O-Zone: One sad day

JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars reportedly have agreed to trade Calais Campbell.

Under jaguars.com and team rules, we can't officially report this on the site – but we can discuss it here in the O-Zone, and there's no reason to think Sunday's report isn't true.

Campbell, a defensive end and the best free-agent signing in Jaguars history, reportedly will be traded to the Baltimore Ravens for a fifth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. The trade is expected to become official at the start of the 2020 NFL League Year – which is scheduled for Wednesday.

Campbell is one of the most-loved, best players in franchise history. That means although his departure was not entirely unexpected considering his $15 million salary in 2020 – and considering he likely was to have played fewer snaps than he had the past three seasons – it's still a difficult move for many fans to accept and understand.

As such, we'll pretty much be all Campbell all the time in this O-Zone. It won't be a happy one. No one – team officials, fans, observers, media – wanted to see Campbell's time with the Jaguars end.

He will be missed. Greatly.

Let's get to it …

Bill from Jacksonville

What the hell is the deal with trading Calais?

The Jaguars agreed to trade Campbell because he was scheduled for a $15 million salary and because he was going to play a smaller role with fewer snaps – and because of the fifth-round selection. On paper and in a vacuum, trading him absolutely makes sense. On paper and in a vacuum, it's a great deal for the Jaguars because they got value for an aging player who wasn't as effective in 2019 as he had been in 2017 and 2018. On paper and in a vacuum, it's a victory for the Jaguars. But transactions such a trading the most popular Jaguars player in recent memory don't happen on paper or in a vacuum. They happen in real life and real people understandably hate to see Campbell go. I understand none of what's written in this paragraph will appears those fans angry with the Jaguars right now, but that's "the deal with trading Campbell."

Jonathan from Jacksonville

Big O, can you please share some light on why the Jags traded Campbell – outside salary cap and/or age reasons? I just think it's a bad history repeating itself in our organization.

There really is no reason outside salary cap and age.

Bill from Danvsille, NY

So, let's trade a beloved member of our team who loves this team to make room for a disgruntled one who does not want to be here. Makes sense!

Trading Campbell isn't quite as simple as clearing salary-cap room to pay defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, though in cases like all pieces are part of the big puzzle. This is about an overall approach of maximizing cap space while at the same time trying to get maximum value for aging – and to some degree, declining – players. When such moves involve popular players and good people such as Campbell and cornerback A.J. Bouye, the moves are going to bring a lot of anger and criticism. Hence, the current mood of many longtime Jaguars fans.

Alan from Bangor, ME

One fer the Mayor. Can they just go ahead and announce the induction of big No. 93 into the Pride? I know he wasn't a Jaguar very long but definitely an all-time great and fan favorite.

Agreed. Wholeheartedly.

Brian from Atlantic Beach, FL

If true that Calais is gone for a fifth-rounder it seems to me that management needs to fess up that this is a rebuild. Personally, I would've preferred to know before renewing season tix. Given all that, do you feel they should trade Yannick now while he's got some trade value?

I confess I'm not sure what "fessing up" means. The Jaguars are supposed to say they're not trying to win? Or that they believe they're not going to the playoffs? Teams don't say such things. And anyway … that's not the belief. And that's not the Jaguars' approach. What they're doing is trying to maximize value for players with high salary cap figures who aren't playing to the level of those figures. As far as trading Ngakoue … yes, I probably would trade him if I could get reasonable value in return, but it doesn't matter what I think. I don't believe this is the route the Jaguars plan to take.

Jags Fan 818 from Jacksonville

Trading Calais Campbell is a mistake! MISTAKE!! I'm more upset about this trade than our second game in London ... and I'm not a happy camper about that!

So, one fer … well, fer not very much.

JV from Iowa

Wow. I think I read in this column we wouldn't have to worry about No. 93 going anywhere. That gave me hope that, though there were some head-scratching moves in the past, you didn't see the possibility of us getting rid of such a solid team leader. The Walter Payton Man of the Year, the most prestigious off-the-field honor in football ... for a fifth-rounder. The heart of our locker room, the best free-agent signing in team history. Think that might have been the last dumb decision I can take. Peace out, Jags.

I don't think you read in this column that Campbell wasn't going anywhere; I think what you read was that I expected the Jaguars to figure out a way to retain Campbell – but that him playing somewhere else next season absolutely was possible. As far as this being a "dumb decision …" that remains to be seen. It's unpopular, it is true. But it remains to be seen if it's "dumb."

Josh from Atlanta, GA

Sure hate to see him go. Calais has been nothing short of a phenomenal player and professional. The mentor role he played for Josh Allen is invaluable. I get the contract for slightly declining play was too high and he deserves to be paid. My only concern is a fifth for him was too low in my opinion. Anyhow, more cap space, another pick, and Calais gets to use his final high level years for a team actually competing for a Super Bowl. This draft is going to be INTERESTING.

One fer Calais – and make no mistake: Everyone around the Jaguars agrees that they hate to see Campbell go. Considering Campbell's age and the fact that he's probably going to play more of a part-time role moving forward, a fifth-round selection is probably about right. And considering that the alternative may have been to release him, a fifth-round selection isn't bad.

Sam from Orlando, FL

I understand the need to move on from some of the few talented veterans we have because of a dire cap situation. What I don't understand is how the general manager who helped get us in that cap situation without many wins outside of one outlier season to show for it remains in charge. Regardless I put my trust back in that GM because I have no other options. He promptly said signing Yan to a long-term deal was Priority No. 1. I have no idea if the market or value makes that wise but it is what the GM said. That doesn't appear to be going well. So, where's the reason for optimism; I'm frankly struggling.

I can't help you with the optimism part. People who have lost faith in Caldwell and the Jaguars' decision-making will only be won back if the team wins next season. And yes … Caldwell said after the season extending Ngakoue's contract was Priority No. 1. Now, the reality is that that must be Priority No. 1 within a remotely reasonable contract for the production and the value of the player, but it was nonetheless Priority No. 1.

Jerell from Columbia, SC

What are the Jags doing!? Now Calais!? Why would Jaguars Owner Shad Khan keep a head coach and GM when the team is clearly rebuilding and rebuilding because this regime has failed? I don't understand; no wonder Yannick and other players want out. This team will be lucky to win one game next year. They won't be competitive and unless they are Tanking for Trevor I don't understand. I won't be spending any of my money on tickets this year. Why should you have to pay to see a high-school team?

Jerell is not "all in."

Michael from Orlando, FL

Sigh. While I admit confusion on the larger strategy - I can rationalize trading Calais. Give a good, classy player a better shot at a ring.

Trading Campbell may indeed result in a classy, good player getting a better chance to win a Super Bowl. But the Jaguars traded Campbell because the trade made sense given the team's salary-cap situation, level of play of the player and the value in return. Being nice may have played a part of it, but it wasn't the primary reason.

Pat from Dival Conty

"Jaguars to trade Calais Campbell to Ravens for 2020 draft pick, per CBS" Say it ain't so!

It's so. And yes … it's sad.

Advertising