Join Jaguars Inside Report Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
John from Orange Park, FL:
I am sure this is question number 10,000, but I will ask anyway. What do you think about the Johnson pickup? Obviously, he has talent if 16 teams put in waiver claims. It appears the Jaguars are trying to put off potential wide receiver needs in the first round and maybe focus on that in the later rounds. So my question is, is a wide receiver corps of Smith, Johnson, Edwards good enough to bypass a first-round wide receiver? I know, it does not matter, if you draft best available player.
Vic: Actually, yours is question number 10,001 about Kevin Johnson. That's OK, the J.J. Stokes questions reached 100,000 and lasted for two months last spring. I can't get over this unbelievable interest in waiver-wire players. Turn down possibly the best player in the draft because you made two waiver-wire acquisitions at the same position? Are you kidding? Anyhow, what do I think of the Kevin Johnson claim? I think it's very logical and, apparently, so do 15 other teams. He's an accomplished player who has just gone through a humbling experience that could cleanse his spirit and give it new energy. But the main reason the Johnson pickup is a no-brainer is because it's a no-risk, seven-week tryout. In other words, Johnson is only going to cost the Jaguars his salary on their salary cap. All of his remaining amortization remains in Cleveland. So the Jaguars will take a look at him over the final seven weeks of the season, and if they like what they see they'll keep him. His salary next year is set for $1.55 million, which is a little pricey, so they'll need to make a decision on him.
Patrick from Lima, OH:
Could you please explain how the waiver system works in the NFL. What team gets to decide if they want a player first and why?
Vic: When a player is waived, that information is made available to the other 31 teams in the NFL. Any team interested in acquiring that player in the waiver system has 24 hours to put in a claim for him. When the 24 hours have expired, the league awards the player to the claiming team that is highest in the claim order. The Jaguars are currently third in the waiver order, which is based on a team's current record. That order changes weekly during the season.
Shane from Jacksonville:
Love your column. It is the best thing I have found to keep me informed on the Jags. Now that the Jags have acquired Kevin Johnson, what do you think of the wide receiver corps? Do you still feel it's one of the weak links or should the focus now be on the linebackers and secondary?
Vic: The Jaguars' wide receiver corps should have been strengthened by the acquisition of Kevin Johnson, but I don't think that position should be considered fixed. There are going to be players of major impact at that position high in next spring's draft, and I expect the Jaguars to be in position to draft one of those players.
Trevor from Jacksonville:
What days and times are the radio programs for the Jaguars.
Vic: Brian Sexton, Cole Pepper and I do "Jaguars Reporters" on Mondays during the season, from 6-7 p.m. The Jack Del Rio Show, with Jack Del Rio and Brian, is on Tuesdays from 6-7 p.m. On Wednesdays, Brian and I are joined by Jeff Lageman for "Jaguars This Week," which airs from 6-8 p.m. during the season and from 6-7 p.m. during the offseason. All three shows may be heard on WOKV-AM, 690.
Newt from Jacksonville:
This is a question for the salary cap end of your wisdom. If a vested veteran plays a game, is he guaranteed his salary for the year? What if that player is inactive (like J.J. Stokes)? Is he still getting the same amount whether or not he dresses out for the game (presuming he is not injured or anything like that)?
Vic: If a vested veteran is on your roster in any way, shape or form for the first game of the season, he's guaranteed his full year's salary. If you cut him and he's claimed by another team, the claiming team accepts responsibility for what remains of that year's salary. If you sign a vested veteran in week two and you cut him in week seven, you don't owe him anything more than his salary from weeks two-seven. The exact rule as it pertains to remaining circumstances is this: If a player is signed after the club's first regular-season game and terminated prior to the eighth regular-season game, he's entitled to the unpaid balance of 25 percent of his salary or his salary through the eighth game, whichever is least. If he's released after the eighth game, he's entitled to one week's salary up to a maximum of $20,000.
Kevin from Centre Hall, PA:
Do you have any figures for us on Kevin Johnson's contract? Keep up the great work. You make it possible to be an out-of-state, yet, up-to-date fan.
Vic: The only figure that matters is Kevin Johnson's salary in 2004, which is set for $1.55 million. As I stated above, the Jaguars have to decide if Johnson's skills are worthy of that figure. If they do, that'll give the team another year to evaluate Johnson. At the end of the 2004 season, he'll have the right to void the remaining two years of his contract, per the Collective Bargaining Agreement rules pertaining to vested veterans who are claimed on waivers after a year's trade deadline. Somewhere between now and then, the Jaguars will decide whether to allow Johnson to void the contract, or sign him to a new one. I don't think there's any chance he'll play out the final two years of his current deal.
Pete from Jacksonville:
Your comments on Jacksonville as a city on "Jaguars This Week" got me thinking. Vic, you're a transplant in Jacksonville, what do you like about our city and what is the difference between here and other major metro areas of the NFL (other than the non-existent nightlife)?
Vic: Forget the nightlife stuff. For me, nightlife is a semi-conscious state with a book open on my chest and an old football game on ESPN Classic. At some point my wife will walk by and ask me to take the dog outside to pee. What do I like about Jacksonville? I like being able to take the dog outside to pee without having to shovel a spot in the snow for him. And I like all of the other obvious perks: great beaches and golf courses. Jacksonville also has a freshness that gives it a lively feeling; in other words, this is a region of growth. What is the major difference between Jacksonville and other cities? Well, there's one that never ceases to amaze me: As I drive to work, the closer I get to downtown the less congested the traffic is. That's very strange.
Mark from Chandler, AZ:
Do you think the Jags have a good chance of winning the game against the Titans?
Vic: I think the Jaguars have a chance of winning because this is the NFL and upsets are commonplace, and I get every good sense about this team's attitude and energy for this game. But it'll be very difficult to win on the Titans' home turf.
Shaun from Melbourne, FL:
I went to vote for Byron to make the Pro Bowl but for some strange reason his name wasn't on the ballot. Is this because he is a rookie or because the NFL forgot to update it, thus leaving Mark Brunell's name there?
Vic: Byron Leftwich is omitted from the ballot because he was not expected to be this team's starting quarterback at the time the ballots were printed.