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It's all about 'X' and 'Z'

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

Rob from St. Augustine, FL:
I have a question I have been thinking about for awhile. What exactly does it mean when you are tagged as a "franchise player?" Darius was named it and has only one year remaining. In Buffalo, Price was named "franchise player" and he isn't even on the team. Help me out, Vic.

Vic: Yes, Rob, I can see you need much assistance. The "franchise" designation is a personnel procedure teams may use to retain the rights to a player whose contract is about to expire. That player is still free to negotiate a contract with another team, but any team signing another team's "franchise" player must compensate the original team with two first-round draft picks. A team may only designate one of its players as "franchise." That player will be paid the average of the top five salaries in the league at his position. Donovin Darius is a strong safety. The average of the top five salaries at strong safety is about $3 million a year. Buffalo used the "franchise" tag on Peerless Price, then traded him to Atlanta for a first-round pick the Bills used to select Willis McGahee. There are several other restrictions that accompany the "franchise" tag, but I've given you the basics.

Earl from Ithaca, NY:
Do you think the NFL will ever establish a policy stating that if you play the Monday Night Game then you are the home team the following Sunday?

Vic: The NFL attempts to schedule home games for teams that played on the road in the previous week's Monday night game. Of the 16 teams on the road on Monday night this season, 13 of them are scheduled to be at home the following Sunday, two of them are scheduled for bye weeks, and only one of them (Pittsburgh) is scheduled to play on the road. Pittsburgh plays at Cleveland the Sunday after having to play in San Francisco on Monday night. I don't know what the Steelers did to deserve that, but somebody obviously wanted to stick it to them. Maybe the NFL didn't like the idea of the Steelers having beaten the Browns 13 times in the last 15 games.

David from Orange Park, FL:
Despite not selling out, the Jaguar-Miami game was televised. What are the current NFL rules regarding TV blackouts of preseason and regular season games and what are the exceptions?

Vic: Every ticket must be sold 72 hours prior to kickoff. That's the rule and in most cities there are no exceptions. The Jaguars have used special classifications of seating to lower their blackout number by about 6,000 seats. So, why was the Miami game televised? Well, for the record, the Jaguars claim they sold enough tickets to reach the blackout number. In my opinion, Wayne Weaver was just trying to be nice to his team's fans.

Fred from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I was shocked to wake up and read about Jimmy Smith's suspension. In your estimation, who will separate themselves and now become the receiver behind J.J. Stokes, at least for the first four games?

Vic: As of yesterday, Matt Hatchette was the leading candidate to replace Jimmy Smith at the "X receiver" position. J.J. Stokes plays the "Z receiver" position. Will Stokes become the go-to guy at "Z" in an "X" offense? We'll find out.

Mike from Jacksonville:
What is the point of calling Leftwich's contract a seven-year deal if he can void it after five years?

Vic: For salary cap purposes; his amortization can be divided by seven years instead of by five.

Chris from Waycross, GA:
Now that Jimmy Smith has been suspended for four games, what happens to the portion of his salary he loses. Can it be used to pay another player?

Vic: Jimmy Smith will lose $764,705.88 of his salary this season. That amount will be credited to the Jaguars' salary cap. They may use it to pay another player.

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