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O-Zone: Plenty of time

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Red from O-Zone Comments Section

Hi, John. Hope you've stocked up on your vertigo meds. You got a lot more spinning to do as the Jaguars' front office continues to blow it up and start over.

I'm getting many questions and comments along these lines these days, and I am struck by the angry – and surprised – tone. I'm struck, too, by the confusion of some observers and fans over the moves. It long has been known the Jaguars would be in a tight salary cap situation this offseason, and parting ways with defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and cornerback A.J. Bouye was close to a foregone conclusion. The cap figure of defensive end Calais Campbell also was such that his release – while not a foregone conclusion – was possible, and it was discussed as such in this forum in recent weeks. All three have been good players for the Jaguars the past three seasons, but all are deep into their NFL careers and for various reasons didn't produce at near the level in 2019 as they had in 2017 and 2018. Also: The Jaguars went 5-11 and 6-10 the past two seasons, so it wasn't as if there were a slew of untouchable players on the roster. The anger and confusion seem to focus on the word "rebuild," with some fans calling for the front office to make some sort of public proclamation that the Jaguars are "tearing it down" and giving up on the 2020 season. I don't see such a public statement happening. Whatever you call it – a rebuild, a retool, a salary-cap purge – what the Jaguars are doing is trying to get their cap in a positive situation for future offseasons and they're stockpiling draft selections – and therefore, stockpiling young talent. Do I have spinning to do? Nah. It was pretty evident for some time this offseason likely would be some version of this. I can't control it if people somehow are surprised by it – or if they see it as a bad thing.

Jerry from Hero, FL

Sorry to see Campbell leave, but what struck me about his farewell – as well as that of Bouye – was the love and respect they both had for the Jaguar Organization, the Khan Family and Jacksonville. I guess this runs counter to the "everyone wants out of Jacksonville" narrative put forth by some readers. What do you say Zone?

I say the farewells of Campbell and Bouye run counter to the "everyone wants out of Jacksonville" narrative put forth by some readers.

Jeff from Keystone Heights, FL

Given the number of players, key starters and contributors – we have lost in various ways the last couple years, we have to be really active in free agency, right? We need starters at several positions and although we have a load of picks, we know to be competitive we cannot depend on more than two or three rookies to play at a high level. Even more so if we end up losing defensive end Yannick Ngakoue.

I don't expect the Jaguars to be active in the upcoming free-agency period, certainly not if by "active" you mean front-line "splash" signings that set the market.

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

A fifth-rounder for Calais doesn't seem too great a deal for the Jags, but I'm just gonna go out on a limb and guess they shopped Calais a bit to test his market value, consulted with him about where he'd like to go and made the best deal possible.

You're not far out on the limb.

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAF. I sense from your frequent comments that you prefer Gardner Minshew II over Nick Foles as our starting quarterback next season. I'm not convinced with the little that we saw last season of Foles that he isn't our starting quarterback. He struggled due to our offensive line being weak during the stretch of games he played. If our offensive line gets better, I would think Foles' experience gives him the edge. We'll see. Is your lean toward Minshew because he might be more of a fan favorite?

I don't necessarily "prefer" Minshew over Foles. I haven't seen enough from Minshew to be remotely sure he's better than Foles, and I didn't see Foles do anything in his four games last season to be remotely sure he should start. That means neither is the dead-solid best option. Given that situation, it makes sense to start the player who won six games – and who at various times energized his teammates – rather than the one who won zero games. As for your thought that Foles struggled last season because of the offensive line … there's some truth to that. But a quarterback also can help an offensive line with decision-making, quick release and efficient running of the offense. It wasn't necessarily Foles' fault, but that didn't happen when he played last season. Also: While I expect the Jaguars' offensive line to improve because of continuity and the continued to return to full strength of left tackle Cam Robinson, I don't expect it to suddenly be one of the league's best units. That means Minshew's mobility and escapability could again be an asset. It's for all those reasons I expect Minshew to start next season. That doesn't mean I think Foles can't make another important appearance at quarterback for the Jaguars, but I doubt he'll start the season in the role.

Andy from Whimple, England

So we are officially tanking if there is a season in the fall?


Keith from Palatka, FL

I know this is a highly unlikely scenario, but since defensive end Yannick Ngakoue had the non-exclusive franchise tag applied to him, and if another team chooses to sign him (which, as previously stated, is unlikely since they give up two first round draft choices if we choose not to match the offer) in what years would we get the first round picks-this year and next year?

The scenario is as unlikely as unlikely gets in the NFL, but if it happened the Jaguars would receive the signing team's next two first-round selections.

Sick of this team and Ashamed to be a fan

The plan for 2020 is apparently to tank and go 0-16 then keep the front office for "hard work done" and then go 0-16 in 2021. This whole organization should be banned from the NFL for ineptitude. Khan has zero clue what the hell he is doing unless his goal is to be the biggest laughingstock owner of all time. I don't even think Caldwell knows how to tie his own damn shoes he is so useless.

That's not the plan.

Steve from Duval

So is we rebuilding or "staying competitive?" What's the point of paying Yann if we are aren't going to be good the first two to three years of the contract? There is a giant disconnect between what the Jaguars are presenting and what they are doing, and it's insulting the team thinks we are this dumb. This team is going to be awful next year, and 15 rookies aren't going to save them.

I thought the Jaguars might find a way to keep Campbell, too, but your question implies the Jaguars will be bad for the next three seasons. There's no reason that has to be the case.

Earl from Middleburg, FL

Hey O, I've recently noticed a discernable clarity in your answers to recent questions. Is this an anomaly or am I actually gaining knowledge from an actual competent sports reporter? I was getting used to the goofy dude, what gives?

My bad.

Matty from St. Augustine, FL

Why in the world would they trade Campbell, the heart and soul of the jags? He was our GLUE!! They will never fill the seats now, ya think? This was a bad move that will cost us now and long term. Only reason I can think (Still not good enough reason) That they will go harder in free agency than we expected?

I understand fans are upset about the Campbell trade, but here's the reality: This is not a terribly dissimilar move from trading Bouye. There was a very real possibility that Campbell could be released – not because he hasn't been a good player for the Jaguars, but because he is entering his 13th NFL season and was not as productive in 2019 as he had been in 2017 and 2018. The Jaguars didn't plan on him being a full-time player in 2020 because he played too many snaps last season. It's very difficult to pay a player playing a reduced role the $15 million Campbell was due this season. As for the Jaguars going harder in free agency than we expect … no, that's not what this is about. Free agency for the Jaguars will not be about setting the market or making big splashes.

David from EC

And the housecleaning continues. Who is the next to be traded or released?

The week is young. Stay tuned.