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Names that interest me

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

Gil from Atlantic Beach, FL:
What happens when a player allocated to an NFL Europe team gets injured? Who pays for his rehab, the NFL, NFL Europe or the team allocating him? Also, what kind of compensation, if any, does he get while rehabbing?

Vic: NFL Europe League is financially responsible for the player's rehabilitation, and NFL Europe provides for a rehab center in Birmingham, AL. Remember, of course, NFL Europe is the NFL. The player continues to be paid his salary while he's rehabbing.

Ron from Jacksonville:
Are there any tackles in the draft that may be worth looking at and that Jacksonville wouldn't have to trade up for?

Vic: The scouting combine isn't until next week, so we can't possibly put players in an order yet. The top offensive tackles appear to be Jamaal Brown of Oklahoma and Alex Barron of Florida State. Remember, the big guys go early and the Jaguars are picking 21st. Since late last season, I have been throwing around the name of a massive left tackle who looks like he'll be a third or fourth-round pick. His name is Rob Pettiti, he's 6-6, 330 and he "stoned" two top ends this past season: Mathias Kiawanuka of Boston College and Justin Tuck of Notre Dame. If Kiawanuka was in the draft, he might be a top-10 pick. Tuck is considered to be a first-round candidate. Remember the name Rob Pettiti.

Tone from Lancaster, PA:
Would it be a good idea to bring another running back similar to Taylor into this organization in order to rotate between them?

Vic: Absolutely it would be a good idea. Fred Taylor needs a complementary running back and the list of running backs available in free agency is impressive. I don't think Lamont Jordan is going to want to step into another backup role, but I'm intrigued by lesser names: Correl Buckhalter, Mike Cloud, Dominic Rhodes, Amos Zereoue and others. Rhodes is a guy who really interests me. Of course, there's nothing wrong with getting a guy in the draft.

Karl from Jacksonville:
You said the Jaguars are only one or two players away from making it. In your opinion, what are these positions and who realistically in free agency would be a good fit for the team.

Vic: I said the Jaguars may only be a player or two away from getting over the hump. In my opinion, the key to getting over the hump on defense is finding a premier pass-rusher. They need to acquire a defensive end who will make offensive coordinators and quarterbacks nervous. The name that jumps up in free agency is Darren Howard. We've already talked about him. Will the Saints "franchise" him again? We'll have to wait to find out. Two other guys scheduled for free agency are Reggie Hayward of Denver and Derrick Burgess of Philadelphia. They are quality ends and will cost a lot, but I don't think there's much of an option at defensive end. The list of potential free-agent DEs appears to be a high-low situation. There's Howard, Hayward and Burgess at the top, then there's Marco Coleman, Hugh Douglas and Regan Upshaw at the bottom. I don't think there are any bargains at defensive end. In my opinion, if you don't spend big to fix your problem, you'd probably be better off waiting until the draft to get your guy. The middle ranks of DEs, in my opinion, are going to cost a lot more than they'll prove to be worth. I think the Jaguars also have to address linebacker, cornerback, offensive tackle, wide receiver and running back in free agency and/or the draft. If you're looking for another big-name guy, consider 49ers LB Julian Peterson. He's an impact player who would make a difference for the Jaguars as a pass-rusher/playmaker.

Keith from Jacksonville:
I read your column every day so I know you talk about staying away from the superstar free agency period. What players look to be the best out there that should last through the first week of free agency and thus be cheaper?

Vic: These are just some of the guys – at all positions – who interest me as potential bargain acquisitions: QB Mike McMahon, RB Dominic Rhodes, WR Corey Bradford, TE Anthony Becht, OG Keydrick Vincent, OT Oliver Ross, DT Seth Payne and CB Anthony Henry.

Mike from Jacksonville:
If the Jaguars low-tender a restricted free agent, and another team offers a better deal, don't the Jaguars have the opportunity to match the other team's offer before accepting the draft compensation?

Vic: Yes, the Jaguars would have an opportunity to match the offer and retain the player, just as they did with Jason Craft two years ago.

Andrew from Melbourne, Australia:
If an RFA is not tendered an offer, does he go into normal free agency? If that happens and a team signs that player, will they have to give up compensation to the player's original team?

Vic: If an RFA is not tendered an offer by his original team by March 1, he becomes a free agent. Any team may sign him without having to compensate the player's original team. The original team is also free to sign the player back.

John from St. Augustine, FL:
Could Tennessee cornerback Andre Dyson be a strong possibility this offseason for the Jaguars to acquire since Tennessee will most likely not be able to pay him. He's young, fast and had six interceptions this past season.

Vic: Andre Dyson is one of the premier cornerbacks available in free agency. He's at the top of the list with players such as Charles Woodson and Fred Smoot. Dyson would be a wonderful addition to the Jaguars, but he'd be expensive. It becomes a matter of at what price do you like him? The problem I have with paying big at corner is that it appears the position has been devalued by last season's emphasis on the chuck rule. All of a sudden, everybody is playing zone.

Igor from Jacksonville:
In this year's draft, the safest and best pick would be, without a doubt, Derrick Johnson. What miracles could he do for the Jags?

Vic: He'll be long gone when it's the Jaguars' turn to pick.

Jackson from Jacksonville:
If a decent running back actually slipped to the Jags in the draft, do you think they would draft him?

Vic: Yes.

William from Charleston, SC:
Of all the defensive ends in this year's draft, which one impresses you the most?

Vic: From a pure pass-rush standpoint, it's Erasmus James of Wisconsin.

Dan from Orlando, FL:
Do you think Deke Cooper has what it takes to be a starter on a good defense?

Vic: Yes.

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