Join Jaguars Inside Report Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Scott from Canandaigua, NY:
Well, you told me to ask, so here it goes: What do you think about the Brunell trade and do you think he was worth a third-round pick?
Vic: It's not about whether or not Mark Brunell is worth the pick. It's about whether or not the Redskins had to make the trade to get Mark Brunell at all. In my opinion, for what they've given Brunell contractually, the Redskins could've waited for him to become an unrestricted free agent. Nobody was going to top that offer. The fact of the matter is they were competing with themselves; driving up their own price. I'm stunned the Jaguars were able to recoup trade value for Brunell. It's a real stroke of luck for the Jaguars to get a surprise extra pick in what appears to be a super-deep draft. These are the kinds of twists of fate that can change the course of history.
George from Pocatello, ID:
Thank you for features, such as "Salary Cap 101" and "Reporters' Corner." You offer more real information to fans than any other team site. I understand signing bonuses on contracts signed this year can only be spread over the next six years because the current CBA expires in 2006. Is it a fairly done deal that the CBA will be extended as is, or is there a good chance the NFL and NFLPA will be in for a battle? It seems the NFL doesn't have near the problems the other leagues have. Do both sides see that?
Vic: The Collective Bargaining Agreement looks pretty good the way it is right now, wouldn't you say? It appears to be treating both sides fairly: The game continues to grow and prosper, and the players – especially Peyton Manning – seem to be sharing the wealth. Yeah, I expect both sides will agree to extend the CBA beyond 2006. By the way, good pick up on amortization not able to be spread beyond 2009. You must've absorbed what you read in "Salary Cap 101." I forget which installment it was, but I talked about the "three-year rule," which forbids bonus money to be amortized more than three years beyond the last capped year. Of course, 2006 is currently the last capped year. When I wrote that, I didn't expect to get such a clear example as the Peyton Manning contract. Manning signed a seven-year deal with a $34.5 million signing bonus, but only the first six years can be used to amortize that whopping bonus. By the way, his signing bonus amortization can not be spread out evenly. Do you know why?
Will from Jacksonville:
DE Javor Mills looked pretty good in the preseason game last year against the Vikings, before he tore his ACL. I believe the paper said the other day all "exclusive rights" players were given tenders (so they couldn't shop themselves around to other teams) and Mills' name was on that list. The paper yesterday morning said Mills wasn't given an offer. So, did Mills get the tender and will be with the Jags in training camp, or was he not given money and what would he do then?
Vic: Javor Mills was not offered an "exclusive rights" tender. Do I need to explain what that means?
Gaizka from Madrid, Spain:
When you mean a vested vet needs four accrued seasons, does that mean with the team or in the NFL.
Vic: In the NFL.
Fred from Philadelphia, PA:
Will you at some point be doing a breakdown of the first round of the draft or at least give us two or three names you think the Jags will most likely draft in the first round? Personally, I feel if Sean Taylor was still around at the ninth spot he'd be a great player to fill a hole on our defense and give the Jags one of the best pair of safeties in the league.
Vic: I kind of gave you some names yesterday with the "Draftnik likes Jags' spot" draft preview story. There will be lots of stories about the draft as we get closer to it. It's important for everyone to understand that most teams would have trouble giving you two or three names right now, so how can I do it? It won't be until mid-April, when personal workouts are complete, that teams will have a sharp focus on their intended targets. Most of the top players did not workout at the scouting combine, so information is going to rest almost solely on the personal workouts, and they are just starting. Kenechi Udeze of USC is a perfect example. I don't even include him on my value board because there's almost no information on the guy. He weighed 380 pounds coming out of high school and was recruited to USC as an offensive lineman. There isn't a scout who has a time on the guy, and no one will have a time on him until Udeze conducts his personal workout on March 24. If Udeze turns in a stellar workout – his athletic ability would tend to indicate he will – his draft stock will soar. Immediately, he would become one of the Jaguars' targeted players. Reggie Williams is another player who could jump up boards if he runs well next Thursday in his personal workout. And what would happen if Larry Fitzgerald runs bad in his personal workout? How far would he fall? All the way to the Jags, who would love to have him? I understand everyone's excitement for the draft, but you're pushing it. Relax and enjoy the suspense. Allow for changes in information and rankings. Don't set things in stone.
Paul from Temecula, CA:
On the front page of this site there's a poll that asks who the Jaguars should sign out of the listed free agents. I don't really believe any of those people would be of any help to the Jaguars as a team or financially. Who do you think, Vic, would be the best free agent for the Jaguars to sign?
Vic: Everything starts, of course, with getting the player at the right price. If I can't get 'em at the right price, I don't want any of them. But, heading into free agency, I thought Robaire Smith was the most attractive player in the class. He's played end and tackle; he's played light and he's played heavy. I like that kind of versatility. I thought he might be a good fit for the Jaguars, if he could take off a few pounds and play left defensive end, which is considered to be the run-support end position. He has enough pass-rush skills to still justify the position. However, Smith signed with the Texans late last night. The deal is for six years and $26 million, including an $8 million signing bonus. I think it's a good deal for the Texans. Smith's best football is ahead of him, he's been schooled well by Jeff Fisher and I think he'll play above the contract. He reminds me of Gary Walker when the Jaguars signed him from Tennessee in 1999. Walker was a player on the rise and he turned out to be well worth the money the Jaguars paid him. There are not a lot of those kinds of guys on the rise in this free-agent class.
Patrick from Lima, OH:
Your column seems to get better and better. My question is why are we not looking for a great kicker. If my memory serves me right, in the past three years we have lost 10 games by three points or less, many in the last minute. I feel since the loss of Mike Hollis we have not had a good kicking game.
Vic: Allow me to refer you to a story that first appeared on jaguars.com two days ago: "Jaguars announce moves." In that story, "Shack" Harris makes mention of needing to address the kicking situation.
William from Jacksonville:
If you agree that a pass-rushing defensive end is the greatest need, and the offensive line is your top area of strength, how would you handle this situation? Your value board has Esther Williams, a top-notch offensive tackle, ranked one slot ahead of Bette Midler, an every-downs defensive end. The grades you have already taken into account the relative values of their positions. Here's the kicker: If you trade down to make need meet value, the only deal you can get would mean Midler is gone. So, do you take Esther Williams or Bette Midler?
Vic: Where do I have Ethel Merman on my board?
Travis from Jacksonville:
Great column; do you ever get tired of hearing that? Now for the real question: Last year I was a little disappointed and surprised the Jaguars did not draft a WR. This year the WR class is very deep, one of the deepest ever, some would say. Do you believe the Jaguars were anticipating this, somewhat drafting last year with an eye toward the next year? Do teams sometimes exclude a position because they know a certain number of players at some positions will be available the next year?
Vic: The answers to both questions are no, the first one for the obvious reasons, and the second one because every scout I have ever known is so focused on the current crop of eligible players that he'd have trouble giving you the names of five players who will be in next year's draft. I've known scouts who don't even know the players by name, just by number and school. Understand, scouts have specific geographical areas of responsibility. They're not looking at the big picture. They're focused on their responsibility. Their main concern is to make sure they have an accurate grade on every eligible player in their area. They're not worried about next year. They're worried about keeping their job this year.
Josh from Pittsburgh, PA:
Are you good friends with Jaxson de Ville?
Vic: I'm not a mascot kind of guy, but he's grown on me.