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O-Zone: Sort of silly

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL


I assume this is about former Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley signing with the Tennessee Titans as an unrestricted free agent Wednesday afternoon rather than re-signing with the Jaguars. This move expectedly sparked intense reaction from Jaguars fans, emotions heightened by a loooong wait to see what Ridley would do as Wednesday's 4 p.m. start of the 2024 NFL League Year approached. Speculation throughout the day was Ridley would re-sign with the Jaguars over the New England Patriots, with late-afternoon speculation rising steadily about a "surprise" team. The Titans were that surprise, with many criticizing the Jaguars and General Manager Trent Baalke after news broke of Ridley's decision. People can criticize what and who they want. Bottom line: Ridley received mammoth money – a reported $92 million with $50 million guaranteed – from Tennessee. I wrote and said often in recent weeks that I would have retained Ridley. I also wrote and said often that I was saying I would retain Ridley without knowing what retaining him would cost. That's a lot of guaranteed money for Ridley. As in "a lot of guaranteed money." There comes a point in any NFL free-agent negotiation where a team must say "no more." It's not hard in this case to see why Baalke and the Jaguars said that on Wednesday.

Eric from Jacksonville Beach

What will the Jaguars do at wide receiver now? Round 1, right?

This was a common in-box theme Wednesday night, but I'm not sure it's exactly right. Make no mistake: The Jaguars wanted to re-sign Ridley. They were reportedly offering him about $20 million a season. You don't offer that if you don't want the player. But they also negotiated with Ridley knowing they had the option of moving forward with Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and newly signed Gabe Davis at wide receiver and tight end Evan Engram as "core receivers." That foursome doesn't have the star power as Kirk/Ridley/Engram/Davis. But this team won – and played very well at times offensively – with the foursome of Marvin Jones/Kirk/Zay Jones/Engram in 2022. It's not ridiculous to think they move forward with Davis/Zay Jones/Kirk/Engram as the foursome and it's not ridiculous to think that foursome can be effective in this offense. It's still very possible the Jaguars select a wide receiver in Round 1 or 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft, but it's not a guarantee that they see the position as an overwhelming early-draft need.

Jon from Jax Beach

Extremely impressed with new Jaguars center Mitch Morse. How was it speaking with him?

Extremely impressive.

Ron from Jax Beach

You think $72 million is enough for Calvin to learn the playbook?

We've talked a lot here in the O-Zone in recent months about the importance of being nice. This is not nice.

Tony from Johns Creek, GA

O, the Jags get to see Ridley twice this coming season. Whee!

The Jaguars will play the Titans twice this season as they do every season.

Chris from Phoenix

So now that Ridley signed a massive contract with the Titans is it possible that we get a third-round compensatory selection in next year's draft?

I doubt it. The NFL's formula for compensatory draft selections is complex, but at its core it's about unrestricted free agency gains and losses. If you lose more than you gain in one offseason, you get a compensatory selection – or compensatory selections – the following offseason. The Jaguars lost Ridley as a UFA, but they signed also signed four UFAs – Davis, wide receiver Devin Duvernay, safety Darnell Savage Jr. and cornerback Ronald Darby. – this offseason. The thought here is the Jaguars' loss(es) this offseason won't outweigh the gains enough to glean a comp selection in the 2025 NFL Draft. Stay tuned.

Justin from NYC

Shocked about the Titans. This one hurts a bit more than if he were simply going to the Pats. Do you think we will get back our third-rounder via a compensatory pick next year?


Art from Glassboro NJ

I'm OK with Ridley leaving for the Titans; $90 million is generational. I'm OK with the Jags not paying him $90 million. I'm not OK with this happening when they could have paid Allen and tagged Ridley. Trent gonna Trent and Owner Shad Khan is going to let him. Time to call Mike Williams.

I received multiple versions of this email after Ridley signed with the Titans. This thought assumes that the Jaguars would have placed the franchise tag on Ridley had they not placed it on Allen early last week. It also assumes that what Allen and his representatives were asking for something that was palpable to the Jaguars for the short- and long-term. It's very possible all these things are correct. It's also possible that Baalke was being prudent and making wise decisions. As for pursuing former Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams … he's a very good player. Pursuing him makes sense. I can also see a scenario in which the Jaguars move forward with Kirk, Jones and Davis at receiver and with Engram at tight end. This offense can be effective with that foursome.

Shawn from Moore County, NC

Let me be the first to say it: I think we dodged a bullet with no bringing back Ridley: $23 million a year is way too much and now we don't have to incur dead cap from cutting Zay. Wide receiver moves back to a first-two-round pick, imo. We will get a younger and cheaper replacement in a year considered to be strong at receiver. Do you agree with my assessment?


GP from Savannah

Baalke just signed his termination letter by allowing Ridley to go to the titans. Our most productive player will now beat us twice next year. We lose our kicker and top receiver. Bad day at black rock.

So … one not fer Baalke – and one fer throwing in former Jaguars kicker Brandon McManus to help make the point. What a difference a day makes.

Sam from Orlando, FL

Is it true that Calvin Ridley didn't re-sign with the Jags because Eugene "The Jet" Frenette beat him in a foot race?

Googling this …

Bruce from Saint Simons Island

O, I'm with you on not understanding the anger on the Jags acquiring Jones. Given the long NFL schedule, it would seem wise to have two quarterbacks that give the Jags a reasonable chance of winning. On the other hand, does the Gabe Davis signing make sense? Davis seems to "disappear" during many games. In your opinion, is Davis better than Ridley, and what was the apparent reason for this signing? Also, can you give us fans an idea of where the Jags are going with the team roster?

There's nothing from this view that doesn't make sense about the Jaguars acquiring quarterback Mac Jones from the New England Patriots in a trade; he's a veteran with extensive starting experience and was an affordable way to upgrade the backup position. Davis makes sense in that he's a salary fit with the receiving corps and would appear to be a good complement to a group that currently includes Engram, Kirk and Jones. Is he better than Ridley? Perhaps not. Does he make more sense from a salary perspective. Perhaps. Where are the Jaguars going with the roster? They're trying to improve it and address issues as best as possible while keeping a healthy salary cap. That's what teams must do when they're around the cap.

Chief from Biloxi, MS

Are we serious about this offensive line? Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence better be prepared to lay in his back more than the best girl in the house. I can't believe that we are running the same failure as last season. One for the GM.

One fer disappointment with a less-than-rosy outlook.

Blaine from Prescott, Az

Dear Mr. O, So, Brian Burns gets potentially $150 million over five years. If so, did he just reset the market for Josh Allen? If the Dallas Cowboys at No. 24 or the Arizona Cardinals at No. 27 were willing to make a trade for Allen, would you take it?

Burns, who spent his first five seasons with the Carolina Panthers, was traded to the New York Giants – and the Giants reportedly have agreed to terms with Burns on a five-year contract with $87.5 million guaranteed. I don't know that it "re-set" the market for Allen because I suspect the numbers Allen and his agent have discussed were at least somewhat in that area. But Burns' contract likely gives the sides more accurate parameter – and Burns' contract almost certainly will prompt Allen's representation to expect Allen to be paid in that area. I would not trade Allen for a mid-to-late first-round selection. I do expect the Jaguars will sign Allen to a long-term contract this offseason.

Gabe from Washington, DC

Why not just start the league year on Monday instead of having "legal tampering"?

Good eye.