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Let's make a deal

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

Brian Skelding from Mobile, AL:
If the Jaguars trade Hardy, what could they get for him?Vic:
It's common for fans to believe every player is worth a first-round pick in a trade, but that's not the way it is. Would you have thought the Steelers could've gotten something for Levon Kirkland? The fact of the matter is Kirkland was due a huge salary in 2001 that made him very unattractive in a trade. Hardy is due a $2.2 million salary in 2001, which isn't outlandish but is probably more cap hit than most teams want. Hardy is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent following the season, and any team trading for him might run the risk of losing him at the end of the season. That won't help his trade value, either. What could the Jags get for him? How about a third-round pick?

Ed Nevar from Jacksonville:
Besides Paup's $3.6 million hit this year, which other players not playing for the Jaguars are taking up cap space this year and next?Vic: Leon Searcy leads the way as a $2.3 million hit on the Jags' 2001 salary cap. He's followed by Reggie Barlow ($670,000), Joel Smeenge ($567,000), Quentin Neujahr ($200,000), Joe Chustz ($167,000), Anthony Cesario ($115,000), Brant Boyer ($92,000), Kevin Landolt ($79,000), Jamie Martin ($60,000) and Rich Griffith ($30,000). There are others at insignificant amounts. There is no player assigned to the 2002 cap who is not currently on the Jaguars roster, but that is almost certain to change after June 1, when players may be cut and have a portion of their salary cap hit moved out a year. That was the case with Paup last June.

Chuck Holland from Jacksonville:
Why wouldn't the Jaguars consider trading Mark Brunell? I think a trade with Kansas City for their first-round pick and their third-round pick would be a good fit for both teams. With this trade it would give the Jaguars more flexibility for this coming season and beyond.


Vic: Are you sure you can get that deal?

Bert Inabinet from Jacksonville Beach:

   I have been a season ticket holder since day one. It seems that as every 
   year passes we see more empty seats and constant threats of blackouts. The 
   average age in Jax is 35 and a lot of those people are like me and feel 
   that requiring ticket holders to sign a three-year contract with what I 
   call a lot of money up front could be done another way. </td>

Vic: : Every business needs to project its revenue for the year to be able to effectively budget its expenses. In the NFL, a healthy portion of a team's revenue is received after the bulk of a team's expenses, player contracts, are negotiated. The idea of deposits and seat licenses is to provide a team with the assurance that, win or lose, its seats are going to be sold. Do I like it? No. Nothing beats the most basic of business principles: the law of supply and demand. If stadiums were smaller, the demand for tickets would be greater, and loyal fans wouldn't have to endure these ticketing gimmicks.

Chuck Vann from Birmingham, AL:
How much influence does the head coach's style and personality have in player contract negotiations? In other words, is there more room in negotiations if the coach is known as being a "player's coach," versus being known as a disciplinarian?Vic: Bill Cowher is considered to be the consummate "player's coach," yet, no team has suffered more losses in free agency than the Steelers. Just show them the money.

Skeeter Robie from Pharr, TX:
The 2002 salary cap is projected to go up to approximately $68 million, roughly a nine percent increase next year. On the surface this looks like more cap room, however, minimum salaries are predicted to rise nine percent. I'm no math wizard but to me it looks like the nine percent cap raise will be eaten up by the nine percent raise the players are supposed to get. This results in no extra cap room, although fans might perceive it that way. Am I on the right track here?Vic:
Now you're starting to get it. Repeat after me: "The cap is my friend. I will take care of the cap and the cap will take care of me." Skeeter, the idea of the salary cap is to force teams to respect the spirit of its intent, which is fiscal responsibility. When you start looking for ways to defeat the cap, you only guarantee the cap will one day defeat you. The Jaguars sailed into dangerous cap waters and, in the process, created a "Perfect Storm:" There's no way out. By the way, the 2002 cap is expected to be between $72-$74 million, about a nine percent increase from this year's $67.4 ceiling. In short: Don't look for relief, just pay the penalty and vow never to make the same mistake again.

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