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The right deal, not the right time

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

Mario from Cooper City, FL:
Never, ever, leave your snacks in the golf cart unattended. I was the victim of a robbery by a raccoon. She took my beef jerky.

Vic: What does it say about the intelligence of raccoons that they have elected to live on golf courses?

John from St. Augustine, FL:
You talked Cotrone up and I was looking forward to seeing him Friday night. My daughter and I were very sad to see him carried off. "Waived/injured" seems like a pretty raw deal. How bad was his injury and what's next for him, besides rehab? I really feel for the guy.

Vic: Anthony Cotrone tore his anterior cruciate ligament. Once upon a time, it was a death knell injury, but no longer. In time, he'll be fine, but now he has to begin the long road back. Cotrone had to be waived injured for a procedural reason. Because he is not a vested veteran, if the Jaguars had not waived him injured and, instead, just moved him to the injured reserve list, the Jaguars would've lost a roster spot from their training camp roster. You would only move a non-vested player to the injured reserve list if he was a guy you feared would be claimed by another team if you waived him injured. That is not the case with Cotrone. Once he clears waivers, he will revert back to the Jaguars' injured reserve list. Once upon a time, it wasn't like that; there were no such protections. This is an area of labor law in which the players union has done great work.

Jason from Mims, FL:
When I saw the Jags weren't giving in to such ridiculous demands for Harvey, I thought good for them. That's how a free market works. I'm a free-market guy. After all is said and done, he's only worth what you're willing to pay for him. I'll be glad to see the deal done and it'll still be ridiculous, but good for them.

Vic: I think that's a mature attitude.

William from Jacksonville:
If Chuck Noll were the head coach of the Packers, how would he handle the Brett Favre situation?

Vic: Brett who?

Jeff from Jacksonville:
I am confident we will sign Harvey, but I am curious. If he were to not sign, he goes into the 2009 draft. Do the Jaguars get the number eight overall pick back in addition to our regular first-round pick for that year?

Vic: They would get nothing back and they would not be permitted to draft Derrick Harvey again.

Issak from Washington, IA:
Don't you think the best way to lower the top-pick rookie salaries is for teams to stop throwing them all the money? It is ultimately the team's choice whether they want to pay the big money or not.

Vic: You got it.

Mark from Gainesville, FL:
You mentioned that there is a growing trend toward trading down in the draft. If that trend continues, what affect will it have on the whole process? Will it at some point have an impact on rookie salaries?

Vic: Sure it would. Yeah, I know, people are going to say that all these trade-downs are possible because there are teams willing to trade up, but some of those trade-ups were teams jockeying back into position to get the guy they wanted at the price they wanted. The bottom line is that there is a growing price consciousness of selecting players high in the draft and teams are going to react accordingly. You might see teams do what the Vikings did in 2003 when they passed on their pick twice. They probably saved millions over the long haul and they got the player they wanted, Kevin Williams, who became a Pro-Bowler.

Chris from Jacksonville:
In my opinion, if the Jaguars traded up to get Harvey, they need to be willing to pay for it. I don't understand why both sides don't agree on a salary that is between the number seven and nine picks. What are your thoughts?

Vic: First of all, the number nine pick, Keith Rivers, is also unsigned. Secondly, the contract of the number seven pick is a result of the number six pick's contract, which is an outrageously bad deal. In bonus and salary, it represents a 47 percent increase over the contract of the number six pick a year ago. Yeah, the Jags could cave. They could do just what New Orleans did at seven and Kansas City did at five, which is to let the deal at six set the market. Or, the Jags could decide that they're going to be the team that holds the line; they're going to be the team that stops the insanity. We'll see.

Tommy from Atlantic Beach, FL:
What effect, if any, does Art Monk finally making it into the Hall of Fame have on Jimmy Smith's chances of making it in?

Vic: Their numbers are comparable. Monk has 78 more catches and 434 more yards, but Jimmy Smith is right with the best of them when it comes to stats. Jimmy's problem, and it's the same for all wide receivers, is that the Hall of Fame is starting to become the Hall of Fame of Wide Receivers, and Monk just added another name to the list. I think you're going to see the Hall of Fame committee turn away from wide receivers for awhile. I think you're going to see the committee begin turning toward the defensive side of the ball, which does not have enough representation, especially at linebacker.

Kasey from Indianapolis, IN:
I read that the NFL required the teams to have their rookies take a private tour of the Hall of Fame. I think this is a great idea. Let these guys see why they're able to play in this league and make the money they do. I'm interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Vic: Nobody appreciates the history of this game and the men who played it more than I do. I applaud anything the league does that provides for a greater awareness of the game's history and the celebration of it at the Hall of Fame. Yes, I think visiting the Hall of Fame can have an impact on a young man who is about to share in the brotherhood of professional football that was made famous by the men who are enshrined in Canton.

Anna from Cleveland, OH:
It's no coincidence the only two teams that haven't been able to sign their first-rounders are from tiny Podonk markets. It's about the money and market size matters. If you can't keep up, pack the Mayflower trucks and hit I-10 for the long haul. I double-dare you to post this, homer.

Vic: You're a sweetie.

J.C. from Harrison, AR:
Have you seen the new Batman movie? If you have, what did you think? You remind me of one of the characters. Can you guess which one?

Vic: Do you really think I would go to a Batman movie?

Ken from Summerville, SC:
Speaking of the Hall of Fame and those not in it, what is your opinion on Ray Guy? I know he is only a punter but he was the best.

Vic: Jerry Kramer isn't in the Hall of Fame, even though he made the most celebrated block in football history. Dave Robinson and Jack Butler aren't in the Hall of Fame, even though I consider them to be the two most accomplished players in NFL history who aren't in the Hall of Fame. Derrick Thomas and Cris Carter aren't in the Hall of Fame. Ottis Anderson isn't in the Hall of Fame, even though he rushed for 10,000 yards and won a Super Bowl MVP. I could go on and on, and you want to put a punter in the Hall of Fame? A punter? Are you kidding me? The day that happens, every bust in that building will turn its head toward the wall.

Anne from Blackstone, VA:
Daryl Smith refers to each linebacker position as Sam, Will and Mike. Why are the linebacker positions referred to like that?

Vic: They're just symbols for strong, weak and middle. That's all. They could've just as easily have been Seymour, Winston and Mordecai.

James from Jacksonville:
What's the main difference between playing free safety and strong safety?

Vic: Strong safeties are bangers. They are used more often in run-support as the eighth man in the box, and they usually draw the tight end in pass-coverage. The free safety is usually a centerfielder.

Terrance from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jags need to make this deal happen in order to become serious contenders?

Vic: They need to get the deal done with the future in mind. They need to sign Derrick Harvey to a deal that makes sense for the long term. If you assign deadlines in these matters, you're likely to do a bad deal. No deadlines. It's about the right deal, not the right time.

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