Aaron It Out: Offseason’s Greetings

The Super Bowl is over, and while some will say it was one of the most exciting games in recent memory with a huge comeback (which it was), and it made history as one of the first quarterbacks in the league got five championships (two of them came from cheating but whatevs), and it was a giant choke-job from the Falcons (who apparently got in a time machine during halftime to bring out Browns-era Kyle Shanahan to coordinate the second half), I will say that it was better than last year’s game, but nothing special.

Yes, even the supposed historic moment was done better, in my opinion, last year, when the Denver Broncos’ defense dragged Peyton Manning to a championship that he could retire on. The catch was done better by Julio Jones earlier in the game (and I still think that the dude didn’t have total control before the ball hit the ground). But it is what it is, the Patriots won (again) and everyone will once again write about how great the combination of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are (even though Noted Patriots System QB Jimmy Garroppolo could have led the team to victory with the Falcons’ defense playing how it did in the 2nd half). I will acknowledge it, but I don’t have to like it. The unfortunate thing is, the Patriots are what they are, which is either a pack of cheaters or a really good football team (I haven’t figured that out yet), and they will continue to be until Belichick gives up the navy hoodie.

The Hall of Fame class was also announced, and there are two people that many think got jobbed: Terrell Owens and Tony Boselli. I’m going to go ahead and set aside the fact that I don’t like T.O. I will have to do this for Brady too, I’m sure, in a few years. T.O. obviously provided a solid receiving option for the teams that he was on (except, maybe, in his last stop in Cincinatti), and has great stats to back up his achievements. One thing I forgot that is kind of admirable, is he played in a Super Bowl on basically a broken leg. Pretty great. Setting aside his obvious character problems, T.O. should be in the Hall. So should Tony Boselli. I went over his achievements last week. It is pretty cut-and-dry.

The main issue is that both of those guys were passed over… for Morten Anderson. A kicker, and the guy who missed the field goal to allow the Jaguars to go to the 1996 playoffs way back when.

Are you kidding me?

I just want to be in the room listening to the guys who go, yeah, Morten Anderson, there’s a player that I regard over T.O. and Boselli.

This is an issue that pervades the Halls of Fame of all the sports. Dudes make poor decisions or play “short” careers and they are held out for whatever reason. Maybe next year, I guess.

Well, it is the offseason now. It feels weird. It feels like football just got here. It was a quick 17 weeks. Fortunately we have the start of the new league year, free agency, and the draft coming up along with the combine and all that fun stuff. The speculation begins.

In the spirit of that, and being that the team I most closely follow is the Jacksonville Jaguars, I wanted to have a little speculative fun here. The Jaguars’ regime has changed, the front office is likely in the midst of a culture change, and there is some cap money to spend. Remember that Coughlin built his championship teams with a healthy mix of free agent and drafted players. There are a few pending free agents that the Jags will keep, but I’m a little more interested in the ones that could be talked into coming down here.

So here are the top 5 players that could be future Jaguars.

1. Jason Pierre-Paul. JPP was the subject of ridicule and bad hand puns a couple of years ago, making a bad explosive-related decision, and having to subsequently recover from all that. You know who visited him during his recovery? Tom Coughlin. Last offseason, JPP signed a one-year, “prove-it” deal with the Giants to show that he still was capable of playing at an elite level, and he definitely was. However, the Giants spent so much money during last year’s free agency binge, I don’t think they can afford to keep him. Enter the Jags. JPP would provide an elite presence on the defense and adding him to the great line that boasts Malik Jackson and Yanick Ngaokue would be a dream come true. Look for him to be very heavily courted by the Jaguars.

2. Kevin Zeitler. Zeitler is an offensive guard that has spent his recent years with the Bengals. As we all know very well, the Left Guard position has been filled by more players over the past few years than… I can’t think of a good metaphor right now. But with Kelvin Beachum coming back with a fully-healthy knee and Brandon Linder having proven himself a quality center, the Jags need to slot someone in between that can open up holes for future first-round draft pick Dalvin Cook. Zeitler seems to fit the bill pretty well.

3. Martellus Bennett. Okay, stick with me here. Julius Thomas has been hampered by injuries recently. The Jags, even under a new coaching staff, will want a reliable tight end who can block and also be a solid safety valve with potential for yards after catch for Bortles to throw to when things get tough. Bennett is that guy, and with Belichick’s notorious ability to jettison guys who are wanting a big payday, he could very well be on the open market. Bennett made some amazing grabs in the Super Bowl and the rest of the postseason this past year. If the Jags cut Thomas, or maybe even if they don’t and they jettison Marcedes Lewis and some of the other backups, Bennett could be in play.

4. Eric Berry. Um, yes please? The Jags’ strong safety position has been filled by okay dude Jonathan Cyprien, who hasn’t played great but has been serviceable. Berry is part of the dominant Kansas City Chiefs defense and could very well get #paid by them to remain a part of it. But if he hits the open market, look out. At a relatively serviceable $10 million per year, Berry could be talked into playing in the beautiful Sunshine State.

5. Brett Hundley. Not a free agent, but rather a potential trade, Hundley has served as the backup to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay for the last couple of years. Hundley has been solid in the preseason action he has seen, and has great potential. He also could be had for relatively cheap. If you want to bring in competition for Blake Bortles, or someone to further push him, this is what you do. Not Ryan Nassib, who his own coach didn’t want to draft, or leaving Chad Henne in place. I think that Hundley has a solid chance to be a future Jaguar.

So there you have it… you may agree or disagree, but definitely filling some needs and taking some of the draft mystique out of play. Look for Coughlin to focus on the offensive line and defense during free agency. He will likely spend that high first-round pick on a great playmaker. We will all see what happens.

See you next time!

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