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RFA levels of tenders

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Stuart from Morton, IL:
I just bought a 1958 Johnny Unitas football card and a copy of the famous Y.A. Tittle photo and the photo was even signed by Tittle. I'm not nearly old enough to have seen either man play, but I have a profound respect and love for what they did in the NFL and I mostly have you to thank. What is your favorite bit of memorabilia from your years in love with football?

Vic: I have stuff in my study at home that is near and dear to me. One is a big picture of Jacksonville Municipal Stadium from the day of the inaugural game, Sept. 3, 1995. I also have a picture of Three Rivers Stadium taken during its final game, and a square of its turf, too. My reporter buddies went down to my old seat during that game, scraped off the number 37 placard at the seat that had always been mine and sent it to me. I had the placard and the picture framed together, and the pictures of Jacksonville Municipal and Three Rivers hang on opposing walls in my study, symbolic of the two places I have spent my adult work life. I have lots of other stuff, too, but some of it is very personal and would require long explanations. On another wall in my study is a picture of Forbes Field that my sons gave to me for a birthday a long time ago. I was playing golf with Bill Mazeroski one day, brought the photo with me to the course and asked Maz to autograph it after we were done playing. He knew exactly where to put his signature: on the 406-foot mark of the leftfield wall. That was the 1960 season and it would become the first great memory of my life. It is the only autograph I have and the only one I'll ever want. Nine-year-old kids are allowed to have autographs. My memories are my greatest possession.

Jeff from Jacksonville:
Will the Jags announce what they have tendered restricted free agents such as Clint Ingram?

Vic: The Jags will not announce the level at which they have tendered their restricted free agents, but the league made that information available to the media on Friday and Ingram received the low tender, which includes right of first refusal and original draft pick compensation. That would likely protect the Jaguars' interest in Ingram, or compensate the Jags adequately should another team sign him. Teams are not required to make public the tenders they offered their restricted free agents and the rest of the league was not aware of the level of those tenders until midnight last night, at which time the league released that information.

Chase from Jacksonville:
If a restricted free agent isn't tendered by his original team, what does that mean? Does he become an unrestricted free agent?

Vic: He wouldn't officially become an unrestricted free agent, but he would be free to sign with any team in the league without compensation owed to the original team. There are four tender levels for restricted free agents. At the low tender, the original team retains right of first refusal and would be compensated with a draft choice the equal of the round in which the player was originally selected. Then there's a second-round tender, a first-round tender and a first and third-round tender.

Ryan from Albuquerque, NM:
Please thank coach Del Rio for trying to put together that combine piece for us. That would've been fun to watch.

Vic: I will thank him for you and, yes, you would've liked it.

David from Tuscaloosa, AL:
I don't mind only giving one team the ball in overtime, but make it take more than a field goal to win. If you don't get six points, the other team gets a chance to score. Plus, these players are paid hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to play, so why can't they play an extra 15 minutes of football?

Vic: And risk a career-ending injury merely to extend the game for your entertainment?

Michael from Columbus, OH:
Please tell me what attracts players to play for Jacksonville when they know the franchise isn't going to spend money to bring in win-now help? The Jaguars have to accept the fact that at some point they are going to have to open the checkbook again.

Vic: This isn't college football. You don't recruit, you pick. Jim Tressel attracts. Gene Smith selects. Do you understand that concept?

Jordan from Alabaster, AL:
If Rolando McClain runs a good 40 time and has a good pro day, do you think he can be a top 10 selection?

Vic: Yeah, I do, except the suspicion is that he doesn't run well. He didn't work out at the combine due to a previously unreported hamstring injury. I was treated to some interesting tape of McClain from the Alabama-Texas national title game – wink, wink. On one play, McClain stepped up and stoned the running back in his tracks. It was a form tackle and a dramatic example of his power and quickness. On another middle-run play, he takes on the guard at the point of attack, holds the point and stuffs the run without making the tackle. Then, on a third play, an end run, he wasn't able to get to the sideline fast enough to keep the back from turning the corner and gaining 10-15 yards. He hustled downfield and assisted on the tackle, but he clearly lacked the speed to get to the corner and make the tackle. A fast 40 time would mean a lot to his draft stock, but how you gonna erase that play from the tape?

Dan from Chicago, IL:
When the Cowboys drafted Jimmy, he was clocked by some in the 4.2's. He was probably actually a 4.3 guy, but there was never ever a knock on his speed.

Vic: Yeah, I know, but a lot of people love to romanticize players by making them run-slow, try-hard guys. Jimmy was a burner. He was never slow, not even when he was old. Fans love the intangibles, but it's the tangibles that win for you. Before you look into their eyes and their hearts, take a look at their feet. If they can't run, don't bother with their eyes and their hearts.

Charlie from Jacksonville:
I've been thinking about this for awhile and I believe that a certain QB from Florida might be a good fit for us at QB. All everyone wants to talk about is how bad his mechanics are but what gets lost is his love for the game and his leadership skills. Aren't those just as important to look at for the face of the organization?

Vic: Ah, yes, the heart. Important? Sure it is, if he can throw. If he can't throw, find another heart.

Colin from Tallahassee, FL:
If C.J. Spiller is there at 10, I would be shopping around for teams in love with Spiller.

Vic: That would be fine, too. Either get the pick or the value of the pick, but don't give value away for free to your competitors.

Andrew from Toledo, OH:
Do teams value players in the draft on their ability to play right away?

Vic: That's how mistakes are made. You end up picking a guy with great technique who's ready to play now, but he's as good as he's going to get. Meanwhile, you passed on a player who, with development, will achieve a much higher level of performance in the long term. Take care of the future and the future will take care of the present.

Marcos from Wayne, PA:
Peppers and Dansby are both free agents this year. I think Peppers could help train a rookie defensive end and Dansby is a solid threat with a lot of years left. Would it pay for the Jags to look in their direction?

Vic: What is it with the fans of today that they wanna pay millions of dollars to a guy to coach young players? Hey, the Jaguars have coaches who get paid to do that. Players play, coaches coach. Plus, why would you wanna pay millions of dollars to an old pass-rusher when this draft is loaded with so many young ones you can get cheap? This is also a good year for linebackers: McClain, Daryl Washington, Sean Lee, Sean Weatherspoon, etc. If the Jags wanted to look in the direction of a center in free agency, I would understand because the center crop in the draft is weak and one may not present itself, but I wouldn't spend a lot of money signing free agents that play positions at which the draft is strong.

Cole from Jacksonville:
You can call me Jerry Seinfeld because I'm gonna make a simple observation. We didn't make the Cromartie trade because, at this point in his career, Cromartie offers less upside than Derek Cox. Kudos to GM Gene for staying true to his methods of building for future dominance.

Vic: I can think of two major reasons the Jaguars weren't interested in Antonio Cromartie: 1.) It would've been too costly to acquire him. 2.) Cromartie will need a moving van to transport his "baggage" across the country. He would not have fit the profile of players the Jaguars are attempting to accumulate.

Conor from Missoula, MT:
How will the uncapped year affect rookie contracts this season?

Vic: It shouldn't affect rookie contracts at all because the rookie cap remains in place. The deals this year will be similar to rookie deals of past years. There's no mechanism for making them any different.

Matt from Oxnard, CA:
Do you think Aaron Kampman would be a good addition for our pass-rush?

Vic: Kampman is coming off ACL surgery that'll only be nine months old when next season begins. He's a good player but any team wishing to sign him has to also be willing to accept the risk that goes with signing a guy who is only three months off ACL surgery. Kampman is likely to sign for a lot more money than I'd be willing to risk.

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