Join Jaguars Inside Report Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
David from Tallahassee, FL:
Vic, love your column. About Bob's question about Mark Brunell having a clause to refuse a trade, I think I read Mark refused a trade to Detroit a couple of years ago before they drafted Joey Harrington. Am I right about this? Also, for a team in the Jags situation, young and rebuilding, would it definitely be in their best interest to pay Mark the $2 million roster bonus if they can get a high draft pick for him?
Vic: You've got things a little mixed up. It was in the winter of 2001 (Joey Harrington was drafted in 2002) that Mark Brunell was mentioned in a possible trade to Detroit, and he turned the Lions off by letting them know he didn't want to play for them. Brunell does not have and never has had the ability to cancel a trade, but he can certainly dissuade a team from trading for him by telling them he doesn't want to play there and wouldn't do a new deal. As far as the "$2 million roster bonus" situation that would accompany a possible trade on March 3, I think we would all be wise to view this information skeptically. I can't help but think all of the frenzy about a Brunell trade that's been created recently is the result of a lot of posturing by teams wanting to create circumstances favorable for them.
Reggie from Jacksonville:
Since Pitt's Fitzgerald has been ruled eligible for the draft, is it possible the Jaguars may go after him if he's still available at the ninth pick?
Vic: The only way Larry Fitzgerald slides that far is if he runs bad at the combine or turns in a horrible personal workout. The Jaguars would love to have him catching passes for Byron Leftwich. Wouldn't that be something?
Rich from Palm Bay, FL:
Vic, first-time questioner, long-time reader. Is there any possibility the trade rumors abut Brunell to Washington could be smoke and mirrors. What would happen if we pay the $2 million in good faith to keep him around for the trade and then the deal doesn't get done for some reason? I feel like we are being sucked in, hoping to get another draft pick. Since the trade can't be made until March 3, is my understanding correct that if Washington wants to make the trade for Mark, because of the tampering rules all we would have is a gentlemen's agreement between the two team owners that may cost us $4 million in dead money if it falls through? Do things like this happen, or am I being paranoid?
Vic: Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you, but, in this case, don't worry. NFL teams don't treat each other with that kind of duplicity. Any kind of agreement the Jaguars would reach with a team wanting to trade for Mark Brunell would be made honorably. As far as the "dead money," it would be $4 million total, but $2 million of that will be on the 2004 salary cap regardless of a trade. Smoke and mirrors? Absolutely. There's a degree of gamesmanship in creating favorable trade circumstances and, as I stated above, each team should be expected to create circumstances that represent their interests.
Clay from Jacksonville:
Was there any particular event/situation going on that prompted the salary cap to be initiated in the NFL? Since the beginning of the salary cap era, what's the longest streak of winning seasons by any team?
Vic: The salary cap is a product of rookie salaries having shot up dangerously in the late 1980s and early '90s. Obviously, owners wanted some kind of hedge against rapidly increasing salaries overall, but rookie salaries were the main concern of owners and players. The players association wanted a greater distribution of the wealth for veterans, which would lengthen careers. Owners wanted to curb signing bonuses that were going to rookies who, in many cases, turned out to be busts. The salary cap era began in 1993. I don't know of a book that can tell me who's had the longest winning streak in the salary cap era, so I'm going to take a shot at some candidates: Miami has seven, San Francisco and Green Bay have had six, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Minnesota have had five. Miami's record in recent years is very impressive. They were 10-6 and missed the playoffs. Dave Wannstedt deserved to retain his job.
Nate from Tampa, FL:
You say the Jags would have to pay $2 million in "dead money" for, basically, a second-round draft pick. But since we all agree that building through the draft is the best way, is it worth it to take the "dead money" hit this year for what could turn out to be a very productive second-round talent (i.e. Anquan Boldin)? Keep up the great work!
Vic: If you knew you were going to get a Brad Meester, you'd have to say the pick would be worth $2 million, over the length of the player's career. But there are no guarantees. It would be a gutsy call, if it comes down to paying the roster bonus. What else could you do with the pick? Could you package it with your first-rounder to move up higher in the round?
Michael from San Jose, CA:
Thank you, Vic, for sharing your knowledge and love of football. I've enjoyed your work daily since last preseason. My question is addressed to your journalistic side: What are the negatives in not correcting or rearranging the questions submitted to you; i.e., leaving them as sent? Most Q&A sites "improve" the submissions; my preference. However, I've yet to find a discussion of its pros and cons, and would like your input, please.
Vic: I make minor adjustments in grammar, but I'm very careful not to change the meaning of the question or the tone of the letter. That's the key. The integrity of the author's letter must be maintained.
Rob from St. Augustine, FL:
Can you give a quick reply on our rank in offense and defense this past year?
Vic: The Jaguars were 12th overall on offense – eighth in rushing and 15th in passing—and sixth in overall defense – second against the run and 18th against the pass.