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O-Zone: Welcome wagon

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it…

Brian from Round Rock, Texas

We probably got one guy that will play up to his contract. Unfortunately, we let two go. So far, not so good. What say you?

Many undoubtedly share your decidedly "unrosy" assessment of Jaguars 2022 free agency – and a wait-and-see approach to the class certainly is fair considering the Jaguars' on-field struggles in recent seasons. What say I? I say I never quite know what "play up to his contract" means in the NFL these days. Will new Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk be among the NFL's top five wide receivers? That's what he probably must do for many observers to believe he "played up to his contract," and that indeed would be a surprise considering his first four seasons. Will the other Jaguars players acquired this week "play up" to some admittedly lofty contracts? I have no idea. But you're going to overpay if you participate in first-wave NFL free agency, particularly if your franchise has struggled in recent seasons. The Jaguars were in that situation, so they indeed almost certainly overpaid at times this week. But if they were going to try to improve the roster this month, they had no choice but to overpay. Bottom line: Sure, if the players acquired disappoint, and if former Jaguars such as linebacker Myles Jack and wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. play at a high level with new teams … that would be "not good" for the Jaguars. The Jaguars' projections are that that won't happen. We'll find out.

Daniel from Munich, Germany

Hi, Zone. Do you think it was more intriguing for management to sign Kirk and the other guy than to give probably less money to retain Chark as they believe there is more upside with them and they already had figured out the ceiling for DJ?

I think the Jaguars think Kirk is really explosive and that wide receiver Zay Jones – who, like Kirk, joined the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent this week – is really fast, and I think they like that both players have been relatively consistent during their NFL careers. I think they like that those players have been healthy and fit what Head Coach Doug Pederson wants to do offensively. I also think Chark having had one Pro Bowl season and three comparatively unproductive/injured seasons factored into allowing Chark to leave.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Jags definitely need a big-bodied receiver because all we have now are a bunch of small burners. And Laviska Shenault Jr.


Armand from Jacksonville

Do you see the Jaguars going after another receiver? How do you see the draft playing out?

Yes, I see the Jaguars going after another receiver (in the draft). I see them selecting an edge rusher No. 1 overall, a receiver No. 33 overall and perhaps offensive line in the third round. That's a guess. It is only a guess.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

While former Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack was a good teammate and good for the city, he was not as good as his reputation was. Green dot got removed because he couldn't handle it and when they removed it, he was still just so-so. This move frees up cap space. Not a horrible move.

Hey, one pretty much fer releasing Jack …

Red from O-Zone Comments Section

Help my confusion, John. If the Jaguars offensive line played better than most observers believed the past couple of seasons why are guard Andrew Norwell and A.J. Cann no longer on the roster? They were 40 percent of the starting offensive line the past two seasons.

I'm sorry you're confused. Confusion can be, well … confusing. Most – or at least many – observers believed the Jaguars' offensive line was awful in recent seasons. It wasn't awful. It was OK. But it wasn't great. Remember: Just because you want to improve something doesn't mean what was there before was awful.

Tom from Mandarin

I brought this up a couple of days ago and you put in the circular file so I will mention it again. Jaguar General Manager Trent Baalke may look like a magic man this week, but in three years the fans will be screaming for his head as the Jags will be in Cap Hell and begging for a way out. In four years, they will be looking for a way to trade Trevor and begin another rebuild. This was a foolish waste of a lot of money. Other teams did better for a whole lot less.

So, one still not fer Baalke apparently …

Don from Marshall NC

Throw out a big pile of cash and the agents come a running. The first deal was a whopper, but the rest had good value. That was a power move. The Jaguars did their homework. Now let's wait for the pudding. Man, the Jaguars really got some great players! Here we go!

… and fer Baalke …

Royce from Jacksonville

Mr. O. I see no reason for sadness. Every one released was part of the multiyear losing streaks. I see new hope and a turn from holding on to the past losing that these guys were a part of year. GO Jags !!!!!!!

… and one fer Baalke and all things Jags.


Are these Jags fans crying about Myles Jack being released (and claiming that he played at a Pro Bowl level every year) really that clueless or just didn't watch any Jags games last year? Myles Jack posted a PFF overall rating of 37.7 last season. Calling that number atrocious would be putting it kindly. The fact is that Myles Jack hasn't played good football for the Jags for two years now and anybody who didn't see that simply does not know football.

You're correct and incorrect. Jack indeed didn't play as well last season as he had previously. He was really good in 2020 and played at pretty close to a Pro Bowl level.

Steve from Nashville, TN

You are on record as saying the Jaguars should select a wide receiver at the top of the second round in the upcoming NFL Draft. With the recent free agent acquisitions of Kirk and Jones, won't that make for a pretty crowded receivers room?

They can make room.

Bill from Palm Beach Gardens, FL

I might be in the minority, but I think the Jaguars should still consider Evan Neal with the first pick. They just signed a 30-year-old guard who has some injury history and only have Cam on a one-year franchise deal. There is still work to be done on the line.

You may be in the minority, but you're not alone. It's not remotely out of the question the Jaguars could select an offensive tackle No. 1 overall. Whether they sign left tackle Cam Robinson to an extension could indicate their direction with the selection. Or it's even possible they could select Neal AND extend Robinson. I still see it as likely the Jaguars will select Michigan edge defender Aidan Hutchinson No. 1, but that's nothing more than me reading tea leaves. And there are plenty of observers who disagree with me. Oh, well.

Billy from Middleburg, FL

Who cares what each individual player makes as long as the front office is on top of the salary cap situation? I could care less if the right guard makes $8 million a year while a linebacker makes $5 million or if the right guard makes $9 million and the linebacker $3 million. I'm just interested in whether these free agents will make this team significantly better and I think they will. Has the public always known the salaries of the players?

Player salaries in the 1970s and 1980s were known, but not in nearly the detail – nor nearly as easily accessible – as today. They were more known in the 1990s, but still not incredibly easy to access for most fans. Then came unrestricted free agency in the early 1990s. That gave agents incentive to have player contracts known. Then came the internet. Then came Spotrac and Over the Cap. Then came what we have now, with pretty much all NFL salaries a click away. Is it better? Worse? Hell, I don't know. But it ain't changing. I do know that.

Julianna from Baltimore, MD

Ok, so I'm a new Jaguars fan and have read the negative press throughout last year. Here are my thoughts: Happy that Trevor Lawrence has some new targets and protection due to the free agency and look forward to seeing what picks are made in the draft. I agree with the opinion that you have to select the best player in the draft, not always the position. But my biggest frustration with teams (and hopefully Jags can have this mindset) is that you HAVE to play the full 60 minutes of the game! Not 50 minutes, not even 59 minutes (as seen from the Buffalo Bills/Kansas City Chiefs game). Can they do it, John? Can this new team play the full 60 minutes?

We'll find out. And welcome.