JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Sam from Orlando, FL
I'll ask again: I said recently from a pure football knowledge standpoint Mr. Khan seems to not be very good. You countered by saying he puts people in charge to run his football team. That's what good owners do. Shouldn't good owners know when someone is good or bad at running a football team? Especially given the ridiculously long leash Caldwell has been given and the numerous gaffes by the general manager since 2013?
Not everything is either/or, Sam. Jaguars Owner Shad Khan on most fronts is a very good NFL owner. He has stabilized the franchise financially during his tenure, and he has shown repeatedly he is willing to spend generously on facilities, staff and players. He also has shown the willingness to let his football people make football decisions without interference. If you talk to people around the NFL, those are all traits of a very good owner. Now, if you are judging by victories and losses – and that's what understandably concerns most fans – then it's fair to judge harshly because the Jaguars have lost a lot more than they have won during Khan's tenure. As far as Khan's actions regarding General Manager David Caldwell, I suppose we'll find out soon enough. Khan clearly believes Caldwell is capable and that much of the problems of the last couple of seasons can be solved by relieving former Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin of his duties – and by letting Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone run the franchise. It's a bold approach by Khan. If it works, a lot of perceptions will change. If not, he will continue to be judged harshly by many observers.
Josh from Atlanta, GA
I think people are downplaying how huge the extra fourth we have now is. As deep as this draft is, there is a very strong possibility we could land a potential starter there. Of course the draft is a crap shoot, but the possibility of getting a very, very good player for a declining veteran with a monster cap hit, relatively speaking, is a GREAT deal.
You're talking about the Jaguars getting a fourth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft from the Denver Broncos for cornerback A.J. Bouye, and yes – it was a great deal.
Mark from Iowa
Vontaze Burfict … Do you think that is a guy we should take a chance on at middle linebacker this offseason? He would, I imagine, come cheap with a ton of talent. I know that he has a history of hits that are player-safety related, but I don't see or read that he is really all bad – just an aggressive player who is trying to make a change is it a risk the Jags should take?
I've never been around Burfict, so I don't know enough about him to say if he's "all bad." I do know that few – if any – NFL players in recent memory have been punished as routinely and/severely as Burfict for what appear to be such flagrant and vicious actions. For those reasons, I would be stunned if the Jaguars sign him.
Nathan from St. Augustine, FL
Hi John, I was really impressed with Donald Payne at the end of last season, and if I remember right, he never got to play with Myles Jack. Is letting Payne start in the middle and Jack moving to the weak side an option you see happening?
No. Payne played fine last season given the circumstances. He was signed off the street during the season and thrust into a starting role at middle linebacker after Jack's season-ending knee surgery. But my sense is the Jaguars will try to sign a more-established veteran this offseason to play middle linebacker and move Jack to weak-side linebacker. I would anticipate Payne having a real chance to be a backup/special teams player.
Art from Orange Park, FL
O-Man: We will have a new offensive system this coming year. That leads me to believe the veteran quarterback has an advantage over the guy with just one year under his belt. Am I wrong thinking this?
Veteran quarterback Nick Foles probably does have an advantage on that front over Gardner Minshew II; Foles certainly has experience picking up multiple offensive systems. I don't think it will be enough of an advantage for Foles to start over Minshew, though. For that to be the case, I would think Minshew would have to be overwhelmed mentally and unable to pick up the scheme. That would be surprising.
Shon from San Antonio, TX
Just wondering how do we address the many shortages on our roster and still field a competitive team. The goal is always to get to the Super Bowl and not just compete. I'm sure Khan has to temper his expectations, but this team with the right moves could make it back to the playoffs. How would you do it? Who are some players you would foresee Caldwell and team targeting so they can enter the draft and not feel the need to reach? I'm with you that defensive tackle and cornerback must be addressed early but the wide receiver talent is enticing especially where we are picking and I don't think we can overlook – depth which we don't have much of at some positions like corner, linebacker and defensive tackle. So could we double dip? If so, which positions do you think we should?
I anticipate the Jaguars signing a veteran linebacker and defensive tackle when free agency begins, and very possibly a veteran tight end. There would be some other positions of interest, but I would project these as the priorities. I would not anticipate the Jaguars setting the market or these players being names that observers consider "splash signings," but I would expect them to be capable of starting depending on what happens in the draft. I would anticipate the Jaguars entering the draft pretty much wanting to address defensive tackle (two), cornerback (two), tight end, wide receiver, offensive line, linebacker, running back and safety. At least.
John from Jacksonville
Since the players don't get paid for preseason games why would they reject a three-preseason-game, 17 regular-season-game schedule? In a 17-game season, would they be paid their current contract divided by 17 or get paid extra for the 17th game?
They would get paid a little extra -- $250,000 – for the final game under the owners' current proposal. That's in the short term. In the long term, player salaries will theoretically increase and the overall amount players would get paid per game over 17 games also would increase. Either way, the players' argument against a 17th regular season game is that injury risk would increase. There's greater injury risk for established players in a regular-season game than a preseason game because there's great chance of the player playing for longer than in the preseason.
Dave from Oviedo, FL
John: Jaguars cornerback Josh Robinson from Central Florida is designated reserved/retire. What's his story?
He retired last season.
Tom from Shanghai, China
Given that the average NFL career lasts three years, isn't it a bit disingenuous to say rookies on low salaries can get paid imminently, after four years?
Yes and no. While many NFL careers do last one, two or three seasons, the careers of comparatively lowly-paid players who are playing well enough to merit being paid more almost always last longer than that. The exception would be players whose careers are cut short because of injuries.
Raymond from Jacksonville
John: If the NFL goes forward with the season but does not allow fans to attend the games, wouldn't that be advantageous for the Jaguars in that the other 31 teams would also have to play in empty stadiums?
Not particularly, no.
Ryan from Reality
So, we have these extra first round picks the next two years. But how confident are we in Caldwell's ability to identify high end talent? If we take away the Coughlin years, and look at Dave's picks in the Top 40 we're left with: Dante Fowler, T.J. Yeldon, Blake Bortles, Marqise Lee, Luke Joeckel, and Johnathan Cyprien. That's a pretty terrible track record. Remind me why we brought him back?
Did you leave off cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack on purpose, or was it just a convenient accident?
Jim from Jagsonville (currently in San Diego)
Took a trip to the west coast. Got to yell DUUUVALL from the mountaintops! But you know what this town is missing? The community has nothing to root for, nothing to coalesce around. Jacksonville sure has it lucky, and we fans gotta stand up for our team! You ever lived in a city without a team? It ain't worth it, man. Now I'm off to the zoo to give the Jaguars there my best DUUUVALL I got!
I have lived in a city without a team. I grew up in one. It was Jacksonville. And you're right. Having an NFL team is better. Much better.