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O-Zone: Out of there

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Brian from Jacksonville

Know if the Jags have any plans for Jordan Smith next year? He was a former fourth-round choice who seems to have been forgotten.

Jaguars outside linebacker Jordan Smith, a fourth-round selection by the team in the 2021 NFL Draft, sustained a season-ending knee injury in organized team activities last June. The plan is for Smith to continue rehabilitating and try to earn a role/playing time in 2023. It's not that the Jaguars have forgotten about Smith. But when players are injured and out for an entire season, they typically aren't discussed much publicly. Also: Smith was a developmental player when drafted and played just two games as a rookie. He must play his way into the conversation.

Howard from Homestead, FL

Our condolences to C.J. Beathard on the loss of his grandfather. He was a real legend.

Bobby Beathard, longtime NFL executive and grandfather of Jaguars backup quarterback C.J. Beathard, indeed died Monday at 86. He had a remarkable career as a personnel executive, serving as the general -manager of Washington (1978-1988) and the San Diego Chargers (1990-2000) – and also serving as director of player personnel with the Miami Dolphins (1972-1977). He built the Washington teams that won Super Bowls following the 1982, 1987 and 1991 seasons and built the Chargers team that played in the Super Bowl following the 1994 season. He's a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is considered one of the best talent evaluators in NFL history. A football life very well lived and a legend indeed.

Don from Marshall, NC

Just to have a rookie play and contribute is huge. One player at a time, you start to see what they bring to the table. Young and growing with stud quarterback is a good outlook. All the kids are looking for that Jaguars authentic 16 jersey. It's happening O-Zone and Go Jaguars!

Don remains "all in."

Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL

John: If you weren't constrained by other factors (scheme, roster, etc.) where would you play Travon Walker? Tackle, traditional end or outside linebacker?

I would ideally want him to take advantage of his versatility, but I probably would want him lining up primarily with his hand on the ground. That was as a rookie. He's young and will be entering his second NFL season next season. We'll see how he develops.

Jason from North Pole, AK

I am still trying to fully understand the contract conversation. It sounds like signing bonus, guaranteed money and cash are the same thing in contract language? If the owner pays that signing bonus in the first year, then it is prorated over the following years in the salary cap, does the owner essentially get reimbursed with revenue throughout the life of the contract?

It's tricky trying to explain the entire NFL salary cap in one answer, and I'm not sure I understand the part of your question about the owner getting "reimbursed with revenue." I'll explain it as simply as I know how. A signing bonus is paid immediately to a player upon signing, with its effect on the salary cap prorated over the life of the contract. Guaranteed money is just that – guaranteed money paid to a player in whatever year the contract states. And guaranteed money impacts the cap in the year it was guaranteed. So, a player who signs a five-year contract with $10 million guaranteed in the first year of the contract and a $20 million signing bonus has a cap hit in the first year of $14 million with $4 million of the signing bonus prorated into every year for the next four seasons. The player's salaries for those final four years would also count against the cap – with the salaries being whatever the team and player negotiated. The guaranteed money and signing bonuses essentially are ways for the team to decide the impact on the cap each year. If it's guaranteed money, the team can ensure it all goes into a specific year. If it's signing bonus, then it's spread uniformly.

George from Arlington, VA

Are we getting new uniforms?

The Jaguars under NFL rules are eligible to change uniforms this offseason because their last uniform change was five years ago – in 2018 – when they switched from the multi-colored helmet look to the current look. But there are no plans for the team to change uniform design this offseason.

Chris from Winchester, OH

You mentioned in your answer to Scott from Jax that you couldn't see the NFL doing NCAA overtime rules. But isn't that essentially what they did with the postseason this year? Thank God we (so far) haven't had to endure that.

Not really. College overtime rules dictate that teams start on the 25-yard line with each getting a possession. If the teams are tied after that, they each get another chance in a second overtime – in which a team scoring a touchdown must go for two-point conversions. If the teams move into a third overtime, teams attempt two-point conversions until one converts and the other doesn't. The NFL did move a bit in this direction with the postseason this season, ensuring that both teams will get at least one offensive possession – but the team that scores first after that wins. I wasn't a huge fan of the rule change. I actually was fine with the old "sudden-death" rule with the first team to score winning because the last I checked it wasn't against the rules to play defense.

Michael from New Orleans, LA

I don't think the NFL is rigged or that there is some conspiracy by the league to leverage poor officiating to affect game outcomes. Maybe the refs are just not good at their jobs, but it's also possible that refs are accepting bribes or betting on games. It happened in the NBA, I don't see why people are just dismissing that it could happen in the NFL.

First, NFL referees are good at their jobs. Second, I don't discount that this could happen in the NFL. Anything is possible, but remember: Taking bribes is illegal and officials could face jail time if found guilty. That's significant deterrent in the real world. And given the high-profile nature of the NFL – and the constant scrutiny – doing so would be phenomenally risky. Is it absurd to think it could happen? No. What is absurd is whenever there is a bad call or a ruling fans don't understand or a borderline call that goes against one's team, the immediate thought for some people is that the games are fixed. Or that there is something untoward. Officiating is hard. There are 22 men moving at high speeds with contact and potential for penalties on every play. It's not going to be perfect; there's going to be controversy and misunderstanding in every game. This always has been the case. It's amplified now because of social media. I doubt it's going to get de-amplified any time soon. People just love a conspiracy theory too much.

Marcus from Jacksonville

With all the top-tier quarterbacks in the AFC right now, do you think it's possible that some of those guys eventually leave – either through free agency or a forced trade – to try and get on an NFC team with an easier path to the Super Bowl?

I would be surprised at this. First, franchise-level quarterbacks rarely change teams early in their careers or in their primes because their teams usually move quickly to secure them to long-term deals. Also: Such a move runs counter to how franchise quarterbacks think. If a quarterback did force a move to get to a team with an easier path to the Super Bowl, it would probably be a good thing for the team he was leaving. He's not the kind of quarterback you want leading your team.

Matt from Jacksonville

Do you think that the Pro Bowl has become a complete farce? Tyler Huntley and Derek Carr's Pro Bowl nominations turn the whole thing into a joke. Huntley threw two touchdowns and three interceptions in six games as a starter for the Baltimore Ravens. He's an average backup at best. Carr lost his starting quarterback position with the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 17. If you were Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, would you even attend the Pro Bowl this year? I'm surprised that J.P. Shadrick wasn't nominated as an alternate AFC QB. Maybe he was busy that weekend?

The Pro Bowl has had weird participants for years, particularly at quarterback. This is because the front-line players at that spot sometimes drop out and are often playing in the Super Bowl. It's sort of the nature of the position. And yes … I would have attended the game if I were Lawrence; it's a cool event and an honor. But I'm not surprised Shadrick wasn't named an alternate. When he wasn't named a starter, he informed officials he wouldn't be participating. If he ain't startin', he's departin'.