Join *Jaguars Inside Report *Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Pat Place from Palm Coast, FL:
What is "dead" money? What do you think the future of football as a sport looks like when no one is able to build a team that will last more than three years, with this salary cap and free agency stuff?
"Dead" money is that portion of a team's salary cap that is occupied by players who are no longer on the roster. For example, Leon Searcy was "dead" money on last year's salary cap. As far as the future of football in the salary cap era, I certainly understand your concerns about player movement and the inevitability of yearly change, but it doesn't have to be as extreme as you're suggesting. Free agency is the cause, not the salary cap. We know that because baseball has an even greater yearly turnover rate, and baseball doesn't have a salary cap. Sound salary cap and personnel management are the key factors. If a team is willing to let its second-tier players leave in free agency, and is able to replace them with sound draft choices, it will have the cap room to re-sign those star players who are the franchise's identity. This is a not a league of maintenance; it's a league of replacement. But you must be able to identify and retain those players who are or who will be your stars.
Nate Weir from Kaysville, UT:
ESPN has reported the Jaguars are willing to part with Fred Taylor. Is there any truth to that? If there is, that's a stupid move, but what do you think they could get for him?
At this point, it's all posturing and speculation. I would be opposed to trading Taylor, for fear he would blossom with another team. His contract is favorable; I'd like to see the Jaguars remain patient with him. As far as trading Taylor, he certainly wouldn't command as much in return as he would've a year ago, but this year's college crop appears to be especially weak at running back, and that could shoot Taylor's stock upward as teams with a desperate need at running back discover that player may not be available to them in the draft.
Jon-Michael Harris from Starke, FL:
Has the league hit the maximum number of teams that can survive? Is LA the only city left that is a viable market?
It would appear the NFL has run out of cities. Los Angeles will eventually be a landing place for some struggling franchise, but there isn't another available market in America that makes sense. Toronto would be a great prospect, but the NFL isn't going to violate the Canadian Football League's territory. All of a sudden, there is great appreciation for the traditional NFL franchises that have waiting lists for season tickets.
John Andreoli from Orange Park, FL:
Is it possible to run your team aggressively like the Jags, 49ers and Cowboys did, and maintain long-term success? One key part of each team's downfall during the spending sprees was poor drafting. I know when you're on top you don't get high picks, but it seems like the picks all these teams had were very poor. If you're going to be aggressive cap-wise, then drafting must be number one to maintain success.
No team that has abused its salary cap has avoided a fall. If they could've, they would've. Yes, the draft is always the key, but the draft follows the start of free agency on the calendar, and one of the mistakes made by teams that are aggressive in free agency is that they use the draft to supplement what they did in free agency. That often results in selecting lesser players because they fit a specific need. The draft must stand on its own. In my opinion, it's a team's greatest source of talent acquisition, not need fulfillment.