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Week in focus: Not over yet

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JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser takes a look at the week that was around the Jaguars …

Offseason not over yet

This year is not last year.

That may be the biggest thing to remember this morning about the 2016 free-agency period – that unlike last offseason, when most of the Jaguars' high-impact moves came in the first wave, there may be significant moves still to come.

Pass rusher? Offensive line? Cornerback?

All remain real possibilities, and as free agency enters its third official day Friday, there already are reports of the Jaguars pursuing other players. And considering how quickly free agency has moved this offseason, news on that front could come fast and furious.

One question to consider:

What do Thursday's moves mean for the Jaguars in the 2016 NFL Draft?

Most likely, it means what Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell likes best during the draft: freedom. Signing free safety Tashaun Gipson means the Jaguars don't have to hope against hope that Jalen Ramsey of Florida State slips to them at No. 5 overall.

Signing Gipson also means cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III of Florida makes more sense at No. 5 – if the team doesn't sign a front-line corner. Hargreaves and Davon House at outside corner with Aaron Colvin at nickel? Gipson and either Johnathan Cyprien or James Sample at strong safety? That certainly sounds like an improved secondary.

Another draft issue to remember is it appears likely either Ohio State edge rusher Joey Bosa or Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner will be available at No. 5. Before panicking over the lack of edge rusher thus far in free agency, remember that Bosa is considered an elite edge rusher and Bucker – while not a pure edge player – is a player more and more NFL types simply love along the defensive front.

Or could it all mean the door opening to draft UCLA linebacker Myles Jack? Stay tuned.

 

Easy to like

It's fair to call Gipson's introductory press conference the clear highlight of the day around the Jaguars Thursday.

Gipson, comfortable in front of the camera, talked confidently of perhaps intercepting six or seven passes next season. And when asked about playing with newly-signed defensive tackle Malik Jackson, he delivered one of the day's memorable lines.

"If he can play 16 games like he did in the playoffs, a guy like me couldn't be more pleased," Gipson said when asked how Jackson's ability to disrupt at the line of scrimmage can help a defensive back. "If I can't turn that into another Pro Bowl season then maybe I didn't deserve it."

Gipson also told the story of how his former team, the Cleveland Browns, were the only team to offer him a contract after he went undrafted in 2013. He initially told the media Friday that he still had the $700 check he received as a signing bonus from the Browns.

He later corrected himself.

"I have the check stub," he said with a laugh, adding, "Better believe I cashed it. I needed the money back then, so I cashed that check for sure. I still got it – just like a mental note – but best believe I cashed it."

 

Around the Jaguars …

*Credit Jackson for a detailed knowledge of the ways of the NFL. While the defensive tackle signed a six-year, $90 million deal, the reality of NFL contracts is that players often don't play through the final years of such megadeals. Jackson signed for $42.5 million guaranteed and said his goal now is simple: to play well enough to earn the entire contract. "They don't give you ninety [million dollars] today," Jackson said. "I have to go earn all of it. That's how I feel about it. Anything that's given to you can be taken away from you. At the end of the sixth year, I'd like to say I earned all ninety. I think that'll be the biggest accomplishment." …

*Credit Jackson, too, for honesty. Asked if he considered staying with the Broncos, he admitted that some teammates talked to him about staying for less money. Jackson wasn't about that. "My priority is to take care of my daughter and my family," he said. "I came into this league by myself and I'll leave by myself. I love the Broncos for helping me out but it's a business and that's how I feel about it. I think a lot of guys say, 'Stay here. We can do this. We can do that.' My time is done there so it doesn't even matter." …

*Running back Chris Ivory was less effusive with the media than Jackson and Gipson, but Ivory was just as honest. Asked about a 26-yard, 23-carry effort against the Jaguars last season – a game that marked his lowest rushing performance last season – he smiled. "I was shut do-o-own," he said. "It was a tough game for me, man, having those guys in the box like that and guys flying around, corners and safeties coming off the edge. On fire, man. They were definitely on fire that game." …

*Punter Brad Nortman's press availability was short and succinct. He talked about the importance of consistency and confirmed he indeed holds for placements, a role his predecessor – Bryan Anger – also filled. He also said the culture around the Jaguars appealed to him. "The culture is so undervalued," he said. "That can be a major X-factor. You can feel that here even walking in the door. There's a brotherhood, which is part of culture. That's an X-factor that can make a difference, seeing your teammates as brothers as opposed to just teammates – actually, genuinely putting team before self are things I've picked up from Carolina. I see that there and take that here as well."…

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