JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Sascha from Cologne, Germany
Hey O, do you have any idea how the league could handle the situation with the draft order and so on if there will be no season? I don't hope so and I know it's way too early, but do you have any idea how there could be a fair scenario?
The league hasn't addressed this issue publicly – for a couple of reasons. First, the NFL's plan is to have a 16-game regular season in 2020; so long as that's the plan, the league won't publicly discuss other scenarios. Second, if the season were canceled, there would be more than enough time to determine a 2021 NFL Draft order after the cancellation became official. If that were to happen, I expect the draft order would be based on a formula involving multiple past seasons. I can't see the '21 draft order simply repeating '20, though – mainly because I can't see 31 other teams allowing the Cincinnati Bengals two consecutive No. 1 overall selections based on a single season.
Bill from Jacksonville
John, in his rookie year, Josh Allen only played 60 percent of the snaps. After the debacle that was Allen's playing time, do you anticipate the Jaguars making the same mistake again this year with K'Lavon Chaisson? Also, Allen should be on the field for no less than 80 percent of the snaps in 2020 or something is seriously wrong. Thanks! Go Jags!
Allen registered double-digit sacks as a rookie and played at a high level most of the season, so perhaps his playing time was less of a debacle and more about the Jaguars managing him correctly. As for this season, I anticipate Allen playing closer to 80 percent of the snaps than 60 percent. But remember: No defensive lineman plays 100 percent of a team's plays because every team rotates the position group to some degree; defensive ends Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue played just under 80 percent of snap counts last season, and they were the established starters. We'll see how much Chaisson plays this season. Rookies, even first-round rookies, need time to acclimate and find their role. That need likely will be more pronounced in a season in which rookies had no offseason program.
John from Jacksonville
I observe most days and just shake my head at all the panic and attention around COVID-19. The death rate is only a small percentage of one percent. It affects older people most with preexisting conditions. There are very effective medicines to reduce symptoms and duration. Football players are probably the strongest and least likely to have serious complications. Yet, the media has panicked – and America and everyone is falling for it. Players can opt out of the season? Really? We need to resume to normal life now with the exception of increased hand washing, a little more distancing, and masks when confined in a room with lots of strangers. There are other worse illnesses still out there that nobody cares about any longer, I guess.
Many share your opinion. Many feel differently. The NFL is doing what it can in the context of what many doctors believe to have a season this season; all involved in the league have every motivation to do so. Not everyone will agree with everything the league does. Here's hoping enough goes right to have a full season.
Sean from Tampa, FL
How does the salary cap work if a player opts out based on COVID-19? Do they need to carry the salary as dead money? Or, do they get the money back?
If a player opts out for COVID-19, the team gets salary-cap space based on the player's cap space and salary for 2020. The contract tolls to 2020, so the cap ramification tolls to the 2021 cap.
Cliff from Orange Park, FL
Just saw a Top 10 list of edge rushers on nfl.com. No Yan – and he also is absent from Top 100. I wonder if Yan has figured out what humble pie tastes like?
I care little about Top 10 or Top 100 lists – though if I were making the lists you cited, I probably would have had Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue on them. But it's hardly an egregious oversight that he's not on these lists. Ngakoue has been a very good player in four seasons. He has not been elite and is generally not considered as such.
Brian from Greenwood, IN
If you look at how the defensive end market has just reset with the recent extensions of defensive ends Joey Bosa and Myles Garrett, is $22 million per year really that unheard of for Yannick? For a young, hungry player who does everything right on and off the field, $22 million per year sounds reasonable now, doesn't it? Did the Jaguars miss the opportunity?
Bosa and Garrett are considered the NFL's best young players at the position, and they are being paid as such. As for the Jaguars missing their opportunity, they tried to take advantage of it. They tried to sign him last offseason. They reportedly offered him a contract last offseason worth $19 million a season with $50 million of guarantees over the first two seasons. Those reports may or not be correct. But if the $50 million in guarantees is close, it's hard to say the Jaguars were making an unfair offer.
Austin from Jacksonville
If you were Ngakoue, would you have fired your agent and asked the Jags for the three-year deal from a year ago? Or would you have just signed the deal in the first place and be sitting on $15 million right now, with $18-19 million more or so on the way with free agency looming in 2022? Pass this on to No. 91 for me: Tell him I would love to be his agent.
What I would do – or what anyone other than Ngakoue would do – is meaningless, because any negotiation comes down to what someone on one side wants and someone on the other side wants. It's easy for me to say I would have signed the original offer, but I wasn't there. I wasn't on the receiving end of the information. I don't know what has motivated Ngakoue to get to this point. I haven't lived his life. Sure, I probably would have signed and realized that I now had life-changing money. But that's me. And my life experience. Ngakoue has opted to go another path. He will eventually sign for life-changing money somewhere. It remains to be seen where.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL
Jaguars defensive tackle Taven Bryan always looks sad because he realizes he is not as good as he and others thought he was. I know this answer is disrespectful.
It's also a bit arrogant and insensitive – and not particularly clever. It also might be considered unnecessarily mean, though. It does have that going for it.
Brett from Jacksonville
If a player "opts out" for the season are they allowed to come back if they choose? If not, wouldn't it make more sense to retire? Then, you can come back whenever you want.
Players who opt because of COVID-19 may not return, but they are eligible for a $150,000 or $350,000 stipend. If they retire, they would not be eligible for the money.
Mark from Prescott/Jacksonville
Whether Head Coach Doug Marrone and everybody around the Jaguars will be judged upon the results of this year is a great question. Jaguars Owner Shad Khan is a very good businessman, and it's obvious he's fair when given the chance. I don't think he will make a change next year, so let's just enjoy this game this year. It reminds me of high school football: You run out whoever you got every Friday night, they play as hard as they can, the coach coaches as well as he can, you cheer for your team and it's a great time – and the result is the result. It may be better or worse than we think this year. I'm looking on the positive.
I don't know that Khan or anyone else involved will look at the results through quite as casual a lens; if you're playing the games, they're going to matter. How all involved will be judged? How much will circumstances around the season weigh on those judgements? Time will tell.
Nicholas from Fort Hood, Texas
KOAF: Are we officially out of the "Dead Zone" yet? I am excited to see the Jaguars play, but more so to see how the NFL will look this year and the new storylines that will be created. My hope is that by Week 3 we will have all adapted and gotten used to watching games on televisions with stadiums that aren't filled to capacity. I can't wait to get back to complaining about the Jaguars winning but still lacking "full consistency."
The league's objective right now is to get the games played. We can worry about how to enjoy them later.