Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
J.T. from Yulee, FL:
Does the trade of Matt Cassel to Kansas City increase the value of the Jaguars' number eight pick?
Vic: Because a team above the Jaguars in the draft order acquired Cassel, the Jags' ability to trade their pick to a team wanting to come up and draft a quarterback was probably helped by Kansas City signing Cassel. The same teams that are beneath the Jaguars in the draft order and need a quarterback still need a quarterback, and one fewer quarterback is available to them.
Bo from Orlando, FL:
What gives, Vic? Thirty-fourth pick for a franchise quarterback in Cassel and an aging but solid LB in Vrabel? Is a second-round pick that valuable?
Vic: Yes, it is. I've been saying it for years. Draft picks are more valuable than players. The Patriots just got rid of two players who have big salaries and, in case you haven't noticed, that's what the majority of teams in the league have been doing the past few weeks. So what did the Chiefs get? A player we didn't know existed until Tom Brady got hurt, and then got too much praise in leading the Patriots to a non-playoff season against the weakest schedule in the NFL, and a soon-to-be 34-year-old linebacker whose renown is for catching touchdown passes. What did the Patriots get? The opportunity to draft a top player who will make their roster younger and their payroll lighter. That's what good teams do.
Charles from Jacksonville:
It's going to get worse when the cap expires, isn't it?
Vic: I envision a widening gap between the haves and have-nots. The haves will compete against each other for the Albert Haynesworths of the NFL, driving those types of players' price higher and higher and getting very little return for their money because, very simply, a player usually doesn't play better when he's fat and happy, so to speak. The have-nots will sign the leftovers of free agency and will get significant return for their money because they will be signing players who have a chip on their shoulder and are likely to direct their anger at the haves that rejected them. Yes, the situation will get worse when the cap expires, but I envision it getting worse for the haves, not the have-nots. If I was one of the have-nots of the NFL, I would welcome the passing of the cap and would eagerly anticipate the challenges and opportunities a new no-cap era would present.
Haran from Edmonton, Alberta:
I hope you realize you are alienating a lot of fans with your Madden comments. Many of us started following this great game after starting with Madden. It's not a football replacement, but a football simulation. It's just as realistic as every other sports simulation. You should give it a try.
Vic: No one is forcing you to read this column. Its personality is my personality and I am not a video game guy. If that causes you or anyone else to stop reading "Ask Vic," then so be it. My inbox is nearly unmanageable and something has to be done to stop the flow of e-mails that are not meant to contribute to the column, only to express dissent and venom. I thank you for giving me this opportunity to re-define this column. It is a forum for fans of real football. It is for people who want to ask legitimate questions. It's for fun-loving people – not the harried Madden masses – who want to help me write this column by contributing content that will help entertain and inform. This is not "Debate Vic" or "Berate Vic" or "Tell Vic." This is "Ask Vic" and, frankly, there should be no reason for reader anger or frustration because I'm the only person in the column whose identity isn't concealed. Anyone who takes their submission personally has lost touch with reality. Make your call, in or out. I'll respect your decision either way but, if you're in, you play by my rules.
Sandy from Jacksonville:
Just had a chance to finish watching all the combine videos; absolutely outstanding. Got insight into coach-think, what they're looking for and who they're looking at. Outstanding questions, great interviews. Thanks for the terrific job. I enjoyed watching every single one of them.
Vic: The thanks go to Gene Smith, Jack Del Rio, their staffs and the Jaguars brass for making this happen. Do you have any idea how rare this is? I know of no other team in the league that does this. I've talked to several reporters I know who hate going to the combine because they can't locate the coach or GM of the team they cover. I sure didn't have that problem. Folks, the Jaguars are reaching out to you. They're doing everything they can to sell themselves to you.
Joey from Middleburg, FL:
I really don't understand what Gene is doing. I mean, we have so many holes to fill and we can't fill them all in the draft.
Vic: That's right, and they can't fill them all in free agency, either. This is going to take some time. It's time to take the hint and get what the Jaguars are telling us. They're turning this roster over. They're going young.
Jonathan from Fort Benning, GA:
How in the heck are the Redskins able to sign all these big free-agent contracts? I think I remember you saying something about how they have screwed their salary cap up with all the huge contracts they gave out. Is this a team that knew the salary cap was going away awhile ago so they just decided to spend all the money they want?
Vic: In March of 2006, in the days leading up to the acceptance of the current CBA, I wrote in this column that if the owners didn't agree to a new CBA, the Redskins couldn't get under the salary cap for that year. The CBA to which the owners agreed, an act they soon regretted and are now attempting to void, changed everything. The answer to your question is yes, the Redskins know the cap is going away and they can spend any amount they want. How's it working for them?
Andy from Roswell, GA:
I'm now 100 percent behind you. It's time to get rid of the salary cap. It means nothing at this point.
Vic: The cap has been dead for years. That's why I don't talk about it any more. Once upon a time, the first day of the league year was a big deal because that's the day all teams have to be under the cap and there would be a mad scramble to do so. You see anyone scrambling now? Once the cap got so high that it exceeded teams' ability to spend, it ceased to exist. Don't give the cap another thought. It's already dead.
Austin from Kingsland, GA:
I know you're tired of Fred Taylor questions but how do you think he will do in New England?
Vic: It's the perfect place for him. Talking to him a week ago, I could tell New England was where he wanted to go. Fred wants a ring and the Patriots will be the AFC favorite heading into next season. Tom Brady will be back, it would appear, and the Patriots will be poised to make another run. This is good for Fred. He'll be in the limelight with a high-profile team and he deserves that kind of attention.
Steve from Houston, TX:
What is your opinion of Nate Washington and his abilities? I've always felt he was an asset to the Steelers and I can't understand why they released him other than for financial reasons.
Vic: He's a good player. His long touchdown catch against the Jaguars was a killer. Washington was a big-play receiver for the Steelers. Why are they letting him go in free agency? Because that's the Steeler way. They signed him as an undrafted free agent and now they want the compensatory draft pick they'll receive for Washington signing a big deal with another team. If he finds out he can't get a big deal, then that's another matter. You see where I'm going with this? The Steelers aren't going to spend a lot of money on a player they feel they can replace. It's their way and I think you'd have to agree that it's been successful. By the way, do you know where the Steelers were this past weekend for the start of free agency? They were on vacation. That's right, the team took everybody to a ski resort for a weekend getaway. I guess they figure it's a lot cheaper than wasting your money on overpriced free agents and all those limousines you have to send out to the airport to pick them up.