O-Zone: One last time

JACKSONVILLE – Happy Nick Foles Day everyone. (We are all happy, right?)

Let’s get to it …

Tim from Peoria, IL

Well, John … you’re right: It’s official now ... time to move on. While I don’t have complete faith in this decision, I hope I am eating my own words in seven months.

The Jaguars indeed released quarterback Blake Bortles Wednesday, releasing him several hours after officially announcing they had agreed to terms to sign quarterback Nick Foles as an unrestricted free agent. It was in that sense a franchise-defining day: The Bortles era ended shortly after the Foles era began. I often said this offseason that sometimes it was time to move on – and there was never was much question Bortles would be released this offseason. There are many topics to be covered following a strikingly busy Jaguars news day, but it’s appropriate for a quick word about Bortles. It’s well-known among even the most casual Jaguars follower that Bortles handled even the most difficult times of his five-year Jaguars career with uncommon class and professionalism. For this and many other reasons, I expect he always will hold a special place in the hearts and memories of many in the Jaguars’ world. He absolutely will be missed by many in the fan base, within the organization and in the media – even though it was time to move on.

Keith from DUUUVAL 103rd Street

#ByeByeBlake

Indeed

Mark from Archer, FL

Not sure how I feel about the Jags re-signing A.J. Cann. To me, it seemed he was a below-average guard. Is my perception of him wrong? Is he a better guard than he seemed? If not, then why re-sign him? Why not go after someone else or draft a rookie guard to replace him?

Your perception of him is slightly wrong, but you’re not alone: A lot of Jaguars fans were surprised when the Jaguars re-signed Cann Wednesday. No, Cann is not below average. He is, in fact, an average starting NFL guard. He got paid as such. Why didn’t the Jaguars go after something better in free agency? Because it’s impossible to have front-line, Pro Bowl-level players at every position; salary cap reality won’t allow it. What about the draft? The Jaguars have other pressing needs in the draft. Bottom line on Cann: There are better starting guards in the NFL and there are worse. He’s fine.

Alejandro from Mexico City, Mexico

I simply don't understand. Do you think that A.J. Cann is better than Jermey Parnell by the same amount? Right tackle is more important than offensive guard, Parnell has been better than Cann. Is it just the "young man’s game" thing?

Age likely was an issue. Cann is entering his fifth NFL season and Parnell will be entering his 10th. Cann also has been relatively healthy in four NFL seasons while Parnell has played through knee issues the past several seasons.

James from Socorro, NM

It's nice to see a downtrodden franchise be aggressive to acquire talented players and make a Super Bowl run. Too bad it's the Browns and not the Jaguars.

The Jaguars in the last five offseasons have signed Parnell, running back Chris Ivory, defensive tackle Malik Jackson, safety Tashaun Gipson, safety Barry Church, defensive end Calais Campbell, cornerback A.J. Bouye, guard Andrew Norwell, wide receiver Donte Moncrief, cornerback D.J. Hayden and Foles. Many of those players signed mind-blowingly large contracts. Many have worked out beyond expectations. As happens in free agency, a few have not. But any thought that the Jaguars have not been aggressive to acquire talented players is so off-base and incorrect as to be comical. Quick tip: Don’t think your team or any other can be ultra-aggressive in free agency every offseason. It’s not possible.

Blues Man from Jacksonville

I’m very much good with the Foles signing. My biggest concern is the offensive weapons he’ll have (virtually none). Foles had so much more offensive firepower to throw to in Philadelphia than he has here. We have no tight-end weapon and no wide receivers that scare any defense. Foles is more than a guy who hands the ball off; he’s a proficient passer. Unless we weaponize this offense, my fear is we won’t reap the rewards of signing Foles. Will we seriously address tight end and wide receiver with potential weapons, or just guys like we had with Moncrief?

I keep getting this question and the answer won’t likely change. I don’t see the Jaguars making high-profile moves at receivers this offseason. There’s not much available in free agency, and there isn’t much salary-cap space available anyway. I also don’t see the Jaguars going that route in the draft considering what’s available and considering the needs at tight end and along the offensive line. I do expect the Jaguars to draft tight end early. So, your answer depends on your definition of “potential weapons.” If you consider potential weapons draft selections and second-tier free agents, then yes … I expect the Jaguars to address the positions. If potential weapons must be highly-paid, big-name free agents then … no.

Jacob from New York, NY

Does signing Foles for that much hinder getting him getting support (quality tight end, wide receiver) in free agency?

Yes, as does the money spent in free agency in recent seasons, the need to re-sign players in the future and the lack of quality tight ends and receivers in free agency.

Roger9955 from Greenbush, Maine

How does overpaying a player – let’s say quarterback – automatically give said player instant credibility in the locker room???? #DTWD

It doesn’t, really – though underpaying a player can hurt the credibility on some level.

Hulk from Las Vegas, NV

Man, this just feels like the past already. All this action in the league and the only thing we did was sign Foles, who has yet to display the kind of play his new paycheck warrants. No offensive help. No tight end, no wide receiver and no offensive line. All the Jags do was sign a 30-something to his first starting quarterback contract. I'm usually very optimistic when it comes to this team, but this feels like a GIANT whiff! Tashaun Gipson left and Eric Weddle was on the market. I mean, come on! No way we add starting rookies to the offense and have "get-to-the-playoffs" success. This just feels stale … and depressing.

Don’t get blinded by the shine of free agency. The path to paradise doesn’t always lie in those fake, flashing lights. #theonlythingwedidwassignfoles

Frank from St. Augustine, FL

Anthony Barr agreed to a deal to join the Jets. The next day he changed his mind and is staying with the Vikings. This is why you don’t release Bortles before you have to.

It’s also why you don’t lowball a player you really want to sign. I’m not suggesting the Jets did this with Barr. I am suggesting that lowballing a player could increase the chance of such things.

Al from Orange Park, FL

Double whammy. First, we lose Gipson. Then, he ends up with the Texans.

That is a double whammy, and Gipson signing with the Houston Texans got a bit lost in the Foles frenzy of the last couple of days. Gipson’s loss will hurt the Jaguars and help the Texans. That’s real.

Bill from St. Petersburg, FL

Zone, I love this move of bringing Foles in...Can't wait for September!

Hey, one fer Foles … and one fer September …

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

Just because there are only 32 NFL general manager jobs in the world, doesn't mean they are currently filled by the 32 best people for the job. 88 Million??! Slam dunk move there, putting what little cap space we had in the grave. I also have been seeing a lot of "draft needs" in your responses lately. Isn't that and cap hell what buried this team in the early 2000s AND following the 2007 season? This team is allergic to successful quarterback acquisition and financial management.

… and one apparently fer not much at all …

Jaginator from Section 124

My biggest lesson from the last several days is that the average Jags fan apparently has no idea how much a middle-of-the-pack starting NFL quarterback gets paid. If you claim that the Foles signing is bad for (a myriad of) football reasons … cool, we can have an intelligent conversation about that. And I’ll probably agree with you on most points. But if you wanna tell me it’s bad because the Jags just paid too dang much – well, then you really need to learn more about the current salary levels of NFL players.

… and one fer reason …

Jerell from Columbia, SC

Just wanted to say Blake was a good guy horrible bust of a QB happy he is gone and hopefully Nick can make us quickly forget about him and the wasted pick and cap room he was. Thanks John. Have a good day!!!!!

… and finally, one fer old times’ sake, I guess?

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