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Trade down? Trade up?

Join Senior Writer Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Burney Dawkins from Jacksonville:
With all the re-structuring and releases, where do we stand right now? Do we have enough cap room to sign Fordham and a draft class without the trading of Hardy? Do we have enough for just a draft class right now? What do you think will happen between now and the draft, personnel wise?

Vic: The Jaguars do not currently have enough cap room to sign a draft class. They've eaten up a portion of the $2.5 million they saved in Mark Brunell's new contract by signing Jamie Martin and a few other players. They are attempting to re-sign Todd Fordham, who has yet to make a free-agent visit or receive an offer from another team. Kevin Hardy is a key guy in the Jaguars' cap situation because they need to either do a new deal with him to free up more cap room, or trade him or cut him to realize a $2.2 million cap savings. Nothing dramatic needs to happen between now and the draft because there's no rule that says the Jaguars have to sign their draft class as early as they have in past years. They'll be able to free up some cap room with some June 1 cuts, if necessary, and that'll give them plenty of time to sign their draft class. Any players they add, such as a Fordham or Jeff Smith, will only make their cap problem more difficult.

S. Taras from Jacksonville:
We've developed Mike Logan over the past few years into a starter. Why pay Carnell Lake when Logan was cheaper and younger. Isn't Lake a bigger risk than Logan?

Vic: The Jaguars needed Lake to re-structure his contract to comply with the March 2 salary cap deadline. If the Jaguars had cut Lake, his bonus amortization would've accelerated and the Jaguars' salary cap situation would've worsened. To understand why the Jaguars kept Lake and allowed Logan to leave, you first must understand the inner workings of the salary cap. The decision to keep Lake over Logan was made two years earlier when the Jaguars paid Lake a huge signing bonus.

J.R. Comer from Orange Park, FL:
During the last two years, we often hear NFL head coaches say they will trade down with their first-round pick to get more overall draft picks. If the Jaguars re-sign Todd Fordham and Jeff Smith to bolster the offensive line, I am sure Tom Coughlin will focus on defense. However, this year's draft does not appear to have an "impact player" past, perhaps, the sixth overall pick. Consequently, is it a real possibility the Jags will actually trade down to get more second or third-round picks? Could this move actually increase their chances of finding a starter or two in the draft? What would you do?


Vic: Your information is contrary to mine. One personnel man said the draft doesn't begin until the 10th pick because there aren't enough prospects worthy of being a top 10 pick. Denver coach Mike Shanahan said there's not much difference between 10 and 30 in this draft. This is a deep draft crop; not great at the top. So, what does it all mean if you're holding the 13th pick, as the Jaguars are? Well, it means a few teams may call Tom Coughlin and want to move up, then they'll probably offer very little in return. The bottom line is that at some point you have to pick. You can't trade out of the draft. I understand you want to find a way to solve all of the Jaguars' problems in one draft, but that isn't going to happen. What would I do? I'd draft the best player available, regardless of position, and wait my turn to do it again.

Brian Rhodes from Davenport, IA:
What do you think would be better: Let Hardy Nickerson go and save cap money to use on draft day, or keep him and hope to God he doesn't get injured?

Vic: See answer to Carnell Lake question above.

Mark Cross from Tifton, CA:
You have earlier stated that a DE or DT, such as Gerard Warren, would be a pick in the draft that would benefit the Jaguars greatly. I was under the impression he would go much earlier in the draft than the 13th pick overall. Is there a possibility of the Jaguars trading up to a higher spot in the draft to get him?

Vic: On at least two previous occasions I have written that Gerard Warren is likely to go before the Jaguars pick, but, yes, they are likely to draft a defensive lineman in the first round. I consider their three top needs to be defensive line, offensive line and linebacker. What would trading up require? The loss of at least one additional draft choice. Considering the Jaguars' need for roster depth, I don't think losing picks is the way to go. This team needs as many young bodies as it can find.

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