If there's one industry that thrives in the first quarter of every year, it's informed speculation.
Think about it. Most NFL franchises are entering their off-season and can't start training programs until April. The draft isn't until April. There will be scouting and free agent talk and so on and so forth, but much of what happens from January to March happens in the world of whispers, nudges and half-truths.
So it's little surprise that the Falcons' free agents are already drawing scrutiny. It's even less of a surprise that the people doing the speculation are affiliated with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In a Q&A on the team's site, John Oehser responds to a reader's question about Harry Douglas by saying the Jags could be in play for HD this spring. Douglas, as you'll no doubt recall, is a free agent. Mike Mularkey has also coached him for the last four seasons.
I have two reactions to this:
- It certainly makes sense. The Jaguars have no receivers to speak of, and Douglas is fast, has quality hands and is probably itching for a chance to prove himself in an offense where he could legitimately be the first or second option. Mularkey's familiar with his work, too, and will likely have significant say in who comes to the organization via free agency.
- It makes little sense. Douglas was notoriously under-utilized in the Falcons' offense under Mularkey, never catching more than 39 balls. Part of that was thanks to Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones and part to injury, but it was also due to Mularkey not placing a high priority on getting the ball to him. If MM's such a believer, those numbers should be higher.
I can definitely see this happening, and if I had to make a short list of teams competing for his services, the Jags would be on it. But don't count on it.
Where do you think Douglas will land, while we're on the speculation train?