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O-Zone: Shark jumping

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bruce from Owensboro, KY

Happy for Trevor. I have no problem with the contract he received. My interpretation of his contract is that it's front-loaded and team-friendly. Is this a correct observation? What are your thoughts? Is this a team-friendly deal, and how so?

I'm always intrigued by people who do or don't have a problem with contracts signed by NFL players. The money doesn't come from the fans' bank accounts. Or the bank accounts of observers. Or even the bank accounts of coaches. If an owner believes a player worth a contract and he has no problem with it, then there's no problem. Alas … I know that wasn't the spirit of your email and I fear my confrontational tone was unwarranted. As for your real question about the team-friendliness of the deal … the thought here is that it while it's not technically "frontloaded," it is indeed team-friendly. The five-year contract extension to which Lawrence reportedly has agreed reportedly "begins" in 2026 and runs through 2030, essentially tagged on to the end of his rookie contract. Any mega-contract is a bit more complicated than that, but that's the gist. The Jaguars therefore have Lawrence on a relatively salary-cap friendly – or at least relatively manageable – deal during 2024-2025 and even into 2026-2027. The mammoth salary-cap hits ($47 million, $78.5 million and $74.8 million) come in the 2028-2030 seasons. Still: The deal reportedly is for five years, $275 million with $200 million guaranteed. Considering that scale, I don't know that Jaguars Owner Shad Khan thought it was all that friendly. How about "about as friendly as possible?"

John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF. Are we now entering the Zone of Death on the NFL calendar?

The start and end dates of the so-called Dead Zone are an annual O-Zone topic. Because it seems to need reiteration, I'll be the one to reiterate here: The Dead Zone begins shortly after the offseason program and ends at the start of training camp. It's a little less dead than usual this offseason because of Lawrence's extension and because we're monitoring potential news regarding Stadium of the Future. Those developments provide for a bit more O-Zone discussion, but realistically we're approaching four or five weeks that are comparatively slow. So, are we entering the Zone of Death? We're deep in it, baby. Buckle up.

Bo from Winter Springs, FL

Watches and golf carts … interested to see what Trevor gets the boys in the trenches this year with that new money!

"… old man behind the laptop." /Fixed.

JK from NY & Fernandina Beach, FL

John. Thank you for sharing your memories about rooting for the Washington Football Team with your father. I grew up a New York Giants fan and my earliest NFL memories are watching the Giants with my Dad through the bad seasons of the late 1970s and early 1980s (which prepared me to be a Jags fan later in life). I also recall the magical run of the Giants finally making it to Super Bowl XXI following the 1986 season. I was in college when our quarterback with great blonde hair brought it all home for Giants fans in his eighth year in the league. My first postgame call was to my Dad. The three Giants Super Bowl championships that came later could never be as special as the first. It is one of my greatest hopes that long-suffering Jags fans will soon experience the thrill of a first Super Bowl win. My question: Do you consider yourself a Jags "fan" now - or do you have to maintain a professional aloofness to the team to maintain your journalistic integrity?

Loyal O-Zone readers – and he knows who he is – know that my fandom of the Washington Football Team ended almost immediately when I began covering college and professional football. This wasn't a particularly conscious decision. I just wasn't as able to feel as blindly passionately about a sports team when I was covering all sides of the sport. That started with my former favorite team and continued when I started covering the Jaguars. That's one element. The other element indeed is a need for professionalism in the job. Fans are emotional and passionate. They have that element covered and need no assistance in this area. If I can't observe a game unemotionally with perspective and some level of objectivity, then try to pass that on to fans in my words – spoken or written – what am I providing to fans that they can't get from their friend on the couch or in the stands? If I'm emotional about the Jaguars – if I'm yelling, throwing objects or hitting walls as I did when following my favorite teams as a fan – how do I calm down and analyze? This doesn't mean all people in my position must take this approach. It's the reason I take the one I do.

Robert from Elkton

I believe the streak ended several years ago when the Khans took the advice from the analytics department to replace John with a chat-bot. It was cutting edge at the time, but since it was written in DOS, the program sometimes shows its age.

You're probably right.

Bruce from Saint Simons Island, GA

O, I also was a fan of the Washington Red----- oops, Commanders. I was at the Riggins Super Bowl and shared your excitement. My Dad was back in Washington D.C. watching the game on TV with my family. We were all elated! Washington Head Coach Joe Gibbs' teams were able to win other Super Bowls, but that was the best. I hope it happens soon with the Jags! My question is in regard to your posting several days ago just after Trevor signed his extension. Why on God's earth were you posting a mailbag article at 5:22 a.m.

I am the king of all funk.

Jim from Callahan

A couple of thoughts - this is a make-or-break bet that Trevor Lawrence becomes elite. If he is above average like he has been, we will be mediocre for at least five years. And we should get used to the headline: Jags cut ... another cap casualty.

The Jaguars indeed are betting that Lawrence develops and becomes elite. Why is there reason to believe this will happen? Because he was better than mediocre late in the 2022 season and during the 2023 season until he played through injuries in the final six games of the 2023 season. If he progresses and develops from that late '22-early '23 level, he will be at minimum be somewhere from really good to elite. Elite is a very attainable goal here.

SCOTT from Daytona Beach

Hey, John. My youngest son has special needs. He is very involved with Special Olympics. He was nominated by his cycling coach to attend an event held at our awesome stadium recently. I have to give a HUGE shoutout to the Jacksonville Jaguars for hosting such an awesome event. For the Jags' rookie class to attend this with the kids is unbelievable to me. They could have gone on vacation already. My son received a Jaguar jersey with his name on it, got to sign a one-day contract and will have memories for a lifetime. You could not wipe the smile off his face. I cannot be more proud of this team and organization. Thank you again to the Jags and Special Olympics Florida.

Awesome. Absolutely awesome.

Don from Marshall, NC

You can make all broke people feel better if you tell us how much tax Trevor paid on his bonus! Go Jaguars!

When it comes to veering from all things football into matters of the Internal Revenue Service – a service I greatly respect and admire, by the way – Don remains "all in."

Scooter from St. Augustine, FL

Jaguars are undefeated going into the season. Many predict losses to various teams. I predict a "PERFECT SEASON ALL THE WAY TO THE SUPER BOWL," Tell me if it's possible? Thanks KOAF!

Most things are possible.

Marc from Oceanway

Hi, John. In regards to Trevor's fumbling problem, I have the solution. Communicate the following to Trevor Lawrence: "For every passing play that is designed to be thrown from the pocket, if the play breaks down before you can pass the ball and you need to scramble, grasp the ball with both hands." Period. Problem fixed. Now, where do I pick up my consultation fee?

Jaguars coaches have worked and continue to work on variations of this with Lawrence. It's a sound argument. It's a sound approach. I have worked on sound approaches at various times throughout my career, and many readers doubtless have done the same. Implementing a sound approach while some of the biggest, strongest, fastest and toughest athletes in the world pursue you perchance is a bit trickier.

Sam from Orlando, FL

Cage goes in the water. You go in the water. Sharks in the water. Our shark.

You go, girl.