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O-Zone: Old reliable

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Chris from Stratford, CT:
I understand your positioning on David Caldwell and Gus Bradley saying, "Let's build through the draft and pick up stopgaps through free agency." Regardless of their philosophies, shouldn't they still be doing their due diligence and at least inquiring what teams are looking for in regards to trades? For instance, see what the Vikings want for Harvin. Everyone thought Boldin would garner a first- or second-round selection, but he was nabbed by the Ravens for a fourth-round pick. I'm not saying, "Let's make the move," but I think they at least have the responsibility to look into different situations to make this team better.
John: First, let's clarify something: using free agency as a supplement is not quite the same as getting "stop gaps" in free agency. There's nothing wrong with acquiring a core player as a free agent now and then; you just don't want to make that your primary means of acquiring talent. Regarding the rest of your question, I was trying to check to see when anyone wrote that the Jaguars hadn't looked into what the Vikings wanted for Harvin. They may have, and if not, they probably will. As you said, due diligence is important. Whether they think Harvin is worth whatever the Vikings ask or not is another matter. He's talented and has made big plays, but he also has brought baggage and often hasn't been healthy or available enough to be consistently productive. Look, Caldwell and Bradley have a plan. They're planning to follow it to do what is necessary to make the Jaguars better. That's their sole responsibility. That sometimes will include pursuing players rumored to be available in a trade. Sometimes, it won't.
Ryan from Springfield, MO:
Can we please remind folks that Percy Harvin is highly susceptible to injury, most notably migranes? He has missed more games than would benefit the Jaguars.
John: You just reminded them.
Tony from St. Louis, MO:
How great would it be to have LaRon Landry play beside his brother?
John: Never say never in an NFL offseason, but this is one I don't see happening. The Jaguars like Dwight Lowery, and he has played well, so the two Landrys playing alongside each other isn't likely.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
At this time of year you can bet on one thing from NFL teams and that is they are blowing smoke from coast to coast. It's best to not believe one word out of any of the teams, because no fool is going to show his cards.
John: Some fool probably would.
Jordan from San Antonio, TX:
With the new salary cap, I'm seeing a lot of teams are going to have issues getting down below the cap or making moves with their cap space. Each year contracts seem to one up each other. It doesn't appear that trend can continue. Will we be seeing a downward trend in the overall value of NFL contracts in general as teams become more conscious of cap space and salaries?
John: No. You may see a brief movement of big contracts and small contracts – a brief move toward more haves and have nots, if you will – but the flat cap that is creating this situation isn't expected to last long. Also, whatever the cap figure, owners' inclinations are to spend and drive contracts up. Historically, that trend doesn't change.
Ann from Brooklyn, NY:
Serious question. What's your secret to keeping that lean and fit body of yours?
John: Beer, pizza, tacos and years and years of stagnation.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
Pope John, you are a wise man and bring shrewd words when everyone chooses to panic. That logo IS really growing on me now.
John: I'm not that wise. But I've been around long enough to know how people respond to something new. There is a period of shock, followed by a period of adjustment, then often people realize they're OK with something. Sort of like having kids.
Bobby from Blaine, WA:
When signing a free agent or renegotiating a contract with a player, where does the guarantee money come from? Does it come from or account against the salary cap? Does it come out of the owners pocket and does not count against the salary cap?
John: It comes from the owners' pockets, or in the case of owners who don't carry that sort of cash, it comes from their bank accounts – or those of the team. A signing bonus is just that – an upfront check for the amount of the bonus. As for its effect on the cap, it is generally divided evenly over the life of the contract. In other words, if a player signed a four-year deal with a $4 million signing bonus in 2013, the bonus would count $1 million against the team's cap in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Dylan from Lawrence, KS:
We have heard about a more aggressive defense with corners pressing the receivers more. With a deep draft class at defensive end would you expect the Jags to pick a cornerback if there is one in the Top 5 on their board? Even if we keep Mathis and Cox, it would appear this will be important to our new style of defense.
John: Cornerback is important, but there doesn't appear to be a corner worthy of being selected at No. 2 overall.
Hunter from Jacksonville:
I just saw the name Matt Jones in the O-Zone. I'll catch you later, probably around the draft. You're doing great work (except for letting the name Matt Jones make it in the O-Zone, of course). Make it a great day.
John: You're a man of principles. I don't admire that as much as I probably should.
Nick from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Bleacher Report ranked Monroe the No. 8 left tackle in the league. Can we show the man some love for getting some love?
John: While I wrote after this past season that he could have played better late last season, I'm a big believer that Eugene Monroe is a strength for the Jaguars and a key piece moving forward. I also have a lot of respect for a lot of different media outlets. But is it OK if just for today, I don't get overhyped about this Bleacher Report ranking? I'm just sort of tired.
Rob from Fleming Island, FL:
Can't you and Lags take Tony B? His know-it-all attitude on your Wednesday show is annoying. Most would truly rather hear more insight from you and lags versus his ramblings.
John: I certainly can take Boselli. I tend not to challenge him physically because I'm not sure Lageman can take him anymore. Safety first.
Blaine from Jacksonville:
I actually like the new logo. I am wondering, however, if we will be seeing it on the helmets for the 2013 season? Also, I feel like you should rock a bow-tie for your next video interview. From one classy jaguar to another.
John: My understanding is it will be on the helmets next season. And as far as the bow-tie, that would entail me spending money on one. For Alligator Arms Ozone, that's a tough call.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
New on-the-field seating, group-area party decks, healthy options dining, and new Teal Deals via your phone. All things on the horizon for our team. Say what you want about the team. Shad is determined to make this the best game day experience in the NFL, bar none. It is going to be a great year.
John: Shad Khan is determined on that front, and so is everyone in the Jaguars' front office. Improving the fan experience has been a major initiative, which is why it improved in 2012 and will improve even more in 2013.
Andrew from St. Augustine, FL:
Why no talk of Montell Owens? He always seems to excel whenever he gets on the field....
John: Indeed he does. He has been a big-time special teams player, and this past season he played well as a running back. We talk about Montell Owens here when people ask about him. Now, you have asked about him, so now we are talking about him. See how that worked?
Laurie from Neptune Beach, FL:
Percy Harvin is an immensely talented player that has been a problem everywhere he's been. He was a problem in high school. He was a problem at Florida and he has been a problem in Minnesota. Unless he actually had a Michael Jordan-type pedigree, six rings, he doesn't warrant the comparison and isn't worth the headache. He'd demand a very high price and he hasn't even had a 1,000-yard season yet, let alone won a ring.
John: There are many factors to consider when determining whether to acquire a player. Those are some of the factors to consider with Harvin.
ThreeDogs from Jacksonville:
O-man, your "response" to John from St. Augustine in your latest Mailbag episode had me cracking up. I have never laughed so hard in my life. It was simply priceless. You have a new fan.
John: Getting knocked down is always funny.

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