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About $4 million for draft class

Join *Jaguars Inside Report *Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Tim McClellan from Jacksonville:
Your "Ask Vic" segment and your articles on Jaguars.com provide a great deal of information for fans such as myself who are trying to be as informed as possible about our Jaguars. Thanks! A conversation has been brewing among my friends regarding the amount of cap room required to sign our draft class for 2002. The figure most commonly referenced is $8 million. Is that an accurate figure and is that the cap hit for 2002 that the draft class will most likely require, or does that $8 million pertain to the life of the contracts the draftees will be signed to?
Vic:
Wrong on both counts. It'll take about $4 million of salary cap room in 2002 to sign this year's draft class. The Jaguars' first-round pick (the ninth pick overall) will probably eat up $8 million over the life of his contract. Marcus Stroud's contract is worth $8.48 million over five years.

Bruce Cameron from St. Simons Island, GA:
I noticed CBS has the Jaguars "power-rated" at 25th and notes they may be last at the beginning of the season, and "what a mess." As a season ticket holder, do I have any hope of watching the Jags win games next season? Although I'm sure you have an opinion on this, you appear to be avoiding giving it. I know it's hard to predict, but what do you think? I'm glad the salary-cap issues are being resolved, but that doesn't help the fans short-term and I fear the team may lose the critical fan support in the interim unless they can be at least competitive.
Vic:
You're worrying too much. Just let it happen. If I knew what was going to happen, I'd tell you, but it's February and I don't even know who's going to be on the team next season. By the way, where did CBS have the Patriots power-rated at this time last year?

David Anderson from Pensacola, FL:
Can you explain how the salary cap accounts for incentive pay. What if players break the bank and push the team way over the cap at the end of the year? With the March 1 deadline approaching, how does a team account for future incentive pay?
Vic:
There are two kinds of incentives: "Likely To Be Earned" and "Not Likely To Be Earned." An incentive is LTBE if its levels were achieved the previous season; NLTBE if those levels were not achieved the previous season. If an incentive is LTBE, the amount of the incentive must be included in that season's salary cap. If it is NLTBE, it is not included in that season's cap. If it is NLTBE but is, in fact, achieved, it goes on the next season's cap. In re-structuring contracts last winter, the Jaguars converted a lot of incentives into NLTBE, to make room on the 2001 cap. In many cases, those incentives were earned and must now be included on the '02 cap.

Ryan James from Lake Oswego, OR:
What are the chances we'll keep Keenan McCardell?
Vic:
With the salary cap room the Jaguars cleared in the expansion draft, the chances greatly improved that Keenan McCardell might remain with the Jaguars. I'll make it 50-50. A month ago, I thought there was no chance.

Joe Locke from Jacksonville:
I have no problem with what has been done so far to fix the Jags' salary cap problems. It all had to be done; no other way out. My question is do you really think it is realistic to expect Tom Coughlin and his scouts to have the kind of draft day we need? Anthony Cesario, R. Jay Soward, a punter in the fifth round who can't make the team, to name a few.
Vic:
In my opinion, the Jaguars' draft failures of the last three years were the result of being too need-based. They used the draft to patch holes, instead of to acquire the best talent available. Now, on a team with needs at almost every position, the philosophy should shift hard back to value, and that should help the Jaguars draft more successfully.

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