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Dates are part of the process

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

Ben from Jacksonville:
What's the reason the NFL has June 1 as the "magical day" when you can spread the "dead-money" hit of a released player over two years? Why not just let teams spread the hit over two years from the first cut day in February on through? It seems that all the June 1 date really does is limit a player's options when he is released. Do you know the rationale behind this?

Vic: Actually, it's June 2, but the reason that date is used is because it corresponds with the other magical dates (signing periods for unrestricted and restricted free agents, deadline for right of first refusal, deadline for exercising tenders, deadline for withdrawing qualifying offers, etc.) on the spring part of the league calendar. If teams were allowed to treat the first day of the league calendar year (usually March 1) as though it was June 2, the market would become flooded with free agents, which might create a supply and demand imbalance that would decrease a player's overall value and make it increasingly difficult for lower-ranking free agents to sell their services to new teams. The scheduling formula works by staggering the personnel process, instead of flooding the market all at one time.

Clay from Jacksonville:
If Kordell Stewart is an unrestricted free agent since he had played for at least four years and can negotiate with anyone, why couldn't Deion Sanders do the same when he tried to come back into the league and play for the Raiders? Was it due to him retiring in the middle of his previous contract? And since San Diego claimed him off the waiver wires, do they still have rights to Deion?

Vic: You've answered your own questions.

Lane from Orlando, FL:
I'm amazed at the perceived need at linebacker. Yes, the Jags need an upgrade in this area, especially in terms of speed. However, the most glaring need is at defensive end. If Brackens is released, the Jags have Paul Spicer and Rob Meier. Marco Coleman was ineffective at best last year. What are the prospects of shoring up this area?

Vic: The Jaguars will undoubtedly spend a lot of effort on their need at defensive end.

Zen from Santa Rosa, CA:
Looking at last season's Kansas City Chiefs, they seemed in a similar plight to the Jaguars: top talent at certain positions and decent troops throughout, but somehow lacking in the ability to "take" a victory. With all the speculation cast, which player do you consider to be the key in forming a championship team? In my opinion, Jimmy Smith and Fred Taylor are the keepers.

Vic: In my opinion, the core of the Jaguars' future is represented by the last two draft classes. Fred Taylor is clearly this team's offensive star, but one player isn't going to put this team back into the playoffs. It needs lots of players, and the last two draft classes have produced a healthy foundation on which this team may build.

Mark from Kansas City, MO:
With all the questions of what the new staff will do to the Jags' roster, what would be your ideal offseason for the team? What would you do with "the big four" and their contracts? Who would you re-sign and who would you let go? What would you aim for in the draft (defense or offense in the earlier rounds), and what big name or bargain free agents would you sign?

Vic: I don't think I can answer your question as specifically as you'd like in a reasonable number of words, but I'll try to give you an idea of what I favor by presenting my big-picture philosophies on what it takes to be successful on a consistent basis in the NFL. I favor repair of the salary cap over maintenance of the roster, always. I favor drafting the best available player regardless of need, always. Apply those two answers to your questions and you should get a pretty good idea of where I stand.

Vijay from Montreal, Quebec:
The following is a quote from The Florida Times-Union: "Darius could sign somewhere else, but it would cost his new team two first-round draft picks." Is he saying that if a team signs Darius the Jaguars will get two first-rounders?

Vic: Only if the Jaguars first put the "franchise" tag on Donovin Darius.

Suzanne from Jacksonville:
Someone said you mentioned on the radio that Smith's and Brady's contracts could not be re-structured. I was under the impression that any of the players' contracts could be re-structured if it benefits the cap situation.

Vic: I said Jimmy Smith's contract is not re-structurable. I made no mention of Kyle Brady. What I meant by not re-structurable is that Smith's contract already contains too much remaining amortization for the Jaguars to re-structure his deal without seriously endangering their future salary caps. Is that what you want to do? Do you really want this team to go down that road again?

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