O-Zone: Throwing steel

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Tim from Doboy Island, GA

Hey, Oehser: do we know the specifics of the disagreement between Yann and the team? The idea that the major discrepancy is the team wanting a $19-million-a-year-base salary versus the $22 million Yann wants seems preposterous. That seems like a very easy hurdle. Is it that Yann wants something similar to Frank Clark, where the first three years are basically guaranteed (barring some stipulations), while the Jags want a standard deal with the upfront signing bonus and nothing guaranteed after? Or is it more than just money?

We don't know specific answers to your questions, which is what makes it difficult to accurately analyze the disconnect between defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and the Jaguars. We do know the sides couldn't agree on a deal last offseason, and observers are assuming based on speculation and reports that the Jaguars want to pay Ngakoue in the $19 million a year range on average and that Ngakoue wants upwards of $22 million per season. If that's indeed the difference, $3 million a season is not so small a number – even by NFL standards – that it can be defined as an "easy hurdle." As far as what both sides want in terms of contract structure and guaranteed money … that's yet another thing few outside the parties involved know for certain. That's a lot of unknown, which means there are a lot of opinions and theories with few facts to support those opinions. The basic disconnect is Ngakoue apparently wants to be treated, seen and paid as an elite pass-rushing defense end and that the Jaguars aren't willing to pay him as such. As a result, nothing is clear and easy on this one – and hasn't been for a long time. As far as your final question about it being more than just money … yes, it feels that way. There's now pride involved, and Ngakoue is a prideful player who apparently believes he has been disrespected. Whether he's right on that front or not, him believing that certainly appears to now be a factor.

Bob from Sumter, SC

Can you explain what a "dead cap" hit is and why it applies in some contracts but not others?

When team signs a player to a contract that includes a signing bonus, the bonus money typically is spread out over the life of the contract when applying the bonus to the salary cap. When a player signs a five-year contract with a $25 million bonus, for example, $5 million is applied to the cap for each year. the player is released before the end of the contract, the prorated bonus accelerates into the year in which the player is released. That means if the player is released after three seasons, $10 million would accelerate into the year he is released. That $10 million is considered the player's "dead cap" hit. There are situations where contracts are structured to have the dead money in the early years of the contract. In those cases, and in cases when a player has played out his contract, there is no dead money involved.

Bill from Jupiter, FL

I am interested in your take on trading a starter for a fourth-round pick. I don't get it. What are the chances any team drafts a starter in the fourth round?

You're referencing the Jaguars trading cornerback A.J. Bouye to the Denver Broncos for a fourth-round selection. Bouye's cap figure and salary for 2020 made it almost certain he would be released or traded before the March 18 start of the 2020 League Year. He also didn't play nearly as well in 2019 as he had in 2017, when he was an Associated Press All-Pro selection in his first season with the Jaguars. Because of those factors, getting a fourth-round selection as compensation for Bouye was a very good move. 

Sean from Tampa, FL

Just wanted to Thank A.J. Bouye for his time in DUVAL!!!

Good point. One thing that got a bit lost when discussing Bouye in Wednesday's O-Zone was how good and important he was for this franchise. The 2017 season and AFC Championship Game run doesn't happen without him. So, yes … he should be remembered fondly.

Mac from Jacksonville Beach, FL

This team is falling apart at the seams. Season-ticket renewals are due by the end of the month and I'm going to need a steadfast statement from the front office that Gardner Minshew II will be starting or I'm not renewing.

The Jaguars have made two major moves since the end of the 2019 season: They opted not to pick up defensive tackle Marcell Dareus' option earlier in the offseason, and they reportedly agreed to trade Bouye to the Broncos. The departure of both players pretty much has been a forgone conclusion for months. This is not "falling apart at the seams." This is making personnel moves that were determined by how contracts were structured in previous offseasons. As far as a "steadfast statement …" if the Jaguars trade quarterback Nick Foles, that will be a statement that Minshew is starting. If that doesn't happen, I wouldn't expect a "statement."

Alejandro from Mexico City, Mexico

Rebuilding time!!! Not so good in the short term for us, but Jaguars have chosen a very good draft to start it. Get a late first-round selection for Yann (will be missed) and create a new culture in the organization. 2022 will be the year!!!

So, one fer 2022!

Rusty from New Iberia, LA

Although the couple of extra first-round picks are nice, do you think the way we handled the Ramsey situation has set a precedent for players wanting out of Jacksonville? Just demand a trade and refuse to play and we will cave.

That's a legitimate theory, though it remains to be seen if it's accurate. Former cornerback Jalen Ramsey was a unique case in that he seems to err on the side of discontentment; I'm not sure his situation can be seen as a model for other players to follow. Still, if there is a perception that players want out of Jacksonville, there's a way to end that perception. Win.

Red from the O-Zone comments section.

John, looks like Yann has no intention of playing for the Jaguars in 2020. Is a "tag-and-trade" scenario almost guaranteed now?

No.

Tommy from Jacksonville

Yan wants out because two games in London and not in Duval increases his tax payout ... Duh!!!

It's hard to tell if you're being sarcastic, but if Ngakoue plays with a team based in a state with state income tax he likely will hurt himself in terms of taxes paid compared to playing Jacksonville – and yes, that's true even with two home games in London.

Alan from Jacksonville

I was curious why you thought trading Yann would only get us a second-round pick. Most seem to think it would be closer to the first and third picks the Kansas City Chiefs gave the Seattle Seahawks for Frank Clark. If we could get that for a guy who wants out, I think it would make sense for us to pull the trigger. It would help our cap management and also give us more picks in what seems to be one of the best drafts in recent memory. Would you take that deal?

If the Jaguars could get a first- and third-round selection for Ngakoue, then yes … it would make complete sense to take the deal.

Scott from Wichita, KS

Kids today. He's probably been told all his life that he's "special." How does a guy think he's one of the best at his position when all the numbers show he's not? Narcissism front and center. This guy is getting bad advice. Has anyone simply said… "Dude, you're just not as good as you think you are."

Few people tell NFL players this, but let's not paint Ngakoue as narcissistic because he wants to get paid well – and just because he went public on Twitter and said he doesn't want to sign a long-term contract with the Jaguars. A player in his position should do everything he can to get paid as much as possible – just as a team in the Jaguars' position must place a value on player and act appropriately in relation to that value. If Ngakoue and the Jaguars never can come to an agreement, there will be an end game. That end game might come after more ugliness and after Ngakoue decides whether he wants to play on the franchise tag, but it will come. Ngakoue will be able to show if the Jaguars' assessment of his value is correct. That will come when he gets on the field. If he outperforms that assessment, then he's right. If he doesn't, then he's not.

Steve from Cancun, NM

JO: After the bench press was over, did you hop on the bench and pop out a few quick reps to show the other senior writers who is the man?

Damned right.

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