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Darius salary guaranteed

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

Amanda from Jacksonville:
If another team is interested in signing a practice squad player, does the original team have any rights to match or make an offer before the player is signed away?

Vic: A practice squad player is a free agent, as though he was any other player on the street. He may elect to stay on the practice squad of his original team, though that's not logical. The claiming team is bound by league rules to immediately put any practice squad player they claim on their active roster. What often happens when a team wants to keep a practice squad player who has been claimed by another team is that the original team offers to put that player on their active roster. Of course, they're allowed to sweeten the pot. Again, he's a free agent.

Wade from Jacksonville:
Donovin Darius was tagged with the franchise label, then signed the one-year tender; no signing bonus, just salary during the season. What are the salary cap implications and/or consequences if he is cut before the regular season? A $3 million cap savings in 2003?

Vic: No; his $3 million "franchise" salary is guaranteed. That's the consequence that goes with using the "franchise" tag. The Jaguars would owe Donovin Darius $3 million if they cut him.

Zen from Santa Rosa, CA:
I've read from many sources that the AFC is wide open and anyone could take it this year. Who is your favorite to make it?

Vic: The Patriots and Jets top my list.

John from Jacksonville:
Tom Coughlin was not always upfront on player injuries, as evidenced by his injury reports on Fred Taylor two years ago and not reporting Carnell Lake's foot/ankle problem until after the season. While the NFL will fine teams for improper reporting of injuries, do you think most head coaches hide players' injuries, and do you think coach Del Rio will hide injuries in the future?

Vic: Most coaches would prefer the health of their players not be fully divulged and, yes, Tom Coughlin was almost manic about protecting information about his players' injuries. I expect Jack Del Rio will want to keep information to a minimum, too, but he has said he will not lie about injuries or attempt to deceive reporters and fans.

Kyle from Jacksonville:
Who would you say is a better defensive tackle, John Henderson or Marcus Stroud? I think it's Henderson because in his rookie year he had similar stats to Stroud in his second year.

Vic: I say it's Stroud because all of the information I have says it is.

Ed from Fernandina Beach, FL:
What are the strengths and weaknesses of each team in our division?

Vic: Tennessee's strengths begin with a quarterback who is playing the best football of his career. Steve McNair is a star-quality performer in every way, but he turned 30 this year and that begs this question: Can McNair continue to play at his high level despite a myriad of injuries? The Titans' other chief strength, in my opinion, is a quality roster that includes players of speed and athletic ability. Coach Jeff Fisher is a good developer and manager of young talent, and the Titans continue to get the most out of their draft classes. On the debit side, Eddie George appears to be over the hill and the Titans have not replaced him. And there are holes on both lines and at wide receiver. Indianapolis' strength has been Peyton Manning, but how long can we keep saying that if Manning doesn't produce in the big games? OK, Manning to Marvin Harrison is the Colts' strength, I guess. Defensively, Dwight Freeney is a play-maker. Otherwise, the Colts appear to be a team of weaknesses, especially on defense. Edgerrin James must make it all the way back from his knee injury this season or, in my opinion, the Colts won't be able to overcome a roster that lacks pop. The strength of the Texans is second-year quarterback David Carr and two young wide receivers who should give the Texans the best big-play ability of the four AFC South teams. Coach Dom Capers knows how to get the most out of the defensive personnel he has and he has some guys on defense who are real players. The Texans' major weakness is on the offensive line and at running back. If they can patch at those two places, look out. The Texans could move up the ladder quickly. I'll let you evaluate the Jaguars.

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