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O-Zone: Well-deserved benefit

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Austin from Atlanta, GA:
I know they say talk is cheap, but it REALLY sounds like Denard wants to be good, and wants to have a role. He said he is prepping his body for 15-25 touches a game if need be. Gotta love that mindset, if nothing else.
John: There's no doubt Denard Robinson has the right mindset, and at this point in the offseason that's all you can ask. He's taking a good approach, has added weight and is determined to spend the offseason doing what it takes to prepare to play running back. He is a talented guy and certainly has the ability to give himself a chance to be successful. I don't see him getting 15-to-25 touches a game, but I don't think he needs that many to be effective. Time will tell.
Steve from Section 206:
I think I fell asleep in class when you answered the question about the '14 season game dates. When does that come out again?
John: It should be sometime in the next couple of weeks.
Redmond from Jacksonville:
Since Gus and Dave have gotten to town I've agreed with most of the roster moves and player signings, but could you explain the logic of trying to pay a center (Mack) $8 million-plus while being unwilling to keep our left tackle for what would have been similar money? Any football fan knows the left tackle is way more important than center. Now, we're stuck with Joeckel and who knows how he will pan out.
John: The logic is pretty simple. The Jaguars didn't feel Monroe was worth that "similar" money, and felt Joeckel was a better fit for what they would be trying to do along the offensive line than Monroe. They also apparently believe that Mack is worth the money. Agree or disagree, that's the logic.
Allen from Muscatine, IA:
With the all the talk about the draft and maybe trading up or down, is it quite possible that Mr. Caldwell will stand pat and not do any trading?
John: Yes.
Jim from Neptune Beach, FL:
If I were the Browns, I'd instantly sign the offer sheet for Mack, then trade Mack to the Jags for some set of picks – maybe a third-rounder or a third- and fourth-rounder. The Jags have to know the Browns will match the offer and sign Mack. If the Browns don't match the offer, they lose Mack and get nothing. Are there any league rules preventing this scenario or something similar?
John: There aren't any league rules preventing it, but it won't happen. First, there's no guarantee the Jaguars would want to give up draft selections AND the money needed to sign Mack. Draft selections would raise the cost significantly in that scenario. Also, the Browns would already have paid Mack's signing bonus under your scenario, which means they would lose that signing bonus money and take a significant salary cap hit for a player not on their roster.
Steve from Leeds, UK:
Is this Mack business win-win for the Jags? If they make an offer and get him, then that's great; we get a Pro Bowl player. If they don't, they've just wiped a chunk out of a rival AFC team's salary cap for the next four years? Or is that just cynical and not how things are done in the NFL?
John: The Jaguars wouldn't benefit much from damaging the Browns' cap situation, so that probably doesn't play into this much. But yes, as long as you believe the player is worth the money – and as long as your team can absorb the cap hit and continue to operate efficiently long-term – then it's at least a no-lose scenario. In this case, that seems to be the case for the Jaguars.
Steve from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
If the Browns match the offer for Mack from the Jaguars, can the Jaguars increase the offer or is it a one-time shot?
John: It's a one-time shot.
Ken from Jacksonville:
The Jags offered Alex Mack a multi-year deal. If Cleveland decides to match the offer do they then have a multi-year contract with Alex Mack in place or does Alex Mack have the option of signing the previous tender for $10 million and becoming an unrestricted free agent next year?
John: Matching the offer means matching the offer. Mack would play for the Browns under the terms of the contract the Jaguars offered.
Eric from Neptune Beach, FL:
There hasn't been a question posted about the Culligan cheerleader in days. What gives?
John: My bad.
Tucker from Nashville, TN:
What are your thoughts on Anthony Barr? If the Jags trade back, I would like the Jags to draft him.
John: I'd think the Jaguars would have to trade way back – as in, out of the Top 10 – to get to a point where they would select Barr. I doubt they'll trade back that far.
Peter from St. Johns, FL:
Hey John... Scobee called. He wants the make, model, and license number of your car. What gives? Should I give them to him?
John: You give Scobee whatever information you want. He knows where to find me.
Jerry from Tamarac, FL:
When you are picking offensive weapons in the draft should you not draft in accordance to the other players on your team? Such as Chad Henne. What are his strengths and does Sammy Watkins fit into what Chad Henne does well? I understand obviously you want to pick the best players but isn't a lot easier by making players are tailored to each other's strengths?
John: You want to do that to a point. At the same time, when you're taking a player No. 3 overall – as likely would be the case if the Jaguars selected Sammy Watkins – you're doing so with the idea that he will be a core player not just in 2014 and 2015, but perhaps for many years after that. For that reason, you don't want to make the selection solely based on the abilities of players who likely won't be on your team for nearly that long.
Bruce from Gotham:
I think adding more weapons could still happen with trading Shorts. If Sammy is selected to be the No. 1, Shorts and the second-round draft pick could be used to climb back into the first and get a quarterback. Or you get two mid-round picks and get another receiver in this deep draft along with helping another position. Ace may make the jump into the number two spot as well or best case scenario is Blackmon gets his act together [not relying on it though].
John: A couple of thoughts on this. One, there isn't any reason to trade Cecil Shorts III. He's a young receiver who fits well into the culture of this team and he has yet to reach his potential. Two, if you're trying to build your receiving core, why would you trade a very good player just because you drafted a very good player? Three, I don't know that Sanders will be a No. 2 receiver, though he has a chance to be a very good No. 3. As I've written before this offseason, just because you get a good player at a position is no reason to be in a rush to get rid of another good player at the same position. It's OK to have a bunch of good players on your team. Harm rarely comes from that.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
If you were a GM and you thought Clowney was a once in a generation, LT-like talent, would you trade up to get him?
John: If I knew beyond a doubt he was and didn't think there was anyone else who could contribute at the same level – and if the cost was reasonable – sure.
Greg from Crestview, FL:
I am going to buy a new jersey for this season. I want to buy either Denard Robinson or Ace Sanders jersey. Which of these two players do you think will be more productive this season?
John: Yes.
Peter from Wuhan, China:
The problem with the compensation-pick system is that it does the opposite of what it's supposed to. It doesn't help competitive balance; it helps good teams. Good teams can afford to ignore free agency because their rosters are already strong. Good teams lose more good, valuable free agents because they have more good players to lose. And they can let those players go because they have deep rosters and likely drafted a replacement two years prior. It just doesn't work.
John: I see this another way. You say it helps good teams and you imply that's a bad thing. I say yes, it helps good teams and I say that's a good thing. It rewards teams that have drafted well and who would have been hurt by the free-agency system. Why should a team be hurt for drafting well? The system allows a team losing a player it developed and drafted to draft another player in his place. I say the well-run organization that has done its job well deserves at least that much.

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