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Trade down; recoup value

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

Mike from Lewisburg, PA:
Thanks for your insights into the Jaguars, Vic. My question, like everyone else's, is regarding Brunell. In the event of a trade, which seems to be the only viable option, who do you think would be interested and what would he fetch? I'm thinking Dallas or Arizona for a first-round pick next year, and a second or third the year after. What are your thoughts on trading Mark?

Vic: It is my experience that most teams aren't willing to inherit high-salaried contracts. In my opinion, Mark Brunell's $6.75 million salary would be a major stumbling block to a trade.

Alan from Huntington, WV:
What will Byron's jersey number be?

Vic: Byron Leftwich will wear jersey number seven.

Scot from Jacksonville:
My question is about undrafted free agents. How does signing them work? At the end of the draft there are lots of college players who didn't get picked. Do NFL teams swarm certain ones all at once, offering them various deals? Or, is there some structure to it?

Vic: At the end of the draft, teams look at the undrafted players on their value boards and start calling.

Greg from Raleigh, NC:
Where does the drafting of Byron Leftwich leave David Garrard with the Jaguars. Do you feel David will be given the opportunity to compete for the starting job or will he be traded?

Vic: He will be given the opportunity to compete, beginning this weekend in mini-camp.

John from Tallahassee, FL:
Is it impossible to keep Brunell with the same contract over the next couple years. I have the utmost respect for Brunell and I know he wants to win now, but that's because he isn't getting any younger. What Shack and Del Rio did was for the franchise, not Brunell. Do we really have to cut him?

Vic: Everything the team has said indicates they intend to keep Mark Brunell.

Chad from Easley, SC:
What to do with Brunell? You ask him for a re-structured contract that makes sense, to ease the cap hit for this year and next. Then you sit Leftwich for those two years unless Mark gets hurt or totally falls apart. Most importantly, Mark must know that in two years Leftwich is our QB. What are your thoughts?

Vic: There's a basis for that kind of thought.

David from Orlando, FL:
The Jags followed your "draft the best available player" approach on the first day of the draft, but then drafted need on the second day. Do you like this approach or would you recommend picking the best available player all the way through?

Vic: James Harris explained that, on the second day, the players remaining on the board did not represent much difference in the way of grades, therefore, need met value. Clearly, the Jaguars' second-day draft picks had to be value-based to some degree, or the team would've at least drafted one wide receiver. As far as my preference? Best available player with every pick.

David from Oviedo, FL:
If you read between the lines of what coach Del Rio says of the team he inherited, one might conclude Tom Coughlin was a fine coach but a poor evaluator of talent. Would you agree with that assessment?

Vic: In my opinion, Tom Coughlin is a very good evaluator of talent. His downfall with the Jaguars was the result of salary-cap abuse, which stemmed largely from an overly aggressive plan to reach the Super Bowl by year five. In my opinion, that five-year plan also caused a degree of draft panic that forced the team to become obsessed with drafting for need.

Greg from Jacksonville:
There's one scenario that puzzles me about drafting the best available athlete in the draft. Hypothetically speaking, if the best available athlete at the Jags' pick in next year's draft was a QB, would the Jags draft him? If they didn't, doesn't that contradict the philosophy of drafting for talent and not need?

Vic: If you don't want the quarterback, then trade down and recoup his value. The important thing is to not draft a player who doesn't fit the pick. If you look at last weekend's draft, you'll see that what teams did was fit themselves to the player, not the player to the team. There were only a few players in the first round who seemed to be taken out of order; Johnathan Sullivan and Calvin Pace. The Jets moved to where Dewayne Robertson fit, and the Bears recouped his value. The Steelers moved to where Troy Polamalu fit, and the Chiefs recouped his value. If you don't want the player, that's fine, but don't give away the value that goes with the pick. That's the idea behind drafting the best available player; maintaining the value that goes with the player. If a quarterback fits where you're drafting and a team offers you a trade that would give you an extra pick and still allow you to draft the player you want a couple of picks later, why would you say no?

Jon-Michael from Starke, FL:
There were talks of the Jaguars tying up the phones so the Ravens could not confirm the trade with the Vikings. Is this true?

Vic: The Vikings and Ravens are said to have had the deal worked out with 32 seconds remaining, which should've left them plenty of time to turn in the card. Besides, all the Vikings had to do to buy more time was to draft Byron Leftwich and continue negotiations with Jacksonville.

Sam from Sacramento, CA:
In the second round of the draft, Florida wide receiver Taylor Jacobs was still available. I believe he was the best available player and a player we needed. Why didn't we draft him?

Vic: Obviously, the Jaguars didn't agree.

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