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What is the 'beneficial salary' program?

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

Vic: An incorrect figure was provided in an answer to a question from Thomas Wolansky of Orange Park, FL, in the 3-11-02 "Ask Vic" article. Wolansky had asked how much the Jaguars would save on their salary cap if they cut Hardy Nickerson after June 1. The original answer read: Cutting him after June 1 would result in a $3.3 million savings in '02, but would push $2.9 million onto the Jaguars' '03 cap. The correct answer is: Cutting him after June 1 would result in a $3.6 million savings in '02, but would push $2.9 million onto the Jaguars' '03 cap. I apologize for the error.

Tom Rusk from Malabar, FL:
On the AOL board, we've been discussing the odds of the Texans winning the AFC South as a first-year expansion team. Of course, we have to guess how the division teams will fill existing roster holes with free agents and draft picks. A lot of this depends on how much cap space the AFC South teams have left. I have two questions for you: 1.) Based on what you know about the teams and their likely roster moves, what percentages would you give for each of the four AFC South teams' chances to win the division this year? 2.) Could you tell us roughly how much cap space each of these teams have left?
Vic: As of today, Houston had $11.3 million in salary cap room, Tennessee was $6 million under the cap, Indianapolis was $2 million under, and the Jaguars were at $657,589 under the cap. Don't rely on those figures because they change daily, if not hourly, and those numbers do not provide hard evidence of how much room a team has to maneuver at its current cap figure. For example, Tennessee has done a lot of re-structuring that has the Titans tight against future caps. Houston clearly has an overwhelming cap advantage, but there is only so much a team can get done in the first year of its existence. Indianapolis is staring down the barrel of a Peyton Manning contract that must be re-worked. Of course, we know where the Jaguars stand. Considering the rosters and the cap situations of all four teams, I would have to rate Indianapolis as a slight favorite over Tennessee to win the first-ever AFC South title.

William Anderson from Alma, GA:
With the re-structuring of Brackens' contract and the re-signing of Jason Craft, I become more and more convinced the Jaguars are not willing to do what is necessary to get their cap room back in order. They are like a person who has lived beyond their means for a few years using credit cards, and when they get the first card paid off they go on a spending spree. Pay the darn bills first and then spend the money. What's your opinion?
Vic: I have no problem with the Jason Craft contract. I like the idea of spending a reasonable amount of money to retain a player you drafted and developed. However, re-structuring Tony Brackens' contract concerns me. He is now at a whopping $13.825 million in remaining amortization.

Trip Stanly from Jacksonville, FL:
Can you explain the NFL's "beneficial salary" program that allows certain veterans to be "capped" at an amount less than their salary?
Vic: The "beneficial salary" program is a brand-new addition to the Collective Bargaining Agreement that addresses the problem of top-of-the-scale minimum-wage salaries discouraging teams from signing veteran players. For example, Jaguars center John Wade signed a one-year contract this week that will pay him $525,000 in salary, but only $450,000 of that amount will be charged to the Jaguars on their 2002 salary cap. To qualify for the program, a player must sign a one-year contract, play at the league-designated minimum wage for his number of accrued seasons, and there can be no more than $25,000 in other monies, such as signing bonus, incentives, etc. Stalin Colinet and Tim Morabito are two other examples of players the Jaguars signed in conjunction with the "beneficial salary" program.

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