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O-Zone: Stop and chat

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Marcus from Jacksonville

I'm wondering if former Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles' contract with the Los Angeles Rams is essentially a middle finger to the Jaguars. To sign a contract that is tremendously below market value for a veteran backup quarterback makes me wonder if he isn't giving a discount to his new team at the expense of his old team. You said that any money he makes on a new contract is subtracted from the what the Jags owe him, so essentially unless he signs for more than what the Jags owe, he is going to come out with the same amount of money in the end. So was his market that weak that $1 million was the best he could do, or was this a subtle jab at his former team to let them pay for him to play for a new team? Or is that just the cost of doing business in the NFL?

To review: The contract Bortles signed with the Jaguars in 2018 guaranteed $6.5 million salary in 2019. That contract included "offset language." That meant if Bortles signed with another team in 2019, any salary he made that season would reduce what the Jaguars owed him – and reduce Bortles' effect on the Jaguars' salary cap. As it played out, Bortles upon his release from Jacksonville last week signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Rams. That reduced the amount the Jaguars must pay Bortles for 2019 to $5.5 and his salary-cap hit to $15.5 million. As for why Bortles signed for so little, remember: He probably was not going to draw enough interest on the open market to get a salary of $6.5 million or more for 2019. He also apparently decided he wanted to sign with the Rams very quickly upon visiting there. Considering those things were true, and considering the Rams had no incentive to pay him more than necessary, there was no way the Rams were going to pay more. And why would Bortles have cared either way? The only party in this situation with any incentive for the Rams to pay more was the Jaguars. Neither the Rams nor Bortles would have any incentive to help them.

John from Jacksonville

I would have considered Bortles a better backup to Nick Foles than the other quarterbacks we have. If we are paying him $5.5 million to be a backup for the Rams as opposed to $6.5 million to be a backup for the Jags, why not go with the latter? Especially when you throw out the option of still signing a veteran quarterback to be our backup, which would cost more than $1 million. It seems Bortles is content with backup status in the short-term.

Why didn't the Jaguars keep Bortles as a backup? A great man once said, "Sometimes, it's time to move on." This was one of those times.

Drew from Jacksonville

Now that we are making moves on both sides of the ball, what would be your logical choice of who to draft when the day comes (most likely offensive)? If it's a quarterback, then would you think Foles is the REAL answer the front office is looking for or is he just a "hold-it-down-for-now" player regardless of the contract?

My choice at No. 7 overall would be Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins if available, but I get no sense that will be the Jaguars' direction. That's because Foles' contract clearly shows the Jaguars' front office does believe he is the real answer. I believe the Jaguars will draft offensive line or tight end at No. 7 overall – most likely offensive line.

Jefferson from Phoenix, AZ

O-Zone, why did you think 2018 would be the last season for Campbell with the Jaguars? I still view him as the best free-agent signing in team history. Was it just the high cap hit or figuring diminishing returns due to age?

When defensive end Calais Campbell signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in the 2017 offseason, his contract and age made it seem likely he was signing for two seasons. His play over those two seasons – particularly in the last two months of last season – forced a rethinking of that notion. It takes a player of rare skills and productivity to play deep into a contract as large as Campbell's. Fortunately for the Jaguars, he's just such a player.

Kevin from Jacksonville

I am amazed at how many Jags fans think we had/have a legitimate shot at getting Haskins at 7. Lol, are these people serious? Haskins will not fall past No. 3. He will most likely go second because someone will have to jump the Oakland Raiders to get him (and that will most likely be the New York Giants). For the Jags to have a shot at him, they would have had to trade away their entire draft to outbid multiple teams to move up that high. This notion that teams will wait until next year is comical. Which quarterback in next year's draft is better than Haskins? Exactly. Teams like the Giants, Raiders, Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, etc., etc (who are all hosting him, by the way) want him and they will try to move up for him. I am glad the Jags are not going to be part of that bidding war. Foles was clearly the best option for the Jags.

I would be a little surprised if Haskins is there at No. 7, but it's not quite so ridiculous a notion as you indicate. Not only is he not universally considered a can't-miss prospect, the teams you mentioned aren't being mentioned with Haskins as much as has been the case with teams/quarterbacks in past drafts.

Mac from Jacksonville

We keeping Bohanon? I'm thinking about getting his jersey, but don't want to if there's a chance we cut him.

Former Jaguars fullback Tommy Bohanon became an unrestricted free agent March 13. He has yet to be re-signed.

Doug from Jacksonville

It seems to me offensive line is where successful starters can be found anywhere in the draft. When you start looking at skill positions, history would show although Pro Bowl-caliber players can be found drafted in any round – or even as an undrafted free agent – the success rate is less. Anyone who watched the Jaguars understands the offensive line is in dire need of an upgrade, but they are also in dire need of playmakers. Foles' success will be tied to both areas improving. I am just saying I would rather use that No. 7 for a playmaker and get solid line play down the draft.

Conventional wisdom goes against more toward finding offensive linemen and waiting on skill guys – though percentages of finding good players rises the earlier you draft no matter the position. The talent in this year's draft likely will determine the Jaguars approach. Wide receiver is not considered overly strong at the top of the draft, and tight end is very deep. There are also multiple offensive linemen who appear worthy of the No. 7 selection. That would seem to favor the Jaguars selecting offensive line in the Top 10 with tight end in Round 2. As for wide receiver, there's something of a disconnect between observers and team here. Observers see it as a position of dire need. The team? Not so much.

Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

John, far from me to think I've got the knowledge of Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin, General Manager David Caldwell or Head Coach Doug Marrone. But, there is one player in the draft I think could make an immediate impact for us. He is T.J. Hockenson, the tight end from Iowa. Quick with good hands and an exceptional blocker. I would hate to lose him. There are enough talented offensive-line personnel for us to go to in Rounds 2 and 3. Go Jags!

Hey … one fer Hockenson!

Jason from Salem, OR

Top three players you would LOVE to have on the Jaguars in this year's draft. Go!

Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa, Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams and Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary.

Robert from Elkton

So, there are 160 starting offensive linemen with 32 teams. How many actually started all 16 games last season? Or for last two seasons? It seems most offensive linemen miss one or two games each year due to the incredible violence of their workplace. So while several of our guys had rough years with injuries last year, it doesn't mean they are soft or injury prone. It really means being an offensive lineman is a dangerous profession and you will most likely get hurt every year and miss a game or two.


George from Savannah, GA

John, Coughlin seems like a no-nonsense type guy. Does he ever stop in your office and ask you your opinion or to go get a cup of joe with him and chew the fat?

Coughlin indeed comes by my "office" daily, stopping to chat enough to the point of being annoying. Never mind. That's not him.

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