JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Zach from Jacksonville:
I'm not sure where the negativity is coming from concerning Julius Thomas. I can't tell you how many times last year I watched him get double-covered running a seam route. That double coverage allowed Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson to be single-covered, which they both have the skills to beat. Value isn't just stats; it's also forcing other teams to game plan for a particular player.
John: The negativity regarding Julius Thomas comes from the same place that will undoubtedly produce negativity toward players the Jaguars sign next week – and from the same place that produced negativity toward pretty much every free agent the Jaguars signed last offseason. That negativity is pretty much part of the deal for free agents, particularly first-wave guys. When a player signs in the first wave of free agency, he almost always signs for insane money. Unless that player has something close to a perfect, statistically eye-popping season, people are going to criticize the player for "not living up to the contract." Thomas made the Jaguars' offense better last season when he played – and yes, his value exceeded his statistics. The same could be said to varying degrees for Jared Odrick, Jermey Parnell, Davon House … all were very good free-agent acquisitions last offseason. Were they elite, Pro Bowl-level players their first year with the Jaguars? No, but you don't usually get Pro Bowl-level guys in free agency – no matter how hyped the player and no matter how much the team pays. That doesn't mean you can't get better in free agency. You can. It's just not going to be a miracle cure.
What from Jacksonville:
JOHN! The Culligan girl is back! THE Culligan girl is back! THE CULLIGAN GIRL IS BACK!!!!! Wait, what??? I have no idea what I'm talking about ...
John: I do … wait … no, I don't.
Don from Chicago, IL:
I really don't understand why the Jags would pick Myles Jack. Where would he play? Would they release Poz? I just don't get it.
John: First, you don't necessarily select players in the draft to fill immediate "needs" on the depth chart – and no, I don't believe selecting Myles Jack would mean releasing Paul Posluszny. Sometimes you pick players because they're too good not to pick. As for how Jack could theoretically fit with the Jaguars … he is a very good coverage linebacker who could really help in passing situations. NFL teams pass a lot and the Jaguars need help in those situations. I don't think that's the route the Jaguars will take, but if they do, Jack would have a substantial role as a rookie.
Austin from Athens, GA:
Is Telvin Smith not the most genuine, exciting, and easy-to-talk to person you have ever covered? The dude is a riot!
John: Telvin Smith is cool. I like him. He's easy to like.
Shon from San Antonio (living) and Duval (born):
John, so what happens if we sign Olivier Vernon or Bruce Irvin or Malik Jackson or some combination … would it still be possible to land a guy like Eric Weddle or Tashaun Gipson? If we got a combination of the three, what do we do at Pick No. 5? Especially if Joey Bosa, Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack and DeForest Buckner are gone. Do we take Tunsil or trade if someone wants him bad enough to trade up to No. 5? How far would we drop and still get value say Spence?
John: So many players, so many questions, so many possibilities … Breathe deep, Shon … breathe deep. Yes, the Jaguars can sign a player such as Vernon and/or Irvin and still pursue – and possibly even sign – a player such as Weddle or Gipson. If they do so, then Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell has the ideal scenario of selecting the best player available. If he does that and that's a player who plays a position where the Jaguars already have a good player, then guess what? The Jaguars have one more good player! And yeah—Tunsil would be an option there. As far as trading down and getting Spence … don't bet on the Jaguars trading down; whoever already is on the roster, my guess is there would be enough value at No. 5 to stay there and select a player.
Ian from Detroit, MI:
After watching several highlight tapes, I find myself thinking it is Ramsey, Bosa or bust in the draft. Ramsey seems like one of those can't-miss prospects that only come around every few years, but I'm pessimistic that he will be available at No. 5. So, if Ramsey is gone and Bosa is on the board, I think they have to go for him. So, O-Man, do you agree with me? Is it Ramsey, Bosa or bust?
Bryant from White Plains, NY:
Over or under the Jags will sign five free agents. Obviously not all will be big-name splashes.
John: Five's about right, though if pressed I'd take the over. I guess I don't know exactly how to define a big-name splash, but it stands to reason the Jaguars can sign a quality defensive end, defensive tackle, cornerback, free safety and offensive lineman.
Joe from Fleming Island, FL:
John, I asked this question several months ago and ask again now. I realize the data has not changed, but your "gut" feeling may have. Is the starting center currently on the Jags roster? Thanks.
Ed from Danvers, MA:
If Miami gets multiple offers on Olivier Vernon, do they have to match the highest one or can they choose which one to match (lowest, obviously)?
John: Miami won't get offers for Vernon. Vernon will receive an offer and he'll presumably sign it. At that point, the Dolphins will have the option to match and retain Vernon. If they don't, he becomes a member of the offering team under the contract he signed.
Robert from Jacksonville:
Hi, John: do things like the following ever happen in the NFL?- Alex Mack picks up his cell phone, dials some numbers, an important Jaguars representative answers, and Mack says, "Hi, offer me a fair deal and I am going to sign with you guys."
John: Players' agents are usually the ones working the phones, and the conversation usually goes more like, "Hi, offer my a client a deal for an insane amount of money and make sure it's a lot more than the team he's leaving and he'll consider signing with you guys unless he gets a better deal."
Matt from Austin, TX:
How much cap room did Beadles and Clemons free up – and do you see any more players being released before FA begins?
John: Releasing Zane Beadles and Chris Clemons cleared about $9.5 million in cap space – and no.
Dave from Orange Park, FL:
O-Man, I'm no fan of drafting guards to play center. A.J. Cann was drafted to push Beadles ... and he did - right out the door! We have Brandon Linder back from injury to move back in at right guard, so why is there talk of making one of them a center? We now have two young stud guards. Go out and get a center! Thanks for letting me vent!
John: Part of the reasoning is it's easier to find guards in the draft or free agency. Another part is that center is the more important positon, so if you believe Brandon Linder is your best offensive lineman, then you put him at center and have your best offensive lineman playing the more important position.
Adam from St. Johns, FL:
OK, no one's jumping ship? Everyone just loves the losing record? The team did make itself bad on purpose and told us it'll get better. We are waiting on the "getting-better: part. I feel like the Dan's are being taken for granted now. That winning isn't all that important. Proof of that is retaining Gus. He has been really bad and no one can say otherwise. Like cutting Beadles. He should have been cut last season or at least benched. The Jags do everything in retrospect. I can't tell you how frustrating that is. You know, we're not even asking for the playoffs. We just want a team that's not terrible. I don't think that's unrealistic.
John: #DTWD, Alan … #DTWD.
Kyle from Ohio:
Is there still any talk of Allen Hurns getting his extension now. The sooner the better.
John: I actually haven't heard much talk about that except me saying here in the O-Zone that it's possible. The sooner, the better? Sure, but worry not: There's time on this and the Jaguars have no desire to have Allen Hurns go anywhere.
MrPadre from Kingsland, GA:
Well, we can be sure of one thing.....with $85 million in cap space there isn't an agent alive who doesn't have Dave Caldwell on speed dial!
John: True, but Caldwell's outgoing calls matter a lot more than incoming.
Ron from Jacksonville:
The whole definition of insanity thing drives me crazy because no one uses that old saying with any common sense. It's like they think that if we throw the ball a couple of times and don't get a completion, we should never throw the ball ever again. 'Cause you know, it's insane to expect a different result after it hasn't worked the first couple of times.
John: I keep writing this column every day. I must be nuts.
O-Zone: Yet another definition
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Zach from Jacksonville: