O-Zone: Unbelievable luck

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Ngakoue becomes an unrestricted free agent next year, right? If he performs this year at a fairly high level, he will likely command a huge salary in free agency. It seems unlikely the Jaguars would be able to re-sign him next year. Is it possible he could get a new deal this year that may be (marginally) affordable?

Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue indeed is entering the final season of his rookie contract and is scheduled to become an UFA next offseason. But there is time between now and the 2019 regular season for the Jaguars to re-sign Ngakoue, and there also will be time during the season to do so. Many such deals get done in the second halves of seasons, and it’s often wise to wait until late in the final year of a contract to get a full idea about where a certain player fits within the overall framework of a team’s salary cap. A couple of more thoughts on your thoughts. One: I’m not sure it’s unlikely the Jaguars would re-sign Ngakoue early next offseason; teams often re-sign players during January/February before the March start of free agency. Two: I doubt Ngakoue’s contract will be “affordable” by any realistic definition, though the Jaguars will be able to re-sign him if they so desire.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

Oh Mighty ‘O’ / King Of Funk, is there a pattern to the preseason schedule? I know the regular-season games are on a fixed rotation with the only variable being where your team finishes in its division. I ask because the Philadelphia Eagles are one of our preseason opponents and for obvious reasons the media would like to make “Nick Foles against his old team” a story, even if he is likely to only play a series or two. Is the matchup sheer coincidence or did someone at NFL Towers think it would generate greater interest?

The Foles-versus-his-old-team angle likely had something to do with the Jaguars and Eagles playing in the 2019 preseason, though any preseason game only creates so much “buzz.” Either way, there’s no rotation. The league decides preseason games year by year, generally trying to minimize travel – particularly for the preseason finale.

Ryan from Fremont, OH

I think the biggest reason why we should still draft a quarterback early is that there has to be at least some doubt in Jaguars Executive Vice President Tom Coughlin and General Manager David Caldwell's mind whether or not Foles can be the guy for four-to-six years. If I'm the general manager, and 31 other teams don't see Foles worth pursuing, then I would rather draft a quarterback just in case the other 31 teams are right.

You probably wouldn’t feel that way if you were the general manager, because you would see other needs/issues that need to be addressed as opposed to just quarterback. Also, teams typically don’t base their decisions on what other teams think – nor should they. As far as how Caldwell/Coughlin feel about Foles, of course they realize there’s the possibility he won’t be a franchise quarterback; there are no guarantees in the NFL. Beyond the top few quarterbacks in the NFL, there always is a risk that a quarterback doesn’t play up to expectations. But your last sentence really isn’t all that pertinent to the discussion. The reason 31 other teams didn’t pursue Foles wasn’t because they didn’t seem him as worth pursuing. Most teams have a quarterback in place – and most of the ones that don’t had various reasons for going a different direction. That left the Jaguars as pretty much the only team this offseason with a major need for a veteran quarterback. That doesn’t mean no other team thinks Foles is good.

Dylan from Danvers, MA

Is Cody Kessler second-stringer material? What are the chances the Jags bring in veteran competition for the No. 2 spot?

Don’t sleep on Alex McGough.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

I feel like people who want Dwayne Haskins are thinking about what would be the best draft pick for the long-term. While I’m sure Coughlin, Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone would love to take care of the franchise for a long time, they have to worry about their job security if the team doesn’t produce results in the next two years, which is sort of annoying because they have to account for the short-term (more than most NFL front offices), and therefore may shy away from drafting a rookie quarterback who could be the franchise quarterback from his third year in the league to his 13th. Obviously, the Jags are going to see they see Foles as a franchise quarterback, and maybe they do, but what seems more likely is they went with the quarterback with the highest floor in 2020 and 2021, perhaps at the cost of the long-term success of the team. There’s no way that the immediate job security of the Big 3 was not a factor in choosing Foles over a rookie, right?

I’m getting a lot of the job-security questions lately in regards to Caldwell, Coughlin and Marrone. I understand people’s tendency to see things this way, but I just haven’t seen evidence that that trio collectively is thinking differently than they always have thought. Coughlin, remember, entered this situation with the Jaguars two years ago talking about winning now and winning lunch. That’s his approach and I don’t sense with his level of experience he’s worried about job security. Remember, too: There’s not really much long-term job security in the NFL these days. If you go a year or two without winning, you probably aren’t going to be around for a third or fourth.

Chris from Nashville, FL

I like how you suggest NFL "expert" analysis is often inaccurate or counter to the team’s views of a player, then go and do an entire story about an "expert" opinion on the upcoming draft class ... you a funny guy, O.

Just because something is inaccurate or counter to the team’s view of the draft doesn’t mean it’s not worth reading. Or discussing. It’s the draft. If we didn’t speculate or offer analysis, we never would mention it. That’s literally all there is until draft weekend.

Daniel from Urbandale

Looking at a recent list of best first-round picks by the Jaguars, I was struck by how long it was between defensive tackle John Henderson (2002) and Ramsey (2016). Fourteen years is a long time to go without any notable "hits" in the first round ...

Fair.

Robert from Jacksonville

When discussing our offensive line you mentioned that when healthy center Brandon Linder and guard Andrew Norwell were solid starters. But weren't they at one time the highest-paid at their positions? That seems like a problem. Shouldn't those contracts be reserved for the absolute best in the game, and not just solid starters?

Ideally, Norwell and Linder would be the absolute best in the NFL. But you always overpay in free agency. They’re good players and good NFL players are expensive.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, why isn’t it good to have a very strong backup pushing for the starting position when it’s good for every position other than quarterback? Why would a fight for best quarterback benefit teams?

It’s good to have quality backups at any position, including quarterback. But the idea of backups pushing for the starting position in the NFL is unrealistic – and perhaps a bit of a myth. Teams spend the offseason drafting and signing players to ensure they have a good handle on their depth chart entering organized team activities and training camp. Once the offseason is over, teams have a very good idea who will start where. Teams might have a position or two open during training camp, but rarely more than that.

Josh from Pensacola, FL

Every year I listen to top draft prospects speak and every year there is one that just jumps out at me as a 100-percent guaranteed great player that loves the game and has the confidence necessary to be a force. Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes are two examples. This year I think it’s Mississippi State safety Jonathan Abram. Do you think there is any possibility the Jags draft him, and do you agree that he is a can’t miss talent?

I don’t think the Jaguars will draft Abram because I don’t see them taking safety in Round 1 or 2 – and though he appears a very good prospect, I don’t agree that he’s a can’t-miss talent. That’s a phrase that’s easily used in retrospect and not nearly as accurate when used in advance.

Steve from Shreveport, LA

Your wife is not always right. There was that time she said “I Do”... but that was a long time ago. I am sure she has realized her mistake since then.

My wife is phenomenally lucky. Just ask me.

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