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Entering 'spring' of football cycle

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

Mike Brown from St. Augustine, FL:
Wow! What a blow to all of us fans. It's a whole lot to grasp in one day. We all understand what needed to be done with the salary cap issue. Now that Boselli, Walker and Payne are gone, we saved $17 million for 2002, and that is definitely a sigh of relief. Losing such caliber players, however, is pretty horrible from a fan's point of view. You yell every Sunday and stand behind these guys, and in the blink of an eye they instantly become your new division rivals. Replacing these guys with new players and turning this franchise around to be a playoff contender again will definitely take time, that's for sure. My question to you, Vic, is what steps does this franchise need to take in the upcoming months and years to turn the teal and black into contenders once again?
Vic:
The answer is very simple. It begins with doing more of the same type of salary cap repair. The salary cap is a team's most precious possession. It must be treasured and protected. After that, the answer is: Draft well, develop young talent and patch holes with bargain free agents. In my opinion, that's the formula.

Gene Spillane from Myrtle Beach, SC:
With the three players the Jags lost in the expansion draft, do the Jags get compensatory picks?
Vic:
No.

Mike Cohee from Orlando, FL:
Since the Texans took Boselli, Payne and Walker, they helped the Jaguars in relieving our cap problem. Next, with the Jaguars releasing Renaldo Wynn and Kevin Hardy, how much under the cap will the Jaguars be?
Vic:
When Kevin Hardy's and Renaldo Wynn's contracts expire, the Jaguars will be about $5 million under the salary cap. Five million dollars under the cap sounds good, but you must remember that includes only 39 players signed who are currently counting against the '02 cap. More work remains to be done.

Randall Thomas from Baton Rouge, LA:
If Jimmy Smith, Mark Brunell and a healthy Fred Taylor return next season, plus an up and coming defense now having some experience under its belt, I think this team can contend for a wild-card spot. What do you think?
Vic:
I won't douse your enthusiasm, but I think you're being unrealistic.

Yvonne Heikkinen from St. Augustine, FL:
I was sickened, both at heart and at my stomach, when Tony Boselli, Gary Walker and Seth Payne were exposed and taken by the Houston Texans; especially Tony Boselli. He was the heart of this team and an icon to the fans. As a seven-year season ticket holder, I do not look forward to the coming season. I will, of course, be going to all the home games (most likely, many of them will be blacked out this year, anyway), however, I think I will not be seeing very many seats around me filled. I'd like to get your feelings and ideas on how you think the emotional and mental status of this team will be, with all of the major "surgery" that has been done.
Vic:
I share your disappointment. Tony Boselli is a player for whom I have a strong attachment. I, too, was new in Jacksonville in 1995, and all of us who shared that have a bond. Boselli is one of the best football players I have ever covered. His cooperation with the media made him a joy to cover. I always found myself running to him for perspective. I will miss him in the locker room. Having covered the NFL for a lot of years, I have come to accept the fact that players leave and teams must move on. What do you think the feeling was in Pittsburgh when the Jaguars signed Carnell Lake? The Jaguars are heading into the "spring" season of the football cycle; they're coming out of "winter." I think you understand what I'm saying. Let the sap run, Yvonne. This is not a league of maintenance. It is a league of replacement. Change is inevitable. Jaguars fans will come to embrace this fresh start.

Sam Folds from Jacksonville:
Which would be better for the Jags, keeping Brunell and Brackens here for the duration, thereby insuring them a top shelf QB and DE, or trading both in order to get rid of Brackens' ridiculous contract?
Vic:
The Jaguars would have to free-up a lot more salary cap room before they could trade Tony Brackens. He's scheduled to be a $7.26 million hit in 2002. If the Jaguars traded him, all of his remaining amortization would accelerate into '02 and he would become an $11.35 million hit.

Jim Mabry from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
When our ex-salary cap expert resigned back in October, he made the comment that our salary cap issues were not as bad as what the media was writing because of all the incentives players like Fred Taylor were not going to hit. Was the guy just trying to get the monkey off his back?
Vic:
I always believe the media.

Marc D'Nalruk from Jacksonville:
Pro Football Weekly has released its first mock draft of the year and it has the Jaguars picking William Green, the running back from Boston College. With what happened in the expansion draft, can running back even be a possibility with the ninth pick in the draft and such a glaring need now on the offensive and defensive lines? Also, I am excited about the possibilities of some of these new faces and young talents we can see in teal and black in our future. It's almost like 1995 and '96 all over again for me. Do you feel the same way?
Vic:
If William Green is the best player available when the Jaguars select, I say take him. I can appreciate your fresh-start attitude. It can be that way if the Jaguars draft well and develop the players they draft.

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