Tag says talks are off

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

David from Jacksonville:
Is there any chance an owner such as Dan Snyder tries to sway some of the other big boys to agree to a revenue-sharing deal so he doesn't have to gut his team?

Vic: That was the idea. That's why I focused so intensely on the Redskins' cap problem. The Redskins are the league's number one revenue team and Snyder is the leader of the big-market, high-revenue band. The cap number has come in at $94.5 million. At that figure, it's believed the Redskins can not get under the cap – even if they find a way to get under, their losses will be devastating – which means Snyder desperately needed a new CBA and to get a new CBA he'd have to turn to the small-market boys for the votes needed to ratify. Bingo! I'll wash your back if you wash mine, right? You need a new CBA and I need a strategy for sharing local revenue. The problem is that CBA talks have broken off. That news came from Commissioner Paul Tagliabue this morning. Here we go.

Mark from Wichita, KS:
I read an article on espn.com by Len Pasquarelli about the effects of a failed agreement between the league and the NFLPA. In his article, everything he wrote you have been saying for the past month, from the Redskins playing with all rookies to prime players being cut by most every team in the league. It's like the Armageddon of the NFL. Are we looking at the end of this system and of the salary cap era?

Vic: I don't think this is the end. If the 1987 strike taught us anything, it taught us that the NFL's owners aren't afraid to go to war and win. By the way, Lenny's done a nice job covering this story.

Steve from Westminster, MD:
I'm listening to "Mike and Mike in the Morning" and they're saying Jimmy Smith may become a free agent because of the absence of a new CBA. Is this accurate? I thought we were in great shape.

Vic: The Jaguars have no cap concerns.

Eric from Fayetteville, NC:
Do players get any sort of compensation from stores that sell their jersey?

Vic: Under the current CBA, profits from merchandise sold by companies licensed by the league are shared with the players. Profits from merchandise sold by the individual teams in team-owned stores, catalogs, web sites, etc., are not shared with the players because that falls into the category of "local revenue" and "local revenue" is not one of the designated gross revenues. In a new CBA, which will almost certainly include a total football revenue model, the profits from all merchandise sales will be shared with the players.

Shawn from Jacksonville:
A long time ago in one of your "Ask Vic" columns you mentioned that if a team is over the cap the NFL can come in and terminate contracts with the highest value and continue until the team is under the cap. Will that happen now with teams such as the Redskins or is this situation different due to the CBA circumstances?

Vic: I said that if a team is not able to correct its cap problem the league may begin terminating contracts in chronologically-reverse order of when they were signed, not in terms of their dollar value. That process would continue until the team is in cap compliance. With a cap number of $94.5 million, however, it's thought the Redskins can cut their whole roster and still be over the cap. That's why, in my opinion, we needed a new CBA and an extension of the cap deadline. The Redskins are one of the league's premier franchises and there's no advantage to trashing their roster and leaving them unable to compete. A lot of other teams also needed a new CBA for cap purposes.

Dan from Tyler, TX:
You have been referring to the Redskins and Colts a lot when you talk of teams with salary cap problems. I just read the salary cap status for every team and I noticed that the Raiders, Dolphins and Chiefs are the top three on the list of teams over the salary cap. Are their situations better than the Colts or Redskins or have you just been using those two as examples? Also, thank you for all of your insight into this potentially devastating CBA and revenue-sharing situation. There is currently, and has been, significantly more coverage on jaguars.com than on any other website.

Vic: I've used the Redskins as an example because their situation is unique. For most teams, cutting a guy results in producing cap room. For the Redskins, however, cutting a guy will often worsen the problem because most of their players have more acceleration (remaining bonus amortization) than salary. I've used the Colts because they are the champion of the Jaguars' division. A lot of teams have cap problems. Why? Because they expected a new CBA to get done. Now, the day before cap day, there's no new CBA and the league is in a state of panic.

Glenn from Sumter, SC:
Since the Broncos made Jeb Putzier a cap casualty, would he be a player worth looking at for the Jaguars in free agency? He could provide some dependable pass-catching abilities to the tight end position.

Vic: Sure he'd be a player worth considering. I'm getting complaints that I haven't dedicated enough time to free agency but, folks, the whole landscape of free agency is likely to change today. We're going to see the development of an eye-popping free agent class and, according to the laws of economics, as the supply of players increases, so will the bargains. It would be foolish to discuss free agency until cuts are made.

Ryan from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jaguars will chase after Sam Madison during free agency or is he going to be too expensive?

Vic: If there's no new CBA, I don't think anyone is gonna be too expensive in this free agency period. Please, just wait another day.

Brett from Delray Beach, FL:
I wanted to say thanks for everything you do for this site. Your insight and knowledge are unrivaled. Without a local revenue-sharing plan, what are the Jaguars' options to generate more revenue on their own and how soon could the team start feeling the ramifications? I would assume a sold-out stadium would only be a start.

Vic: The effects have already been felt. The Jaguars and other small-market teams have to push the revenue envelope to compete with big-market teams. That means more signage, more merchandise sales, richer radio rights, preseason TV packages, etc. One of the big items for the Jaguars is selling club seats. The Jaguars absolutely have to max out on club seat sales. That's why I've said it's not about avoiding blackouts, it's about selling out the stadium. The club seats don't count against the blackout but they sure count on the team's ledger.

Andy from Jacksonville:
What is this thing with the Colts that you discussed on the air last night? How will it affect them?

Vic: There are special provisions that begin this season that were created to protect the uncapped year. One of those provisions is a "30 percent rule," which prohibits a player's salary from increasing by more than 30 percent from one year to the next. That 30 percent increase is calculated on the player's 2006 salary. The Colts attempted to convert roster bonuses due Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison to signing bonuses, which the Colts thought would allow them to spread that conversion money evenly over the next four years; roster bonus has to be declared in full in the year it's paid. The strategy bought the Colts a lot of cap room and put them under the cap. Then, yesterday, a special master flagged the maneuver as a violation of the 30 percent rule. All of a sudden, the Colts are way over the cap.

Lane from Orlando, FL:
What good does it do to extend the deadline from four p.m. to 10 p.m. to cut players?

Vic: The idea was that teams could hold off on making cuts until it was determined whether or not there was significant enough progress in today's meeting to warrant pushing the start of the league year back. If there wasn't enough progress by late in the day, then go ahead and start cutting. Judging by Tagliabue's press conference, the cutting can begin.

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