O-Zone: We are family

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Let’s get to it …

Jason from Thousand Oaks, CA

The New York Giants look to now be in a sort of cap purgatory with a lot of dead money from bad contract management. Educate me so I’m not as concerned Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin gets the Jags in a similar position in a couple years.

The Giants currently project to have an estimated $75 million in cap space in 2020, so their “cap purgatory” will be short-lived. As far as the Jaguars’ future cap, this is something we have discussed often and something I imagine we will continue to discuss often: The Jaguars have not mismanaged the cap; they can avoid “cap purgatory” by parting ways with veteran players when necessary. This is what they did when they released safety Tashaun Gipson, defensive tackle Malik Jackson, offensive tackle Jermey Parnell and running back Carlos Hyde recently. And while many observers interpreted those moves as “mismanagement,” releasing those players is better described as “management.” The Jaguars signed a slew of veterans in the 2015-2017 offseasons knowing they would release many of them before their contracts expired. Their contracts for that very reason were structured as two-year deals with minimal cap penalty – i.e., cap space dedicated to players no longer on the roster (dead money) – after two seasons. If they start restructuring contracts and moving guaranteed money into future offseasons, then that could cause them to have so much dead money they can’t pay current players. That’s cap purgatory, but they’re not there yet.

Shawn from the Mean Streets of Arlington

Ask John what?

What?

Bradley from Oceanside, CA

Now that the Jags have acquired at the very least a solid QB1, do they take very possibly the best offensive player in the draft (T.J. Hockenson)?

I wouldn’t rule it out, but I’m guessing as of now – March 25 – the Jaguars will go offensive line in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Jedi from Houston, TX

Wassup O, don’t know if you answered this already but what do we plan on doing at safety? I know we have Ronnie, do you think we go rookie, in-house or FA?

The Jaguars’ projected starting safeties for 2019 are second-year veteran Ronnie Harrison and fourth-year veteran Jarrod Wilson, with the Jaguars having re-signed Wilson earlier this offseason. The starters could theoretically change if the Jaguars select a safety early in the draft, but they feel comfortable starting those two players. I expect Harrison and Wilson to start.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, can you please help me to shake this feeling that I have that with all of the needs for the offense and with an already good defense, the Jaguars are still going to draft a defensive player in the first round?

I would be surprised if that happens.

Z from Orlando, FL

I like the low-level signings that have followed Nick Foles so far: low money, low risk, moderately high ceilings – particularly on wide receiver Chris Conley and linebacker Jake Ryan. I honestly am surprised we hadn’t gone this route when we filled our roster the last few years (versus signings like running back Toby Gerhart, running back Chris Ivory and wide receiver Donte Moncrief) - were you? Contract wise, I’m surprised how little Conley cost if the number I saw is right. Did he really only sign for a one-year deal? We couldn’t convince a young, athletic, talented but unproven receiver to sign for a team option but incentive laden multi-year deal?

Contracts work two ways. When a player such as Moncrief last offseason and Conley this offseason signs a one-year deal, he essentially is betting on himself to play well enough that season to earn a multi-year deal the following offseason. No amount of convincing is likely to change that approach.

Mike from Newberg, OR

The Jaguars should have patience and go all in for rookie quarterback later with Tua, Herbert, Lawrence, or others.

I don’t know what the future will hold, but that’s not the current plan. If the plan was to lose intentionally or rebuild to the point that they would be in position to take a quarterback in the top two or three selections of the next two or three NFL drafts, they wouldn’t have signed Foles to the contract he signed this offseason.

Dave from Los Angeles, CA

I’m rooting hard for Foles and felt it was obvious his former Philadelphia Eagles teammates preferred him to Carson Wentz. That being said, let’s suppose Foles flames out and has a terrible first year in Jacksonville. What does that look like for this franchise? What’s Plan B?

Hit reset in the most major way imaginable.

Jamel from Brooklyn, NY

Big O!!! I find it interesting that you think the Jags will take an offensive linemen over tight end based off how deep the tight-end class is. That was also the case at running back in the 2017 draft and Leonard Fournette was taken No. 4 overall. Could history show a tight end the more likely pick? Also: like you, I would select Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins at No. 7 if he is there. If we’ve learned one thing from last year, it’s that we shouldn’t put all our eggs in one basket.

While you’re correct that the Jaguars selected Fournette No. 4 overall in a year with a deep running-back draft class, I don’t get an idea that that year’s draft and this year’s draft are related enough to use one as a blueprint for the other. And while I wouldn’t mind seeing Haskins as the selection, you can’t continually keep buying really expensive eggs. 

Herbert K from Midstate Office Supply Accountz Reecevablez

Do you think the Jags will pursue a veteran backup quarterback in free agency given Foles’ past injury issues? Maybe a proven leader of men? Someone arguably considered to be the best backup quarterback in franchise history. I'm talking about CPT Chad Henne, of course.

Former Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne now is under contract as the backup quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Aaron from Chantilly

O-Zone, why are we running our offense through a run game and have a back that is only a C+ or B. It seems our bar is pretty low, and we are set up for failure.

I haven’t been told the details of the Jaguars’ offense for 2019. To my knowledge, no one else outside the team has been told, either.

Jay from Jacksonville (North Carolina)

Been seeing a lot of hype about Andre Dillard of Washington State building steam to be the first offensive lineman picked. He ran a sub 5.0-second forty-yard dash, graded out as the top returning tackle last year (over another potential first-rounder, Jonah Williams), and has patterned his game off one of the all-time greats: Joe Thomas. Would it be a huge shock if the Jags took Dillard and shifted Cam Robinson over to right tackle or are they comfortable enough with Robinson and selecting a strict right tackle?

It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Jaguars take a left tackle and move Robinson – and it wouldn’t be shocking to see them take a right tackle and keep Robinson. My sense is it will depend on how much they like a first-round tackle – if they indeed take a tackle in the first round.

Iron John from St. Augustine, FL

How's free agency going for Yeldon and Grant? I'd like to see us re-sign one of them. Are we waiting for the price to drop?

There hasn’t yet been much reported interest in former Jaguars running backs T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant on the free-agent market. Yeldon was functional in passing situations in Jacksonville, so I would expect him to sign somewhere before next season. Grant’s Lisfranc injury last season was very serious, so time will tell if and when he is healthy enough to re-sign. I absolutely don’t expect Yeldon to be re-signed. I imagine the Jaguars would be warm to re-signing Grant with the major issue being health.

Kenny from Section 408

Mr. O, I could have sworn that back in the fall EVERYONE was talking about how this upcoming quarterback group was not worthy of a first-round pick. Now your readers think we should sell our soul to move up. Did one season really change their collective minds?

Fans fan. It’s what they do.

Booger from Lambda, lambda, lambda

What is the Jaguars’ plan at backup running back? Do you think the team plans to draft another slow running back like T.J. Yeldon? He sucks. Glad he’s gone tbh...

I expect the Jaguars to draft a running back, perhaps two. I don’t think the plan going in will be to draft one that is slow.

Adam from Jax

Yo, need a favor, bro. Tell Dave and Tom it needs to be one of three with the seventh pick: Devin White, Hock or that Taylor dude from Florida. Thanks much.

OK, bro.

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