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He holds the cards

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

Eric from Richmond, VA:
Can endorsement deals and other non-NFL team payments to players count against a team's salary cap? It seems that a market with many rich corporations, such as New England, could pay veterans endorsement deals, thus allowing the team to pay less salary/bonus, leaving more virtual room under the salary cap.

Vic: Independent endorsement deals do not count against a team's salary cap. Yes, cities that offer more endorsement opportunities are more attractive to players than cities that offer little in the way of endorsement opportunities. Florida teams benefit from the attractiveness of no state income tax.

John from Fort Smith, AR:
You said Matt Jones has not signed a contract yet. Is it because the coaching staff is not that impressed with his performance so far or what?

Vic: It's because this is professional football and it's about the money. No first-round pick has signed a contract. This is important stuff. It involves the long-term health of teams' salary caps, and the long-term financial security of those players.

Steve from Jacksonville:
Does the NFL have an active trade period and trade deadline during the regular season? If so, can you recall an in-season trade of note?

Vic: Trading may begin on the first day of the league calendar year, which coincides with the first day teams must be under the new year's salary cap. First you must be under the cap, then you can trade. It's done that way so you can't trade to get under. The end of the trading period this year is Oct. 18. The Herschel Walker trade was an in-season deal.

Howard from Homestead, FL:
If a rookie playing right cornerback makes it a position of strength on this team, what are you saying about the remainder of this squad? I'd call that rose-colored forecasting.

Vic: Thank you, Howard. That's the first time anyone has ever described me as a rose-colored kind of guy.

Eddie from Atlanta, GA:
I was very disappointed we did not go after Travis Henry a little harder due to the uncertainty with Fred Taylor. We also let our long-time rival pick up a running back in the prime of his career. It certainly looked like we were going to land him. What happened?

Vic: The only way the Jaguars could've done the deal is if the Titans backed out or, at least, backed way off. Buffalo did not want to trade Travis Henry to the Jaguars. It's that simple. You should read my column. I give my full opinion on the matter in the column.

Scot from Jacksonville:
Well, looks like you were right about Henry. Why would the Bills trade him to Jacksonville when they could trade him to a non-playoff contender? Plus, the Titans' third-round pick will likely be a lot better, if they have a losing record, as expected.

Vic: Congratulations! You're a very good reader. You were able to accurately put the pieces of last Thursday's story together.

Larry from Jacksonville:
For the cadre of Jags fans like myself who despise the Titans, it seems the next best thing to the Jaguars getting Travis Henry is the Titans getting Travis Henry. A team in salary cap hell trades a third-round pick for a runner when they already have an accomplished back? On top of this, it's a one-year deal, for all intents and purposes. What are they thinking? Doesn't Henry hold all the cards now as far as getting a long-term deal done?

Vic: He sure does hold all of the cards. If he doesn't get the kind of deal he wants, he can test the free-agent market. That would make him a motivated player, and I thought that would've been the major upside for the Jaguars, who had more reason to look at this trade in a one-year kind of way. Unless I'm completely out of touch, I see the Titans as in a rebuilding process. I'm just not getting the sense in this trade for them.

Valerie from Fort Walton Beach, FL:
I think the Jags need to really look at Greg Jones in the preseason. I know they are trying to move him to fullback but, listen, another year recovered from knee surgery and 10 pounds lighter than last year; he may have the elusiveness required to be the inside pounder with enough wiggle we need with the new offense.

Vic: They'll look at him. They'll look at him every day in training camp and in preseason games, too. They'll look at him as a runner, a blocker and as a pass-catcher. The rest is up to him.

Nick from Hanover, NH:
Given that the Jaguars haven't increased ticket prices, is there a short-run profitability to downsizing the stadium?

Vic: Huh? How do you make more money by making fewer sales at the same price? Figure out how much would've been lost for last year's Steelers game had the Jaguars covered seats last season. The decision to cover seats isn't about making more money now. It's about providing for a more stable base of season-ticket holders. It's about allowing for more home games to be televised to the Jacksonville market. Covering seats is all about providing for the future of professional football in Jacksonville. How could all of that not be perfectly understood?

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