Join *Jaguars Inside Report *Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Jefferson Everett from Jacksonville:
I love your column on jaguars.com. Right now I'm in Tallahassee and you are the only way for me to receive an honest opinion and view of the Jaguars. With that being said, the Jaguars have five players on the expansion list. If the Texans don't take Boselli but take two players like Wiegert and, maybe, Walker, would that help us relieve any of our salary cap woes to the point of not having to trade Mark Brunell or cut someone like Boselli.
Zach Wiegert is scheduled to be a $2.775 million salary cap hit in 2002; he has $2.35 million remaining in bonus amortization. Gary Walker will be a $5.25 million hit and he has $4.23 million in remaining amortization. Those two players almost equal Tony Boselli's $8.9 million hit and $7.2 million amortization. Sadly, the Jaguars need the Texans to select Tony Boselli in the expansion draft, and it would sure help the Jaguars' salary cap situation if the Texans selected one other player from the Jaguars' list. There's no other way around the inevitable crunch the Jaguars are facing.
Jim Golder from Jacksonville:
I would hate to see the Jags trade away Brunell but I realize they are in salary cap hell. However, in order for that trade to be a savings, Brunell's 2002 salary has to be more than all of his remaining amortization, right? What are the numbers? Also, I think the fans are being too hard on Wayne Weaver. He was doing everything he could to get the Jags to a Super Bowl. If the Jags had won a Super Bowl in 1998 or 1999, we would still be in the same situation but people would not be complaining as much. It's not Weaver's fault the Jags lost three times to the Titans in 1999.
Mark Brunell is scheduled to be an $8.25 million salary cap hit in 2002 ($6.25 million salary and $2 million of prorated bonus amortization). His total remaining amortization is $6 million. If the Jaguars traded Brunell, all of his remaining amortization would accelerate into '02, which means he would be a $6 million hit. His salary would be extinguished from the cap. He would then become a $2.25 million cap savings in '02.
Jeff Haynes from Blackstone, MA:
Shouldn't rebuilding be an all-or-nothing proposition? Given the list of guys the Jags are already set to cut loose, shouldn't they also try to dump guys like Brunell, Brackens, Bryant and Taylor?
The Jaguars' salary cap situation is what may make this a dramatic roster-cleaning. If the Jaguars weren't facing the desperate cap situation they're facing, they would be attempting to rebuild around players such as Tony Boselli.
Nate Walker from Jacksonville:
You talk a lot about the "remaining amortization" of players' salaries on the cap. What exactly is amortization and how does it come about?
Prorated bonus amortization is that money that has already been paid to a player. It's usually represented by signing bonus, but it can also come in the form of salary that has been converted to bonus money. That was the formula the Jaguars used in re-structuring contracts last winter. Bonus money can be amortized over the life of a player's contract. One exception is roster bonus money, which must be declared in full on the salary cap in the year in which the roster bonus is paid. Salary is money to be paid and it can be immediately extinguished from the salary cap by cutting a player (in a vested veteran's case, you must cut him before the season begins). The big problem with amortization is that it limits a team's maneuverability; it does not go away. Re-structuring offers cap room in the present, but converting salary to bonus amortization and spreading that out is a way of using future caps to house past year's salaries. The Jaguars did a lot of that.
Kevin McCready from Concord, CA:
What is the penalty for being over the salary cap past the deadline?
The league steps in and begins voiding contracts (but not the amortization), working backward chronologically, until the team is in salary cap compliance. At that point, the commissioner is likely to penalize the team in the form of a fine and lost draft choices.
David Belisle from New York, NY:
I am a huge fan of the Jags and of your column. I wanted to say that as much as I respect Tony Boselli, the move by the Jaguars is the most encouraging that I have seen since the beginning of the end (draft day 2000; the Soward debacle). The Jags seem for the first time since then to be taking a serious, significant and intelligent look at how they are going to get better. The sooner they clear the cap the sooner we will be competitive again and not before. Don't you agree?
I agree, but I won't blame Tony Boselli or Jaguars fans for being angry that it had to come to this.
Doug Troxell from Jacksonville:
Now that we are without a defensive and offensive coordinator, is there any likely candidates Tom Coughlin is considering, or will he likely promote from the ranks and try to fill in the gaps at the lower price?
I expect the new defensive coordinator to be promoted from the current staff, and the offensive coordinator to come from the outside.
Lee White from Richmond Hill, GA:
What are Brunell's and McCardell's chances of staying with the Jags? Surely they won't break up "Thunder and Lightning" (Smith and McCardell)!
I expect a breakup.
Wayne Weber from Lincoln, NE:
I haven't been able to find out who are the other Jags who are on the expansion draft list. Have they been chosen? My grandson is Zach Wiegert.
The five players on the expansion list are Tony Boselli, Gary Walker, Seth Payne, Keenan McCardell and, your grandson, Zach Wiegert. The Houston Texans' expansion draft will be conducted on Feb. 18.