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Could be logjam of DTs

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

Kim from Maitland, FL:
The Jags lost five games by three points or less in 2002. If they had a dependable kicker, they win those five games and share the best record in the AFC at 11-5. Could vast improvement be just a dependable kicker away?

Vic: No.

David from Jacksonville:
With Keenan being a close friend of Jimmy Smith and receiving a Super Bowl ring with the Bucs, do you think this will in any way affect or influence Jimmy Smith with his decision or desire to stay or leave Jacksonville?

Vic: Jimmy Smith is under contract. He has no option to play elsewhere, unless the Jaguars traded him or cut him, and you can forget about trading him because the Jaguars' salary cap couldn't take a full hit on Smith's remaining amortization in one year.

Dan from Orange Park, FL:
What is it going to take to convince Texas, Carolina or whoever to let us trade draft-pick order and draft Suggs? I see this as very significant in winning football games in the future. On a related topic, will Brackens be healthy by camp next year?

Vic: The results of Tony Brackens' rehab from his microfracture procedure won't be known until late spring. That type of surgery requires a long recovery period. But his salary cap situation may be the bigger question. Brackens has to be considered a distinct June cut candidate. As far as Arizona State defensive end Terrell Suggs is concerned, I think he's likely to be available when the Jaguars pick at the eighth spot. Suggs is a risk at 240 pounds, though Dwight Freeney made a big splash with Indy and that will certainly raise Suggs' stock. But I would be against trading up for a player who may only ever be a pass-rush specialist.

Mark from Fremont, NE:
Do you know when the NFL releases its schedule for next year? I am already anxious for another year.

Vic: The schedule is usually released in April.

Joshua from Jacksonville:
A friend and I were discussing the possibility of the Jags letting Garrard be the starter and trading Brunell either for draft picks to move up in the draft, or just releasing him so they can sign Boston or Price. Is that a realistic possibility or are the Jags convinced they can win with Brunell?

Vic: The Jaguars clearly have to make a decision on Mark Brunell and the team's future at the quarterback position, though coach Jack Del Rio gave every indication on last week's "Jaguars This Week" radio show that Brunell will remain with the team in 2003. David Boston and Peerless Price will cost a lot of money to sign and I would be stunned if the Jaguars got involved in the bidding. I truly believe the Jaguars have learned their lesson about the salary cap. They still have some major amortization problems that could really hurt this team in 2004.

Lou from Jacksonville:
What is your assessment of John Henderson's rookie season and prognosis for the future? I wonder if he is more suited to play defensive end rather than tackle due to his weakness in stopping the run. What if Jimmy Kennedy fell to the Jaguars? Could they possibly take a defensive tackle with the first pick three years in a row, since Kennedy would be the best value with that pick?

Vic: Lou, you have introduced subject matter to which I am very sensitive. As you probably know, I am a bitter opponent of drafting for need. I believe strongly in drafting the best available player. With that said, if a defensive tackle is the best available player when the Jaguars select, then I say take him. And it appears as though there may be a logjam of defensive tackles at the top of the rankings when the Jaguars pick. Drafting for need created this problem. When you draft for need, you limit the size of the pool. You also deny fate. The system is designed to reward the losing teams by giving them first shot at the best players. So use the system; don't leave the best players for the teams beneath you in the draft order. As far as John Henderson moving to defensive end, in my opinion that's very unlikely. I don't think he's limber enough to play in space. In fact, I'm concerned about his stiffness at defensive tackle.

Mario from Zapata, TX:
I have a question about how contracts work. For example, the Cowboys are interested in Vinny Testaverde but the Jets can't afford to let him go because they will take a huge cap hit. Will they still take the cap hit if they void his contract, or can they do anything to get that money off their cap? Please explain that situation.

Vic: You can't make the money go away. If you paid it, you gotta claim it. But the Jets can't afford to trade Vinny Testaverde because all of his remaining amortization would accelerate into the 2003 salary cap. Re-working his contract to void it would serve no purpose. Then he's a free agent and you still have to eat all of the amortization this season. Testaverde is a classic June cut guy, which is how he came to the Jets in 1998. Cutting Testaverde in June will allow the Jets to use the next two salary caps to expire his remaining amortization. Maybe the Cowboys should just wait until June.

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