JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Marcus from Jacksonville
You say the offensive line is quite possibly the No. 1 issue for the team entering the offseason. Do you think the success of the Cincinnati Bengals this past season may change that? I realize Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow got killed this past season behind a shaky offensive line, and that they lost the Super Bowl in large part because of that offensive line, but that doesn't change the fact that they got to the game and held the lead in the fourth quarter. When everyone assumed they would use a Top 10 pick on an offensive lineman, they chose a wide receiver and it paid off. Any chance their method changes the Jaguars' model this offseason and they end up doing less on the line and more at skill positions?
A few thoughts on this. One, I do believe the Bengals' 2021 season will cause teams – perhaps including the Jaguars – to reconsider how they approach building an offense. Adding wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase as the No. 5 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft changed the Bengals' offensively, and it was yet another example of the increased importance of dominant wide receivers in this NFL era. Burrow and the Bengals showed that a quarterback who can release the ball quickly and stay in manageable situations can – at least to an extent – overcome a struggling offensive line. Great quarterbacks with high-level awareness can do this, and Burrow showed that skill to a remarkable level for a second-year veteran this past season. Chase also reinforced how a game-changing receiver can make a key play to change three, four or five games a season. In a league in which most games are decided by a touchdown or less, that can't be underestimated. Those are the theoretical arguments for taking a wide receiver so early. As for how the Jaguars will approach the 2022 NFL Draft, there are specifics to be considered – mainly, whether there is a receiver available on Chase's level. If the best wide receiver is capable of having a major impact, then it makes sense to take him at No. 1 overall. If not – and if a player such as Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal is elite – then it makes more sense to go a different direction. Remember: Take the player, not the position. If the player can't play, the position does you no good.
Sam from Orlando, FL
Donald must be a new Jags fan if he's still mad about the team trading Calais Campbell. Wide receiver Allen Robinson, linebacker Daryl Smith, safety Reggie Nelson anybody? Franchise has a history of cutting or trading good players. With that said, Campbell wasn't worth his price tag. The Campbell trade was a good move.
The two moves that I believe General Manager David Caldwell would have liked to have been able to undo were allowing Robinson to leave as an unrestricted free agent in the 2018 offseason and allowing linebacker Daryl Smith to leave as an unrestricted free agent in the 2013 offseason. Robinson was coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament in 2017 that clouded the negotiations, but the team never replaced what Robinson would have brought to the offense. The Jaguars in 2013 were skewing younger with the idea of drafting and developing their way to a solid foundation, but Smith would have helped the defense – and a young Jaguars team – immeasurably. I essentially agree with you on Campbell, though. He hasn't approached his 2017 level since leaving Jacksonville. I would have loved for Campbell to stay because he was a joy to cover, but it's hard to argue it was an awful move from a football standpoint.
David from The Island
I see Neal wears braces on both knees. Is this cause for concern or protection from future injuries?
I have heard or read nothing to indicate Neal has significant enough knee issues to preclude him from being among the first few players selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.
_Michael from Port Orange, FL _
In the discussions about Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson and right tackle Jawaan Taylor, the talk centers around number sacks but the real deficiencies were the crucial penalties they both committed that killed drives, prevented touchdowns. Why isn't that the main topic of discussion?
I receive emails and answer questions. I don't write emails or set topics for discussion.
Andrew from Halifax
It seems that the free agency date isn't a hard start-time like it used to be. When do you expect deals to start being announced?
Free agency begins Wednesday, March 16 at 4 p.m. I expect official deals to be announced beginning at that time. I expect agents to start leaking details of deals between March 14 – the beginning of the league's negotiating period – and March 16.
Ed from Jax
Dude, KB Toys and Hobby. I'm sure you shopped at Structure back in the day and Lionel Playworld across the street was The Bomb.
Structure: Funny. Lionel Playworld: Not funny.
Kevin from Nashville, TN
Since there is not a high demand for teams to trade up to the No. 1 pick and give up a lot of draft capital, why would we still not even accept any good pick (i.e., just one second-round pick) if one of the top five or six teams offered it to us? That is far less than the normal return for the top pick, but it goes beyond the pick alone, but rather what it allows us to do. That extra second could be packaged with our No. 33 and maybe a Day 3 pick to move back into the middle of the first round. Or since the interest is low for the top pick, what do you think about doing a No. 1 and project player like linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson) or impending young free agent to return a Top 7 pick plus additional Day 1 or Day 2 selections? Just two scenarios that would be better than staying put at No. 1 Either of those type of scenarios possible?
Many scenarios are possible. But here's the potential problem: There are multiple players at multiple positions – including offensive tackle and edge rusher – considered pretty equal at the top of the '22 draft. Because there isn't a huge perceived difference in the top two or three offensive tackles or edge rushers, it's very possible that no team will want to part ways with enough draft capital – or any draft capital, for that matter – to move up.
Fred from Naples, FL
I really do not understand the disdain for Robinson. Tony Boselli allowed 15.5 sacks over his seven-year career and is in the Hall of Fame. Robinson allowed ONE sack last year, but everyone seems to want to write him off. Sign him to a long-term deal or franchise him again and draft Evan Neal anyway. You can't have enough elite offensive linemen. Based on last year's numbers, Robinson has the ability to be elite.
John from Jacksonville
A wise man once said, "You never pass up taking the big guy because there's a limited number of them on the planet." Especially talented big guys. With that said, who will be the top free agent edge rushers available?
It's wise to take big guys early providing the big guy is good enough to merit it. The top free-agent edge rushers are expected to be Von Miller of the Los Angeles Rams and Chandler Jones of the Arizona Cardinals – provided they become free agents.
Bruce from Saint Simons Island, GA
O, Can you please inform me as to the number of games lost on the offensive line due to injury? Appears to me that we have decent offensive linemen, but they are injured a lot and miss many games each year.
Robinson missed three games this past season, with right guard A.J. Cann missing 13 and center Brandon Linder missing seven. Linder has missed significant games fairly regularly, with Cann having been very reliable through six previous seasons and Robinson being reliable except for the 2018 season in which he missed 13 games with a torn ACL. Offensive linemen often miss games. It's what makes having a "swing" tackle and "swing" interior player as a backup so important.
Levi from Huntsville, AL
When do you think we'll start to get a feel on who the Jags plan to re-sign before free agency? Namely wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. and Robinson.
This could possibly happen to a degree at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis next week, or as we get closer to the negotiation period leading to the NFL League Year. The "negotiating period" begins March 14 with the League Year – and free agency – set to begin March 16 at 4 p.m.
Sean from Jacksonville
This year's theme songs? I'd start with "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey and if the season goes south again, I'd end it with the Beatles' "Let It Be." If we pull a Bengals and head to the Super Bowl? "Dream On" by Aerosmith. There ya go. I saved time by doing many seconds of research.
How about "I'm So Tired" from the White Album. It seems appropriate right now.