JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Mark from Sobieski
I must have missed something. When did this 17thgame become a reality – or maybe I should ask, why? I don't see the need. Seven months of football (including preseason) is enough for anyone (just my opinion). The five-month break gives fans time to get excited for the next season and there's plenty of football coverage in the paper or television networks to fill the gap. Now they have to figure where to have the odd game out played.
Adding a 17th game to the NFL regular season isn't yet a reality, but "reality" appears to be a technicality at this point. The league reportedly is planning to add the game beginning next season, with an announcement likely sometime this offseason. The reason it isn't official yet is the league must negotiate and finalize at least one new media contract to fulfill the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association. But all indications are that will happen and that the 17th game will happen. Why? Because adding a 17th game will add revenue – for the owners and the players. Why else will it happen? Do we need a "why else?"
Zac from Austin, Tejas
I am not sure how long you have been covering the Jaguars, but how would you say last year's team ranks among the 2016 (3-13) and the 2012 (2-14) teams? Last year we obviously lost more games, but that doesn't necessarily mean we were a worse team? Or does it?
I covered the Jaguars from 1995-2000 for the Florida Times-Union and have covered them for the Jaguars since 2011. Because the Jaguars went 1-15 in 2020 and earned the No. 1 overall selection for the first time in franchise history, that team will be viewed as the worst in franchise history – and that's probably correct. When you lose 15 consecutive games, it's hard to judge it any other way. Now, I do believe there are more potential core pieces on this roster than there were coming out of, say, the 2012 season. This team has players such as defensive ends Josh Allen and K'Lavon Chaisson, linebacker Myles Jack, cornerback CJ Henderson, wide receivers DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault Jr., center Brandon Linder and right tackle Jawaan Taylor and running James Robinson. That list for the most part is made up of players who could either be front-line starters for most teams or who have the potential to be Pro Bowl players. That wasn't the case coming out of the 2012 season.
Unhipcat from b bar h, ca
Hi, John. Realistically, unless three people on Earth know something the other eight billion or so don't, the Jags will pick Lawrence. To do otherwise would make the Jags a laughingstock, and not only in the NFL. Experts and pundits would write their "what were they thinking?" columns for eternity, season-ticket sales would evaporate, fans would burn jerseys and mockups of Trevor's hair in effigy. In your professional experience, has there been a more sure-thing, bet-your-house-on-it, take-it-to-the-bank decision, other than Lebron, maybe?
Andrew Luck in 2012 was close. But in terms of the No. 1 overall selection in NFL Draft … no, I've never seen a year when more people seemed sure of the selection.
Matty from Saint Augustine, FL
So, the word on the wire is, Yannick Ngakoue might be hitting free agency. Does that surprise you? Or is it par for the course? He wanted elite money, but didn't live up to The Elite money stats. I have to say, I am surprised. I have always liked him and thought him to be an amazing player. I wish they could have thrown out the dirt with the bathwater, and started a new load. I hope he finds his team.
It doesn't surprise me that former Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is expected to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. That felt like the likely eventual end game for the 2021 offseason had he stayed in Jacksonville because it never felt as if Ngakoue and his representation were going to agree with what the Jaguars felt was his market value. It still felt like the eventual end game for the 2021 offseason when he left Jacksonville because it felt as if Ngakoue and his representation were still going to take a while to agree with his likely market value. Remember: The Jaguars tried to pay Ngakoue in the 2019 offseason, and they tried to do so with what the team believed was a very fair contract – and perhaps even one above market value. The team then was unable to trade him for a first-round selection last offseason, and the Minnesota Vikings parted ways with him this past season shortly after acquiring him in a trade. The Baltimore Ravens now appear unlikely to franchise Ngakoue and the sides don't seem destined to agree to a long-term deal. Ngakoue will certainly find a team for next season. What his contract will be for that season – and for how long – is uncertain. It seems unlikely to make up for what he could have made in Jacksonville two offseasons ago. I hope for his sake that's incorrect.
Charles from Riverside
Hello, John. It would seem Alex Smith would command a big price in free agency. He could start for several teams tomorrow. If he came to Jacksonville would that create a quarterback controversy? Are these good enough reasons for the Jags to pursue a different vet to back up Trevor Lawrence and stay out of the Smith competition? Thanks.
If former Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith signed with the Jaguars, he and everyone else involved would understand that he was doing so to back up the No. 1 overall selection – if not from the moment young quarterback was drafted, comparatively soon afterward. As far as the reasons to not pursue Smith … sure, there are some. Perhaps Smith still wants to start in the NFL, and perhaps he believes he would have a better chance to do so with a different team. Or perhaps the Jaguars might see Smith's salary demands as too much for the backup quarterback position. Or perhaps the Jaguars are fine with Gardner Minshew II and/or Jake Luton in the role. There's quite a bit to parse through on this front. Stay tuned.
Dude from Dudeval
Will Baalke be replaced next year with a better, long-term solution? (By the way, his voice sounds like a dying old man)
I guess I don't quite understand the question. Trent Baalke, hired as the Jaguars' general manager in January, has two decades in scouting/NFL front offices and was the San Francisco 49ers' general manager from 2011-2016. His 49ers teams played in a Super Bowl and multiple conference championship games. There's no interim tag on his title and no implication that he isn't in the position for the long term – and nothing on his resume indicates that that should be the case.
Nick from Palatka, FL
"...constant tither." Didn't figure you a religious man, Zone.
Good. Really good.
KC from Orlando, FL
KOAF, do you think the annual minimum wage and contract will go up proportionally to the increase in the television contracts if they add an 18th game? I would like to assume the minimum salary cap would increase proportionally as well; but my dad would say, "you know what they say if you assume?" What do you think KOAF?
I don't expect an 18th game to be added anytime soon. It took more than four decades to move from 16 to 17 games – and there must be a limit the number of games to which the players will agree. The increased injury risk and physical toll of each added game is a real thing. But IF it happened … yes, salary cap and salaries would go up along with it.
Zac from austin, tejas
Can you talk about the core differences in the team 2012 Colts (that made a playoff run and went 11-5 with a rookie) and the 2021 Jaguars with a No. 1 draft pick? Thanks, King.
I didn't cover the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, so I don't know the nuanced differences. The major addition for the Colts was Andrew Luck. It's also hard to know the major differences in the rosters because the Jaguars have yet to add any rookies and they have yet to add free agents. The 2012 Colts did have the advantage of having two Pro Bowl veterans who will either be Hall of Fame selections or at minimum be next-tier players – wide receiver Reggie Wayne and pass rusher Robert Mathis, with Mathis very much in his prime in 2012 and Wayne still a Pro Bowl player. I don't know that the 2022 Jaguars will have a veteran quite at that level, though it's far from impossible – and a player such a linebacker Myles Jack could play at a very high level. But that Colts team should provide inspiration for this Jaguars team. It went 11-5 and made the playoffs after going 2-14 the previous season. That's a historical turnaround, but hey … why not?
Robert from Oneonta
You embarrassed yourself lol