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It's a matter of perception

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Marcone from Recife, Brazil:
I was reading your story about Boselli and remembered the "Salary Cap 101" series published at It was a very instructive piece about a major subject in the NFL at the time. Now, nobody even mentions it. Will anybody ever care about the salary cap again?

Vic: That will depend on the terms of the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. Will it provide for a salary cap or is the salary cap gone forever? The players threatened that they would not agree to a salary cap system if the owners allowed the current CBA to reach an uncapped year, as it did in 2010. If it returns, however, I will expect a greater commitment to the spirit of it from the owners or it won't work. Too many teams saw the cap as an obstacle that had to be defeated, instead of a protection against overspending.

Bill from Jacksonville:
Drew Brees was set to sign with the Dolphins but their docs said his arm would never recover from the surgery. Just imagine how things could have been different in Miami, but more importantly in New Orleans. This is why it's important that NFL teams do their due diligence on Christian Ponder and others. Don't you agree?

Vic: Yeah, but sometimes you just have to get lucky, which the Saints did. The Saints signed Brees without him even throwing for them. They had reached the point of desperation and it was time to spin the wheel and take a chance. They got lucky. Everybody needs a little.

Kevin from Millersburg, PA:
While I have mixed thoughts on Kolb, the first thing I thought when I read your thoughts on him was Brady not being worthy of being picked in the first five rounds and MoJo was not worthy of being picked in the first round. I don't think Kolb is in the same class as either, just that where he was picked does not really have much to do with his current value.

Vic: Quickly, how many other quarterbacks drafted in the sixth round have won three Super Bowls? How many quarterbacks drafted in the sixth round became franchise quarterbacks? You're advocating trading away a first-round pick for Kevin Kolb based on a fluke. You're treating the exception to the rule as though it is the rule. I think Matt Schaub is a better example here because he was drafted in the third round by Atlanta and was later traded to Houston, but he wasn't traded for a first-round pick. In my opinion, Schaub is the standard that should be applied to Kolb.

Stephen from Jacksonville:
After the Steelers won Super Bowl XIV, did you or anyone else believe the dynasty was over? When did the drop off become noticeable?

Vic: It was noticeable that year. The decline on defense was distinct. Joe Greene was clearly at the end of his career. Jack Ham didn't play in Super Bowl XIV due to an ankle injury that was significant and would rob him of his speed. Dwight White was losing his starting job and the rules changes aimed at Mel Blount were clearly compromising his effectiveness. The bottom line is the Steelers should've won the Super Bowl in 1976 and probably shouldn't have won it in '79. Instead of four in six, it should've been four in five.

Steve from Jacksonville:
How would you fix the Pro Bowl?

Vic: I think the Pro Bowl is fine the way it is. I don't think the issue is fixing the Pro Bowl; I think the issue is adjusting the public's expectation for the game. You can't expect these guys to risk injury and their careers in a meaningless game. That's an unfair expectation.

Kyle from Jacksonville:
In his new mock draft, Todd McShay has the Jaguars taking Ryan Mallett at 16. His explanation is, "We have a second-round grade on Mallett. Others might disagree with our evaluation, but the Jaguars have a quarterback need and Mallett is the only remaining quarterback on the board who appears to have starting potential. If Mallett should get past this pick, there's a strong chance he won't come off the board until day two." Should we send McShay a bib?

Vic: That is a convoluted explanation of why he thinks a guy isn't a first-round pick but will be a first-round pick. It sounds as though he's trying to cover his rear end on that one.

Andrew from Neptune Beach, FL:
When is your last "Ask Vic?"

Vic: Friday.

J.R. from Pittsburgh, PA:
I read where you're going with the Packers. I understand you don't want to risk alienating your new employer, and I forgive you, because I know deep down that you know in your bones that seven is going to pull it out in the end. It's what he does, Vic.

Vic: I think seven is going to spend a lot of time on the ground.

David from Jacksonville:
The Pro Bowl is like a backyard game of tackle football, no? Just for fun and to have a good time with your friends.

Vic: That's all it is. You can't make people play and I don't blame these guys for playing the Pro Bowl the way they do. Again, the question is this: Will the fans accept that kind of performance, as you have, or will they decide that's not football and they're not gonna watch? My concern is for the image of the game. You don't want fans to think the Pro Bowl is an example of real football.

Bryan from Orange Park, FL:
What have we taught you?

Vic: You've taught me there's another perspective, the fans' perspective. I see the game one way from behind the glass in the press box and the fan often has a different view of it from the seats outside the press box. Often I'll field a question and I'll think to myself, "I hadn't thought about it that way." I've said this before: This column has made me think. It's sharpened my perspective. It's raised questions and concerns I otherwise would've missed. It's also brought to light issues I might never have discovered.

Allen from Jacksonville:
If Carson Palmer follows through with his threat to retire, could he return to the NFL after sitting out for a certain amount of time or would the Bengals still have the rights to him upon his return?

Vic: Palmer's contract with the Bengals runs through 2014 and a player cannot extinguish time on his contract by retiring. Palmer would go on the "reserve/retired" list and whatever time is remaining on his contract when he retired would remain the time for which Palmer is contractually obligated to the Bengals.

Mike from St. Marys, GA:
Is Clay Matthews a Hall of Fame talent? If not, who's better?

Vic: After just two years? Yeah, he's a wonderful player but the Hall of Fame is for the giants of the game and that requires doing for 10 years what Matthews has done in the first two years of his career. Give him a chance. What's the rush? Why is everyone manic about putting every player who's had a good season in the Hall of Fame? Hey, Jerry Kramer and Jack Butler aren't in the Hall of Fame. Let's get them in the Hall of Fame before we start inducting everybody else, OK?

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