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O-Zone: Turnover time

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

Mac Jones? Seriously? WTH?

The Jaguars on Sunday reportedly agreed to acquire quarterback Mac Jones in a trade with the New England Patriots – reportedly for a sixth-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. The trade has drawn some ire from Jaguars fans, and I confess I don't grasp the reaction. Jones, while a starter throughout much of his three seasons in New England, will be a backup to quarterback Trevor Lawrence. He also would appear an upgrade over C.J. Beathard, Lawrence's backup the past three seasons. Lawrence has missed just one game in his three seasons, but he dealt with injuries late last season that forced him to miss one game and jeopardized his availability for multiple others. Perhaps that late-season stretch prompted the Jaguars to want to be more comfortable with their backup quarterback in big situations. Perhaps they just felt Jones too good a bargain not to acquire. Either way, the Jaguars trading for a backup quarterback needn't raise collective blood pressure. It seems a prudent, affordable move that might put the Jaguars in a better position in case of emergency. That's pretty much it.

Shawn from Moore County, NC

Tomorrow is the big day when a lot of deals get agreed upon. How many players do you think we sign and what positions? I'm guessing defensive tackle, defensive end, center, cornerback and maybe wide receiver.

The NFL's "tampering" window indeed opens Monday, with teams able to negotiate with the agents of prospective unrestricted free agents from other teams in advance of Wednesday's opening of the 2024 NFL League Year. I'm guessing the Jaguars won't be quiiiiite that busy.

Kevin from Clayton, NJ

Well, that's something I didn't expect. While I don't think Mac Jones is a bad player overall, why put pressure on Trevor he doesn't need right now? We need to trade for a receiver. One fer Baalke.

This trade shouldn't bother Lawrence, and I doubt that will happen. He's an NFL starting quarterback. He tough guy.

Stan from Jacksonville

The reported Mac Jones trade is not a horrible deal. Former first-round pick selected by former New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick – perhaps a GOAT – can grow in importance over the next two-to-three years. Certainly not true competition for Lawrence, but must have SOME skill to have been drafted when he was and by whom. I remember former Jaguars quarterback Rob Johnson that we traded for a No. 9 pick and ended up with future Hall of Fame running back Fred Taylor. A "jar on the shelf" with Round 1 skills in the eyes of some for a pick that may or may not have made the team - why not? I could be wrong - I often am, but that's my take.

Trading for Jones strengthened the backup quarterback position at affordable cost with little-to-no-risk. Investing at the quarterback position is a positive more often than it is not.

Michael from Mean Streets of Arlington

I'm sorry in advance for all the fans that think Mac Jones is being brought in to compete with Trevor.

I haven't received that many emails along these lines. I've received a few, which might be described as "a few too many."

Limo Bob from Neptune Beach

Do we have a quarterback controversy? How does Chris Jones contract affect Josh Allen negotiations?

Acquiring Mac Jones doesn't mean the Jaguars have a quarterback controversy. The Chiefs signing defensive tackle Chris Jones to a five-year deal with $95 million guaranteed affects the Jaguars' negotiations with outside linebacker Josh Allen because any long-term deal for an elite player influences the market for other elite players at relatively similar positions.

Sal from Austin, TX

So the Patriots get Nathan Rourke from the Jaguars' practice squad for free, but the Jaguars have to fork over a sixth-round pick for Mac Jones? Did Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke lose a bet? Am I fanning? What's the cap hit for a 15th overall pick/backup quarterback?

Jones' cap hit for 2024 is his base salary of $2.7 million – pretty reasonable for a backup quarterback. As for Jones and Rourke, Jones has 42 career starts and Rourke never has taken an NFL snap. Why wouldn't cost more to acquire Jones?

JT from Palm Coast

I'm sure you are getting a bunch of angry emails about the Mac Jones trade. Giving up a sixth rounder for a capable backup isn't a bad option. The jury is still out on our GM, but not because of this.

I for the life of me don't get how this is drawing ire.

Mike from The hinterlands of Pensacola

Zone, why does it feel like offensive lineman Walker Little is a forgotten Jaguar? Trade fodder? Wasn't it just last offseason that we were OK with him being left tackle Cam Robinson's replacement and one of the best five offensive linemen we had?

Life comes at you fast in the NFL. I expect Little to enter the 2024 regular season as a swing tackle. Having three capable offensive tackles in the NFL rarely is a bad thing.

Dan from Debary

You always hear the courtesy, put the five best players on the field when it comes to the offensive line. Do you see Walker Little playing the center position?


Thomas from Moncks Corner

Why is it that Baalke overpays the undeserving and tries to re-sign the good players on the cheap?

I don't think he believes he does this.

Nick from Virginia Beach

To expect Scherff to be healthy when he wasn't when we signed from Washington is a ridiculous risk. What are the chances Jags draft someone to be his replacement for when he's injured this year?

I think there's a decent chance the Jaguars draft offensive line relatively early in the 2014 NFL draft, though I doubt at this point that it will be in Round 1. I don't know that that player automatically would be right guard Brandon Scherff's replacement. I think there's a possibility Cooper Hodges eventually could replace Scherff. I think Hodges having missed his rookie season means that possibility has been delayed.

Hoss from Tallahassee, FL

In the past, you have said – and I agree with you – that a team like Jacksonville had to overpay for free agents for various reasons. Do you think with who Jacksonville is now as a team and organization, that we will see them still having to overpay for this year's free agents?

Not nearly as much as before, if at all.

Tim from Fernandina Beach, Fl

John: It looks like both starting guards are returning. With regard to center; how difficult/likely is it for a guard such as Cooper Hodges, to convert to center to give center Luke Fortner competition? Is it more likely the Jags sign/draft that competition?

The Jaguars like Hodges, but a switch to center can be tricky. If there's serious competition for Fortner, I would expect it to be acquired via free agency or the draft.

Kenneth from Arlington, TX

Is it feasible that there will be a fair competition for left tackle with a real chance of moving Cam over to the right tackle position? I hear Logs bring this up from time to time as a way to strengthen the line.

You say "fair" competition as if there had been something untoward occurring. I expect Robinson to start at left tackle and Anton Harrison to start at right tackle. I don't believe the Jaguars would retain Robinson if they thought he wasn't going to start at left tackle.

Richard from Jacksonville

I think secondary is the pick to win "now" and wide receiver is the pick for the "future" in Round One. Do you think the general manager is drafting for his job due to the immense pressure to win now? Or can he make the pick best for the future of the franchise.

I expect Baalke will operate this offseason like the general manager of a team that has finished 9-8 the past two seasons and that now must make some offseason adjustments to address a few issues – and to maintain some strengths. I don't get the sense Baalke will "go rogue" and mortgage the future to "win now" due to any unusual pressure. Remember: There's always pressure to win.

John from Jax

There will be 90 of them competing soon, correct? Including a couple guys who missed last season with injury (see Blake Hance), including the draft and free agency. Doesn't that mean it won't necessarily be the same?

Offensive lineman Blake Hance didn't miss the 2023 season, though rookie Cooper Hodges did – and yes, the 2024 Jaguars will be different from the 2023 Jaguars. This is a league of change with some degree of annual roster churn on every team. This offseason doesn't feel like the radical, fundamental turnover of some offseasons past – but considering the presence of a new defensive coordinator and multiple changes at key positions … no, it won't be the same.