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'Pushing money out' doesn't work


The following is the transcript of Wednesday's question and answer session between Vic Ketchman and Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver.

Vic: Wayne what can you tell us as far as what was accomplished yesterday, in terms of the salary cap, and was it a positive step for the reconstruction of this franchise?

Wayne: Well, before I say it was a positive step, Vic, obviously it was a very difficult day for us to lose Tony Boselli, and also for us to lose Gary Walker and Seth Payne. They are three outstanding players and players who have made huge contributions to this football team. But having said that, yes, it was a positive step and it certainly went a long way in helping us get our salary cap back in line.

Vic: To give us some indication, when you say a positive step, the amortization money alone that was lost, $12.5 million, would have eventually become or potentially would have become dead money.

Wayne: Well, it would have been, but the truth is it was not $12.5 million, it was $17 million.

Vic: Well, that's the '02 cap hit.

Wayne: Right, exactly.

Vic: The amortization is something you're talking about in '03, '04.

Wayne: Absolutely, that money could have become dead money in future years.

Vic: Tom Coughlin told the media yesterday after the expansion draft that there is a plan. What can you tell us about that plan?

Wayne: Well, the only thing I would say at this point, Vic, is it's still very fluid. We still have some decisions to make and, again, they won't all be easy decisions, but we've got to make decisions that are going to put us in the best position to solve our salary cap problem and have the flexibility to create a roster, for not only this year, but for future years.

Vic: What remains to be accomplished with the salary cap and how will you do it?

Wayne: Well, as I just said, we have some more decisions to make. Obviously, what occurred yesterday created some flexibility for us and now we have to go back and look at what we have to do between now and March 1, to go ahead and complete a strategy that is going to help, as I said, not only our salary cap for 2002 but in future years, Vic.

Vic: This Thursday, Feb. 21, I believe, is the first day teams are permitted to cut players. With March 1, the salary cap deadline, in mind, you will be under the cap. You don't really have to do anything more between now and March 1, do you?

Wayne: We do not, but obviously what we are looking at is not only the March 1 date, but how we create the flexibility to build a roster that's going to be competitive both now and in the future, so we're looking at everything and deciding what else we might do between now and March 1 or later.

Vic: To give us an indication of what it meant having three players selected by the Texans, what would your salary cap repair outlook be today if those players hadn't been selected?

Wayne: Well, it would have been a disaster because we would have had to go back and do the same things we've done in the past and push money out into the future, and we know, based on the lack of success we've had the last couple of seasons, that just doesn't work. We had to face the reality that we had to do something different and, obviously, that was the reason players of the caliber that we put in the expansion pool were put in.

Vic: So what you're saying is, if you hadn't had those three guys selected yesterday you would have been able to bite off only a small chunk this year and would've had to restructure massively again.

Wayne: Absolutely.

Vic: Buffalo, Dallas, Kansas City and Minnesota took aggressive approaches to their salary cap problems last season, each taking on more than $20 million in dead money. In retrospect, do you think they made the right decision?

Wayne: I think you have to make those kinds of decisions at some point. You can't continue to do the same things over and over again and expect to have different results, in terms of the win and loss columns. You've got to have the flexibility in this league to build a roster, and having said all that, our fans really need to focus on the salary cap and the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Collective Bargaining Agreement, Vic, was designed to create free agency. Free agency was designed to escalate player salaries. There's an emotional, with GMs and owners around the league; there's emotional capital put in when they are close, to say, "we need this extra player," and that drives up salaries, and that's what this league is faced with, so at some point you're going to get to the point in your salary cap when you're going to have some very high-priced players you're going to have to deal with in this way.

Vic: What it all means is you're going to have to let players go.

Wayne: I think all you have to do is look at the history of what's happened since the salary cap took place in 1994. Jerry Rice had to exit San Francisco.

Vic: Joe Montana.

Wayne: Joe Montana, on and on; Troy Aikman. You can go on and on. There are very few players; the only player I can think of right off the top of my head who has really been able to stay with his team his entire career is John Elway.

Vic: Do you believe your cap situation is fixable in one year?

Wayne: Well, I think we've just done that. It shows you we were able to do that. We were fortunate in the sense that we had a team coming into the league in 2002, where if they took one of our players all the amortization traveled with that player. We couldn't have gotten under the cap any other way.

Vic: Shifting gears just a little bit and looking forward to the next major event, the (NFL) draft, your team has always drafted for need; do you believe that philosophy needs to be changed?

Wayne: I think what you'll find is we have so many needs on this football team now that you'll automatically look at the best player on the board, vs. trying to fill a need. We have a lot of needs.

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