JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
ZJ from Denver, CO
It's pretty disheartening to constantly see big-name players say they want out of Jacksonville. Makes me wonder if this team will ever be good enough or respected enough to attract a great free agent (like Calais) or keep someone. I do think Yannick is overreacting, just like Ramsey, when it comes to this money situation. I get you want to be paid at what he believes his potential earns him, but top-grossing NFL players are already overpaid so I wish players would also come back down to earth and show some humility. It's very tough to deal with a lot of NFL players, like Yannick, these days. I'm split on this. All I know is we need a big return for him.
I won't insult people's intelligence and say the Jaguars shouldn't be concerned with public perception on this issue, just as I won't say it's good that former cornerback Jalen Ramsey wanted to leave last season. It's also not good that defensive end Yannick Ngakoue now apparently wants to leave. You don't want the perception that players don't want to play for your team. At the same time, there are some unique circumstances here – and people seeing this as some irreversible, awful trend may be overreacting. It's also inaccurate to say big-name players "constantly" want out of Jacksonville. Ramsey's departure and his behavior here have been well-documented; while anyone is entitled to his/her opinion, the thought here remains that Ramsey was going to be unhappy for some reason wherever he was – and I anticipate that being the case throughout his career. As for Ngakoue, while he in recent days has said on Twitter that his issues with the team go deeper than money, it's a stretch to think the disrespect he apparently feels had nothing to do with his long and difficult contract negotiations. On that front, this is hardly the first time a player and team have disagreed to the point the player feels bitter. While Ramsey and Ngakoue appear to be playing up this idea that Jacksonville is a horrible place to play, my sense is that whatever locker-room and culture issues the team has had in recent seasons are being addressed – and that the team will be more far more diligent about the type of player it drafts moving forward. As far as never being able to sign or retain players, remember: The Jaguars had the best free-agent class in franchise history – and one of the best in NFL history – in 2017 when they signed defensive end Calais Campbell and cornerback A.J. Bouye. That came after a time when people thought no one would want to sign with Jacksonville. Players will sign here. They will play here. Perception to the contrary is just that. Perception.
Steve from Nashville, TN
John, I have moved on from Yannick Ngakoue. I ask you and your loyal readers do the same.
That's probably not going to happen soon.
Bryan from Tampa, FL
Does the Yann situation impact how you see the draft playing out for the Jags? At this point, the team has to seriously consider the idea that Yann may not play for them next year. Does that move edge rusher into consideration for Round 1?
I would guess the Jaguars will trade Ngakoue before the draft – if they indeed trade him. If so, that definitely would affect how they approach edge defender in the draft.
Adam from Jacksonville
I get that Yan is a prideful dude. He seems like a principles-based guy. Maybe that's what makes him tick? Fair enough, but if it were me? I'd get over myself and sign a contract.
It's not you.
Taylor from Columbia, MD
You've told us throughout this Ngakoue saga that it was about the money. Now he says it is not, and never was. Perhaps those of who linked his desire to leave to Jalen's were correct? This front office has caused two of our best players to refuse to play for the team. Never seen anything like it, and I am struggling to find a way this won't reflect badly on the Jaguars in the end unless they can repair this relationship with Yannick.
I've said throughout the Ngakoue saga that it was about the money because every statement and action of his until recently indicated it was about, well … the money. Now, that apparently has changed. If Ngakoue is traded, I suppose there would be people who would say it reflects badly. That would be an easy storyline for observers. I also suppose that if the Jaguars draft well and improve next season, fallout from losing a couple of discontented players would be minimal.
Shawn Hunkered Down in the Mean Streets of Arlington
Maybe Yan moves on, and carry his emotions on to the next team, like Jalen. They don't like it here in Duval? Or their teammates? Or the fans? Or the bosses? Buh bye. We'll all move on with or without them.
Alon from Malibu, CA
I'm assuming part of the reason defensive end Calais Campbell was to free up some salary-cap room for a Yannick signing. If Jags trade Yan, do the Jags regret trading Calais? (Jags may have gotten a fourth- round compensatory pick for him)
The Jaguars traded Campbell because they wanted to clean up their entire salary-cap situation moving forward, and because he wasn't the player in 2019 that he was in 2017 and 2018. I wouldn't call it an if-then scenario that the Jaguars thought if they traded Campbell they would automatically use the space to sign Ngakoue. While the team very much wanted to re-sign him to a long-term extension, there has long been a feeling that his contract demands might prove too high to allow that to happen. Either way, I don't expect the Jaguars to regret trading Campbell. He's entering his 13th NFL season and had 6.5 sacks after 10.5 in 2018 and 16.5 in 2017. Keeping him at his projected 2020 salary was a big ask.
Michael from Phoenix, AZ
What are the pros and cons in exercising running back Leonard Fournette's fifth-year option? If he has another great year, he likely leaves as a free agent and we have another first-round pick playing for another team.
The pros of exercising a player's fifth-year option is you ensure you have the player on essentially a one-year deal for less money than it would presumably cost to lock that player up on a long-term team. Another pro is that you don't have to commit to that player long-term if you're not ready to make that commitment. The con is that you're committed to that player if the player is injured.
Hulk from Las Vegas, NV
So, I guess Fournette is the next to be traded? He seems to be pretty vocal on Twitter and Ramsey has joined him. I swear these guys have no qualms putting the team on blast. It's either the players or the front office. But something is really broken.
Has Fournette been vocal? Ramsey, too? I honestly hadn't noticed.
Jacob from NY
It is great that we have 12 draft picks for the 2020 NFL Draft. My question is how many of the picks do you think will eventually contribute? Especially considering we only have four in the first two days. Thanks!
I expect all players selected by the Jaguars in this draft to make the roster – or at least the practice squad – and I would expect at least two thirds of those players to be active on game day. As far as how many will eventually contribute? Depending on your definition of contribute … nine, 10 or 11. Young players have to play some role on special teams or as reserves on pretty much every team.
Tyler from Jacksonville
Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell's biggest mistake will be not grabbing up former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston while the market is low. I don't give him FULL blame on running back Leonard Fournette over quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
Kyle from The Auggie
With reports that Jadeveon Clowney has lowered his asking price to $17-18 million per year, do you think Yann eventually accepts the Jags offer in a deteriorating market for edge rushers?
Considering what he continues to say on social media, it appears there would have to be some major reconciling for Ngakoue to sign long-term with the Jaguars. Will he eventually sign for lower than he originally expected? If reports about what he was expecting were correct, then yes … that's possible.
Jerell from Columbia, SC
NO ONE CARES WHAT YANNICK WANTS!!! He is an eight-to-nine sack guy a year so far. Josh Allen has had as many double sack seasons as yan. Yan is a good player, not great. Let's not fall into the habit of play good players great money and hoping their game follows. Jags will win the super bowl in 2022 and 2023 with or without Yan and his eight sacks.
Jerell's all in fer 2022 and 2023. He is not all in fer Ngakoue.