Critics will say it's the type of contract re-structuring that originally got the Jaguars into their current salary-cap mess, but the re-worked Tony Brackens deal the team consummated yesterday could become the only re-structuring of this offseason, and it allowed the Jaguars to match the New Orleans Saints offer for cornerback Jason Craft.
Brackens agreed to a simple conversion of salary to bonus money that lowers his 2002 cap hit by nearly $2 million. The defensive end's $3 million salary was reduced to $525,000, with $2.475 million converted to bonus. The latter amount will be spread out evenly over the next five years ($495,000 per year). Brackens' cap hit instantly went from $7.216 million to $5.236 million. Included in that latter figure is a $50,000 workout bonus.
The three-year, $3.6 million offer Craft accepted from the Saints last week was matched by the Jaguars, who will assume a $1.4 million cap hit for Craft this season. The fourth-year cornerback was a restricted free agent to whom the Jaguars had made a "low tender" offer. His new cap figure is an $837,000 increase that forced the Jaguars to re-structure Brackens' contract.
Meanwhile, indications are the Jaguars will soon announce they've re-signed unrestricted free-agent center John Wade in a one-year deal that will pay Wade the $525,000 minimum salary for a fifth-year player. A foot injury caused Wade to miss all of last season and 14 games in 2000.
In other personnel moves, the Jaguars signed veteran defensive end Stalin Colinet and tight end Stevan Fontana, claimed defensive tackle Matt Sweeney off waivers, and waived tight end James Hill.
Colinet, 6-6, 288, was released by the Vikings on Feb. 21. Colinet, 24, had also played for the Browns, following a Boston College career where had had played briefly for coach Tom Coughlin.
Fontana, 6-6, 266, was immediately allocated to NFL Europe. He was waived by the Packers in August of last year.
Sweeney, 6-2, 275, was waived by the Bucs. He was a four-year starter at the University of Miami.
The Jaguars' roster count is currently at 60 players.