Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

Bargains define free agency

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

Nic from Neptune Beach, FL:
When do you usually post your editorials and "Ask Vic?" I would like to know so I can fit them into my schedule. Being a fan requires many things: passion, opinion and knowledge. I don't have an offseason and need to manage my time more wisely. Thanks for it all.

Vic: During the season, I offer new editorials a few hours after each game, and on Wednesday and Friday. During the offseason, I try to make sure I have at least one new one a week, though I may write more, depending on news events. "Ask Vic" is a year-round daily regimen. There will be vacation days during the offseason. My main concern during the offseason is creating feature material to add content during soft spots. "Scouting 101" ate up some dead time between the Super Bowl and the start of free agency. I'll do a "Draft preview" series during March. May and June are the spring-practice months and I'll be on the field for those workouts, then come back inside and write a report. Late June to the start of training camp is vacation time for everyone. Between now and then, we'll keep it going.

Kelly from Santa Rosa, CA:
I read there were 11 draftees listed as "cornerback" who ran sub-4.5 times at the combine. That sounds like a pretty deep pool of speedy cover guys, but what other intangibles make a good corner, and do you think the Jaguars will match need and value at the 21st pick on a defensive back?

Vic: Cornerbacks also have to be able to play zone coverage, especially in today's game. You can have all of the speed and man-to-man coverage skills in the world, but if you don't have the instincts to play zone coverage you're not going to be a top corner. Michael Booker is a perfect example. Booker was a big-time talent coming out of Nebraska. The rap against him was that he couldn't play zone and it turned out to be right. He was a man-to-man guy only and it ruined his career. If the Jaguars pick a corner in the first round, I assure you he'll be someone who can play "man" and "zone." With the "major point of emphasis" on the chuck rule, the days of the shut-down corner may be over, for now. Nobody shuts anybody down now. What you need are corners who fit into and can execute the scheme, and who can also catch the ball when it hits them in the hands.

Jay from Livermore, CA:
What is left for the Jags to move up and become an elite NFL team, and do you think this will happen within the next two years?

Vic: Byron Leftwich has to become an elite quarterback for the Jaguars to become an elite team. That's my expectation.

J.D. from Jim Thorpe, PA:
In what year do the "franchise" first-round picks go? If someone were to sign Darius and we received two first-rounders in return, would that mean we would have three first-round picks in the draft?

Vic: First of all, Donovin Darius signed the Jaguars' tender offer so he is no longer able shop his services around the league. In other words, no other team may sign him as a "franchise" player without it involving a trade to which the Jaguars agree. Had Darius not signed the tender, he could've shopped his services and any team signing him would've had to have a first-round pick in each of the next two drafts to be able to sign him. The picks would not come from the same year, even if they were available.

Joe from Jacksonville:
When talking about the offense, people know the left offensive linemen from the right side offensive lineman, but when referring to the right defensive end, is he lined up over the left offensive tackle?

Vic: You view the defense just as you view the offense; the right defensive end lines up over the left offensive tackle. The right defensive end is also referred to as the "blindside pass-rusher."

Patrick from Elida, OH:
"Sportsline" did an article about Carolina, Oakland and Dallas being the winners in week one of free agency. Do you agree or did they just kill their caps with the names they brought in? Who do you think won in week one?

Vic: Dallas scored by signing Anthony Henry, who I liked, but I liked him because I thought he was going to be more of a bargain guy. I don't like him at the price Dallas paid. Oakland got the best running back, Lamont Jordan, so the Raiders get high marks for that. Carolina helped itself with Mike Wahle and Ken Lucas, but the money the Panthers spent is staggering. If Reggie Hayward turns out to be the missing link for the Jaguars, Hayward could represent the best signing of the free-agency period. All of these guys, however, were super expensive, which further supports my belief that there are no bargains in the first week of free agency. In my opinion, the teams that did the best in the opening salvo of free agency are those teams that were able to re-sign or retain their own players just before or as free agency began. For example, Cincinnati re-signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh. As far as I'm concerned, that's the equivalent of signing a free agent, but the upside is that he's a player you've seen in practice every day and you know exactly what he can and can't do and how he fits into your scheme. In other words, you know what you're getting and you probably haven't overpaid for it. What's left of the free-agent market will determine who the big winners are this year. What's left are players who represent bargains. That's where you score points; with bargain acquisitions, such as Rodney Harrison and Mike Vrabel.

Keith from Jacksonville:
Who audits the Jaguars' records to ensure the Jags or any other team is following the rules regarding payments and timing?

Vic: The league maintains a salary cap "police department" of accountants. If you've made a mistake, you'll hear from them.

Steve from Brisbane, Australia:
What are the Browns doing about their QB position? With Holcomb and Garcia gone, that leaves only Luke McCown and Josh Harris. Where are their options? Draft? Free agency? Is McMahon a possibility there? What about a Garrard trade there?

Vic: The Browns missed their fix at quarterback in last year's draft. They had a chance to draft an Ohio kid and they wouldn't have had to trade up to do it. When you screw up like that, you tend to pay for it for a long time. Trent Dilfer? Are you kidding me? All because Butch Davis wanted "The Soldier."

Twitch from Whitehall, PA:
Why do you not think Plaxico Burress would be a good fit in Jax?

Vic: The longer he stays on the market, the more attractive he becomes. Another week and he might start to fit.

Michael from Newark, DE:
What free agents should the Jaguars think about signing and why?

Vic: There aren't a lot of names left that interest me. At the right price, I'd like Corey Bradford, Cooper Carlisle and Keydrick Vincent.

Joe from Jacksonville:
So what's the scoop with Akin? I think the Jags would be nuts to let him get away.

Vic: Why do you think he's going to get away? The Jaguars are using the restricted free agent process to their maximum advantage. It's how it's done. He's not going anywhere.

Kevin from Cocoa, FL:
Is Jorge Cordova still considered a rookie this year?

Vic: You can only be a rookie once, and Jorge Cordova spent his rookie season on injured reserve. Cordova now heads into a special classification, first-year player, which is for guys who aren't rookies but have yet to accrue a credited season.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content