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O-Zone: The other guy

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Matthew from Fort Worth, TX:
Remember when the Jags went defense for six out of seven picks in the 2016 draft? That felt borderline crazy, but in combination with the free-agent windfall that was 2017, our defense is dangerous – maybe not yet elite in the purest sense of the word, but definitely dangerous. Do you think that 2018 will be a full-court press on offense on the order of five out of six picks going to the offensive side of the ball? Just spit balling some ideas, but the more I think about this the more I like it.
John: You're most likely on the right track. While the draft specifics next month likely will somewhat depend on what the Jaguars do in free agency, I do expect pretty much the entire offseason to have an offense-oriented feel. I expect the Jaguars to acquire some combination of wide receiver, at least one tight end and at least two offensive linemen in free agency and/or the draft. Could the Jaguars mix in a safety or linebacker in the draft? Or another defensive position, for that matter? Yes, because eventually you want to start balancing drafts as opposed to going all in on one side of the ball or the other – but whatever: if you wanting the Jaguars to focus on offense this offseason, I doubt you will be disappointed.
Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL:
Do you think the Mike Evans deal (five years, $82.5 million, $55 million guaranteed) changes the landscape in a way that alters the trajectory for the Jags and A-Rob? That deal essentially is five years of the franchise tag (on average) for someone without the ACL issue.
John: I don't know how much Evans' deal with Tampa Bay realistically will influence the Robinson deal; Evans is in a dramatically different situation. Not only has he not been injured, he has strung together four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to start his career. He therefore has proven himself as a No. 1, go-to receiver. Given Robinson's status as perhaps the best wide receiver on the market next week, it seems very likely his representation could be negotiating as if he is at the same elite, No. 1 level as Evans. If the Jaguars believed that, a deal almost certainly already would have been reached.
Brad from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jags ever think maybe they should have drafted Dan Feeney instead of Dawuane Smoot?
John: Not even close. The Jaguars like Smoot a lot, and I've heard or seen nothing to indicate they regret selecting him in the third round last offseason.
Daniel from College Station, TX:
I know some people are bummed about not re-signing/tagging A-Rob, but let's be honest to ourselves: we are a running and defensive team. Maybe 45 percent or less of the time we are going to pass. Emotions aside, I would rather have a little better offensive line and gamble in the draft. Even minus Marqise Lee the receiver corps seems promising. Do you think staying with the play style had to do with how the Jags see A-Rob's value?
John: I have little doubt it factored at least somewhat into the equation. That doesn't mean a player of Robinson's caliber can't be valuable to a team that's going to be focused on running well; it does mean there are other important areas aside from receiver when you want to play that way.
Danny Boy from Can-Tuckee:
John, I get that people hate the Robinson situation, but there is a silver lining for me: If you double Keelan Cole catches for the year from last season he would have 82, which is two more than A-Rob's best year. If you double his yards, he has 1,496, which is 96 more than A-Rob. I'm not saying he will be a perfect replacement, but I would like to give him the chance to be. Also, I think Dede Westbrook has potential to be a strong No. 1 candidate in the future. #DTWD
John: I can't speak quite that strongly about Cole and Westbrook. While I think they both have potential, it's tough in the case of Cole to say a player is going to have a 1,500-yard receiving season when he never has had a 1,000-yard season. Upwards of 1,500 yards receiving is big-time stuff. And I think Westbrook has more of a chance to be a really good No. 2 than a true elite-level No. 1. Still, your point is a legitimate one: Westbrook and Cole showed strong signs as rookies; if they take a second-year jump, they could be very good this season. Such a jump in Year 2 is common in the NFL, particularly for players who play as much as Cole and Westbrook did as rookies this past season. We'll see.
Josh from Green Bay, WI:
Thought of one more mistake the Jaguars made that could be classified as biggest mistake in team history ... firing Coughlin.
John: OK.
Sam from Orlando, FL:
This situation with Robinson is more about who is throwing him the ball than it is about money. No one will say it right now. But I have a feeling it'll come out when he's on another team. He was waiting to see who his quarterback was going to be.
John: I have no idea what Robinson will say when and if he joins another team, but if you think any free-agency decision is more about anything than it is about money you're following a different league than the one I've been covering for 24 seasons.
Marc from Duval:
Maybe this is just being contrarian to all the Robinson angst, but I think putting money towards a healthy Trey Burton and Justin Pugh – hypothetically – over using a majority of your collateral this year on one wide receiver whom you have yet to fully know will be available all 16 games this season as your window has appeared to open seems a better use of the team's resources. Am I off base here, John?
John: No.
Ric from Jacksonville:
Dude ... you crack me up!
John: You've got the wrong guy; you're thinking of Sexton.
Travis from High Springs, FL:
Everything that I've been reading about Allen Hurns sounds like it's expected that he's going to be released because of the money he would cost the team this year. If so when would he have to be let go? And is there any way the Jaguars could restructure his contract so it didn't cost so much this year?
John: Hurns' contract calls for him to make $7 million in 2018, with $4 million of that salary guaranteed as of Friday, March 16. If Hurns is on the roster that day, I would expect him to be on the roster at the beginning of the 2018 season. If Hurns agrees to restructure his contract, then it can be worked out so it doesn't cost so much. Barring that …
Andy from St. Augustine, FL:
So, I had my own "worst-mistake-in-franchise-history" moment in 2002 when the Jags let Tony Boselli go in the expansion draft to the Houston Texans. I screamed to anyone who would listen (and many who wouldn't), "How on earth could we let Boselli go?" I threatened to stop being a fan, find another team! Well, Boselli never played a down for the Texans and we got much-needed salary cap relief – turns out the people in charge are often in charge for a reason. So, while I'd love to keep Allen Robinson and I will certainly be upset if he leaves for another team, I know I don't have all of the information regarding his injury and recovery, the salary cap, upcoming contract extensions, other possible players we might be targeting, etc. Let the people in charge do what they do and support the team … or don't and you'll miss out on what looks to be an exciting time for the Jags over the next few years!
John: Robinson is a good player. It makes sense that fans would be upset – very upset – if he doesn't return. Fans can't be expected to keep the intricacies of film study, player value, salary cap and importance of other positions at the forefront of their thoughts – or to look at decisions through an analytical rather than an emotional lens. Fans also can't be expected en masse to think with an eye on the long-term rather than the immediate. That's the job of the front office and the team's decision-makers. Those people guided the Jaguars well last offseason while many outside the organization questioned them. Will their decisions this offseason turn out as well? We don't know that, but it is safe to say the same organizational philosophies that were used last offseason will be used this offseason. As for the results … stay tuned.
Glenn from Jacksonville:
John, I like when you annoy people. It's cool. Can I get one for Johnny O annoying Kevin?
John: You've got the wrong guy; you're thinking of Sexton.

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