O-Zone: Plumb tuckered out

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Mark from Prescott, AZ                   

Interesting what you said about contracts not being guaranteed, or binding on the owners, but yet owners hold much leverage over the players. To me, this is neither ethical nor right. Perhaps when a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is negotiated this could be remedied by making all contracts guaranteed both ways - players AND owners. I think this would significantly reduce the extravagant contracts offered by clubs that they never intend to pay. Maybe this would curtail the ever-upward radical spiral of salaries while at the same time giving players more flexibility and control over their careers. Seems like a win/win to me. What's the chances of this happening? Am I missing something?

I doubt that will happen; the NFL has used its current system for nearly 30 years through multiple collective bargaining agreements. Also, I don’t know that owners will negotiate away all contractual leverage over players; they have no incentive to do so. Still, although the wording and reporting of contracts does create confusion for observers who sometimes wonder why a six-year contract “worth” $120 million with $45 million guaranteed often in essence is only a three-year, $45 million contract, it’s not unethical or wrong. All parties involved – players, agents and teams – know the difference between what is guaranteed in an NFL contract and what is not, just as all parties involved know that when a player signs a mammoth free-agent contract he likely will only play out the first three years or so. Bottom line: Players and owners theoretically could negotiate a system of guaranteed contracts into place. But the contracts would simply become shorter with no “dummy” years at the end. It wouldn’t result in a significantly longer career span – or more money – for players. As for teams having leverage over the players, I don’t know that most fans would want a system in which that didn’t exist at all. If teams didn’t have at least some power over players, players could be free to essentially decide where they played in any given year. That seemingly would create for more issues than it solved.

Bill from Jacksonville

John, regarding Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue being able to “accrue” a season by reporting for just the last six games, the NFL’s own website says it’s possible. Nowhere does it say the player can’t be under contract, sit out 10 games, and accrue a full season towards free agency. It simply defines an accrued season as, “Six or more regular-season games on a club's active/inactive, reserved/injured or reserve/physically unable to perform lists.” This makes it seem pretty clear to me that Yannick could wait until after Week 10 to report and still become a free agent after this year. Disagree?

The website you read tells part of the rule, but not all the rule. Paragraph b of Article 8 Section 1 (Accrued Seasons Calculation) of the 2011 CBA reads: “A player shall  not receive an Accrued Season for any League Year in which the player is under contract to a Club and in which he failed to report to such Club at least thirty days prior to the first regular season game of that season …” So, as for your question … yes: I do disagree.

Timmy from Jacksonville

Mr. O-Zone, Sir: I would like to apply for a job on your staff. I imagine you have a six-story office building full of email readers, typists, writers, support staff and personnel. I also understand there is quite a cafeteria and multiple chefs in the O-Zone offices; that’s sounds like a nice place to work. If this email gets through your multiple stages of O-Zone production staff, could I please get to meet with you?

No.

AJ from Decatur, GA

Ngakoue is the replacement for Calais Campbell as the leader and future of the Jaguars’ defensive line. He is smart to be sitting out camp to ensure his health before some freak injury occurs and now his value goes down. NFL players don’t have a long lifespan and they must secure the bag when they can. Since he is not leaving much on the table, I would encourage Yannick to stay away until the regular season if a contract does not get done. I have no doubt he will continue to stay in prime physical shape while sitting out and be ready to play when the time comes.

I imagine Ngakoue will stay away from training camp until he essentially must report. Because he must report 30 days before the regular season to accrue a season toward free agency, my guess is he will report about 30 days before the regular season.

Wade from Westside

I get it when you say Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey is a generational talent. However, what would another team need to cough up to tempt the Jags to trade him? Are we talking two first-round picks?

Pretty close.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

I'm surprised that there exists a recording studio in Alabama. Offense intended. Have you ever been? I once drove through the entire state on my way from here to Destin. The sky was blue, I'll give you that, but that place is more like the polar opposite of sweet home.

Not only did there exist a recording studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, there are multiple studios – most notably FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio – arguably the most famous recording studios in the history of modern music. The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Willie Nelson and countless others recorded there. There’s a lot more to the story, including how the Muscle Shoals “Swampers” transcended race in a time of racial turmoil to record some of the most legendary rhythm and blues music ever recorded. It’s not something you can grasp driving through a state and assuming what you see is what you get.

Sean from Jacksonville

It irks me a bit when high draft choices and pricey free agents leave after having a poor outing with the Jaguars and then lay the blame on the coaches, city, wind direction, etc. – and never accept their own responsibility in less-than-stellar efforts. Hugh Douglas always comes to mind, but we have more recent team "failures" too.

This is pretty common in NFL circles – and it’s not unique to the Jaguars. “Player A” leaves and signs with a new team. He is news in his new market and therefore does interview(s) in his new market. He says things complimentary to his new city/team/coaches and it’s interpreted as – correctly or incorrectly – as being less-than-complimentary to his old team. There are extreme cases of it – Douglas and former Jaguars cornerback Aaron Ross come to mind – but usually it’s not particularly mean-spirited.

Bradley from Oceanside, CA

You can never have too many pass rushers. However, you can have too much money tied up in pass rushers.

Fair.

Mr. NFL Unfortunately from Jacksonville

Well, well, well ... so it appears that Jalen and Yan have had enough of Duuuuvallll. Quite frankly, I would too. Fans screaming a county name, Grandpa Coughlin emphasizing an offense so archaic that the Flintstones ran it, an aloof head coach that claims he’s always unaware of things, and a fan base that would rather talk Gator football rather than Jags football (Gatorbillies). Soon enough Jalen will be a Titan and Yan will be a Cowboy, and Duuuuvalll nation will be wondering why. I feel for you, Foles - it’s going to be a long year (keep your head up though - these Gatorbillies are generally passed out by the start of the third quarter).

I always thought nothing was more boring and tedious than intentional ignorance. It turns out undeserved arrogance comes close.

PC from Cleveland, OH

It was good to see Jake Ryan suited up in the photos. how is he doing? Still in rehab, cleared for practice?

Ryan, a linebacker who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent from the Green Bay Packers this offseason, participated in the offseason program. He looked fine, though there’s very little on which to judge a linebacker in non-padded, non-contact work. Ryan is expected to participate fully in training camp.

Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL

The receiving corps should be an interesting story line this year. The youth, speed and diversity could make the group’s development fun to watch, and everyone loves to see a player have a breakout season. The discussion about wide receiver DJ Chark's and quarterback Nick Foles’ evolving chemistry begged a question: Do the applicable rules governing offseason activities prohibit training between the quarterbacks and wide receivers outside of the sanctioned team events? Could Foles solicit a meeting with the wide receivers an off-site location to work on timing?

Players can meet and work as much as they want away from a team’s facility and away from coaches. Foles was asked about this possibility during the final week of 2019 minicamp. He said while it was possible he could meet and throw with a few receivers, it wouldn’t be anything extensive.

Hunter from Jacksonville

I’m tired, O-Dawg. I’m just tired.

I hear ya, Dawg.

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