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They're just dummy years

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

Lane from Orlando, FL:
The Browns recently cut Jamir Miller, who would've been an $18 million cap hit next year. My question is this: What's the point in signing a contract like that when you know you'll never see all of that money? I realize they want to add years to the contract to spread the signing bonus over a number of years, but why the balloon payment at the end of the contract?

Vic: The balloon payment is the player's way of assuring the contract won't last as long as the years he agreed to add; that they are just dummy years.

Keith from Charlottesville, VA:
I like Brunell and think he'll flourish in the new system. I'm not so sure about Garrard. Do you think he can be groomed to be the quarterback of the future or should we be looking at other options?

Vic: I am very impressed by David Garrard's physical skills and I believe he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL.

Harley from Ormond Beach, FL:
Vic, thanks for your tutoring on the NFL/union rules. It is so complicated (restricted vs. unrestricted, salary cap regulations, special considerations for time in the league, etc.) that the average fan can't comprehend the rules. None of our jobs have rules anything like it. Is there any hope we may someday go back to a salary and performance reward system that most of us have?

Vic: No chance. If anything, I think the system will become even more complicated.

Nick from Las Flores, CA:
Do you think Stacey Mack will be re-signed or picked up through free agency, as he has been such an impressive backup to Fred Taylor?

Vic: The Jaguars are negotiating to retain Stacey Mack, but he would seem to have a degree of leverage this year, since this is not a good draft crop of running backs.

Charles from Jacksonville:
My thanks to Jared from Jacksonville for asking the key question. Your "draft the best available" for the future and fill the needs after the dust settles from free agency makes perfect sense. It took a while for me to figure out the big picture. Did I get it right?

Vic: You got it. But don't think I invented that philosophy. A lot of teams use it.

Jason from Olympia, WA:
Is re-structuring Brunell's contract a good thing? In the past we re-structured contracts to get new free agents, right? Look where that got us.

Vic: Mark Brunell's situation is different. I am opposed to re-structuring any contract that will rob from the team's salary caps of the future. But in Brunell's case, his current contract is so flat that it allows the Jaguars a lot of flexibility in re-structuring. That doesn't mean there isn't an element of risk. The flexibility is there, but the Jaguars have to be careful not to bite off too much of the future in attempting to provide for the present.

Jordan from Jacksonville:
The Jags have been pretty silent in the first week of free agency. I personally would like to see them go after at least one man to solidify their linebacker position. What do you think the chances of this happening are?

Vic: They obviously want to re-structure Brunell's contract so they can get some cap money to throw around in free agency. Linebacker would be a likely place to throw it.

Dan from Chicago, IL:
I have to say, Vic, I thoroughly enjoy your "Ask Vic" column. Now, for my question: Have you heard anything about offseason conditioning? That is, do you know if there are any specific players who are really working their butts off and gaining muscle?

Vic: The offseason conditioning program will officially begin on March 24. Until then, their butts are off.

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