Join *Jaguars Inside Report *Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Bill Holmes from Dallas, TX:
I am a big Jags fan, stuck in Dallas. The Cowboys seemed to have turned around their cap problem in one year. Can the Jags do the same thing, or was their hole deeper? Dallas didn't even have to let one player go on June 1 this year to make cap, plus they get to keep Emmitt at full pay for his march to the rushing record. Jerry Jones is a jerk, but he knows how to play the system. Is the Jags brass up to the task?
The Cowboys accepted over $20 million in "dead money" on their 2001 salary cap. That's how they fixed their problem in one year. The Jaguars' situation was more severe, however, the Jaguars have the advantage of an expansion draft this year in which the Jaguars dumped $12 million in remaining amortization and cut nearly $17 million from their 2002 cap. Without the Texans expansion draft, the Jaguars would've been unable to fix their problem in one year, which they essentially have done. The Jaguars will have a significant amount of "dead money" on their 2003 salary cap, but, for the most part, we can consider their salary cap problem fixed, thanks to the expansion draft.
Tom Moore from Jacksonville:
Are teams obligated to spread the cap hit of a player cut after June 1 over two years? For example, if the Jaguars cut Zach Wiegert now, can they opt to take the entire cap hit this year? With Mike Pearson so inexperienced, I'm not advocating cutting Zach; I'm just wondering about that rule.
If the player is a veteran, his remaining amortization must be spread over two years.
Tom Rusk from Malabar, FL:
You recently described Zach Wiegert as Tony Boselli's likely successor. What experience does he have at left tackle that would make him a better option than, say, putting Maurice Williams at left tackle and starting Todd Fordham at right tackle, where he played so well in 2000.
Maurice Williams has never played left tackle. He is still in the learning experience at right tackle, where his experience at Michigan was limited. In my opinion, to move Williams to left tackle would be to plunge him immediately back into his rookie season. Besides, the Jaguars want to develop second-round pick Mike Pearson at left tackle. Zach Wiegert's experience is at guard and right tackle, but seven years in the NFL make him a better candidate to play left tackle than Williams.
David Sparks from Daytona Beach, FL:
I have read on the website that people are worried about the defense. I don't think we should worry, just yet. The only question I have is whether Wali Rainer is capable of getting pressure on the quarterback or being a dominant presence in the middle linebacker slot?
Wali Rainer isn't a blitzing linebacker. He will be expected to be a strong force in the middle against the run. We'll see.
Eric Mack from Orlando, FL:
This year, how do you think they should use Fred Taylor and my brother, Stacey? Give me your honest statement. I think they should get 20 carries apiece.
Eric, your brother has earned the right to be considered for significant playing time. In the second half of last season, Stacey Mack became a dependable ball-carrier and it's my belief he will be used in a significant role this year. However, Fred Taylor is the Jaguars' star running back and, if he's healthy, he will get the bulk of the carries.
David Wielgus from Orlando, FL:
The Jaguars lost a lot of players this offseason. I know the NFL compensates teams that lose many players with additional draft picks. What will the Jaguars gain in draft picks and when will they be granted?
Compensatory picks are awarded prior to each spring's draft. The NFL awards compensatory picks based on a complicated formula for evaluating a player's worth; performance, salary, etc. However, teams are not awarded compensatory picks for players they cut. For example, Aaron Beasley, Keenan McCardell and Hardy Nickerson are players the Jaguars cut, therefore, the Jaguars will not be compensated. The Jaguars will also not be compensated for having lost Tony Boselli, Gary Walker and Seth Payne in the expansion draft, since the Jaguars offered those players to the Texans. The Jaguars will receive compensation consideration for having lost Kevin Hardy and Renaldo Wynn in free agency.
Fred Barnes from Portland, OR:
Can you please fill us in on all the details of Marco Coleman's contract?
Vic: Marco Coleman's contract is for three years with a $250,000 signing bonus. Coleman will be paid the following salaries: $750,000 in 2002, $1 million in '03, and $1.25 million in '04.
John Andreoli from Orange Park, FL:
Despair and the thought of failing, I think, have led the Jaguars and coach Coughlin to make this their best offseason ever. What are your thoughts? As far as quality and price, the Jags have really made a significant stride toward being competitive this year and, better yet, for the next three years. Perhaps, not having unlimited resources was a blessing in disguise and caused the Jags to work even harder. This team will be better than last year's.
What's been done had to be done. It's time to start over and I find the idea of a fresh start very invigorating.
Wade Powers from Jacksonville:
The Jags front office has done a bang-up job this offseason emerging from salary cap hell. I'm very excited about all of the free-agency acquisitions for so little money, though I am confused about one thing. I was under the impression we were trying to rebuild for the future. Can we really do that with so many one-year contracts? To be honest, I don't think it's a bad thing to address the declining attendance by attempting to become immediately competitive? What's your take?
The one-year contracts are a great way of motivating players and identifying those players who are truly building blocks for the future. Why pay signing bonus money that must be amortized over three or four years, before you know if that player is worth the investment? My take is this: The Jaguars are in a rebuilding process. Though the weak nature of the AFC South Division gives the Jaguars reason to believe they can compete for the division title, we must not lose sight of the fact the focus of this team's effort this season will be on salary-cap repair and roster reconstruction. This is going to take some time.
Brad Biringer from Jacksonville:
I've read quite a few autobiographies written by former NFL players and coaches. I've read books by Earl Campbell, Jack Tatum, John Madden, Ken Stabler, Rocky Bleier, and (my favorite) Bum Phillips. What's your favorite book from a player or coach and why?
I was intrigued by "When Pride Still Mattered," a masterful and detailed account of the life and times of Vince Lombardi. "The League" offers fascinating insight on the true face of the NFL and its history. Read everything. You'll never regret having read a book.
Bryan Sebok from Austin, TX:
I'm a die-hard supporter of your work on jaguars.com, as well as the team as a whole. I noticed that single-game tickets went on sale in June for home games. Living in Texas, I'm blessed with back-to-back visits from the Jags this season (Houston and Dallas) and I'm wondering what the best route is for obtaining tickets for these road games. Should I go through the Texans/Cowboys, or are there tickets available from the Jaguars?
The home team is always the best source for ticket distribution. The Jaguars will get a limited number of tickets for each of those games, but they won't receive those allotments until the week of the game.
Michael Geselbracht from Lawtey, FL:
Love the column, Vic. I have a question about a previous Jaguars draft pick. If the season started today, who would be the Jaguars' three starting linebackers? What does that say about the development of Eric Westmoreland?
Training camp will begin with Wali Rainer (middle linebacker), T.J. Slaughter (weakside linebacker) and Danny Clark (strongside linebacker) as number one on the depth chart. Eric Westmoreland will have a chance to prove he deserves playing time. Depth charts mean nothing until the season begins.