O-Zone: One favor

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Nicholas from Moagdishu, Somalia

Dear Mr. Knowledge of All Things Jaguars and NFL: I want to continue beating a dead horse about accruing a season under the current collective bargaining agreement. While it has been stated that a player must report at least 30 days prior to the first regular-season game and play in at least six games to accrue a season toward free agency, what would happen if a player who is on the last year of his contract reports 15 days prior to the first regular-season game but plays in all 16 games? I assume he would collect all his game checks, but would it be at the league minimum for veterans or would it be at the salary dictated in the last year of his contract or would the club have to negotiate a special one year, non-season-accruing contract? How would the salary work if the team wanted to retain the player (after the non-accrued season) and have him play his last year?

The player in your scenario would be fined $30,000 a day for the days he didn’t report, but he would make his entire salary based on his contract. The accrued season is a way of counting years toward free agency, but it doesn’t have anything to do with how a player’s contract is structured or what he earns. As for your last question about the team wanting to retain the player after his non-accrued season, since we’re essentially talking about Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue we’ll use him as the example: If Ngakoue opted to report after the 30-day cutoff in your scenario, the Jaguars then would be able to offer him a one-year contract to make him a restricted free agent. The contract in that scenario likely would be offered at a level to give the Jaguars right of first refusal with a first-round draft selection as compensation from the signing team to the Jaguars. Those restrictions typically are restrictive enough to keep another team from extending an offer, thereby keeping the player – Ngakoue, in this case – with the original team for another season.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, what has to go wrong in your day to post an article during "nap time"?

Nearly everything.

Tom from Charleston, SC

Please explain what reason that Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith may be using for not communicating with the organization or the league. He just got a new contract, so it appears that for whatever reason he is "toying" with the Jags organization. Has he an ax to grind?

Sometimes, the only person who can explain a person’s thinking is the person doing the thinking. This is one of those occasions.

John from Jacksonville

Your series on the 25 games has me wanting to see highlight reels of the games. I might not be privy to the scoop, but is there a place to find highlight reels for historical games on demand?

This seems to vary by game. Some games – such as the Jaguars’ victory over the Denver Broncos in the AFC Divisional Playoff following the 1996 season – are available in full on YouTube because they have been made available by the NFL. There are also extensive highlights of some games available by googling while some games come up empty.

Tom from Shanghai, China

Seems to me the NFL is currently in a “haves-and-have-nots” situation with regards to cap room with the haves either being perennial losers who are rebuilding (like the Jags were) or teams trying to win now with a quarterback on his rookie deal (like, say, the Los Angeles Rams). On the open market, some team with salary-cap room will overpay for a Ngakoue-good-not-great-type a lot more than the Jags would or can, right? So, what makes you think he'll stay?

I believe Ngakoue will end up staying with the Jaguars because I believe the sides will come to an agreement at some point. The Jaguars, remember, likely will have the leverage next offseason of being able to use the franchise tag in 2020; that could entice Ngakoue to sign a long-term deal. The sides also could come to an agreement this offseason, with Ngakoue perhaps being willing to take a touch under the often-mentioned $20-million-a-year plateau because the contract would be reached before his fourth season and before he’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent; getting the deal done early could be incentive to sign for a bit less. The sides also could agree to something during the season, which again could be early enough for some incentive to sign for a bit less. That’s all theory based on me believing both sides ideally want to make something happen to keep Ngakoue in Jacksonville. If Ngakoue is dead set on a contract on the level of Frank Clark (Kansas City) or Demarcus Lawrence (Dallas), then the chances that he will stay would go down. I just don’t know that the Jaguars are going to offer $20 million a year, especially before the 2019 season.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

When I was going to games in the 2000s, the team would play some song by Lil Jon (I think) that got everyone hyped before kickoff. And they played Shout by the Isley brothers every time the team score. I recall that it was cool. And people liked it.

 OK.

Gary from Jacksonville Beach

After reading this quote from you the other day, "I always thought nothing was more boring and tedious than intentional ignorance. It turns out undeserved arrogance comes close." I now realize you are a man of many talents and deep understanding. Was this from your days as a political analyst?

No, it was from my days of being blessed with the ability to believe whatever came out of my own mouth. Those days are gone. Now, it’s just fun to see if others believe it.

DreKarr from Atlanta, GA

I look at Quincy Williams’ size and can’t help think about former Falcon great Jessie Tuggle – aka, The Hammer. If he is anything like that, we are in good hands for the foreseeable future.

There are similarities between Williams and Tuggle because of size, I suppose. But Tuggle was an inside linebacker and Williams is an outside linebacker, so I don’t know that’s it’s a direct correlation. From a style standpoint, Williams looks very comparable to the player he likely will replace in the lineup this season: Smith. Both are incredibly fast and athletic, and Williams – like Smith – seems to have a knack for big, impact plays. That’s not to say Williams will be as good as Smith when Smith was playing at his best. When Smith was at that level, he was one of the NFL’s best weak-side linebackers; Williams still must show he can make the jump from a smaller school in college to the NFL. But does he have the skill set to be a similar player to Smith? Perhaps.

Bradley from Oceanside, CA

I’m not going to deny that Sweet Home Alabama is a great song played by an all-time great band. However, it is one of several songs that should not be played for 10 years under penalty of a lengthy jail sentence.

Sometimes people say things that just don’t make any sense at all.

Nick from Palatka, FL

Hey Z: The offense looks much improved, the D-line is solid, and the secondary is adequate. I don't see Telvin Smith returning this season, at least not in any kinda shape to make a meaningful contribution. So, the only question I have about the 2019 Jaguars is "When Derrick Henry busts through the weak side of the line is there anyone on the team who can stop him and not get swatted away like some annoying little bug?"

That’s a fair question considering what Titans running back Derrick Henry did to the Jaguars last December. It was an awful performance by an otherwise very good defense. At times that night in Nashville, it looked like the Jaguars wanted to be somewhere else. But a lot of teams have one-off dismal performances through the course of an NFL season. Considering the Jaguars’ defense played at a high level much of last season, I think it’s fair to put the performance against Henry more in the one-off category than in the category of a game that defined the season.

Pedal Bin from Hampshire, UK

Oh Mighty ‘O’ / King of Funk, I was surprised when your referred to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” as their ”anthem.” Would that not be the genius that is “Freebird?” Also, any truth in the rumor that the classic Skynyrd tune “Gimme Three Steps” was based on an incident involving a certain journalist that we cannot mention any more?

There is no evidence that longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. “Gene” Frenette ever cut a rug in a place called the Jug with a girl named Linda Lou.

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