to rush to a roster decision during the offseason. Almost every NFL team would handle it the same way; it’s better to let a situation like this play out and gather as much information as possible rather than react rashly and unnecessarily. Regarding whether Smith returning to the Jaguars would be good or bad, it doesn’t feel as if we need to worry about it any time soon. And perhaps ever.

Jimmy from Gainesville, FL

Enough with the Telvin drama. This is a manufactured crisis. Weak-side linebackers don't singlehandedly win Super Bowls. Enough!

Fair.

Nick from Phoenix, AZ

You mentioned cornerback Jalen Ramsey vs. defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and your admiration for both -- but your preference for Ramsey. You know the players better than any of us. Do you think either of them would take $1 million less in their contract if it meant signing the other? Would your answer be a factor in your initial offer? Thanks, Nick.

NFL contract negotiations don’t work that way, and let me be clear: I don’t prefer either Ramsey or Ngakoue. I do think Ramsey has a chance to be a Hall of Fame/generational player. Ngakoue has a chance to be a perennial Pro Bowl selection – but through three seasons he’s further from generational status than Ramsey. But enough hair-splitting. To answer your question: No. I don’t believe either player would take $1 million less for the other, and neither should ever be presented with that dilemma. This is professional football. Both players should try to get as much as they can when they can. Careers are short. That doesn’t mean they’ll get what they want, but they absolutely should try to get what they can when they can.

Josh from Pensacola, FL

_Although I don’t agree with this mindset, here’s what I think is going on with the Jags. I believe that some players who have produced for this team recently are not happy with the contract new quarterback Nick Foles received. If this is true it is concerning on so many levels. _

What?

Tony from Houston, AR

John: Obviously having a tight end that excels at both would be nice. But if you had to settle, which would you prefer: a blocking or receiving tight end? And btw: Thank you for the high – dare I say – genius level of work you give us!

I would rather have an elite receiving tight end who could block OK, but I wouldn’t feel good without the other. Both would have to be at least serviceable or the player would be a major liability. And yes … you may use the word “genius” when addressing me. It’s preferred, in fact.

Chip from Westside, Duval

I brought my kid to see my home – Duval County – in April and of course made a stop by the stadium. Of all Jaguars to come around, it was Tony Boselli himself!! He was busy with the 25th anniversary hoopla but took the time to take a picture with my kid. It was a special moment for me and my son (even tho he had no clue why this big dude was such a big deal smh). I'd just like you to pass along my thanks, if you will... #DTWD #LETSGOJAGS

That wasn’t him.

Trevor from Jacksonville

Brandon Linder was a great guard, but we switched him to center. Now he’s an average top-paid center. Do you think it would be better to one day switch him back and draft or find a great center?

It’s inaccurate to say Linder is great at any NFL position. It’s equally inaccurate to say he’s an “average” center. He’s a good center who needs to be healthier than he was last season. As far as switching him … not unless a great center falls in your lap. That’s not common.

Raymo from Green Cove Springs, FL

Are you sure that wide receivers can only wear 80-89? Lee, Westbrook, Conley and Chark all wear a teen.

The references a recent O-Zone answer that detailed the numbers that can be worn under NFL rules for each position. I indeed omitted wide receivers being able to wear teens. I erred.

Frankie from the Mean Streets of Ponte Vedra, FL

Any chance the Jags bring in E.J. Manuel to fill the vacant backup quarterback position? He has prior starting experience. More importantly he's available.

You refer to the Jaguars’ backup quarterback position as “vacant.” I’ve heard nothing to indicate the Jaguars see it that way.

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