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All we can do is wait

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Ben from Fayetteville, AR:
Enough with the CBA, revenue-sharing talk. You have repeated yourself enough. Let's talk football. When do OTA's start?

Vic: Right after play-action practices are over.

Matthew from Baltimore, MD:
I have seen rumors that the Redskins are interested in a number of players that will command high salaries. Even with a new CBA, how is it possible for the Redskins to be a major player in free agency, given the current status of their cap?

Vic: With a new CBA would come another $10 million or more in salary cap room, and the start of free agency would likely be delayed which would allow the Redskins to re-structure contracts and push money out of 2006 and into 2010 and beyond. Given that formula, they could create lot of room in '06 to become a major player in free agency. Of course, doing that would only deepen their problem and spread it out over more years. What happens if there's no new CBA? Well, if there's no new CBA and the estimates of a cap at $92-$95 million are correct, the thinking is that it'll be impossible for the Redskins to get under. The official cap number is expected to be released at four p.m. today. When it's released, we'll know where teams such as the Redskins stand.

J.T. from Jacksonville:
Who are the owners that are drifting away from "leaguethink?" Would you consider them selfish in a way?

Vic: Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder certainly aren't "leaguethink" guys and, yes, I would consider them to be selfish. Bob Kraft and Bob McNair appear not to be "leaguethink" guys but I think you have to be sensitive to their particular situations. Kraft built his own stadium without using public monies and that's left him with a large debt service. When he accepted that challenge the league was operating under a system by which he would not have to share his local revenue, which he would use to pay his debt. I think that's a very valid reason for him not being willing to share his local revenue. McNair paid a huge franchise fee that was shared equally by the owners. When he paid that fee he earmarked local revenue as a means by which he would pay his debt, but now the owners who shared his franchise fee want a slice of his local revenue, too. I appreciate Kraft's and McNair's positions. That's why this is such a fragile issue. Forget about the CBA. I've been saying that for over a month. It's not about the CBA. It's about revenue-sharing. There is a group of about 10 or more owners, including Wayne Weaver, who are thought to be committed to sharing local revenue. It would only take nine owners to block ratification of a CBA extension, so, Wayne's group would appear to be in control of the revenue-sharing issue and that's very good news for the Jaguars because it would severely hurt this franchise's ability to compete if the league doesn't adopt a plan to share local revenue. The main concern, as I see it, is that a few owners from that group of 10 might decide labor peace is more important than a plan to share local revenue, causing them to go over to the other side and allow ratification of a new CBA without a new revenue-sharing plan that includes an adequate strategy for sharing local revenue. That would be a killer for this franchise.

Vince from Jacksonville:
If the top prospects didn't work out at the combine, what are they losing? Are they losing draft positions? In other words are they doing this on purpose so they won't go to a team like Houston, New Orleans, 49ers?

Vic: That's not it. They've decided they'll show their wares in a personal workout on their own turf and according to their own schedule of activities. Being at the top has its privileges.

Kevin from Long Island, NY:
Which Jacksonville coaches were at the combine? I saw nothing about Jack Del Rio being there.

Vic: They were all there; all the coaches and all the scouts.

Ryan from Jacksonville:
Come on, Vic, let's mix it up a little. Stop answering questions about the CBA. It won't have an effect on us for two more years.

Vic: Put your head back in the sand for a little longer, please. This is serious stuff and I wanna make sure the fans who really wanna know about professional football have every opportunity to do so.

Rashaad from Jacksonville:
Can you explain to me exactly what a CBA is and what it would mean if the NFL does not get it extended?

Vic: Rashaad, I would love to explain it to you, but we're a little too far along to go back to the beginning. We turned our attention to this issue when the season ended and each day has made us more acutely aware of its importance. Now we are two days away from the first major deadline of the 2006 season and it's too late to turn back. This is critical stuff. At stake is the state of the game as we know it and the future of this franchise. Try the archives, please. I love the fact that you want to know.

Joe from Orange Park, FL:
If a new salary cap is based on a TFR model and the cap goes north of $100 million, does that let the spend-happy teams such as Washington and Indianapolis somewhat off the hook? Tell me it isn't so.

Vic: Yes, it would let them off the hook, but eventually the cap is gonna get you and the farther out you push the money the bigger the problem becomes. Don't focus on 2006. See the big picture. This league desperately needs ratification of a new CBA and the adoption of a revenue-sharing plan that provides for sharing local revenue. If that means letting the Redskins and the Colts off the hook, that's fine with me.

Jared from Jacksonville:
If a deal isn't reached by Friday, why can't one be reached before 2007?

Vic: It can. Friday isn't Armageddon for teams who've managed their salary caps responsibly. Friday could be Armageddon, however, for a team or teams with a major cap problem. Should that occur, it's going to be very interesting to see how Commissioner Paul Tagliabue would react. If the Redskins, for example, are way over the cap on Friday, all eyes will be on Tagliabue to see what he does. We're talking about a potential powder keg situation. If he lands on them too hard, it certainly wouldn't help soften Dan Snyder in negotiations; too soft, however, would send a real bad message. The commissioner is in a tough spot.

Chris from Irving, TX:
You were right and have been calling it for a few weeks now. All of the other major sports networks and newspapers are starting to agree with you about the CBA and what it could do. I mean, reported that one GM told them late Tuesday night that Thursday could become known as "Bloody Thursday." My question is could us not having a CBA be beneficial for the Jaguars in the short-term but kill us in the long-term?

Vic: Forget about the CBA. This team needs a revenue-sharing plan that provides for a strategy to share local revenue. I can't say it any more simply or truthfully. If you're looking at this from the Jaguars' standpoint, then that should be your focus. By the way, that'll be the last time I use Jerry Jones as a news source. I regret having bought into that "significant progress" report. One guy told me not to do it and I ignored him. He told me yesterday it could all collapse. I conceded to his greater wisdom this morning. The dramatic about-face that occurred yesterday is symbolic of how volatile this whole thing is. The owners don't even know where they stand. The thing changes hourly. All we can do is wait.

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