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Brunell, Hardy, Paup and more

Join Senior Writer Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Andrew Sims from Flagstaff, AZ:
If the Jags are able to renegotiate Brunell and Hardy, will the cap savings be used to sign draft picks? Is there any way they can re-sign Fordham or Jeff Smith? Who else besides Boselli and Meester are going to play offensive line? Finally, is it true Paup's contract still counts against this year's cap, even though he's playing for the Vikings. If it is, don't you think that is silly that a player has a contract with another team and his old team is still held responsible under the cap?Vic:
The Jaguars must free up cap room to sign their 2001 draft class. That's why they are desperate to conclude negotiations with Mark Brunell, and come to a decision on Kevin Hardy. Depending on what happens on those two fronts, and depending on what the Jags do in the draft, you might seem them pursue either Todd Fordham or Jeff Smith. As for right now, John Wade would be the Jags' center and Zach Wiegert, provided he recovers fully from his knee surgery of last Oct., is expected to replace Brenden Stai at right guard. That leaves a gaping void at right tackle, which is why the Jaguars are expected to draft a tackle in the first or second round. Finally, Bryce Paup will count $3.6 million on this year's Jaguars salary cap. The Jaguars chose to defer a portion of Paup's cap hit to 2001, causing this worst-case scenario: Off the roster but on the cap. It was their choice.

Cory Fausnight from Louisville, OH:
The draft is coming up and I wanted to know who the Jaguars are looking for in the draft. Is there any specific player or position? They could use another wide receiver because R. Jay Soward hasn't been productive, or even another linebacker or lineman.Vic: The offensive and defensive lines are clearly at the top of the Jaguars' draft wish list. The Jags could use a lot of little things, but they clearly have some big needs that must be addressed early and often. In my opinion, the two lines and linebacker are the positions of most desperate need.

Matt Kesling from Clarksburg, WV:
How is the draft going to determine the outlook on this season?


Vic: Any chance the Jaguars have of being a playoff contender in 2001 will rest on their performance in this spring's draft. The Jaguars' salary cap problems left the roster weak and depleted. It must be replenished by draft choices and undrafted rookie free agents. That's expecting a lot, but that's the reality of the situation.

Jimmy Young from Fruit Cove, FL:
With the promotion of Bob Petrino to offensive coordinator, do you think Kyle Brady will play as big of a part in the offense as he did last year? In your opinion, what style of offense will Petrino run?Vic: : I expect everything to stay the same because the style of offense Petrino will run is Tom Coughlin's style of offense.

James Decker from Jacksonville:
Do you think salaries of players will ever mellow, or will they continue to be outrageous to the point of this A-Rod fella in baseball? I believe no player is worth 10 other players.Vic: Free agency is not the contract bonanza this year that it has been in the past. That's good news for the fans, however, as long as the game grows, so will salaries. The NFL would seem to have two advantages over Major League Baseball, as far as keeping salaries under control: 1.) the salary cap; 2.) pooling revenues. Baseball has neither, and that's why salaries have become obscene.

Romeo Gibbs from Denver, CO:
If Mark Brunell's contract does not get done, can the Jags trade him to soften the cap hit?Vic:
The Jaguars would save $7 million on their 2001 salary cap by trading Brunell, as long as the trade is done before March 31. On that day, if the Jaguars haven't reached a new contract with Brunell, the Jaguars must pay Brunell a $2.5 million roster bonus, or Brunell would become an unrestricted free agent. The moment the Jaguars would pay that roster bonus, it would be added to the existing $6.35 million amortization for Brunell on this year's cap.

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