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Jaguars' future at stake today


It is a day that could become the foundation to the Jaguars' future. Ironically, it is a day when the Jaguars expect to lose the player on whom the foundation of the franchise was built.

The Houston Texans are expected to make offensive tackle Tony Boselli the first pick of the 2002 NFL access draft, which begins today at three p.m. The Jaguars expect to lose Boselli and defensive tackle Gary Walker from the five-man list they made available to the Texans, and indications are defensive tackle Seth Payne could become a third "casualty."

They are three of the best and most productive players on the Jaguars roster, but they are each players whose selection by the Texans would significantly decrease the Jaguars' salary cap excess. These are the numbers:

• Losing Boselli to the Texans would subtract $8.9 million from the Jaguars' 2002 salary cap, and $7.2 million in remaining amortization.

• Walker represents a $5.2 million '02 cap hit, and $4.2 million in remaining amortization.

• Payne is a $3.2 million cap hit in '02, and he has $1.1 million in remaining amortization.

The Texans must assume the cap hit and the remaining amortization of the players they select in today's expansion draft. If the Texans select Boselli, Walker and Payne, the Jaguars' $27 million cap excess would be trimmed by more than $17 million. Most importantly, more than $12 million of remaining amortization would be extinguished from the Jaguars' books, and that involves future salary caps.

This is the day that will determine much of what happens in the way of the Jaguars' salary cap repair and roster reconstruction, and it's expected to begin with the loss of the team's first-ever draft choice, Boselli.

Wide receiver Keenan McCardell and guard/tackle Zach Wiegert are the remaining two names on the list of players the Jaguars have made available to the expansion Texans, who have been handed a league-wide list that offers several star players. This expansion draft has become a dumping ground for teams who abused their salary caps and now find themselves in stern periods of repair.

The rules are such that a team may withdraw a name from its list after one of its players is selected. When a second player is selected, the remaining two names may be withdrawn, which means no team may lose more than two players, unless it wants to lose more than two players.

Houston has indicated it will not select McCardell or Wiegert. That has put the focus squarely on Boselli, Walker and Payne, all of whom were brought to Houston for physical examinations recently. Clearly, Texans coach Dom Capers and General Manager Charley Casserly have interest in all three players. will update the day's events as details present themselves. Included in the coverage will be comments from coach Tom Coughlin, who will meet with the media late this afternoon.

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