A stocking plan for the expansion Houston Texans will require each of the NFL's other 31 teams to expose five players from their roster in February's access draft, and that immediately raises the question: Who will the Jaguars expose?
Yesterday, the NFL announced the conditions of the Texans stocking plan, which includes 14 extra draft choices over the next two years. However, the item of greatest interest for the league's other 31 teams is the access draft, which will allow those teams to dump big-amortization players and clear a significant portion of those teams' salary caps. The Texans will be required to assume the remaining amortization of the players they select in the access draft.
The plan is set up so the Texans may satisfy the access draft requirements in one of two ways: Select 30-42 veteran players offered in the access draft, or veteran players with total 2002 salaries of at least 38 percent of the Texans' 2002 salary cap (about $74 million).
That means the Texans could select a few, big-money players who would satisfy the 38 percent requirement, and it's believed Houston GM Charley Casserly favors that concept.
The Jaguars are facing an offseason of major salary cap repair and would love to get some help in those efforts from the Texans. Defensive end Tony Brackens is the Jaguars' highest-amortization player, with about $9 million of amortization that could be cleared from the Jaguars' salary caps if Brackens was selected in the access draft.
Brackens is scheduled to be a $7.267 million hit on the Jaguars' 2002 salary cap, and that amount would be extinguished from the Jaguars' 2002 cap if Brackens was selected in the access draft. Of course, it's the bonus amortization teams want to dump. For that reason, it's been speculated Brackens will be exposed in the draft. Of course, Brackens was named to the Pro Bowl in 1999, when he had 12 sacks in Dom Capers' defensive scheme. Capers is now the Texans' head coach.
Tony Boselli ($8 million), Jimmy Smith ($7 million), Mark Brunell ($6 million) and Marcus Stroud ($4.8 million) are the Jaguars' next-highest remaining amortization players. Those numbers are according to the 2002 NFL calendar year.
The NFL access-draft plan requires that only one of the five players a team exposes may have been placed on the injured reserve list following the start of the 2001 season, and only one of those five players may have more than 10 years of free agency experience. Punters and kickers may not be part of the five-player pool.