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Did they return worth?

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Shaun from Jacksonville:
With $7 million of the $10 million paid to Reggie Hayward in bonus money being allocated as "roster bonus," when will the money be paid out and what day must Reggie still be on the roster to receive the bonus?

Vic: The rule regarding "roster bonus" on a new contract is that one day must separate the date on the contract and the date the "roster bonus" is to be paid. If the bonus money was paid on the day the contract was signed, the league would consider it to be "signing bonus."

Clay from Jacksonville:
Hayward says that he's excited about being a DE with two great tackles relieving him of blocking pressure. How were the tackles that he worked with in Denver?

Vic: They must've been pretty good because the Broncos were fourth in the league against the run.

Tom from Nashville, TN:
Which side does Hayward play? Is he a complement to Paul Spicer?

Vic: Reggie Hayward was used at both ends in Denver. I see him logging more time at right end with the Jaguars. Right end is the premium pass-rush position and the $10 million the Jaguars just paid Hayward makes him a very premium player. Paul Spicer is more of a left end, which is to say a guy who is better in run-support than he is as a pass-rusher. Rob Meier is also more of a left end, while Bobby McCray is a classic right-side pass-rusher.

Marty from Evansville, IN:
If another team signs Cooper, the Jaguars would receive a first-round draft choice. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't that send a message to Darius?

Vic: The message I get out of the Jaguars tendering Deke Cooper at a first-round, $1.43 million level is that they are protecting themselves against a possible trade of Donovin Darius. Having tendered Cooper at the first-round compensation level, the Jaguars have effectively taken him out of free agency. Should the Jaguars trade Darius, they'll have Cooper in reserve.

Todd from Baltimore, MD:
I couldn't agree with you more about fan attitude when free agency comes around. I love the Hayward pick and the price. How can I convince my fellow co-workers that rich, past-their-prime free agents aren't usually worth what they end up being paid?

Vic: Tell them to examine history. Free agency is very risky and the more you spend, the greater the risk. Fernando Bryant, Bobby Taylor, Marcellus Wiley, Warren Sapp and Ted Washington got big contracts last year. Did they return worth?

Jay from Jacksonville:
Why didn't the Jaguars secure a deal with Stroud before the start of free agency? What kind of money will Stroud demand, given that Reggie Hayward got a $10 million dollar signing bonus?

Vic: You don't rush negotiations as important as the ones the Jaguars are in with Marcus Stroud. Stroud, obviously, wants a big deal; to be the highest-paid defensive tackle in the game. You don't just roll-over on that kind of demand. This is professional football. It's about the money. Each side has to protect its financial interests. In the case of the Jaguars, that interest is the long-term health of their salary cap. What happens if negotiations don't progress? Well, say hello to my old friend the "franchise" tag.

Adel from Jacksonville:
Now that we've cut Bolden and Washington, what do you expect the Jags to do at corner?

Vic: I don't think the release of Dewayne Washington and Juran Bolden has changed anything at cornerback. It's a position the Jaguars have to address, and we knew that long before last season was complete. Andre Dyson, Ty Law and Fred Smoot are the best of what's left at cornerback in free agency. Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain are thought to be trade bait and could even end up being released. Those are the top names that would probably interest the Jaguars, but I think the Jaguars have proven under their current regime that it has to be the right player at the right price. If they find the right guy at the right price, I expect they'll go for him. I think it would also be reasonable to expect the team to draft a cornerback. The release of Washington and Bolden did not make this a desperate situation. It was what it is before Washington and Bolden were cut.

David from Oviedo, FL:
What does it tell you that most of the players we're releasing this week (Juran Bolden, Fu, Marc Edwards, Jason Gildon, Troy Edwards, Dewayne Washington, etc.) were free agent "saviors" from the past few years?

Vic: I don't think "saviors" is an accurate description of what those players were when they joined the Jaguars. They were "patches," and that's how free agency is, for the most part, used. It's a hit-and-miss forum for talent acquisition. You're getting a player who can step in right away, but it's understood that he's already been judged by at least one other team as not good enough to keep. You accept the fact that signing him is a "stop-gap" measure that will buy you time until you can find a long-term solution. I think fans need to have a more realistic perception of what free agency really is. You do.

Andy from Jacksonville:
Does the release of Bolden and Washington show the team is comfortable with the development of David Richardson and Chris Thompson?

Vic: I don't think Richardson and Thompson were factors in the Bolden and Washington cuts. Richardson and Thompson are "jars on the shelf." They are players who offer upside and, therefore, require an investment of patience. You don't think of Richardson and Thompson in terms of now, you think of them in terms of later.

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