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O-Zone: Welcome sight

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … David from Maplewood, NJ:
John, contrary to reports, I'm guessing the Jags will not be reaching out to the soon-to-be-former Washington quarterback or his representatives next month. I sincerely hope you are incorrect about A-Rob and – what the heck – Allen Hurns, too. If you are taking a straw poll of for and against you can count this email as decidedly for the Blake Bortles extension.
John: A lot of the "reporting" this offseason regarding the Jaguars' quarterback situation indeed was incorrect – and I included quotation marks because in reality most of the "reporting" was regurgitating assumptions based on vague reports immediately following the Jaguars' loss to New England in the AFC Championship Game last month. I'm neither gloating nor casting aspersions when I say this, because I was among those who thought the Jaguars might explore the market for Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins during the March 12-14 free-agent negotiating window. While it's quite likely the Jaguars considered Cousins, the thought here is they figured he wasn't elite enough to merit giving up what would have had to have been sacrificed around him – now and in the next few seasons. As far as Robinson, I don't know what will happen either way; my points in recent days have simply been I don't believe the Jaguars will use the franchise tag on him – and that the sides reaching a long-term deal in no way is guaranteed. When it comes to your straw poll, I'll say this: I have been struck in the hours since Bortles signed his three-year extension. The reaction mostly has been positive – with a few notable, expected exceptions.
John from Jacksonville:
I see the Blake Bortles signing on a short contract as an insurance policy. B.B. is there so we can go after Cousins without fear of being without a viable starting quarterback. B.B. goes from average starter to arguably best backup in the league if Cousins goes down. B.B. has always been a team-first guy, so as long as he is getting paid, he should be OK with this. There should still be money to franchise A-Rob to make sure he is worth a long term contract after the ACL. Wat say you to that strategy?
John: I say, "Wat?"
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
So, let me get this straight: a guy who is not a natural thrower of the ball, who was benched in the third preseason game for the backup, is worth a contract extension....?? A guy the team doesn't trust to throw the ball in the crunch time. Jags gonna Jag. 3-13.
John: Ladies and gentlemen … Jerell! (And it wasn't Bortles the Jaguars didn't trust, for what it's worth …) #withafewnotableexpectedexceptions
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
It seemed like the obvious decision to me. Quarterbacks that can get you to the conference title game and possibly Super Bowl aren't exactly a dime a dozen.
John: True.
Captain Paul from Duval:
Contract sounds perfect. What do you want to wager the possible entirety of Blake Bortles' contract is going to be less than Cousin's guarantees? Really good balance and reasonable. Man, I hope he keeps getting better. Let's go!
John: Bortles reportedly signed a three-year contract through 2020 worth $54 million that could be worth up to $66 million with incentives. No, I would not take that wager.
Christopher from Santa Clara, CA:
Blake Bortles gets to be a Jaguar for three more years. I'm excited and feel this is the right move. Youth and experience combined will pay dividends, and the bargain rate will allow us to pay the defensive stars. Hell, yeah!
John: Hell, yeah … one fer Blake!
Jim from Jacksonville:
Bortles' unselfish attitude about his contract is really refreshing in these days of all-about-me athletes. He's my new favorite Jag.
John: To review, here's what Bortles told me on Saturday regarding his conversation with his agent, Ryan Tollner, entering last week's negotiations: "I said, 'We're getting paid millions of dollars to play football.' It's tough to pitter patter about how much money you're making. It's all incredible. It's all a dream come true. We're all extremely lucky to do it. Rather than fight over money here or money there, let's take what we can get because it's more than I ever thought I'd make and it allows us to go get some other guys done and continue to be a good football team all around." Some cynics may scoff at the statement, but I have no reason to believe Bortles was being anything but genuine. I suppose there are worse ways to qualify as a potential favorite player.
Dave from Dallas, TX:
Hey Mr. O: Great that we have BB5 locked. Dallas Goedert (tight end) Round 1 and Ryan Finley (quarterback) Round 2. Thoughts?
John: My thoughts are that a tight end in Round 1 is quite possible. My thoughts are a quarterback in the first three rounds is decidedly less likely.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
Sounds like the execs decided they have heard enough about "bring in a new quarterback" and "Cousins-is-bound-for-Jacksonville" talk. Now, we get to listen to the "experts" say we made the biggest mistake in the universe giving Bortles an extension and fans calling for heads to roll for keeping Bortles. Buckle up!
John: #DTWD
Ray from Vernon, FL:
O'Man: Don't the Jags need a guard? Do you think they would look at one in the first round? Check out Will Hernandez, UTEP. He is a beast that I believe could start right away, Enjoy reading the O-Zone! Thanks for the entertainment every day, Ray.
John: Yes, I do believe the Jaguars need a guard. And I do believe they would look at one in the first round. I also believe they will look at tight end and wide receiver in the first round.
Jay from Salem, OR:
Wow!!! When the message came in on my phone about the Jags, I was totally thinking the franchise tag was being placed on Allen Robinson! Things got a little more interesting with the three-year deal Blake Double Bs got!! Hope this Florida guy can shine in the Florida sun!! ... I still think they should draft Lamar Jackson if they can. I would pay a first-round pick on him. That would be a LITTLE more interesting in Duvalll!!
John: It would be interesting. I would be stunned if it happened, but it would be interesting.
Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL:
If the report is true regarding a three-year $54 million extension for Blake Bortles ($26.5 million), I like it. For a team within a whisper of the Super Bowl, that represents value and some certainty while also creating space for other needs. It also seems like a win-win. I am not sure how much he could have gotten on the open market. I would think this makes the franchise tag on AR15 more palatable, true?
John: I agree that Bortles' contract appears to be a win-win. But don't spend a lot of time this week figuring out the Jaguars' salary cap with $16 million designated for Robinson. It won't be an efficient use of your time.
Nate from St. Petersburgh, FL:
Well, well, well. In the span of a couple of days, we have a general manager and a quarterback worthy of second contracts. Times, they are a changin'.
John: Just admit that the waters around you have grown.
Chris from Goodnight, TX:
You now seem to doubt whether the Jaguars will retain Allen Robinson. If they don't retain him, they are nuts. What is the point of drafting decent players if you don't retain the very best of them?
John: I actually have been doubting this for a couple of weeks – not because Robinson isn't very good but because the team may balk at paying him $16 million a season. That's the cost to franchise Robinson, and that's something I don't see happening. It's great draft to draft and retain very good players, and that's absolutely the Jaguars' objective. But you still have to pay those very good players in a reasonable fashion in relation to the salary cap.
Jack from Green Cove Springs, FL:
Enjoy the blog! What impact did Blake Bortles' wrist have on his play? Was the surgery successful? I can't help but believe three years in the same only helps the offense. We need to improve our route running, drops in key situations, and receivers who go for the ball rather than wait for its arrival. Looking forward to next year.
John: I don't really write a blog, but still … thanks! Minimal. Yes. It should. Yes. You're not alone.
Edward from Los Angeles, CA:
In 2014, with consecutive picks, Dave Caldwell drafted Blake Bortles, Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson, Brandon Linder, Aaron Colvin and Telvin Smith. That's a pretty darned good haul. The combined salaries of those players in 2018 will be somewhere around $70-million. I'm glad Caldwell got extended along with TC and Marrone.
John: #DCTWD
Jessie from Orlando, FL:
John, congrats on not having to talk about Cousins anymore.
John: You're welcome.

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