Join Jaguars Inside Report Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Ronnie from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
We know the draft slot you're selected at basically predetermines your contract, with a slight increase from the previous year's same draft slot. Isn't the Quarterback position's contract held to a different standard? And would a QB drafted in the first round want "starter" money?
Vic: Yes, quarterbacks usually get more money than players at other positions, but rookie quarterbacks don't usually earn veteran "starter" money with their first contracts, unless they're the first pick of the draft. The rookie money pool won't permit it.
Will from Lakeville, MN:
Donovin Darius is a good player, but he is not worth the amount he is asking. He is great in run-support, but a liability in pass-coverage. Do you think the Jags would be better off trading Darius and moving McCree to SS and putting Battles at FS, which would be about $2.5 million less than keeping Darius?
Vic: I don't think you consider other players when you decide whether or not to pay a strong safety $3 million. The only considerations should be that player's true worth to your team, and what impact he will have on your salary cap. In my opinion, to pay a strong safety "franchise" money, he would have to be a player of major impact: sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles, etc. From his strong safety position last year, Darius had no sacks or interceptions and just one forced fumble. That might cause me to be a little tighter with my money, but I've never been a big-spender anyhow.
Greg from North Lauderdale, FL:
Why is there so much talk about linemen and linebackers? Don't you think we need receivers, too? The Jags pass game was horrible for the past years and they have not even considered a franchise receiver to take some of the pressure off Jimmy Smith. What is your take?
Vic: There's no question wide receiver is a position of need on this team, and I fully expect the Jaguars to address the wide receiver position in free agency and in the early rounds of the draft. But if you're asking me what is the Jaguars' position of greatest need, there's no doubt in my mind that it's defensive end, and I'm inclined to believe linebacker is the second priority. It's difficult for me to put wide receiver above defensive end and linebacker for a couple of reasons: 1.) The Jaguars' highest remaining amortization player (Jimmy Smith) is a wide receiver; 2.) three other major components in the passing game (Mark Brunell, Fred Taylor and Kyle Brady) will also be major salary cap hits this year. In terms of money spent, the passing game is not suffering from a lack of attention.
Duane from Jacksonville:
Can you explain how or why restricted free agents get draft picks for compensation when another team signs that player? Also, how do you know what round will be given for compensation?
Vic: Compensation for restricted free agents is provided in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The degree to which a team is compensated for the loss of a restricted free agent is determined by the level of that team's tender. If an RFA is tendered at the lowest of three levels, any team that signs him would be required to return compensation the equal of the round in which that player was drafted (no compensation for an undrafted free agent). If an RFA (regardless of draft status) is tendered at the second level, he would return first-round compensation. If he is tendered at the highest level, he would return first and third-round picks. It's all in the big book (CBA).
Patrick from Pittsburgh, PA:
I am psyched for 2003. I realize it most likely won't be a great season record-wise for the Jags, but I am pumped to watch the team under the new regime. Vic, you talk a lot about Akin Ayodele. Your talking him up so much gets me excited, but how long before he makes a positive impact on the defense.
Vic: I believe Akin Ayodele did that last season as a rookie. He was the team's fourth-leading tackler and contributed three sacks and a team-leading 13 quarterback pressures. He had one interception (at a critical juncture in the Cleveland game), two passes-defensed, two forced fumbles and was tied with Jimmy Redmond for second on the team in special teams tackles. I believe Ayodele is exactly what Jack Del Rio wants in the way of an aggressive, run-and-hit player for the attack-style defense Del Rio wants to play, and that combination could make Ayodele the feature player on the Jaguars defense.