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O-Zone: Oh, the humanity

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

Brian from Jacksonville

I get it that you like Myles Jack. I do as well, but it's clear he was mostly ineffective at middle linebacker last season. I still believe Jack can be a great outside linebacker when given the opportunity. However, if Jack is asked to return to the middle, my guess is he will continue to struggle and the Jags will remain vulnerable against the rush. How about a phenom defensive tackle? That'll help.

I don't like or dislike Jack, and I've never said he had a great season in 2019; he did not. But I have correctly noted that Jack is not a bad middle linebacker, and that a lot of his issues last season were because he was trying to cover at times for a revolving situation at weak-side linebacker after the sudden offseason retirement of Telvin Smith. Jack was not bad in the middle in 2018 when Smith was in the lineup, though many observers are revising history and analyzing the situation as if that were the case. To say he was "mostly ineffective" is grossly overstating it by any measure – and the Jaguars absolutely could find a middle linebacker this offseason, which would allow Jack to move to the weak side. Either way, you're absolutely correct that help at defensive tackle would help Jack and the run defense. Jack wasn't great against the run in 2019 – and he made a few really noticeable errors – but if the team doesn't get better on the interior of the defensive line it won't matter much who's playing middle linebacker in 2020.

Scott from Jacksonville

Oh, and thanks for getting that stupid song stuck in my head. I expect that was your intention because we all know you're mean. I actually listened to Culture Club and similar stuff quite a bit as a teen. If I could go back in time, I'd punch myself in the face and tell me to knock it off.

Everyda-a-a-ay is like survival (surv-i-val…) …

Sean from Jacksonville

Good luck to Dareus. He was awesome when healthy. Why would Caldwell say he could bring him back at some point and time? I'm not seeing Dareus do that.

The Jaguars this week opted to not pick up the option on defensive tackle Marcell Dareus' contract for this season, making that decision primarily because of Dareus' $20 million salary. General Manager David Caldwell said Tuesday the Jaguars would be open to bringing Dareus back on a restructured contract. Why would he say that? The better question is, "Why wouldn't he say that?" Dareus is a good player. The Jaguars liked him. Yes, it's relatively rare for a player to return to a team after not having his option renewed, but it's not unprecedented. The Jaguars would be silly to rule it out.

Jeremy from Omaha, NE

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady earned more than $22 million a year only once in his career. At $22 million/year, Yann can walk. That selfishness is what handicap's a team's ability to have enough good players to win.

It's not selfish for a player to want as much money as a team will pay. It's up to Ngakoue and his representation to determine what he will realistically get on the open market and if hitting free agency will indeed be the best thing for that player's career – financially and otherwise – in the long run. Though it can be argued in this case that might not be the case, the reality is no one knows for certain. Ngakoue absolutely should want as much as possible. But the Jaguars must determine if what he wants makes sense considering the production level and value of player.

Jackson from St. Augustine, FL

If Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah is at 9, do we take him?


Jeremy from Jacksonville Beach, FL

Mr. O, it sounds like Head Coach Doug Marrone is saying there will be a quarterback competition this offseason and that ideally every position would have open competition. However, I believe you've mentioned in the past that today's NFL does not really lend itself to having players compete for starting jobs (limited amount of time and reps). How do you envision this quarterback competition playing out?

I expect the Jaguars to continue to talk about quarterback Nick Foles and quarterback Gardner Minshew II in equal terms throughout the offseason because there's little reason for them not to do so. I expect the Foles and Minshew to enter the offseason program "competing" for the job, and I would expect Minshew to open the regular season as the starter at least in part because of the spark and energy he showed last season – and because he went 6-6 as a starter. I also think that there are enough legitimate questions about Minshew that it's entirely feasible that Foles plays an important role and starts at some point next season. This is not an ideal scenario because you ideally want more clarity at the quarterback position. Life ain't always ideal.

Shawn from the Mean Streets of Arlington

When was the last time we franchise-tagged a player? And who was it? Thanks, O.

Kicker Josh Scobee, 2012.

Brett from Seattle, WA

Man, I have a mini heart attack every time I read one of those cryptic tweets from Yan. I love defensive end Calais Campbell, but he's probably only got a couple years left in the tank. If we let him walk, we open up a lot of cap room right? Why not move that over to paying Yann, then we have him and Josh Allen as our bookends – and why not go and use our second first-rounder on pass rusher Yetur Gross-Matos from Penn State and keep a solid rotation going for defensive ends. It looks good in my mind, and my mind is amazeballs. Not sure why I'm not getting a paycheck from Khan.

Wow, your mind is amazeballs! The Jaguars like Ngakoue a lot and they want to pay him well. The question remains not whether the Jaguars can theoretically create the cap space to pay him what he wants, but whether they believe that they should pay him what he wants. A way to look at it from the team's perspective might be this. If the Jaguars pay Ngakoue $22 million a year – i.e., if they pay him top-of-the-market money – and he registers the same number of sacks the next season as he has registered the past two seasons, would it be perceived as a good signing? Or would the Jaguars be roundly criticized for the move? The guess here is a $22 million-per-year player would be perceived as a bust, and the cries of "Pay Yann" would quickly be replaced by "What were the Jaguars thinking?" This is not to say the Jaguars shouldn't sign Ngakoue. It is to say that the decision isn't as clear-cut as just saying, "Pay Yann!"

Bill from Jacksonville

John, it didn't happen Tuesday, so when will Jaguars fans get a complete explanation as to why Jalen Ramsey was traded? Jalen wasn't an end-of-the-roster player, or some solid starter; we're talking about arguably the most talented player the team has ever drafted. Three years of elite production, then poof … gone. Jaguars fans deserve an in-depth explanation as to what happened, why it happened, and the team's thought process. Do we not?

It sounds by your question you expected either Caldwell or Head Coach Doug Marrone to use their podium appearance at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine to detail last season's trade involving cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Such public offerings are rare, because the NFL is more of a move-forward and look-to-the-next season league. Ramsey's relationship with the team soured. He didn't want to be here. When it became apparent he wasn't going to change his mind and want to be here for the long-term, the decision was made to trade him – particularly when they were able to get two first-round selections for him from the Los Angeles Rams. But this shouldn't be perceived as the specific fault of anyone involved, or as stemming from one particular incident. Keeping Ramsey "happy" was going to be difficult, and the thought here was that something was going to happen at some point for him to "want out." I liked Ramsey and enjoyed covering him, but I do suspect that dissatisfaction with his current circumstance will be a pattern in his career – though my suspicions about such things aren't always correct. Either way, I doubt team officials will feel much incentive any time to get into an official he-said, they-said blow-by-blow regarding his departure. The team reached a point where enough was enough. The team got value in exchange for him. It was a shame it didn't work out for the long term, but it in retrospect wasn't exactly a shock.

Biff from Jacksonville

Has running the "Ask O-Zone" column caused you to loathe humanity a bit more than before you started the column?

No. I loathe it the same.