JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL:
So, I'm assuming we are keeping Blake Bortles at this point, which means I now want all A-Rob news all the time till I know for sure what happens with A-Rob. Hourly updates on why we haven't franchised him until we franchise him or sign him! A-Rob? A-Rob? A-Rob? What's up with A-Rob?
John: It's good to want things; it builds character. And it perhaps will help you to know that you're far from alone in your plight; nearly everyone with any interest in the Jaguars wants to know what's going on with wide receiver Allen Robinson. Alas … I see a short, nervous wait in your future because I don't get the idea we'll know what happens on this front in the next day or two – or even in the next week, for that matter. I get no sense that the franchise tag is imminent for Robinson; the deadline for teams to place it on players is March 6. As for whether Robinson will be with the Jaguars in 2018, I don't get a sense we're close to knowing that, either. I will say what I said a couple of days back – that while many observers currently assume the Jaguars will either franchise Robinson or sign him to a long-term deal based on him simply being "too valuable not to bring back," my sense is that's not as much a given as many believe. The Jaguars missed Robinson last season and I absolutely believe they need him back next season, but I don't think that's remotely guaranteed to happen. As for assuming the Jaguars are keeping Bortles, I wouldn't call that a safe assumption. I believe it will end up happening, but the league's negotiating window for unrestricted free agents opens March 12. I don't think we'll know for certain on a lot of free-agent fronts until at least then. Bortles is certainly among those fronts.
Steve from Duval:
John, you're really good at what you do. Ever thought about doing something else?
John: Wait. What?
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
One for Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee. Hurns made the Jaguars exciting from his first game as a rookie. Remember that he had two touchdowns and 102 yards in the first half against the Eagles in 2014? I was always amazed at how quickly he emerged as a reliable target. Lee was written off until emerging in 2016. He never became the deep threat I expected, but he could sure run well after the catch on crossing and drag routes. I wonder where the NFL takes them next. Good luck either way.
John: Good points. While Hurns and Lee appear likely not to return to the Jaguars next season, both had their moments with the team the past four seasons – and both overcame quite a bit while here. Hurns adapted to the NFL as quickly as I ever have seen an undrafted rookie adapt, and he was a key part of the offense when healthy for four seasons. Lee was unfairly criticized by many while dealing with soft-tissue injuries his first two seasons and proved to be a tough, reliable player in his last two seasons. Not every player becomes a core player and it appears these two indeed will play elsewhere next season, but one fer Hurns and Lee? Yeah, no doubt.
Julio from SO Cal:
O, How about trading for Marcus Peters to use as a nickel corner then letting him walk next year?
John: Sure. How much?
Gerard from Boring, OR:
We all know about the quarterbacks expected to go in the first two rounds, but could you see the Jags drafting anyone in Rounds 3-5 at the position?
John: Yes, although obviously the deeper in the draft a player is selected the less chance he realistically has of emerging as a starter.
Blues Man from Jacksonville:
What are the chances of us pushing hard to get a playmaking tight end? I realize the Gronks of the world are far and few between, but many teams have very good pass-catching tight end – and not just a blocking tight end. With this being a pass-friendly league, I'd love to see the Jags get a tight end weapon.
John: I believe the Jaguars will address this area this offseason. I don't know that it makes sense to pursue it in free agency because of the cost associated with the players available, but I do believe they will select a pass-catching tight end sometime in the first two days of the draft.
Bob from Jacksonville:
When are the new uniforms and helmet going to be revealed to us? I am like you and would like to see all gold helmets.
John: I expect the new uniform and helmets to be revealed later this spring, possibly sometime in April before the NFL Draft (April 26-28). I would be prepared for disappointment if you are expecting all-gold helmets. On a final and very serious note, I am sorry you're like me. No one signs on for that.
Pradeep from Bangalore, India:
Hi John, here are some notes for Jags on the upcoming draft. 1) Do not draft a quarterback whose first name begins with B (Byron Leftwich, Blaine Gabbert). Can draft a quarterback whose last name begins with B (Mark Brunell). Fun part is Blake Bortles, whose first and last name begins with "B," falls in between above said groups. 2) Draft as many Allens and Robinsons as you can. 3) As far as the kickers, draft a guy whose first name is Josh (Josh Scobee and Josh Lambo).
Fred from Naples, FL:
Hey, Zone ... every national media report I read say there is no way Aaron Colvin is going to re-sign with the Jaguars as he will get starting corner money from someone else. You are the only one I have heard that has said there is a better chance of Colvin re-signing here than there is of Allen Robinson returning to the Jags. Why do you feel that way and why would Colvin sign here for less than he will obviously get elsewhere?
John: I did recently say there's a better chance of Colvin re-signing with the Jaguars than Robinson – and while that may have been a moment of talk-radio exuberance/over-exaggeration, I do believe there is a better chance of Colvin re-signing with the Jaguars than many believe and a better chance of Robinson not returning than many believe. I believe this because the Jaguars consider Colvin very important to the defense and because the $16 million franchise tag for Robinson may prove too costly. Maybe I'm wrong. It happens.
Damian from Hortonville:
If Blake is our quarterback next season, what does he have to accomplish to get a long-term deal with the Jags? What can be done in one season to prove he is the guy?
John: Develop to a similar degree in 2018 that he did in 2017.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Kirk Cousins will be 30 years old in August. The question you have to ask is, "Is he better now than Blake Bortles four years from now?" Everything being fair. Blake has a lot of experience at 26.
John: Fair point.
Paul from Westside and Bud Zone:
O Man! Jeez … if Cousins is so great why is Washington letting him get away? I like our guy.
John: Also a fair point.
Bruce from Jacksonville:
Never underestimate the greatest!
John: Perhaps the fairest point of all.
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
Do you think the next Collective Bargaining Agreement will include a secondary cap to the quarterback position specifically? Less than 10 years ago, $14 million per year for a quarterback was crème de la crème. What a long strange trip it's been.
John: I doubt we'll see the next CBA create a separate cap for any position. What your question doesn't specify is what the objective would be for such a move. If the objective is to keep quarterback salaries – or any salaries, for that matter – down, it would almost certainly never happen. That's because the NFL Players Association and NFL owners must collectively bargain the CBA and the NFLPA wouldn't likely agree to something if it was specifically designed to keep any position's salaries down. While quarterback salaries indeed have skyrocketed in recent seasons, the salary-cap system isn't the reason. The reason is that teams are desperate for quarterbacks and when someone is desperate for something they will pay a premium – whether or not the player indeed is worth that premium or not.
Jeremy from Dodge City, KS:
Do you think the Jags might take a look at Josh Gordon this offseason? (That is if the Browns don't put a high tender on him)
John: Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has been ruled an exclusive rights free agent by the NFLPA. That means he will play for the Browns next season.
Marty from Jacksonville:
You are a very funny guy. Sincerely. I enjoy your column a lot.
John: You've got the wrong guy.
O-Zone: Very funny
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL: