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Get the special master

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Sharon from Gloucester, England:
On, your link to this page reads "Ask Ketchman," not "Ask Vic." What's that about? You've been around way longer than Vic (I'm going to rip off Vic Ketchman) Carucci.

Vic: Leaguethink, baby, leaguethink.

Larry from Hinesville, GA:
My wife and I are considering going to an away game this year. Can you tell me where they will be and if there will be any organized packages for fans?

Vic: The Jaguars will play in Miami, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Washington, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Houston and Tennessee. I think it's time "Ask Vic" explores the possibility of offering a travel package to one of these games. Stay tuned.

Brian from Jacksonville:
Is there a cooler title in the NFL than "Special Master?"

Vic: It's pretty cool.

Scott from Orlando, FL:
I am a huge fan and student of the business side of the NFL. I went through "Salary Cap 101" and did not find any information pertaining to cash over cap. Could you please explain this concept and how it is currently in place?

Vic: Cash over cap is the amount of cash (real money) a team has spent in any one year that is over that year's cap number. High-revenue teams have the money to do that and they use bonus proration to push that money onto future caps. Teams such as the Redskins have a lot of cash over cap. As the league's highest revenue team, they can afford to spend big and push money out. We're not talking about just salary cap monopoly money; we're talking about real money. One of the problems with the soft-cap concept is that it allows teams to load up in the present, which means the playing field really isn't level. The cap catches up to those teams eventually, but teams that can afford to load up are at a competitive advantage in those load-up years.

John from Jacksonville:
What amount of money will the likes of Dallas, Washington, Pittsburgh and Green Bay take out of their pockets to share with small-market teams with low local revenue?

Vic: Pittsburgh has a small-market, leaguethink mentality. Dan Rooney will favor a revenue-sharing plan, but not if it threatens a labor agreement. Dallas, Washington and Green Bay are aligned with the large-market contingent and it's believed they do not support a revenue-sharing plan that would include a strategy for sharing local revenue. The small-market teams that want a new revenue-sharing plan are seeking a 34 percent share of local revenue. How much that will translate into in dollars will be determined by the local revenue each team generates.

Jon from Jacksonville:
Why did we sign back Kyle Brady? I think that was a bad idea. What are your thoughts?

Vic: You're talking about a $400,000 roster bonus that is due to be paid to Kyle Brady on the first day of the league year, which is now scheduled to be this Thursday. That roster bonus hasn't been paid, yet, though it's expected it will be paid. Paying that roster bonus will not obligate the Jaguars to keep Brady, nor will it guarantee his salary, but paying the roster bonus would seem to say the Jaguars believe Brady is a valuable player. Most people only look at a tight end's pass receptions. What they forget is the tight end's role as a blocker. Brady is one of the position's best blockers.

Bryan from Walnut, MS:
I read that the Jaguars would probably take Ernie Sims from Florida State. What do you think about him and could he start right away?

Vic: I was impressed by his performance in the Orange Bowl. He's a top prospect, a guy who's especially rugged against the run. What's not to like?

Chris from Taos, NM:
There has been a lot of talk about revenue-sharing and the CBA. In light of the way Pat Tillman lived his life, it all seems so selfish. Let's hope everyone affiliated with the NFL can learn something from his example. Do you have an opinion?

Vic: I really don't see the connection. This is professional football; it's about the money. Why do I say that so much? Because it's the truth and to think otherwise is to become vulnerable to disillusionment.

Chris from Jacksonville:
If the owners don't agree on revenue-sharing, wouldn't it be real smart for one of the owners of a small-market team to jump on the move to Los Angeles?

Vic: It's going to happen either way.

Michael from Orlando, FL:
With the huge increases in internet access over the past few years, how big of a role will website sales play in the revenue-sharing agreement?

Vic: Everybody knows what these team websites represent in the way of marketing opportunity. Merchandise sales on each team's website represent local revenue and sales are exploding, especially for the "hot" teams.

Jon from Jacksonville:
I was watching NFL Network and Adam Schefter said the Jags were very interested in Charles Woodson and that they were going to try to sign him. He also said that they were doing this to take one more shot at the playoffs. What does he mean when he said one more shot at the playoffs?

Vic: I'd be stunned if the Jaguars have targeted Charles Woodson. At a time when Wayne Weaver is consumed by his team's ability to compete with high-revenue teams, I find it inconceivable the Jaguars would be interested in an expensive, aging and oft-injured cornerback. If his value fell the Jaguars might be interested, but the Jaguars aren't going to go hard after Woodson at the start of free agency. The free-agent crop of cornerbacks, as it stands right now, isn't that attractive. If there's one guy out of the group I like, it would be DeShea Townsend, a classic zone cornerback who would fit perfectly in the zone scheme the Jaguars use at the right cornerback position, which is referred to as the "squat corner" because of the amount of zone the RCB plays. Townsend is not likely to be too expensive. I don't like, however, the idea of bringing in another stop-gap, one-year fix at the position. It's time to solve the void at RCB long-term and this year's draft is loaded with cornerbacks. I don't understand what "one more shot at the playoffs" means, either. This team is in position to be a playoff contender for a long time.

Evan from Hull, Quebec:
Am I the only one who has his fingers crossed to see teams like the Redskins and Colts fall apart due to salary cap complications?

Vic: You're not the only one. A lot of people feel the way you do but I am not one of them. I wanna see a CBA and revenue-sharing plan get done in time for the Redskins and Colts and other cap-strapped teams to re-structure contracts and keep their rosters intact. They won't out-run the cap. It'll get them eventually. As for right now, the cap vulnerability of teams such as the Redskins is the best thing the small-market teams having going for them. It's the only leverage they have in getting an agreement for sharing local revenue.

Andy from Jacksonville:
If there's no new CBA, then unrestricted free agents need six years to hit the open market. Does this mean John Henderson does not become a free agent in 2007?

Vic: John Henderson's contract runs out after the 2006 season, at which point he would become an unrestricted free agent. If there's no CBA, however, Henderson wouldn't become an unrestricted free agent until after the '07 season; he'd be a restricted free agent after '06. That's why this would be a good time to get a new deal done and, to that end, I believe the Jaguars and Henderson are getting close to a new contract.

Jason from Hagerstown, MD:
I just heard they are pushing the start of free agency back another 72 hours. Which part of this fiasco is stopping it from getting done, the CBA or the revenue-sharing?

Vic: When the league has a CBA proposal worthy of a ratification vote, but if that proposal doesn't include an acceptable revenue-sharing plan, then it'll be time for the small-market teams to press their advantage. As I've said from the beginning, a CBA and a revenue-sharing agreement are tied to each other because it's believed the two factions of owners opposed to each other on revenue-sharing each have enough votes to block ratification of a CBA proposal or a revenue-sharing plan. Right now, it appears the CBA negotiations are the problem. Revenue-sharing, however, may have the final say on this matter.

Joseph from Statesboro, GA:
Did Lavar Arrington really just bail out the Redskins by paying back $4 million to be cut?

Vic: First of all, the Redskins did not officially waive Lavar Arrington on Sunday. They have until the first day of the league year to do so and get the cap relief Arrington would provide but, just to be official, it wasn't reported to the league on Sunday. I guess what we're supposed to believe is that Arrington took $4 million out of his pocket and handed it to the Redskins to buy his freedom, which he would've gotten anyhow since the Redskins owed him a $6.5 million roster bonus they weren't going to pay because they couldn't keep him on their roster. I know people from Pittsburgh are stupid but I didn't know they were that stupid.

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