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O-Zone: Smart shopper


What a couple of days in the inbox. What a couple of days, period.

We haven't yet reached the start of the NFL's 2021 League Year, and already Jaguars fans – and a whole bunch of media and Jaguars observers – have experienced a range of emotions: Panic. Anger. Fear. Optimism. Hope. Euphoria.

That's quite a 48 hours or so.

As for the current tone of the inbox, there seems a bit more optimism and calm after Tuesday than there was late Monday. But the league year opens Wednesday at 4 p.m. There's plenty of time for that to change, I suppose.

Fans gonna fan. That's as true in March as it is in October and November.

Let's get to it …

Ben from Jefferson, OH

O man! After all the negative talk after the first day of signings, I think the Jags bounced back pretty well on Tuesday. I think getting Griffin is pretty awesome, I looked highly upon Shaquill coming into free agency. My only problem here would have to be with Marvin Jones at wide receiver. I would have preferred JuJu Smith-Schuster or a trade to bring back A Rob. What do you think of our moves? Also, with Zach Ertz allowed to seek a trade, do you think he'll come to Jacksonville?

Jaguars fans indeed seemed content late Tuesday – at least by comparison. And with reason. As of early Wednesday, the Jaguars reportedly have agreed to terms with 11 unrestricted free agents: wide receiver/returner Jamal Agnew, defensive lineman Tyson Alualu, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, safety Rudy Ford, cornerback Shaquill Griffin, running back Carlos Hyde, safety Rayshawn Jenkins, Jones, tight end Chris Manhertz, defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris and defensive end Jihad Ward. They also reportedly have acquired defensive tackle Malcolm Brown from the New Orleans Saints in a trade. They also re-signed cornerback Tre Herndon, defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot, offensive lineman Tyler Shatley and cornerback Sidney Jones IV – and they have placed the franchise tag on left tackle Cam Robinson. That's a lot of depth signed and retained, a major churn of the roster and a few front-line starters mixed in. That's a lot to get done in a short period. As for acquiring Jones, remember: he played for offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell the last three seasons in Detroit – so there's some familiarity there. I don't have a sense about a trade with Philadelphia for tight end Zach Ertz. It's possible. Anything seems possible at this point. Stay tuned.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

Everything Tuesday was very, very solid. The big money for a corner and wide receiver is splashy and I love it. That said, I think Malcolm Brown is the most underrated move of the day. He is a mammoth run defender and our depth at the position has done a 180. There is no excuse to not stop the run with Brown, DaVon Hamilton and Robertson-Harris in the rotation (presuming majority 3-4). STOP. THE. RUN.

A couple of thoughts here. One … yes, splash and flash are cool. People like them. And fans like big money going to familiar names, which means signing Griffin and Jones certainly eased some fears and anxiety Tuesday. And in all seriousness, the moves made defensively Monday and Tuesday did exactly what Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer said the team wanted to do entering the offseason. They added needed depth and key pieces to a defensive line that must improve for the team to have a chance next season; Alualu and Brown are key additions to that area. And Griffin and Jenkins mean the team now has added half its projected starting secondary over the past two days. That's progress, and it's very much in line with what the Jaguars wanted to do entering the 2021 League Year.

Beavis from the Southside

Why can't we get big names in free agency anymore? I remember the days when we could get prime big namers like Hugh Douglas and Bryce Paup. Why can't we get guys like that now? They worked out pretty well, right?

Well done.

Lewis from J'Ville

I'm writing this at 1 p.m. Tuesday, so some big-name player may have agreed to terms since then. My question is about the mid- to lower-tiered players we grabbed Monday. Wouldn't most of those have agreed to deals that make it cost-friendly to cut them during camp or in their first year? Got to fill that 90-man training camp roster, right? Go Jags.

A lot of the players acquired in the past two days indeed are on cap-friendly deals. Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke's objective entering free agency was to focus on value, and the players acquired for the most part indeed look like good value. But the Jaguars didn't acquire any of these players with the idea of releasing them in 2021 Training Camp or during the 2021 season. They were acquired because the team envisions them having important roles – at least through next season.

Logan from Wichita, KS

$7 million for a TE with 12 whole catches in his entire career. What a great pickup! Next with the #1 overall pick Baalke with select a punter with 1 punt in his entire life. Question- if I have touched an NFL football will Baalke also give me a few million dollars? I could do just as good as anyone sitting on the bench collecting a paycheck from an organization DETERMINED to suck forever!

Logan's still back.

Matty from St. Augustine, FL

Alualu!!!!! Jones III!!! Griffin!!! Twas a great day!!!

Familiar names are cool! Fans like them! And exclamation points are cool, too! Everything is cool! Everything!

John from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

If the reports on free agency signings are true, how improved will the defensive backfield be in 2021?


Dean from Rochester, NY

Like others have noted, Jags are just doing nothing in free agency …

This email was sent Tuesday evening. Because of the timing, I can only assume the sarcasm font was missing.

Biff from Jacksonville

Well, I guess the "splash fans" are happy. Got their big signing with Shaquill Griffin. Surely they're all happy, right? That said, love-me-some Tyson Alualu back in teal. Between these two, are you thinking some clubhouse leadership has entered the building?


Jordan from Jacksonville

I just don't understand why we wouldn't go after Trent Williams. We have the money and it would be nice to have that position locked up for three years. If we can upgrade at a premium position, why not?

We'll swing at this one once more for old time's sake, then perhaps(?) move forward. The Jaguars placed the franchise tag on left tackle Cam Robinson for multiple reasons. One, offensive line coach George Warhop and Meyer like his potential – and there is belief that while the line must improve, the group overall is in good shape with Robinson, left guard Andrew Norwell, center Brandon Linder, right guard A.J. Cann and right tackle Jawaan Taylor as the starters. Specifically to Williams, remember: to pursue Williams would have meant also perhaps not signing Williams. If you do that and don't franchise Robinson, then you're left possibly downgrading or playing youth at the position with a rookie starting at quarterback next season. Also: The Jaguars' philosophy in free agency this offseason clearly was to use their ample cap space to address many, many needs around the roster as opposed to signing one or two top-of-the-market players to megadeals. This approach surprised and disappointed many fans. In retrospect, considering a new regime and a 1-15 record last season, I don't know that it was all that shocking.

Micah from Chicago, IL

Why are people freaking out that we didn't sign any splashy free agents? I can think of exactly one time that worked out for us this past decade.

Fair – and pretty darned insightful.

Jonathan from Blackfoot, ID

For what it's worth, spending top money for pricey free agents has not led to a lot of success in the past.

Good eye.          

Steve from Nashville, TN

What is the impact to who we get at pick 25 from what you see in our free-agent signings both official and unofficial?

The Jaguars appear to be approaching free agency with the goal of not having to reach or draft for need. When you're churning the roster to this extent, it's difficult to not be in a position to use first-round selections for need, but that's the objective. Either way, the free agency moves thus far certainly would allow for tight end to be selected at either No. 25 or 33. Safety would make sense. As would impact running back or receiver.

The Other Michael from Middleburg, FL

Big-name free agency when your team is not built and ready to make a playoff run is like paying $5 at a gas station for a gallon of milk ... you're paying for the convenience more so than the actual value. It's not a big deal if you only need one or two things, but if you try to buy all your groceries there, you're going to go broke.

Well said.