O-Zone: Ode to joy

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Let’s get to it …

Jon from Jacksonville

If we pick up Foles in free agency, what are the chances we go after even a second-tier quarterback prospect like Will Grier of West Virginia? Would probably take a second-round pick but might be worth it to me. What say you?

My guess is there’s a better chance the Jaguars draft a quarterback in the first round than the second – at least in your scenario. If they sign quarterback Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles as an unrestricted free agent, they are signing him with the idea he will be their starter for at least two seasons. They also are doing so with the idea they need to win now, which means they likely will use the No. 7 overall selection to address immediate needs offensively. What could – and perhaps should – trump that theory would be the opportunity to select a franchise quarterback around whom the team could build for the long-term. If the team thinks a quarterback such as Kyler Murray of Oklahoma, Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State, Daniel Jones of Duke or Drew Lock of Missouri is such a player, then taking him in the first round makes sense. I don’t know if using a second- or third-round selection on a backup quarterback at the expense of potentially selecting a starter at another position will make as much sense.

Bob from Sumter, SC

I think the Jags end up with either Haskins or Daniel Jones at No. 7.

K.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

It doesn't make sense to let Carlos Hyde go. Why would they release the best running back on the team when he is relatively cheap? That would create another need in a year where they have enough needs to fill.

It remains to be seen if the Jaguars will release Hyde this offseason, though it remains a real possibility. They are in a tough spot with that decision. While he indeed has shown flashes – mostly before joining the Jaguars – of perhaps being the best running back on the roster, he didn’t show that enough late last season to make bringing him back next season an easy decision. He also absolutely isn’t “relatively cheap.” He, in fact, at $4.7 million next season is “relatively expensive.” But you’re correct that releasing him would create another need in an offseason with many needs – and that makes bringing him back a possibility. Can the Jaguars get what Hyde provided last season cheaper with a mid-to-late-round rookie selection? The guess here is the answer is yes. We should know the answer by March 15. That’s two days after free agency begins. It’s also the day Hyde is due $2 million in guarantees and a $1 million roster bonus.

Chris from Nashville, TN

In reference to my first question: I know you’ll say it’s too early to predict but looking at the depth of certain positions in the draft, I was merely asking for your opinion. Or something.

I didn’t read your first question.

Hugo from Albuquerque, NM

Case Keenum had such an efficient year in Minnesota that it bought him all of one year in Denver before they desperately tried to upgrade the position again. If the answer to the question is Keenum or Ryan Tannehill, we are clearly asking the wrong question.

All free-agent quarterbacks available to the Jaguars this offseason have legitimate reasons they shouldn’t be signed – or why they are too risky. But risk-free quarterback options don’t really exist. It’s why finding one is so hard.

Ron from Ponte Vedra, FL

It’s “Rob,” not “Ron.” And please tell Keith that Smith being a fifth-round pick was part of the point I was trying to make. We were extremely fortunate to get Telvin in the fifth round. You absolutely will NOT find a similar caliber replacement past the third or even the second. Jags brass should not say to themselves, “We are so smart we found a Pro Bowl linebacker in the fifth so let’s just cut him and get another fifth-rounder to replace him with.” That would be arrogant and stupid. Whoever you draft at linebacker in whatever round will not be an adequate replacement for Smith, so don’t be so arrogant as to think you can replace him with a late-rounder.

OK, Ron.

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Steve from Hilton Head, SC_

I saw Boselli win a game in person. The Jaguars were playing Cincinnati and quarterback Mark Brunell threw an interception. The Bengals player was returning it for a touchdown except Boselli sprinted across the field and made a diving tackle inside the 5. The defense held for a field goal. The stadium went crazy.

Your question refers to a recent O-Zone question that stated that former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli – or any other lineman, for that matter – never won games. That was a silly statement, and I pointed out that I knew Boselli in fact had won many games because he had told me so himself. The Cincinnati game to which you refer was one example. There were others. I wouldn’t put much stock into the original statement or the theory that linemen aren’t important. It’s a silly sentiment with which no one with any understanding of the NFL would agree.

Anthony from Jacksonville

Hey John, I’ve been desperately thinking about the BB5 money situation. Is there any way possible he can restructure his deal? I mean he’s on the hook for something like $12-16 million whether he’s on the team or not next year. With so much invested into him, maybe we can at least spread his money out over two or three years giving us more wiggle room in the cap this offseason to go get a veteran quarterback for Bortles to "compete" against.

There’s certainly the Jaguars can restructure quarterback Blake Bortles’ contract. All it would take would be for both sides to want to restructure it. I don’t get the sense the Jaguars have the desire to do so. Sometimes, it’s time to move on.

Michael from Middleburg, FL

“Good tight ends. Reliable receivers. Strong offensive line.” If we had that, Bortles would have worked out good.

Fair.

Keith from Washington, DC

O-Man, any chance we see an additional inductee to the Pride of the Jaguars this upcoming season? As a longtime fan, it feels long overdue for guys like Keenan McCardell, Donovin Darius, and Mike Peterson.

It does seem time to induct another player into the Pride. It’s certainly overdue for McCardell.

Dan from Jacksonville

Curious if anyone has asked Nick Foles if Jacksonville would be a place he would like to go ... or do you think that money drives the vehicle?

Foles hasn’t discussed where he next would like to play publicly, and I wouldn’t expect him to do so. But yes … money would drive the vehicle. And a chance to be the starter for a team with a defense good enough to contend for the playoffs with a few additions – particularly a quarterback – offensively.

Rod from Beyond

Have u ever been stuck in the Twilight Zone?

No.

Mandy from Jacksonville

How do you define insanity Mr. O? Well, just renewing my season tickets today for the 13th year is a pretty good start. I’m a glutton for punishment I guess, but I can’t help it. I’m a Teal Girl. I’m also hoping to see a nice fresh start at quarterback. Maybe, my 13th year will be a lucky number for this season-ticket holder when it comes to the Jaguars drafting a quarterback. I see that Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is in some of the predictions for us. Would you take Dwayne Haskins over him? What are the upsides and downsides of both? The last quarterback we drafted from Missouri didn’t go over too well.

Way to hold on, Mandy. With the exception of perhaps a year or two, you’ve had a tough go. And you’re far from alone. As far as Lock and Haskins go, Lock is considered to have the strongest arm among this class’ top quarterback prospects and he also is considered to have some footwork and accuracy issues. Haskins also has NFL arm strength, a good touch and showed the ability to look of defenders; like Lock, he reportedly has some footwork and accuracy issues. Both have strengths and flaws – as you would expect from what is considered an imperfect quarterback class.

Mark from Prescott, AZ

John, I know this is not the "real" dead time of year but help me please, how many days to free agency and the draft? Also, is there any truth to rumors that the legendary Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette is being brought in as the Jaguars.com senior writer's senior advisor?

Free agency begins March 13 and the 2019 NFL Draft is April 25-27. As far as longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. “Gene” Frenette as the Jaguars.com senior writer’s senior advisor … no. One man can only endure so much joy.

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