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O-Zone: Simply put

LINCOLN, Neb. – Pro Day season is upon us. As such, we are today upon the University of Nebraska.

Let's get to it …

Ben from Jacksonville:
I've read multiple times by you and others that the NFL keeps information very scarce on players suspended for substance abuse. However, I don't think that's true. Maybe the NFL keeps its information scarce but every player who has been suspended the past few years has had the substance or "PEDS" (adderall) revealed pretty quickly. The story on all of Josh Gordon's failed DT's were leaked the week of the announcement; they provided the specific prescription pills Aldon Smith was using and etc. I do respect Blackmon, and his commitment to getting better, but it seems like his suspension and information surrounding it has been far from the NFL norm.
John: I don't know how the information about the players you mentioned became known. "Norm" derives from "normal," with normal a very subjective term. I do know the NFL keeps information regarding players in the substance-abuse problem very confidential. I do know that makes sense if the player desires privacy because these are issues that transcend football. I also know the details of Blackmon's situation have been kept private for the most part and the feeling here is that's OK.
David from Jacksonville:
My home town is Jacksonville, but work has me living in Dallas, TX. Interest in the Jags is growing as I get a lot of positive responses when wearing Jags gear. I say the Jags make it to the playoffs in two years and go deep (Super Bowl?) within three to five years. Will the fan base stay patient and let Gus and Dave "Get 'er done?"
John: Goodness no, the fan base won't be patient. Fans for the most part are gonna fan and patience understandably isn't part of fanning. More importantly, the team must improve on the field enough to let Owner Shad Khan stay patient; if that happens then Caldwell and Bradley will deservedly have time to get this done. If the team doesn't improve … well, it's a results-driven business and all that that implies. So, the answer is yes, if the Jaguars improve each season – and starting this season, that means more victories than three or four – the current regime will get its chance.
Thomas from Middleburg, FL:
Any truth behind the rumors the Jaguars may have interest putting Dwayne Gratz at free safety? Alan Ball and Demetrius McCray on the outside with Aaron Colvin in the slot seems likeliest. That is what happened to Devin McCourty in the Patriots 2011 regular season finale, and IIRC, it was out of need because it was a huge position of weakness.
John: Gratz at free safety is intriguing and I wouldn't rule it out. I also wouldn't etch Ball's name anywhere in stone in the secondary – at least not until he re-signs with the team. An awful lot is unknown until free agency is over, but nothing would surprise me at this point. I take that back: I would be a little surprised if Colvin didn't work his way into a starting role on the outside.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Can I please ask a stupid question? Could you please explain what is happening right now with free agents? I assume teams are ringing agents' phones and giving them monetary numbers they are offering and the agents are working agreements where players could potentially sign the first day of free agency? Or can they not negotiate anything until a certain hour next Wednesday?
John: There are no stupid questions; only stupid senior writers. Right now, teams and agents aren't technically supposed to be negotiating because there's technically a three-day window from Saturday until Tuesday in which teams can negotiate. Free agency then begins at 4 p.m. eastern Tuesday. Then players can sign. Then chaos ensues. Technically.
Armando from Vacaville, CA:
How safe a pick is Leonard Williams, considering the same rave was spoken about Jadaveon Clowney and he didn't make an impact? Before his injury he played only four games and showed nothing.
John: There's no such thing as a truly 100 percent safe pick, though I didn't consider Clowney safe in the least. The draft is about choosing human beings and there always is uncertainty when there is a human element. The draft is about projection, remember. Williams is considered by many the best player in this draft regardless of position. At the same time, there are those who think he needs a lot of development to play at a high level. Therein lies the beauty of the draft. And the risk.
Kyle from Ohio:
I'm in talks with someone who believes Bulaga will get a deal for $10 million a year. I keep saying that is left-tackle money and even with overpaying he won't go over $8 million. What type of contract do you think he will get?
John: A big one. A really big one. How big? Well, put it this way: your figures indeed seem like overpaying, but I don't think we know what "overpaid" means yet. Not compared to what it will mean next week.
Christopher from Philadelphia, PA:
I don't think it will happen, but if the Jaguars sign Suh, could he replace Big Red at end? Getting Suh and Marks on the field at the same time is an intriguing proposition. The Jaguars have the opportunity to do something special this offseason. However, the Bucs had what most thought was an impressive offseason last year. Now they are picking first. I'm trying not to get too excited, but it is difficult not to.
John: A few thoughts regarding your email. I don't think the Jaguars signing Suh will happen, either, but if it did, he likely would play tackle. Fear not, though: teams don't have to line up with standard end, tackle, tackle end fronts on every play and there are enough situations in the NFL to find repetitions for a lot of good players. As a sort of side note, I share the same concern you do about "special offseasons." When they're based on free agency they turn out forgettable as often as they do special. I'm not saying that will happen to Jacksonville. I'm saying history suggests it's not an absurd worry.
Doug from St. Mary's, GA:
All this cap space got Khan thinking new cars, caviar, four-star daydreams, and hopefully a new football team? Sign them all, no need in being timid; anything more than $10-15 million remaining by the end of FA will be highly disappointing. Now or never, especially in a weak division. We've all heard "All In", maybe we mean it this year? I'm super stoked about the next few weeks. What say you, Mr. O?
John: I say I have to admit that sort of free-agent thinking scares me. And I can't honestly say I'm super stoked – either at a super level or any other. Maybe I'm just too old. I'm fascinated and intrigued by what's about to happen – and even once this class is signed, I imagine I'll see a team with a lot of potential to be improved. I imagine I'll also see a team that spent an awful lot of money in a risky mode of player acquisition, and that's why the coming weeks and season will be so intriguing. In many ways, they'll be going against conventional wisdom. If it works and they improve, it will be a heck of a story. If not …
Scot from Section 210:
Why do the Jaguars have "a desire to spend a lot"? I would hope that they instead have a desire to build a great team.
John: They have a desire this offseason to do both.
Jimmy from Jacksonville:
If you were the Cleveland Browns' general manager on draft night and Mariota fell to where the Jags pick at 3, will you be willing to trade both of your first-round picks to the Jags for him?
John: No.
Brian from Charlottesville, VA:
Looking for some insight behind-the-scenes here....obviously free agency doesn't start for another week. So, a player set to become a free agent can only supposedly talk to their own team. Do you think there are scenarios where a general manager might say, "Listen, Player X, the offer this week is $2 million a year. If you don't sign this week, the offer is no longer there and we might only give you $1 million a year?" Might this tactic be used to get a player to re-sign and not hit free agency?
John: Yes.
Andrew from Toledo, OH:
I don't think David Caldwell is looking at Randall Cobb. I think he knows we have two starters in Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee. I could see them getting Torrey Smith for the slot or a second-tier tight end/wide receiver. I think the defense and right tackle are the priorities in free agency. Therefore, we should all be happy if they sign Bryan Bulaga and Devin McCourty and add a few other players for cheap that can help out. Then next year, the Jags could still be big players in next year's free agency.
John: Regarding your first sentence, I think you're wrong, and we'll just leave it at that.

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