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Broncos alternate spending years

Join *Jaguars Inside Report *Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

DaVinci Metcalf from Tallahassee, FL:
I was one of the first season ticket holders. The tickets were $30 per game, or $300 per year. Can I get one of those tickets for the south end zone at $30 now? I moved away and can't afford current ticket prices.

Vic: South end zone tickets cost $47.50 per game, on a $475 season ticket contract. Upper deck tickets range in price from $150-$560 per season ticket.

Paul Boucher from Jacksonville:
The Broncos seem to have signed a large number of free agents, as well as re-sign Griese, their QB, to a big contract. How are they doing this and still staying under the cap? Are they mortgaging the future for next year?

Vic: One of the Broncos' cap strategies under coach Mike Shanahan is to alternate years of high spending. For example, their spending in 2000 was low and this year it is high. It's a way of making sure they keep their cap in line. Another Denver strategy is to sign their players to long-term deals, to get the maximum amortization on the bonus money they've paid. The Broncos are considered to be very good cap managers, but, truth be known, they have been very fortunate that their players have, for the most part, remained healthy and able to complete the long-term deals they've signed. The worst thing that can happen to a team is to have a player on its cap and off its roster. The Broncos don't have a lot of that; they rank 19th in the league in "dead" money. If their "dead" money was to increase, the long-term contracts would mortgage much of the Broncos' future caps. Personally, I don't like their offseason acquisitions this year and, as a result, I believe their cap could be headed for trouble.

Davy Palmer from Gainesville, FL:
I want to know if there is some unwritten rule about showing any emotion after losing a game. For instance, after every game we lose, some players seem to have this big smile on their faces, such as Mark Brunell. Now, some say what would happen if they lost their composure? How would that look? On the other hand, a lot of players I have noticed show lots of fire, anger when we lose. From a fan's point of view, I see the anger of losing a game a good thing. I think we need more of that type of attitude. I'd think if you displayed how upset you were at yourself from your poor performance, it would be infectious to others around you to want to pick up their game, as well. I'm sure those who smile are pretty upset, too, and I know looks aren't everything, but some things you just can't keep a poker face about. What is your take on this?

Vic: This is a purely personal matter. Players, coaches and fans all have differing reactions to defeat. I don't need the anger, and the fire isn't worth a darn when the game is over. I look into the players faces and attempt to sense their true emotions, when I interview them after the game. Then, I attempt to convey that to the reader. The best I can tell you is this: You're not always going to find true emotion through the lens of a camera. Players tend to save the expression of their true feelings for more private times. Otherwise, the world is going to see them on Sportscenter being ridiculed.

Chuck Jones from North Augusta, SC:
In my opinion, it seems a little unrealistic to think the Jags have a chance at the playoffs this year. Granted, they do have a light schedule, but they would be doing good to finish third in the division next season. Although I'm sure it has happened, I don't remember the last time a team finished third in its division and still made the playoffs. Supposing my opinion shapes up to be anything close to the way things turn out, how long do you anticipate the Jags' rebuilding period will last?

Vic: In 1999, Miami and Detroit each finished third in their respective divisions and made the playoffs, Miami at 9-7 and Detroit at 8-8. Actually, it has occurred quite often that third-place teams have made the playoffs. As far as rebuilding is concerned, Buffalo would seem to be the best quick-fix example. After having made the playoffs in eight of nine seasons, the Bills undertook a significant rebuilding in 1997 and missed the playoffs that season. They were back in the playoffs in '98 and '99, after having spent a lot of money in free agency and in acquiring quarterback Rob Johnson from the Jaguars. Last season, they were back out of the playoffs and are in somewhat of a rebuilding period, again. The best way to answer your question is that the quickest way to rebuild, through free agency, would also seem to be the least-lasting. In contrast, rebuilding through the draft takes more time but produces a longer-lasting product. The Jaguars' cap situation is such that they will probably have to rely mostly on the draft. How long? Two or three years would seem to be a logical expectation.

Nate Walker from Tampa, FL:
I know the big question is what the Jaguars are going to do about Kevin Hardy, but what about this proposal? We cut Hardy, get the cap room, and sign a veteran linebacker for the league minimum, and still save some cap room. This seems like it would be able to work, seeing as there are several high-quality linebackers still on the market, such as Bryan Cox and Ken Norton Jr. What do you think?

Vic: All you'd get is a broken-down old linebacker who wouldn't be able to help you for much more than another year, if that, and minimum wage for a player of that experience is such that the savings wouldn't be worth the effort. The Jaguars need to make sound decisions that serve the future of their salary cap and their roster. Stop-gap measures would just worsen the situation. The Jaguars drafted Eric Westmoreland in the third round. His development is the answer to the problem.

Vic Ketchman is the Senior Editor of Jaguars Inside Report, the official team newspaper of the Jacksonville Jaguars. One-year subscriptions may be purchased by calling 1-888-846-5247.

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