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Jimmy Smith and the salary cap

Jason Proios from Long Island, NY:
The Jaguars spent their sixth-round pick on guard Chad Ward. Many publications had him rated as the next-best available guard after Steve Hutchinson. Why did he fall so far in the draft? Also, is it more likely he will become the player scouts originally ranked very high, or become what most sixth-rounders usually become? Vic:
Ward lasted until the late rounds because he is said to lack the mobility and athleticism most teams require of a high-rounds pick. That has to be the only reason, because Ward was an ultra-productive and durable four-year starter at Washington. What is expected of a sixth-round offensive lineman? Well, Todd Fordham and Rich Tylski were undrafted.  

Greg Russell from St. Augustine, FL:
After listening to the archive of the on-line show, there has to be major concern about when Jimmy Smith will be completely healthy. Is there any provision in the salary cap rules that would allow the Jaguars to use part or all of his salary cap figure to sign a veteran replacement? I know the salaries of injured reserve players count against the cap, but what about players who have non-football-related illnesses? I'm not writing Jimmy off for the season, yet, I'm just curious about what the Jaguars' options might be. Thanks for the chance to ask these questions. Vic: The Jaguars would get cap relief on Jimmy Smith if they put him on the reserve/non-football injury list, which they would have to do before he participates in one practice. The Jaguars' cap relief would be $500,000, or Smith's salary in 2001. They could put him on the physically-unable-to-perform list and would have until week six of the season to make a roster decision on Smith, but they would have to pay him his salary and, of course, that would count against the cap. If he was on the PUP list, the team would have to decide at the week-six mark if Smith was to be put on the active roster or placed on reserve/non-football for the rest of the season. If it was the latter, the team would get the remainder of the season's worth of cap relief. Of Smith's $2.937 million cap hit in 2001, $2.437 million of it is prorated bonus money, and that must count against the cap regardless of Smith's status. Clearly, from both a performance and a salary cap standpoint, the Jaguars need Smith to be in the lineup on opening day.  

Jeffrey Van Haute from Jacksonville:
With the latest medical problem Jimmy Smith suffered lately, do you think we have a wide receiver on the roster who could present a replacement for the short run. Are any of the new wide receivers able to present a deep threat for us fans. Vic: If there's a wide receiver on the roster who has the talent to ease the loss of Jimmy Smith, if in fact Smith is unable to play, it would have to be R. Jay Soward. Of course, Soward has to prove he can be dependable. As far as new receivers, everyone seems to have taken to free agent Randal Williams from New Hampshire. Williams is 6-3 and appeared to be athletic and sure-handed in mini-camp. Another free agent wide receiver, Marcellus Harris from East Carolina, caught my eye.  

Mike Leone from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I usually give rookies the benefit of the doubt, but what do you think about the rookies on the team now? Anybody standing out, yet, or will we have to wait and see. Vic:

Wait and see is always the best answer, but from what I saw in mini-camp, I think Marcus Stroud and Eric Westmoreland offer the most hope for rookies who might be players of impact this season.  

Suzanne Webster from Jacksonville:
Since Mike Hollis is in the final year of his contract, do you see the Jaguars being able to offer him enough money to keep him on their roster? With as many points as he has scored and as many games as he has won for the Jaguars (Titans game quickly comes to mind), do you think his proficiency would make him a must-have-at-all-costs keeper? Vic: Unfortunately, Mike doesn't play a must-have-at-all-costs position. Considering the Jaguars' salary cap situation, and considering what Hollis might be worth in free agency, the possibility is strong the Jaguars won't be able to retain Mike.   Vic Ketchman is the Senior Editor of Jaguars Inside Report, the official team newspaper of the Jacksonville Jaguars. One-year subscriptions may be purchased by calling 1-888-846-5247.

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