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O-Zone: Still not down

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Gero from Wenden, Germany

Hello, John. They really released Myles Jack? Why? One of my favorite players and top performers. Good soul of the locker room and candidate for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. What got into them? Saving cap space? Any chance of getting him back?

In the wake of giddiness often comes sadness. The Jaguars, a day after agreeing to terms with six new unrestricted free agents and signaling the changing of the roster under Head Coach Doug Pederson and General Manager Trent Baalke, on Tuesday indeed announced they had released linebacker Myles Jack. This news expectedly surprised, saddened, confused and angered some Jaguars fans – and I admit the news surprised this writer initially. My first thought was it was hard to believe that a team without Jack is better than a team with Jack – and my second thought was if you're trying to stockpile good players, releasing Jack seemed counter to that. But with changing regimes in the NFL also comes changing views of players on the roster. The Jaguars reportedly have agreed to terms with linebacker Foye Oluokun as an unrestricted free agent; having him among with Jack would have been a lot of equity/money invested at the position. When you're altering the roster, you sometimes must alter how salary-cap space and money is allocated. As far as Jack returning, I learned long ago never to say never. But it would be surprising. This feels like a farewell to a player who should – and I expect, will – be remembered fondly by Jaguars fans and who will always have a place in this franchise and its history.

Ray from Vernon, Fla

Oh, Mighty Zone, please help me understand why we didn't resign DJ to the same or a little more for our own prove-it, one-year deal. It seems to me even with his injury history he would have been a low-risk, high-value sign. Or did he not want a prove-it deal, but a long contract?

Tuesday qualified a rough day – for the Jaguars and for a lot of Jaguars observers. Not only did the team release Jack, wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. – a popular, talented player – agreed to what reportedly is a one-year, $10 million deal to sign as an unrestricted free agent with the Detroit Lions. I wasn't privy to whatever contract talks occurred between Chark and the Jaguars. Still, there are times when both players and teams are ready to move on – and that's often because the perception the player has of his value doesn't match the team's perception of the player's value. I wondered throughout the weeks leading to free agency if that wouldn't be the case with Chark and the Jaguars this offseason. It certainly has that feel.

Steve from Wallingford, CT

Chark to Detroit on a one-year prove-it deal after injuries is giving me PTSD of A-Rob to Chicago.


Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Myles Jack wasn't down, but he's out. We are bringing in a pretty good free agent linebacker, but Jack won't be brought back. Despite the talk about signing players to second contracts, Jack and Chark won't get theirs. Glad to see the Jaguars aggressively pursuing free agents, but how is swapping out good players for other good players strengthening the roster?

There's truth in what you say. A couple of thoughts, though. One is that Jack did receive a second contract from the Jaguars, having signed an extension in 2019 and playing on that second contract the past three seasons. As for swapping out good players for others, that is a concern. While Jack possibly was slowed at times last season by the knee injury that caused him to miss a lot of practices as the season continued, he remains a talented player who undoubtedly will play somewhere else and very possibly at a high level. Moves get made and familiar players leave in times of transition, but there's a possibility in this case of having parted ways with a potentially productive player. Parting ways with Chark feels that way, too. Were the moves necessary? Probably. Was there risk? Yes, but that's part of the transition process in the NFL.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man - why, just why, would we cut Myles Jack? Isn't he at worst solid depth? Are our upgrades so far enough to make up for not having him?

It is vogue in some circles to say the NFL's salary cap is fake. While I like many of the people who run in those circles, the NFL's salary cap is not fake.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

When it's all said and done, Myles Jack was my favorite player last year and the year before. I wish he could have seen the end of the turnaround.

Hey, one fer Jack …

Joshua from Atlanta, GA

After the deals Monday, I was looking at potential cuts and MJ stood out, but I was hopeful after he survived the day. As of Tuesday, it isn't so. I think he is a great player, but a liability in spots. He wasn't down, and I wish him nothing but the best moving forward.

… and another fer Jack …

Tom from Loughborough, England

Zone, I challenge you to find one positive of releasing Jack. There is no positive - you don't cut one of the two elite players on the defense. Just a stupid, stupid decision worthy of a Caldwell administration.

… and one very much not fer releasing Jack …

Hilarious from Funnytown

I'm coming around to Baalke's "screw the haters, hold my beer while I co-sign these checks" attitude. That is all.

… and still another fer Baalke …

Jess from Glen Carbon, IL

The Jags made some very good-to-great moves, but overpaying for a receiver that wasn't in the top 25 was not one of them. Neither was signing WR Zay Jones; for the same money they could have kept DJ Chark. But releasing Myles Jack, who has played at a Pro Bowl level every year is just plain boneheaded. I hope all the moves pay off and we have a winning team that competes for a championship, but this team needs to keep its good players. That's what good teams do.

… and one not fer a lot of stuff.

David from The Island

How many deals are actually in place prior to the "legal" tampering period?

It seemed at the start of the legal tampering period Monday that a few deals were basically in place between players and teams. That's from gauging the speed of reported deals, a few which came so quickly that it's hard to believe they weren't essentially done before legal tampering began at noon that day. But the vast majority of deals reported Monday were reported a bit later in the day – including all six of the Jaguars' reported deals. And there were plenty of reports about multiple teams talking to specific players that day. Bottom line: It did seem a few deals were in place entering Monday, but I didn't get that feel from the Jaguars' deals. And leaguewide, it didn't feel like a lot.

Art from Orange Park, FL

If the reported signings become official, I will gladly admit that I was wrong about our GM. I'll eat crow, eagle, pigeon, whatever.

Wednesday at 4 p.m. is nigh. Prepare to nosh.

Jonathan from Jax

Foye Oloukun is exactly the type of player this roster needs. He is an overachiever, he is intelligent, has a high motor and football IQ. Simply, he is by far the best unknown player in the league and also just a helluva player overall. The dude also is great in the community and can come in and show these guys what real work looks like. Really excited

Oluokun, a linebacker who played for the Atlanta Falcons the past four seasons, has that feel. This hasn't been much discussed here in the O-Zone, but yes … this seems like one of the Jaguars' more important, if overlooked, moves from Monday.

Gary from Fleming Island

I recall when Jack was drafted there was a concern with what was described as a degenerative hip issue. Could this be part of the reason he was released?

It was a knee issue, and not to my knowledge.

Mark from Archer, FL

John, What the heck is going on? The Jags are paying a receiver, Christian Kirk almost 20 million per year, and the guy has never even had a 1,000-yard season. That currently puts him among the Top 5 highest paid wide receiver in the NFL. This is just idiotic is the only word that comes to mind.

You must overpay in free agency. When you win four games in two seasons, sometimes you must really overpay.

Josh from Green Bay, WI

NO! I'm so sad to hear that the Jags are releasing Jack. He has been a terrific player to watch. Always and forever, Jack wasn't down!

Damned right he wasn't.