On this day a year ago, the Jaguars were involved in panic negotiations with quarterback Mark Brunell that would get the team under the salary cap by the four p.m. deadline. Today, the big news was the release of veteran cornerback Aaron Beasley, which left the Jaguars about $300,000 under the NFL's 71.101 million 2002 salary cap at the four p.m. deadline.
By releasing Beasley, the Jaguars avoided paying a $750,000 roster bonus due Beasley tomorrow. Even though $1.25 million of his salary is guaranteed, the Jaguars realize an $800,000 cap savings by having released Beasley.
It was the Jaguars' only major personnel move on this, the D-Day for players whose contracts were perceived as bulky. Not even Beasley's salary guarantee could persuade the Jaguars to keep the six-year veteran.
Guard Zach Wiegert will be paid a $500,000 roster bonus on Saturday, which means Wiegert will be retained on the Jaguars roster. Wiegert had been considered a cut possibility, since he would've provided $425,000 in 2002 cap savings.
Veteran wide receiver Keenan McCardell had also been rumored to be a potential cap casualty, but indications are the Jaguars will delay releasing McCardell until after June 1, which would increase the cap savings McCardell would offer the Jaguars in '02.
Kevin Hardy's and Renaldo Wynn's Jaguars contracts expired yesterday, the combination of which presented the Jaguars with about $15 million of '02 cap savings.
In other "D-Day" news, the Jaguars made "low tender" offers to restricted free agents Stacey Mack and Jason Craft today. Those tenders give the Jaguars right of first refusal on any free agent contract offer Mack or Craft would receive. The Jaguars can retain those players by matching any offer they receive. If Mack and Craft receive no offers, the Jaguars would have to pay them $563,000 each in '02.
Sean Dawkins, Jonathan Quinn, Todd Fordham, John Wade, Jeff Smith, Mike Hollis and Jeff Posey are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents tomorrow.
In other news, the Jaguars re-signed tight end/long-snapper Joe Zelenka and signed offensive tackle Shaun Rose, 21, a rookie from East Carolina who was eligible for the 2001 supplemental draft but was not selected.
Beasley is the Jaguars' all-time interceptions leader with 15 thefts. He holds every Jaguars single-season and career interception record and has 18 career takeaways and scored four defensive touchdowns, also team records. In 2001, he suffered a shoulder injury and missed the final four games of the season, finishing with 42 tackles and three interceptions. He was a starter in 71 of the 76 games he played with the Jaguars, after having been drafted in the third round in 1996.
Hardy was the team's first-round draft choice in '96; the second overall selection. The Jaguars' all-time leading tackler with 789 over six seasons, he was sidelined by a knee injury for the final seven games of last season. Overall, he was a starter in 83 of the 86 games he played with the Jaguars, making 28.5 sacks and five interceptions. He was voted a starter in the 1999 Pro Bowl.
Wynn was the Jaguars' first-round draft pick in '97. He had a career-high five sacks and 75 tackles in '01, when he was a starter in all 16 games for the first time in his career. He totaled 285 tackles and 13.5 sacks in his five-year career.
Mack was the Jaguars' leading rusher in '01, when he started 11 games for the injured Fred Taylor and gained 877 yards and scored 10 touchdowns. Only the fourth player in team history to rush for 100 yards in a game, the three-year veteran had the fourth-most rushing yards in a season in Jaguars history and ranks fourth on the team's career rushing list. He joined the team as an undrafted rookie in '99.
Craft was a fifth-round draft choice in '99 who played in all 48 games of his career. In '01, he started eight games and made two interceptions and a career-high 56 tackles (tops among the team's cornerbacks). Craft scored a touchdown in his first NFL game in '99, returning a fumbled kickoff for a score against San Francisco.