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O-Zone: Way up there

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bob from Bobsville

After Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke's recent comments that the only goal is winning the Super Bowl, how many teams do you think have the Super Bowl as their No. 1 priority – and at the risk of your job, do you think the Jags are one? I realize this appears a stupid question, but it is based on the following. One, I followed Bill Parcells closely and he seemed to have two criteria for a player. One was he consistent (you can gameplan around a weakness, but not inconsistency). Two, was he good enough to win a Super Bowl? If a player didn't meet both these criteria he was gone, no matter how good or popular he was. Also: Mike Leach. Mike only cared about winning and as a result his teams would occasionally get blown out because he kept throwing the ball to try to win versus losing "respectably." How many NFL teams do you think would risk having a "bad" (say below .500 season) by making changes to a "good" team in an effort to win the Super Bowl?

A few thoughts on your (many) thoughts. One, all NFL teams have the Super Bowl as their No. 1 priority – though some teams each season admittedly have little-to-no chance of achieving that aim. Two, the Jaguars prioritize winning the Super Bowl; what else would they do? Three, the risk to my job is more my daily incompetence than any specific answer. Four, Hall of Fame Head Coach Bill Parcells had average or OK players on his roster like every other coach. Five, within the constraints of the salary cap, NFL teams make offseason decisions with the idea of winning as many games as possible. NFL jobs depend on winning. That's it. That's the goal.

Jay from So-Cal

Oh, wise man. Put yourself in the GM's position. What do you want to achieve right now? Tell me what draft picks intrigue you. What guys in free agency would you seek out?? Forget the cap at the moment and share who out there (who is available) would you covet?

I like the idea of signing an interior offensive lineman as an unrestricted free agent, perhaps a veteran center or a guard such as Robert Hunt of the Miami Dolphins. As for who the Jaguars will select at No. 17 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, cornerback or offensive line make the most sense. Perhaps that's a touch too high for Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson, so maybe a player such as Quinyon Mitchell of Toledo makes the most sense.

Mike from Azores

Hey, John. National groups like PFT and Bleacher Report are talking an 18-game schedule with two preseason games eventually becoming a 20-game regular season with no preseason games and a second bye week for all teams! What? No preseason games? How will they evaluate players? An extra bye week, fans like yourself will be lost when the home team isn't playing? Who comes up with such crazy ideas? It's all about MONEY!

One thought: Pro Football Talk and Bleacher Report discussing things doesn't mean things becoming reality. Another: Over the long haul, I wouldn't entirely dismiss concepts such as these happening because the NFL season has become progressively looooonger and more draaaawn out over its history. The Super Bowl when I grew up was a mid-January event. It is now an early-to-mid February event. A second bye week? No preseason? A late-February, early-March Super Bowl? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, they seem like awful ideas. We don't need the season more drawn out. Now, about those kids on my lawn …

Kevin from Jacksonville

One-word answer. Will the Jaguars sign outside linebacker Josh Allen Tuesday?


Jaypee from The Vortex

Is it possible to go over the cap? Is there a penalty?

It's impossible to go over the NFL's salary cap. The league must approve all contracts and a contract violating the cap wouldn't be approved. Stories about teams being "over the cap" mean teams are currently projected as over the cap, but teams must release players and adjust contracts to get under the cap before the start of a NFL League Year. Teams have been penalized for cap violations in the past, but those violations were about circumventing the cap. Fines and forfeiture of drafts selections have been the punishments for such violations.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

RIP to Mort. Definitely was one of the best to do it.

Longtime ESPN NFL Insider/Reporter Chris Mortensen passed away Sunday. I didn't know Mortensen as well as I knew many NFL national media analysts, though he always was classy and kind during our interactions. He was phenomenally good at his job. He will be missed.

Stebo from Jacksonville

I still don't understand "the shame Jalen Ramsey brought to the Jaguars." Did he take less money to play somewhere else, or did he get a bigger contract than was offered by the team that drafted him? He worked his whole life to get paid as much as possible. It's not his fault that the team that offered him the most money wasn't the Jaguars. When it became clear to him that the Jags wouldn't offer him a huge bag of money, he mitigated the risk of injury. And probably with some spite and hurt feelings, decided to mentally move on from the Jags with 12 games to go or whatever. He HAD TO consider his next contract at that point. He was on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal. He went from getting paid relative peanuts for four years to getting paid Top 10 corner money for one year – and he was a top 10 corner for all four years prior. I guess the real question here is: Is the fifth-year option exclusively the team's decision with no say-so by the player? If so, he was stuck somewhere with no real future but with a real potential to end his career at any given moment. If he could have rejected the fifth-year option, then maybe I could see it as shady on his end ... then again if he signed it assuming they Jags would go ahead and pay him the following year then I still don't blame him.

Former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey was two games into the fourth year – not the fifth – of his rookie contract in 2019 when he requested a trade from the organization that selected him No. 5 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. While the Jaguars at that point had not agreed to an extension with Ramsey, the first opportunity to do so had been the previous offseason – following Ramsey's third season. There's no way to know if the sides would have agreed to a long-term deal, but it certainly wasn't a given that it wouldn't happen. I wouldn't pretend to know all that Ramsey was thinking when he requested the trade. Perhaps his thinking was muddled by back pain. Money wasn't his stated motivation at the time, with the focus more on what Ramsey called an upsetting conversation with Jaguars management after he and then-Head Coach Doug Marrone had a sideline altercation during a mid-September Jaguars road loss to the Houston Texans. There's much we'll never know about the details of Ramsey's departure. I always liked Ramsey during his time here. I considered him an other-worldly talented. He was very enjoyable to cover and never boring. Did he bring "shame" to the Jaguars? No. They were losing enough and enough weirdness was going on around the team that the Jaguars were taking care of that on their own. But I also thought Ramsey could have handled his departure far more professionally.

Brendan from Yulee, FL

The thought of adding a generational wide receiver like Marvin Harrison Jr. of Ohio State has me hoping the Jags break the bank to move up and get him. Do you see this as a possibility or a pipe dream?

Pipe dream.

Tim from Fernandina Beach, Fl

John: Not that I want to get rid of Ridley, but riddle me this. If Ridley walks and signs a mega-contract, won't he count as a high-priced lost free agent? If so, we should get a high compensatory draft pick (third round) to replace the third round we gave up for him. Hmm.

You're not wrong, but you're also not completely correct. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley would indeed count in the Jaguars' compensatory draft formula for the 2025 offseason were he to sign elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent later this month. But that wouldn't guarantee the Jaguars an early draft selection. This is because compensatory selections are awarded based on total unrestricted free agency gains and losses from the previous offseason. The loss of Ridley easily could be negated if the Jaguars sign a free agent or free agents in the same offseason, which is very possible.

Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL

If the Jaguars don't re-sign Ridley, where would you rank wide receiver on the list of needs?