INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Let's get to it …
Aaron from Jacksonville
Assuming the rumors about Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue are true and he wants $22 million a year, what's the next-best option? Does he carry a cap hit in a tag and trade? What kind of value does he return? Hayden Hurst kind of value? Or do you think they just let him walk and take the compensatory pick?
Wow. Many questions; I'll try to provide a few answers. The best option in your scenario may be to apply the franchise tag, then either see what the market will bring for Ngakoue in terms of a trade or have him play on the tag for a year. I would anticipate Ngakoue still being very motivated if playing on the tag. I don't know that he would get top-of-the-market value this offseason were he a free agent on the open market; the chances of getting it next offseason with a third consecutive sub-double-digit-sack season would be slimmer. That's big motivation. As far as his trade value, I would certainly hope the Jaguars could acquire Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst straight up for Ngakoue. If they can't get a tight end for a defensive end, I would seriously doubt Ngakoue would be worth $22 million a year. Finally: there's no salary-cap hit for the team with a tag and trade. The franchise tag is essentially a one-year contract with the entire cap hit in the season it is used. If a "tagged" player is traded, the contract and cap hit goes with the player to the new team.
Dan from Ormond Beach, FL
It has been pointed out here and elsewhere that Ngakoue gave up money by not signing an extension last year that he can never get back. The Jaguars should use that to their advantage. Let's assume Yannick wanted $22 million a year for four years in last year's negotiations. Let's also assume for arguments sake that the Jaguars offered him $18 million. I expect the Jaguars would have been perfectly happy had he signed the extension last year. If he would have, it would have cost them $18 million instead of $1 million. That means they are up $17 million. Pay the guy the $22 million he wants. You are paying the extra with money you would have already paid him and are now getting him for five years instead of 4. The guy plays hard. He doesn't just pressure and sack the quarterback he takes the ball away from them. When this contract reaches the fourth year with the increased salary cap and spiraling contracts, $22 million is going to be a bargain.
The Jaguars like Ngakoue and want to pay him handsomely. I would be stunned if they pay Ngakoue $22 million a season.
Tom from Shanghai, China
Woah, woah, woah, there Mr. O. Best-paid defensive end in the NFL? I like Yan. I hope he gets paid. I hope it's the Jags that pay him. But best-paid? Wouldn't he have to be, y'know, one of the best players?
Roger from Houston, TX
You should send a Thank You note to Larry Tesler, the guy who invented copy and paste. You must have used his invention about a thousand times in responding to questions about Jaguars Owner Shad Khan's commitment to Jacksonville and salary negotiations with Ngakoue. Do people really think your answer to the same question asked over and over is going to change?
I get many questions about many of the same topics in the O-Zone. This makes sense because fans/readers are passionate about certain topics and want to ask different things about them in different ways. I try best as I can to answer the questions in different ways without technically copying and pasting, but you're right … when I'm explaining why the Jaguars do things, or how I see the way the Jaguars do things, I'm not going to change the gist of those explanations just because a question is asked slightly differently – or just because the reader doesn't like a particular previous explanation.
Zach from Austin, TX
Did Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell just say that our offensive line was one of our stronger points?
Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone both spoke highly of the Jaguars' offensive line during their media availabilities at the NFL Scouting Combine Tuesday. I'll get deeper into this on jaguars.com later this week, but it does sound as if the team likes the line more than many fans and observers. It reminds me a bit of when Caldwell spoke highly of the Jaguars' wide receivers last offseason. That group for the most part last season outplayed the preseason expectations of many observers. Perhaps the same will be true of the offensive line next season. Stay tuned.
David from Orlando, FL
O - I forgot about former Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair as the most painful thorn of all for the Jaguars. Forgetting his name was likely a defense mechanism. Thanks for the reminder ... of curling up in the fetal position and crying myself to sleep.
Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL
Oft-discussed is the issue of drafting by need versus by best available player. Could this year be one of those rare occasions when those lines intersect? There are some very, very good offensive line and defensive line prospects out there (Jedrick Wills, Tristan Wirfs, Lloyd Cushenberry, Derrick Brown, Javon Kinlaw, etc.).
The 2020 NFL Draft is considered deep and very talented. It's a good year to have two selections on the Top 20. From listening to Marrone and Caldwell speak Tuesday, I would be a little surprised if the Jaguars go offensive line with one of those two first-round selections. I have thought for a couple of months that defensive line at No. 9 overall makes sense and I still feel that way. Bottom line: The Jaguars have enough needs that it's hard to imagine two Top 20 selections not addressing big ones.
Ken from Jacksonville
Did we just go a whole column without talking about London?
Pretty good, huh?
Chris from Rosewell, CA
I just read your wide-receiver analysis and it drives me nuts that we might use a high pick for a wide receiver. We had A-Rob (former Jaguars and current Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson), but decided to give big money to wide receivers Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee with very little to show for those millions. Caldwell needs to be judged on more than the draft since he seems to make many mistakes on who to sign or not sign.
OK, but to be fair Caldwell was not the final decision-maker for the Jaguars when Robinson signed with the Bears as an unrestricted free agent.
Al from Orange Park, FL
"Two Johns don't make a right." Sorry, but that made me laugh. A lot ...
That was sort of funny.
John from Jacksonville
Who is the highest-paid player on the Jaguars? I'd guess Foles at $22 million. If so, and Yan is asking for that or more, is he really that good to be the highest-paid player on the team?
Yes, quarterback Nick Foles will be the highest-paid player on the Jaguars if he plays at his $15.125-million salary. He would be just ahead of defensive end Calais Campbell at $15 million. But I wouldn't get too hung up on whether Ngakoue "deserves" to be the highest-paid player on the team. That ranking changes fast and often depends on whose contract is up when.
Brian from Gainesville, FL
Big O, Given that the Jaguars are going to have two fewer games with homefield advantage (which is far more than just hometown fans and crowd noise), is it fair to say that however difficult it is in any other year to win a championship, this team will have to be significantly better still to accomplish that feat?
Not really. The Jaguars beat the Baltimore Ravens easily in London in 2017 and had huge leads against Buffalo and Indianapolis the previous two seasons. The Jaguars haven't been very good most years they have played in London and the one year they were good – '17 – they won easily. We don't really have a very good gauge for if it hurts them when they're good.
David from Oviedo, FL
O - I feel that Joe Jackson and the Alan Parsons Project are underrated musical acts. Which artist/band, that you haven't mentioned before, do you consider underrated?
I never know who's "rating" what when it comes to music, but Culture Club, Robert Earl Keen, Tom Russell, Iris Dement, anything involving Paul Heaton and Slaid Cleaves all come to mind. And I'm more serious than you think about Culture Club.
Sean from Jacksonville
Time to start thinking about the team's theme song for this upcoming season. Any ideas? I think Metallica's "Whiplash" would be great, especially as the players enter the field at the beginning of the game. POW!