Join *Jaguars Inside Report *Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Nate Walker from Tampa, FL:
I was curious, do you know when the Jags first started overpaying players? Have they always overestimated potential or was it just recently that they did this. I mean, six years without a problem and all of a sudden we're in salary cap hell. Can you recall the first free agent they gave a huge contract to?
Leon Searcy was the Jaguars' first truly high-priced free-agent acquisition. He signed a contract in February of 1996 that was the richest of any offensive lineman in pro football history. That same winter, the Jaguars extended contract offers to Alonzo Spellman and Quentin Coryatt, both of whom were "transition" players whose offers were matched by their original teams, the Bears and Colts. In some cases, the Jaguars have overpaid players, but the team's salary cap problems are not totally the result of overpaying. The problem is the result of years of being too aggressive at signing free agents while also keeping their own players. You can't do both. The reason the Jaguars didn't have a problem until the last two years is because they continued to re-structure contracts and push the money out onto future caps. The train has now arrived at the station.
Rodney Barrera from Jacksonville:
What are the chances of Kyle Brady returning to the Jags for the 2002 season, and what kind of effect does his contract have on the Jags cap?
Kyle Brady is scheduled to be a $4.3 million salary cap hit in 2002. He has $3.6 million of remaining amortization. Those numbers make him a $700,000 cap savings, should he be released or traded. The savings on the '02 cap would increase if he was released after June 1. Those facts certainly make Brady a candidate to be a cap "casualty."
Lane Baker from Orlando:
ESPN's website is reporting the Jags might trade Fred Taylor to the Dolphins for a third-round draft choice. First of all, it seems like they could get at least a second-round pick out of him, if not a first-round selection. Secondly, isn't his contract one of the few that's beneficial to the Jags' current cap situation? Lastly, I think they need to hang onto Taylor and see if his injury bug isn't behind him. Your thoughts?
Fred Taylor is scheduled to be a $2.44 million salary cap hit in '02. He has about $2.5 million of remaining amortization. That means he would be a "wash" either way. The only way you could get cap relief on Taylor is by releasing him after June 1, and that isn't going to happen. I favor keeping Taylor. I believe his talent is deserving of patience. I would hate to see him all of a sudden get healthy on another team.
J. R. Comer from Orange Park, FL:
A few NFL teams (Chicago and Washington) appear to only need a solid, productive QB with good leadership skills to go far in the playoffs. The Jaguars are obviously rebuilding for the next few years. With these factors in mind, does it make sense to trade Mark Brunell if the price in "draft picks" is right? Or has the NFL salary cap methodology simply eliminated the possibility of big trades between teams?
In Mark Brunell's case, the salary cap numbers are not trade-prohibitive. That's because Brunell has a good, clean contract, which is a real feather in Wayne Weaver's cap. In my opinion, Weaver's negotiation of the Brunell deal last winter was the first step in the Jaguars' new philosophy of salary cap management. Brunell is scheduled to be an $8.25 million hit on the Jaguars' '02 cap. Traded, he would be a $6 million hit in remaining amortization; a $2.25 million savings. It's do-able, but Brunell is one of the game's best quarterbacks and he is in the prime years of his career. In my opinion, the price would have to be high.