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Logistics aren't the issue

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

Roger from Jacksonville:
Come on, Vic. Now you're just teasing us. Make Brunell's $2 million roster bonus go away? If you've said it once, you've said it a hundred times: "You pay it, you claim it." Can the Jags renege on a contract commitment for the sake of the salary cap? You've got some serious explaining to do.

Vic: They haven't paid it, yet. It's due to be paid on the first day of the league calendar year (March 3). When I say make it go away, I mean negotiate it off Mark Brunell's contract.

Jon from Ocala, FL:
I read a report that said Brunell was offered a three-year, $20 million contract with an $8 million signing bonus from the Redskins. And Brunell's agent said Brunell might be willing to give up his $2 million roster bonus the Jags owe him. How would that work? Would he give the money back to the Jags and they would be credited that on their salary cap?

Vic: The start of trading and the payment of Mark Brunell's roster bonus are initiated simultaneously on the first day of the league calendar year, so there are some logistical issues that have to be addressed so that all parties would feel protected by an agreement that can't be officially consummated until March 3. But the logistics of it aren't important. What's important is that all three parties involved continue to want the trade to happen. As long as that's the case, they'll make it work. For Brunell to waive the roster bonus, which would certainly persuade the Jaguars to make the deal, he has to want to join the Redskins and be satisfied with his new contract. Frankly, I don't know how he couldn't be satisfied with a three-year deal that pays an $8 million signing bonus. That would mean Brunell will have earned $14.75 million over the last six months.

Bjoern from Stockholm, Sweden:
I'm already sick and tired of Drew Henson entering the NFL. After watching him play in college, I thought he was the best NFL prospect at quarterback. Then the young man left for baseball and the rest is history. It seems very stupid to get into baseball when you're a certain top 10 pick in the NFL. Do you think he has a chance to come back and play the way he could have if he had stayed in football?

Vic: I don't see anything wrong with Drew Henson having given baseball a try. It's not without precedent. Kirk Gibson was an All-American wide receiver at Michigan State; projected to be a star in the NFL. He chose baseball and it worked for him. But it didn't work for Henson. Now he'll take his swings at an NFL career, and he's still young enough to make it work.

Mike from Jacksonville:
How can Washington consistently pay out big bucks for players and not be in salary cap trouble? Where are they in relation to the cap?

Vic: The Redskins have chosen the amortization route, meaning they pay big in bonus money, low in salary, then push the prorated amortization of that bonus money into the future. The proposed Mark Brunell deal is a perfect example: $8 million of signing bonus that'll put $2.7 million into each year, and a salary structure that won't increase Brunell's salary cap hit in 2004 much above his amortization. If he turns out to be just what they want, then they can re-structure his contract for '05, convert salary to signing bonus and push the amortization of that amount into the future. When do you take the hit? When he's no longer what you want. Then you get hit in the face with the amortization. That's what happened to the Jaguars a few years ago. It's happening to the Titans now, and the Redskins are beginning to move out of the dugout and into the on-deck circle.

Jeff from Jacksonville:
Do the Jaguars have a newsletter?

Vic: No; Jaguars Inside Report ceased publishing on Dec. 31, 2003. Soon, jaguars.com will announce plans for expanded coverage, which we believe will help atone for the loss of Jaguars Inside Report.

Brian from Alabaster, AL:
Do any of the NFL teams have scouts who check out high school players? Will this make up a new job to fill for pro teams to look for talent?

Vic: NFL teams do not scout high school football and I don't expect that to change at any time in the near future.

Ryan from Toronto, Canada:
What do you think the Jaguars' most solid performance was this past season?

Vic: It was a tie between the wins over Indianapolis and Tampa Bay.

Travis from Jacksonville:
In the draft, the Jaguars believe in the "best player available" option. Since our DTs and OL seem to be our strong suit right now, how early do you think they would draft a "big guy?"

Vic: If Robert Gallery is available when the Jaguars pick, he might be the pick. That's how early they could go for a big guy. There aren't too many players who would make you pass on Gallery with the ninth pick.

Ryan from Jacksonville:
Did the Jags have anyone at the Drew Henson audition?

Vic: Yes, Paul Vance was there.

Daniel from Arcola, IL:
Quick question about the draft: When they say "you're on the clock," does that mean you have a limited amount of time to make your pick? If you don't make it in time, do you lose the pick?

Vic: You should probably ask "Ask Sven" on vikings.com. Just kidding. Each team has 15 minutes to make their first-round selection, 10 minutes in the second round and five minutes in the remaining rounds of the draft. If you expire your allotted time, the team behind you in the order is "on the clock." After they make their pick, it's your turn again.

Josh from San Bernardino, CA:
I firmly believe the decision on Maurice Clarett will have a negative impact on the NFL as a game and the players as we know them, but, I have found a positive in this bitter situation. If a standout player decides to move on to the NFL from high school, skipping college, doesn't that give the opportunity to another player who may not have been selected to the college of his choice? It creates parity in the NCAA, which I think needs a little blowing up. I think you may agree.

Vic: What you're describing is our free enterprise way of life, and the courts protect it. Most people don't like the Maurice Clarett court ruling, but the principles of American life are based on freedom, such as the freedom to seek employment. There was no doubt in my mind Clarett would win his case. Frankly, I support the ruling. I prefer living in a country that says you may, instead of you may not.

Mike from Jacksonville:
"Salary Cap 101," the first installment, was great. What will the next four cover?

Vic: The second installment will deal mainly with amortization, the third installment will feature salary, part four will discuss tricks of the trade, and the final installment of "Salary Cap 101" will take a look at the state of the Jaguars' salary cap as the March 3 deadline approaches. I can't give you hard dates for the appearance of each installment, but the series will be completed by the March 3 start of free agency.

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