JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Mike from BillMurrayHill
Hi, John. If he hasn't already, when do you think Coach Meyer will begin meeting with players on the current roster? Would this be customary for a new coach before the upcoming draft?
Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer and the rest of the Jaguars' coaching staff can begin meeting with players on April 5. That's the first day of the offseason program for teams with new head coaches. Coaches can speak to players before then, but those conversations can't be about football or resemble anything close to a football/structured discussion. This is part of the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement. The questions many people ask after learning this is, "Isn't that a bit silly? What if players want to talk to coaches?" Answer: Yes, the rules are a bit extreme and players often want to speak with position coaches in the offseason. But the reason it's prohibited is to prevent coaches from abusing power and "implying" that players should work and attend meetings in what by rule is supposed to be their offseason. Where the rule is a bit much is in situations with a new coach; the coach can't have extensive conversations and begin to get to know players personally during what under less-strict rules would be a good time for such relationships to build. But the rules are the rules, and they're not likely to change.
Mike from Atlanta, GA
I understand being diplomatic with the press and fans, but I don't believe the Jaguars will select anyone other than Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick. I think it's much ado about nothing. I feel like I've been hearing about Trevor Lawrence for 3 years now.
I think they will select Lawrence, too, but let's be clear: I think this for the same reason many fans and observers think this – because for three years most football people have been fed a steady diet of opinion/analysis that Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect in a decade. When something gets said that much, it becomes a general consensus and gets repeated by a multitude of people who haven't the foggiest idea if it's true or not. It's not the job of Meyer or General Manager Trent Baalke to sit around all offseason twiddling their thumbs and waiting to select Lawrence No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft just because everyone believes they should do so. It's their job to work their scouting process, analyze all players, set a draft board and then to select the best player at No. 1 overall. If Lawrence indeed is as good as advertised, the Jaguars will select him. Neither Baalke nor Meyer has said anything to indicate they won't select Lawrence. But their job right now isn't to ease fans' anxiety over the draft. It's not to make headlines in January. It's to do the work and make the best decisions. There's no reason to think that won't mean selecting Lawrence No. 1 overall. But there's also no reason to announce this yet.
Zac from Austin, Tejas
Of the 14 teams that made it to the playoffs, we played seven of them (or perhaps more accurately, nine of our games were against playoff teams). Is that significant or par for the schedule?
It's relatively normal, give or take a game or two.
Nathan from USA
Zone, do the Jags really have eleven picks in this year's draft? I'm wondering if they could turn that into three first-rounders. That would be very exciting. Does cap space allow it?
Anything's possible, and the Jaguars theoretically could orchestrate a trade to get into the first round. But that's not necessarily the best use of draft capital. The Jaguars not only have two first-round selections, but they also have two second-round selections and a third-rounder – all in the top 65 selections. You can get five really good players in that range, and that could be better than giving up selections to move into the first round.
Scott from Gilbert, AZ
Zone, with next year's cap dropping roughly $50 million from what it would have otherwise been with fans in 2020, I'm thinking free agency could be a target-rich environment this offseason. Do you think the $170 million cap number will result in more one- or two-year deals, or do you think players might accept what the market can bear for the security of longer-term deals?
Your questions are good ones, and it's why mid-to-late March is going to be fascinating in NFL circles. I don't expect there to be a slew of core players suddenly available because of the lowered salary cap because teams find ways to keep those players. But I do think there will be a few more near-premium players available than usual. And yes: I expect more of those level players signing short-term deals. The cap won't stay down forever. Players absolutely will want to be in a contractual situation to take advantage of a rising cap in the next offseason or two.
Alan from Jacksonville
I love the fact Jaguars owner Shad Khan wants to invest in downtown Jacksonville and we can certainly use a mover and shaker like him to make it happen. But the Lot J deal, as it was presented, just didn't give enough return to taxpayers. With COVID-19 reducing our city's income, this deal just didn't make sense. I would love to see a revamped plan that is more of a win-win. As far as the stadium, I don't think it's likely to expect a new stadium to happen as long as some games are being played in London. I like how the improvements are keeping it relevant. I've been to at least a dozen other stadiums and enjoy TIAA's vibe as much as any other I've been to. You've been to many stadiums, how do you rate our experience?
I understand about return to taxpayers. I also understand that to be in the NFL, small markets often have to pay to stay. The market size and dynamics mandate it. As far as the stadium, I don't sit in the stands, so I can't speak to the game-day experience fans feel. In terms of being a state-the-art, modern facility? Compared to other NFL stadiums? It's not.
Jerry from Riverview, FL
If you were the new GM/Coach, how would you go about rebuilding the defensive line? You don't win many games in this league without winning in the trenches.
I would sign a front-line player at the position in free agency if one is available. I might consider two if two were available. I also might draft one early. It would be a top priority outside quarterback.
John from Cape May Court House
Khan saying he will be more involved moving forward is great, but that begs the question; what the hell was he doing for the past nine years? Reading between the lines, it comes off that he had no idea what former Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin or former General Manager David Caldwell were up to, until it was already done. I guess I don't understand how you can spend $770 million and not have some input in roster decisions. I understand letting football people do their job, but at the end of the day it's Khan's team and it how it performs is a direct reflection on Khan. Maybe I'm being too cynical, but that's how it comes across.
We'll probably never know for sure how much Khan knew about every detail of every decision that was made when Coughlin/Caldwell were running the organization. Whatever the level, Khan made clear shortly after the 2020 season that he planned to be more involved moving forward. Why didn't he know more? Because he hired people with the idea they knew the NFL and were therefore the best people to make the decisions. It's not an absurd approach.
Leo from Saint Johns
Baalke has mentioned Tom Gamble as someone already in the building who will be part of his staff. Could you please let us know if he is known as a talent evaluator or a contract negotiator. I just don't know much about him. Thanks!
Gamble's background is in scouting. Here's a link to a story with his background.
Austin from Orlando, FL
Torry Holt being our first Hall of Famer would be such a joke.
Why? I mean, I get that everything has to suck or be a joke these days, but Torry Holt is a legitimate Hall-of-Fame candidate. I don't think all that many people would associate him with the Jaguars to even have many people think about him being their first Hall of Famer. Seriously: Would anyone care?
Tom from Jacksonville
So, you wouldn't trade Trevor for another team's entire draft. Trying to find your limit. Would you take next year's draft as well?
Not if I think he's as good as the consensus says. If he's that good, I wouldn't trade anything.