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First the cap, then you trade

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

Joe Trotter from St Augustine, FL:
I am an avid college and pro football fan. On Saturdays, I watch almost every college kicker place the football either into or beyond the end zone. On Sundays, the kicker can barely get the ball to the 10-yard line. Why such a disparity?
Vic: The NFL kickoff mark is the 30-yard line; in college football the mark is at the 35-yard line. Also, the NFL kicking tee is shorter than the college tee, and the ball is thought to be harder, slicker and considerably less conducive to kicking and punting. What you're noticing might involve another factor: College football seldom plays in the cold and windy conditions NFL kickers face late in the season.

Jon Kurland from Jacksonville:
With the Jags' release of Tony Boselli to the Texans in the expansion draft, do you think Dom Capers will take another player from thedefensive side of our available players, perhaps Gary Walker, who I've read was very well-liked by Capers when he coached here? Also, I understand once a player is picked from a team in the expansion draft, that team can remove a name from the available players list. Who do you think the Jags will take off the list if they go ahead with Boselli or Walker, or will they even take a player off it? Lastly, Vic, do you think this also will signal the end of Brunell's tenure as a Jaguar?
Vic:
I expect the Texans to bring Tony Boselli to Houston for a physical exam within the next couple of weeks. If he passes that physical, I expect Boselli to be drafted by the Texans.

Tom Crumpton from Jacksonville:
I must admit I am stunned the Jags would expose Tony Boselli to the expansion draft. Is Tony's contract that bad for the Jags? Is his injury more severe than we have been led to believe? Tony Boselli is THE Jaguar. Considering the last two drafts have been criminally bad, I fear for the immediate future of this team. Help us to understand, Vic.
Vic:

Gary Walker had a great season in 2001 and is one of the most underrated defensive tackles in the game. His contract isn't underrated, but the Texans have room on their salary cap. The same can be said of Seth Payne. Don't forget, Walker was originally drafted by the Houston Oilers. The Jaguars may subtract a player from their five-player expansion list any time the Texans draft a player from that list, but the Jaguars didn't put those players on that list because they wanted to protect them. This is a salary cap issue. The Jaguars want to extinguish those players' (Tony Boselli, Keenan McCardell, Zach Wiegert, Payne and Walker) cap hits and remaining bonus amortization. It's important to note that, in each case, cutting those players would also produce a cap savings. I'm inclined to believe any player who is not selected by the Texans will be cut by the Jaguars, but Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver indicated the Jaguars would welcome Boselli back if he is not claimed by the Texans. I'm sticking with my reporter's instincts on this one. As far as Brunell is concerned, the events of this week cause me to put more credence in rumors Brunell might be traded.

Brian K. Burkett from Jacksonville:
I can't follow the Jaguars thought process on these two moves and I hope you can explain the reasoning behind the moves: First, exposing Tony Boselli and not all of the highest salary cap players; second, the alleged shopping of Mark Brunell.
Vic: The Jaguars' intent in preparing their expansion draft pool is to create salary cap space. Logically, the only players they would put on that list would be players they had reason to believe the Texans would select. I think they had strong reason to believe the Texans would not select Tony Brackens or Jimmy Smith, the Jaguars' two highest-amortization players. As far as Brunell is concerned, we don't know for a fact the Jaguars are willing to trade him, but the gain in trading him would be obvious: a high draft choice who would expedite the Jaguars' rebuilding project, and a $2.25 million cap savings.

Sandy Lyle from Jacksonville:
Salary cap numbers don't lie. The Jags are in trouble. But why is it there are not very many good players on this roster who the Jaguars have paid so much for? Very few All-Pros, very few who are the best or near the best at their positions. Have the Jaguars overpaid these guys tremendously over the years or are we just stuck with guys who can't or don't achieve anywhere near the top of the line of pro football players?
Vic:

Winning produces Pro-Bowl and All-Pro players. When the Jaguars were 14-2 in 1999, their roster was loaded with Pro-Bowl players; 6-10 doesn't get it done.

Don Pinaud from Jacksonville:
Vic, I am saddened, just like everyone else, about the Tony Boselli situation, as well as the club's general salary cap predicament. I hate to see Tony and other good guys go. And like everyone else, I am angered by management's gross salary cap mishandling, which got us here in the first place. However, in all fairness, doesn't some degree of responsibility fall on the players themselves?
Vic:

It would sure help a team's salary cap if its players agreed to less-than-market-value contracts, but that isn't going to happen. It's a tough game. That's its charm.

Jon Staman from Jacksonville:
Since the team has already apparently decided they want to get rid of Tony Boselli and others, why are we giving them away for free? It seems like a player such as Boselli would have some trade value and at least in a trade we could get something in return.
Vic:

Trading is not permitted until March 1. At four p.m. on Feb. 28, all teams must be under the salary cap, so, before you can trade a player, you first have to fit him under your cap. If the Jaguars don't extinguish a major portion of their salary-cap excess before the cap deadline, they'll have to cut several players before they would have a chance to trade them. The Jaguars want the Texans to extinguish a major portion of that cap excess so the Jaguars will be able to retain players with whom they might recoup value in a trade. Because the Texans must assume the remaining amortization of the players they select, having Boselli drafted would produce more cap room for the Jaguars than they could free up with 10 cuts.

Cory Fausnight from Louisville, OH:
I was watching ESPN Classic yesterday and it showed the 1996 Jaguars season. I noticed how excited and pumped up for every game they were, how many big plays they made and how fun they were to watch. What happened?
Vic:

That was a unique season that produced a magical feeling; kickers falling down, balls bouncing off uprights. Jaguars fans have used '96 as the standard by which they have judged all teams since, and that's unrealistic. It was one of those classic seasons and they are rare. That's why you saw it on TV.

Jim Veal from Jacksonville:
What is the total amount of money paid to R. Jay Soward by the Jaguars since he was originally drafted?
Vic:

About $2.5 million, of which $2 million was in signing bonus.

Vic Ketchman is the Senior Editor of Jaguars Inside Report, the official team newspaper of the Jacksonville Jaguars. One-year subscriptions may be purchased by calling 1-888-846-5247.

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