Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Paul from Lehigh Valley, PA:
Are you happy with the way Stroud's contract was set up? How bad can the "dead money" be if his skills spiral the wrong way?
Vic: The structure of Marcus Stroud's new contract is another masterful job by Paul Vance, whose salary cap philosophy is built on flexibility, and that's the obvious theme of how Stroud's contract was structured. Five million dollars of the more than $13 million in guaranteed money in the contract will pass through the Jaguars' books in 2005, and more than $8 million of amortization will have been extinguished in the first two years. Here's the best part: When Stroud reaches the final year of his contract, 2010, there will be no remaining amortization. That's because the league doesn't have a new Collective Bargaining Agreement to cover 2010, and there are rules that forbid amortization to be pushed that far ahead without a new CBA being in place. With Stroud's amortization having been extinguished before the final year of his contract, the Jaguars will have total flexibility in any decision they'll have to make regarding Stroud's extended future with the team. Stroud is a two-time Pro-Bowler who deserved a big contract and got one, but not at the expense of that contract holding the team hostage. Do you remember that when the Jaguars signed Hugh Douglas I said the best thing about the deal is the way the contract is structured? It allowed them to get out of the deal if the age risk got them, which it did. The Jaguars were able to get out from under that contract quickly. That's what sound contract structuring can do for a team. The Jaguars have room on their salary cap and Vance is taking advantage of that by moving money forward, which will allow him room to sign players such as John Henderson and Rashean Mathis. Don't forget, the Jaguars are nearing the day when Byron Leftwich has to be re-signed.
Justin from Oviedo, FL:
You stated that Marcus Stroud is set to make $10 million in 2010. I realize that his bonus money is front-loaded, but what are the odds of the Jaguars really paying him that much in his final season?
Vic: That was a typo. I apologize for the mistake. The correct figure is $6 million. I don't know how the mistake occurred. I checked the original copy and it says "$6 million." I obviously did something wrong. Frankly, it wouldn't matter if his final-year salary was $100 million. Why? Because: 1.) If Stroud is still a star player at that point in his career, the team is going to make sure they have a new deal in place before he goes into the final year of his contract. 2.) If Stroud isn't still a top player at that point in his career, the team wouldn't be likely to keep him at a $6 million salary. Flexibility, again, is the key. The Jaguars aren't likely to do much re-structuring of Stroud's contract and push money out, and most of the amortization will be gone after two years.
Mike from Jacksonville:
Hey, D.J. from Brunswick, convert to Catholicism. We go to Mass on Saturday night.
Vic: You can even wear golf shoes to church, too.
Jordan from Lincoln, NE:
What do you think of Fabian Washington as a pick for Jacksonville?
Vic: He's a definite candidate.
Andy from Jacksonville:
You recently said on "Jaguars This Week" that the left tackle crop is bad in this draft, though I do recall you saying that you liked Pitt left tackle Rob Pettiti. Has he fallen on your board? What do you still think of him? Where might he be taken?
Vic: Rob Pettiti has fallen on everyone's board because of a very poor postseason. He showed up at the Senior Bowl grossly overweight, then left with a mysterious knee injury. He showed up at the scouting combine a lot lighter, but declined to work-out due to a toe injury. At his pro day, he ran a very poor 40 time and blamed it on the toe. Pettiti rose to prominence last season on the strength of dominant performances against Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Tuck. He stoned them both. But he stoned himself in the postseason, which will cause him to fall into the second day. He's an out-of-shape guy and that's going to turn off a lot of teams, but he has talent and, if the light goes on, he could turn out to be a second-day steal.
Charlie from Toledo, OH:
I was thinking Troy Williamson would be a huge weapon to help open up the deep-passing game but I'm not sure if picking wide receivers in the first round two years in a row is a smart decision. Your thoughts?
Vic: I have nothing against picking another wide receiver. In my opinion, you pick the best player, regardless of position. Troy Williamson has game-breaking speed. He's a player with major upside because he didn't play in a sophisticated pass offense at South Carolina and he's only going to get better. That's the good news but the bad news, too. Williamson is very raw and may not offer much immediate help. South Carolina didn't do much with pro-type passing-game techniques such as "sight adjustments." Williamson is likely to be overwhelmed with learning in his rookie year. Otherwise, he's an intriguing prospect.
Kelly from Rohnert Park, CA:
Did I read correctly? The Titans have $23.8 million in "dead money" this season, after pushing out all that amortization?
Vic: That's why they have all of that "dead money;" because they pushed it into the future. Well, the future is now.
Ryan from Raleigh, NC:
Do you believe the Jaguars will prefer to go with the best player available approach for the upcoming draft or, instead, look for guys who can step in and fill the few gaps left in the team's lineup?
Vic: The Jaguars ascribe to the BAP philosophy. Shack Harris has said he'll never pass up a great player because he doesn't play a position of need. In this draft, however, it would appear the players that fit at 21 will address a need for the Jaguars.
Mike from Jacksonville:
In my opinion, the Jaguars have one of the best defensive lines in football. Can you tell me about some other defensive lines that are up to the Jaguars caliber? Panthers?
Vic: Yeah, the Panthers have a good one. So do the Saints. Minnesota and Chicago have some good young players.
Ethan from Arnold, MD:
I was wondering if you knew how the Ravens salary cap situation is, now that they picked up Rolle and Mason. I'm a huge Jaguars fan but most of my friends are Ravens fans. I just wanted to know so I can make fun of them in a couple years when their salary cap is messed up and the Jaguars are nice and healthy.
Vic: The Ravens accepted some major risk by signing Samari Rolle and Derrick Mason. Age isn't on the Ravens' side in those deals. The real issue with the Ravens, however, is Ray Lewis. How much does he have left in the tank? Lewis got a big deal in 2002 that goes through '08. There's almost $12 million of remaining amortization left in that deal. Will Lewis be around for the end of that contract? If the Ravens have to get out of it early, they'd take a big "dead money" hit, and that's where they could get into trouble if Rolle and Mason turn out to be mistakes. The Ravens' cap is OK for now, but it has the potential to become a bit sticky.
Steve from Ocala, FL:
I was wondering who chooses the bye week and how/when each team is awarded their bye week.
Vic: It's part of the schedule that is provided to each team in the league. The teams have no say in their schedule. They can make requests and the league will consider them, but bye weeks are not requestable.
Travis from Charlotte, NC:
I live in Charlotte and can only make 2-3 games a year. I usually buy from scalpers at a reduced rate. With the seats being covered this year, will I still be able to get tickets, either from a scalper or at the gate?
Vic: The forces are starting to work against you.
Eric from Jacksonville:
The schedule is out and my wife and I are trying to decide what non-conference away game to go see this year? Arizona or St. Louis?
Vic: St. Louis offers quality dining and a tour of the arch. Arizona offers nice weather in November and some very interesting desert sights, provided you rent a car. Flip a coin.