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Don't kid yourself

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

Mike from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Your article makes me feel great about the Gildon signing. Were there any reasons not listed in your article as to why the Steelers cut him?

Vic: The Steelers released Jason Gildon for two reasons: His salary became too high for his level of production, and the Steelers were at a point at which they were going to start turning over the roster. In other words, he was one of many players who were cut or allowed to leave; players such as Amos Zereoue, Mark Bruener and Dewayne Washington, all of whom had significant salary cap numbers. They were all moves motivated by a combination salary cap/youth movement program that would take the Steelers into the Ben Roethlisberger era. It's what the Jaguars did last season when they moved into the Byron Leftwich era.

Marty from Jacksonville:
With bringing in Favors and Gildon, does that have any impact on the Jaguars salary cap?

Vic: Greg Favors was signed in free agency last spring, so he was already on the Jaguars' salary cap when the season began. Jason Gildon comes onto the cap at veteran's minimum, which, for him, would be $760,000 a year, but he qualifies as a beneficial salary program guy and that lowers his cap hit to $267,647, which is 10/17th of $455,000, the designated minimum for a full year of beneficial salary for a veteran of Gildon's stature. That figure, $267,647, would be Gildon's hit on the Jaguars' salary cap this year if he is with the team through the remainder of the season. The Jaguars have room on their cap, which is why they were able to sign Gildon. A healthy cap is a good thing, isn't it?

Chris from Gainesville, FL:
I see a lot of talk about a team moving to LA, but it begs the question: Unless the moving team is an NFC West or AFC West team, what will happen to the NFL's divisional alignment? It might look awkward and untraditional if Minnesota, for example, moved to LA. Now you have Hollywood with the motor city, windy city and the frozen tundra. Not good.

Vic: It could happen, but don't limit it to the NFC North. Frankly, I don't see the Twin Cities going without an NFL franchise. I see the Vikings being sold, but I see them staying in Minneapolis. It's just too good of a market to be abandoned. As I said earlier this week, I don't have a handle on who's going to LA, and I really can't find anybody who does, but I believe very strongly that the NFL is going to take charge of this matter. I don't think the league is going to allow another late-night flight, as was the case with the Colts' move from Baltimore to Indianapolis. The league is going to be all over this one and I don't see the league allowing the Twin Cities to go empty. As far as aligning the team in LA in a division, that's the least of the league's concerns. That can be accomplished without much difficulty.

Paul from Jacksonville:
What is the deadline to re-do contracts and have them count against this year's cap? I know we have cap money just sitting there and if we don't use it we'll lose it.

Vic: The deadline for money in new contracts being assigned to this year's salary cap is the Saturday before the final regular-season game. There's a deadline next week that pertains to salary increases.

John from Jacksonville:
Do you see the salary cap era really coming to end in 2007 as currently planned?

Vic: Absolutely not. It's not being planned that the cap will end in 2007. That's when the current Collective Bargaining Agreement ends. The NFL and the players association will reach a new CBA and it'll provide for continuation of the current salary cap system. There are also mechanisms in the current CBA to encourage both sides to seek an extension.

David from Chihuahua, Mexico:
Has the passing game really benefited from the enforcement of coverage rules? How does the league's average passing yards per game compare to last year's?

Vic: Let's do it per the average of each team's total yards passing and points scored through week seven of this season, compared to what those averages were through week seven of last season. Through week seven of this season, the per team averages are 1,353.8 yards passing and 128.8 points. Those numbers include bye weeks. For the same period of time a year ago, and that includes the same number of games lost to bye weeks, the averages are 1,319.7 yards passing and 134.6 points. In other words, yards passing are up and points are down. Hmmm, I guess yards passing doesn't mean more points, does it?

Justin from Jacksonville:
How have ticket sales been going lately? If we win Sunday, do you see us selling out for the next two home games?

Vic: To avoid TV blackouts for the Detroit and Tennessee games, the Jaguars would have to sell approximately 12,500 tickets for Detroit and about 11,500 for Tennessee. That's not to sell out; that's to avoid blackout. That's a lot of tickets.

Tom from Williamsport, PA:
What do you say to the people who think the Jaguars still can't play with teams like the Patriots, Vikings and Eagles?

Vic: The Jaguars can play with anybody, but I don't think we can put them in the same category with the Eagles and the Patriots. The Eagles have been in three consecutive NFC title games and the Patriots have won two of the last three Super Bowls. They deserve a special place of recognition above the rest of the league.

Eric from Columbus, IN:
Why are the Jags abandoning their running game so early in games this year?

Vic: I'm a run-the-ball guy and I think Fred Taylor needs more carries and the Jaguars need to improve dramatically on their number 25 running game ranking, but it's hard to find fault with what Bill Musgrave is doing with the offense right now. It's gaining yards and scoring points. The offense has become the strength of this team. I have to leave it at that, for now.

Sharon from Port Charlotte, FL:
Does the player always go for the higher pay, knowing soon enough he'll have to go to a new team? Is it always about the money, Vic, or does the team they are on matter at all?

Vic: It's about the money. Yes, these players are into their profession emotionally, and, yes, they identify with the teams and the cities they represent, but let's not kid ourselves: It's about the money. To think otherwise is not realistic. To think otherwise is to open yourself to disillusionment. This is professional football. It's play for pay. These guys don't live in the same dormitory. There are no little lies about this game. It's about the money.

Ed from Jacksonville:
You wrote in your column that if the Jags beat the Texans they would be in contention for homefield advantage. Do you really think the Jags can win seven or more games in the second half while the Patriots lose at least two with the way they're playing?

Vic: Homefield advantage isn't limited to the top seed. Number two gets a bye week and a home game, too. If the Jaguars beat the Texans, you will see it written next week that the Jaguars are in contention for a division title and homefield advantage.

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