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'Dead money' and league verifier

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

Mike Weidner from Atlanta, GA::
You did an outstanding job of predicting the Steelers rising and, more impressively, the Titans' flop last year. How are you at predicting if the Jags can keep Jason Craft and Stacey Mack? These are two restricted free agents I'd love to hang on to. Keep up the good work.
You're giving me too much credit for having predicted the Steelers' rise. I thought they were a playoff contender and that they were heading into the next wave of great defensive players, but I never thought they would rise to the level they achieved this past season. As far as the Titans, I predicted they would be the "disappointment team" of the season, and I thought the indicators were obvious: a deteriorating salary cap, a ridiculously desperate trade for Kevin Carter, lingering injuries to major players and a killer schedule. Retaining Jason Craft should be no problem for the Jaguars, since any team that signs Craft would have to compensate the Jaguars with a fifth-round draft choice. My guess is most teams would decide they could draft a less-expensive cornerback with a fifth-round pick. However, Stacey Mack is a different situation. The Jaguars are expected to "low-tender" Mack, which means they could retain him by matching any offer he receives from another team, but, of course, the Jaguars don't have salary cap room and every team in the league knows that. If another team signs Mack, they would not be required to give the Jaguars compensation, since Mack was not a draft choice.

Dave McDaniel from Orange Park, FL::
With all of the rebuilding coming to alleviate our cap problems, with the expansion draft and releases forthcoming, how much "dead money" are we looking at for next year?
A good guess would be in the range of $20-$25 million. The Bills, Chiefs, Cowboys and Vikings were all in that range last season.

Ray Miller from Palatka, FL::
With all this talk of cutting players who offer salary relief, either by cutting them or letting them go unprotected in the expansion draft, does any relief come if the Jags let Fred Taylor go? At some point the team has to draw the line with the guy.
Fred Taylor is scheduled to be a $2.4 million salary cap hit in 2002. His remaining bonus amortization is about $2.5 million. If the Jaguars trade Taylor, all of that amortization will accelerate onto the '02 cap. The only way to move Taylor and acquire cap relief is to cut him after June 1, which would split that $2.5 million amortization over the next two seasons.

Chris Till from Orange Park, FL::
Where is the 2002 schedule? The Jags haven't played in weeks so I know you media guys have time to post next year's schedule. I was a season ticket holder for four years and let my tickets go because (the Jaguars) are really behind the eight ball. I'm trying to decide now which games I want to go to but you guys are so busy you can't even scan in a schedule. Get off vacation and do your jobs. If you can't get it up, call me, I'll do it for free. It ain't that hard. There are fans out here. We pay you. How did you media/web guys/pukes get your job? You are lousy. You have no spirit. Maybe you make too much money. I don't.
The NFL is expected to announce the 2002 schedule in April.

Matt Bush from Wadsworth, OH::
Why do sites such as ESPN still say Fernando Bryant is on our expansion list? I have seen Wiegert and Bryant. Which one?
The players the Jaguars have offered for the Feb. 18 expansion draft are: Tony Boselli, Gary Walker, Seth Payne, Keenan McCardell and Zach Wiegert.

Skeeter Robie from Pharr, TX::
During the Jan. 23 edition of "Jaguars This Week" you commented that if the Houston Texans wanted Tony Boselli badly enough he would "pass" his physical. What happens in the case where a player doesn't pass the physical for the expansion draft? Are teams obligated to identify another player for the expansion draft? Does the NFL get involved with having their medical people verify the results?
Houston's doctors have no say in the matter. A neutral league medical verifier is currently examining Tony Boselli's medical situation. If the league verifier determines it's reasonable to expect Boselli will be recovered from his shoulder surgeries by June 1, he will remain on the list of players the Jaguars have offered for the expansion draft. If the league verifier rules otherwise, Boselli must be removed from the expansion pool and the Jaguars must replace him with another player.

Jason Harr from Daytona Beach, FL::
With the Jaguars' cap problems, why don't they release Tony Brackens and save a great deal of money? It would seem more likely the Jaguars could retain Boselli, who we will all miss a great deal.
Tony Brackens is scheduled to be a $7.26 million hit on the Jaguars' 2002 salary cap. His remaining bonus amortization is about $11.35 million. If the Jaguars cut Brackens before June 1, all of that remaining amortization would accelerate onto the Jaguars' '02 cap, worsening the situation by more than $4 million. The same would be true if they traded Brackens. If the Jaguars cut Brackens after June 1, he would be a $3.78 million hit on their '02 cap, but that amount would double to $7.56 million in '03.

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