JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .
Carlos from El Paso, TX:
What is the latest news on Jones-Drew?
John: The latest news is pretty much the same news as immediately after the season. Jones-Drew is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent March 11, and Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said he expects the three-time Pro Bowl running back will test free agency. At that point, it will be about whether Jones-Drew gets a bigger contract from another team than he would get from the Jaguars. Caldwell is warm to re-signing Jones-Drew and Jones-Drew is warm to return, but as Jones-Drew often has said, the NFL is about the money.
Ryan from Omaha, NE:
John, why all this talk still about the helmets? Whether you are fer or not fer, the helmets aren't changing anything soon.
John: Fer sure.
Forrest from Simi Valley, CA:
John, we have a ton of cap space going into free agency. Do you think we should overpay to lure some big names to the Jags? Also, who do you think could be a beneficial pick up for the team?
John: What you have described is the quickest way to have an unproductive offseason. Yes, the Jaguars have a ton of cap space. It’s good to have a ton of cap space. It’s not good to waste that cap space on unproductive players. So, I do not think the Jaguars should overpay for anyone, particularly so-called “big names.” Let’s wait until we get a better idea of who will be a free agent and who won’t before we delve into specifics, but I think interior offensive line is a logical target area.
David from Oviedo, FL:
Albert Haynesworth was a free agent in 2009 and signed a seven-year, $100 million contract with Washington. After just two years, Albert and $36 million left town. At the time, everybody was green with envy over the Redskins’ aggressive move, but looking back, it's just another cautionary tale, that in free agency all that glitters isn't gold.
John: No, it’s not. And in fact, it’s rare that it is.
Daniel from Johnston, IA:
The Jags improved in 2013, no doubt, especially in the second half of the season. However, if they had kept Cox, Knighton, Pouncey, Jones, Smith, etc., I feel like they would have been much better and more importantly, the cap hit would have been only how much? Certainly not enough to torpedo the franchise by any measure…
John: I don’t think Pouncey would have helped as much as you believe.
Keith from Jacksonville and Section 426:
Do Dave Caldwell and Coach Gus Bradley know who they are going to release and if so, when if the first date they can do so?
John: They have an idea and are getting a clearer idea as the weeks continue. They can do it any time, but there’s not much reason to do it until you get closer to the opening of free agency.
Danny from Jacksonville:
Do you see a possibility of our front office going somewhere other than defensive end or quarterback? If so, where would we go?
John: If you’re referring to the No. 3 overall selection in the draft, I’d vote for the best player who’s still on the board.
David from Oviedo, FL:
Will all the planned stadium upgrades be ready for next season, including the swimming pool area?
Paul from North Dakota:
With Manziel being a candidate as one of the more high-profile quarterbacks this year, is there any possibility there would be an issue of him refusing to play for someone like in the case of John Elway or Eli Manning when they were drafted? After all, we aren't the biggest market for a high-profile guy to want to come to.
John: Anything is possible, but I wouldn’t be too concerned about it. Johnny Manziel and any other players in this draft need to worry about being good enough to be productive in the NFL, not about whether they can dictate their destinations.
Scott from Aurora:
I've seen a lot of questions concerning center. I know that the following scenario is unlikely, but IF Alex Mack was somehow not franchised by or did not sign a new contract with the Browns, do you believe the Jaguars would pay top dollar for him? Thanks.
John: I believe he’d be considered. The answer to your question depends on the definition of “top dollar.” Center is valuable, but you have to have a limit, too.
James from Jacksonville:
I like A.J. McCarron, but I just don't think he has an NFL-caliber arm.
John: Thanks for that.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
You have been saying Manziel would be a distraction to this team. Not to mention that in my opinion he is too short and obnoxious. Why on earth you would pick him 3rd or at all?
John: When on earth did I say Manziel would be a distraction? I have expressed concerns about his size and whether his Johnny Football Magic would translate to a faster, bigger game, but I most certainly am not concerned about him being a distraction. I could care less about the “distractions” or a player’s off-field life. I’m from the “If-a-guy-can-show-up-and-play-Sunday-then-whatever-else-he-does-doesn’t-matter” school. Now, does everyone in the Jaguars’ organization agree? Perhaps not, but off-field distractions just aren’t a big deal to me.
Michael from Jacksonville Beach and Section 124:
Hey Tudor, what I believe O-man said was that he would give up the third pick for Romo and the Cowboys’ first-rounder, No. 16 … I would make that deal in a New York second …
John: Yeah, I said that – and yeah, I’d do that.
Phil from Fort Lauderdale, FL:
How is any other player right now even a thought over Manziel? He is exactly what Jacksonville needs next year. First, the Jags need a legit quarterback. Manziel can throw, think on his feet and lead a team. Second, attendance would increase and if any of your followers have ever been to a game in the last five years, that alone in some eyes would be enough. Third, think of how long it has been since we have had a player to bring us any kind of attention other than negative. We have not been significant in so long and if we don’t find a real quarterback, we never will. A defensive lineman is not going to get us to the playoffs. You need a real quarterback to do so. If not Manziel, then who do you think will have us playing next January?
John: Good points. If the Jaguars think Manziel is an NFL-superstar-in-waiting, I have no doubt they should select him.
David from Oviedo, FL:
Last year, I felt the Jags were ready to draft their franchise quarterback in the second round, but the Bills beat us to the punch. Do you think this theory holds some water?
Nelson from Los Angeles, CA:
So, you think it's a foregone conclusion the Jags go quarterback with the first pick? Should they not look long and hard at Clowney?
John: I do not think it’s a foregone conclusion the Jaguars go quarterback with the No. 3 overall selection. I do believe they will take a good, hard look at Clowney.
Ron from Fleming Island, FL:
When will the stadium renovations begin and will you be allowed to provide updates?
John: Soon and yes.
Blake from Carbondale, IL:
Imagine a young sixth- or seventh-round talent slips and goes undrafted. Is it possible for that player to choose to go back to playing for their school and then register for the draft again the following year?
John: No, once a player declares for the draft he may not play in college.
Andy from Wolverhampton, UK:
From what you know of David Caldwell, would you say he's an adventurous general manager, willing to take a risk on an exciting player who might turn out to be a failure, or a cautious GM who would prefer to go for less-ambitious, but more predictable signings?
This is not to avoid the question, but I just don’t know that general managers – Caldwell included – look at things that way. When putting together a team, you scout players, judge talent and then select players you feel are a good bet to help your team. I’d say Caldwell’s approach last year to Denard Robinson
probably shows his approach in this area. He was intrigued by Robinson’s playmaking ability and freely admitted to always having been a fan of Robinson’s since early in his college career. So, Caldwell considered him exciting, but also realized Robinson was a risk. He took Robinson, but did so in the fifth round. I don’t think Caldwell would have taken Robinson any earlier, but by taking him in the fifth round the possible benefit was worth the minimal risk.
Brad from Jacksonville and Section 115:
Did I see you getting beat up in the parking lot outside of Einsteins-a-go-go around 1984? I think it was you because you were wearing glasses with no lenses and a hat like Elvis Costello #o-zonesighting
John: I’m not going to say it was me and I’m not going to say it wasn’t.
Jason from North Pole, AK:
I think I like this new "one fer" thing....can I get a one fer onefers?