The uncertain status of star wide receiver Jimmy Smith for the start of next season has caused the Jaguars to sign veteran pass-catcher Sean Dawkins, who was to arrive at Alltel Stadium today to sign a one-year, incentive-laden contract worth $1 million.
"Sean Dawkins is a good football player. We feel he's the best available receiver. We need veteran help at that position," coach Tom Coughlin said following a one-hour practice today at Alltel Stadium.
Dawkins, a first-round pick of the Colts in 1993, played for the Seattle Seahawks in 1999 and 2000. He has 425 pass receptions for 6,057 yards and 25 touchdowns in his eight-year career.
The contract is structured so that $500,000 will be paid in minimum-wage salary that will count against the Jaguars' 2001 salary cap. Dawkins can make another $500,000 by reaching incentives that include in the neighborhood of 60 catches and 700 yards receiving. If Dawkins reaches all of his incentives, the $500,000 he would earn would probably have to be assigned to the Jaguars' 2002 salary cap, which is already bulging.
Smith's three recent surgical procedures for colon problems have left the timetable for his recovery in doubt. Dawkins would be the Jaguars' number two receiver until Smith is recovered, at which time Dawkins would become the third receiver the Jaguars have been unable to find in recent years.
"He hit the big ball down the sideline in front of our bench here (last season)," Coughlin said of Dawkins. "I think he'll fit in well with our guys. Given our group of receivers, we felt we needed to add a quality player."
Coughlin remained evasive on the matter of Smith's prognosis. "Once the medical people give him the full green light, we'll talk about his (timetable)," Coughlin added.
Second-year wide receiver Emanuel Smith, a sixth-round pick from Arkansas in 2000, is unable to practice due to a stress fracture in his foot. He is expected to be healed in time for the start of training camp.
Meanwhile, veteran linebacker Lonnie Marts was not present at today's practice. Marts is certain to be waived by the Jaguars following June 1, in a salary cap move that'll save the Jaguars $613,000 on this year's cap. Marts will count $500,000 against the Jags' 2001 cap and $1 million against their 2002 cap. Cutting Marts after June 1 allows the Jaguars to move the majority of his bonus amortization into 2002.
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.