Tony Boselli shares fans' anxiety about what might happen to the Jaguars roster this offseason.
"It's disappointing that we got to this point. It's part of the NFL today, and you understand losing one or two players, but the mass exodus they're talking about doesn't make you too happy," Boselli said of the concern that salary-cap problems could cause the Jaguars roster to be gutted before next season begins.
Boselli is the Jaguars' first-ever draft choice and has just completed the second year of a six-year deal. All of his professional football life, now six years old, has been spent with one team and one quarterback, his best friend, Brunell. Boselli is pained by the thought the two of them may be parted.
"We talk all of the time. I know he'd like to be back here. He'd like to finish his career as a Jaguar," Boselli says of Brunell. "He's staying positive. Until something else happens, he thinks he's going to be here."
The Jaguars are about $35 million over next year's salary cap, which means signing Brunell to a new contract will be extremely difficult; maintaining the core of the Jaguars roster may be impossible.
In keeping with the theme, "Keep this team together," fans are calling for Brunell to accept less than market value for his services. Jaguars fans want Brunell to "take one for the club," so to speak.
"That's not (fair)," Boselli said. "People who say that are looking at it one-sided. The onus isn't on him. It's on both sides. He's done everything this organization has asked. He's played hurt. For anyone to say that is very unfair to Mark."
Brunell is represented by superagent Leigh Steinberg, who has never "taken one for the club." Steinberg represents his clients' financial interests completely. His job is to make the team pay, not his client. Meanwhile, fans want the Jaguars' core players to re-structure their contracts in a way that is favorable to the team. Boselli says that's also an unfair expectation.
"I don't feel any pressure (to re-structure). I don't think it's fair to say to the players that unless you re-structure favorable to the team, you can't keep the team together," Boselli said.
"Our responsibility as players is not to manage the salary cap. To put that on a group of players, I don't think it's fair. To say the onus is on us is unfair," he added.
Boselli knows those comments will not be received well by fans, and he's understanding of the fans' position.
"I hope fans would understand. If they're a little angry, I understand because I'm a little angry, too," he said.
"As long as it's reasonable, I think it's fine," he said of re-structuring. "I understand that we make a lot of money, but I don't think it's fair to tell anyone in any job that they have to take less for what they do."