Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

You must let players go

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

Zachery from New York, NY:
Do you think the Jaguars can sign Bobby Shaw back? He was very effective on special teams last year and is a good, quality wide receiver.

Vic: In talking to Bobby Shaw last week, I got the distinct impression he wants to re-sign with the Jaguars. The ball would seem to be in the Jaguars' court.

Allan from Jacksonville:
I hope the Jags can re-sign Stacey Mack. They need him for a couple of reasons: 1) Fred Taylor is injury prone; 2) (Stacey) is a good running back and complements Fred well; 3) mix of power for the "West Coast offense" (Tom Rathman like). If the Jags are not able to re-sign him, what might be some alternatives?

Vic: In the current system, you must be willing to let players go. You can't re-sign everybody; the salary cap won't allow it. Stacey Mack has proven he's an NFL-caliber running back and it would be to the Jaguars' advantage to re-sign him, but it has to be at the Jaguars' price. In this offense, Mack is a backup. You can't pay him starter's money. If the Jaguars can't re-sign him, they will have to find another backup-caliber running back who complements Fred Taylor. Don't forget that Mack came to the Jaguars in undrafted free agency.

David from Port Orange, FL:
I love your column. I have a question regarding Wali Rainer. I believe he did a really good job for the Jaguars this past season and that we would lose a valuable player if we let him go. What do you think? Also, what were Wali's stats for the year? Oh, yeah, are we going to keep Tony Brackens, too, or is he shaping up to be a cap casualty?

Vic: Wali Rainer is a great guy and a hard-nosed football player. He was a sound acquisition for last year's team and Rainer finished as the team's leading tackler. But Jack Del Rio is going to build his defenses of the future on speed and play-making ability, and Rainer's reputation is for being more of a run-stuffer and effort guy who lacks the speed to be a sacker and ball-stripper (Rainer had one sack, no interceptions and no forced fumbles last season). My inclination is to believe the Jaguars want to move in another direction. On the other hand, Tony Brackens is clearly the kind of play-maker Del Rio wants, but Brackens' contract is prohibitively expensive, especially for a guy coming off major knee surgery. I'm inclined to believe Brackens is a likely candidate to be cut after June 1, which would allow the Jaguars to spread out his whopping $9.7 million of remaining amortization over two years. His $8.2 million salary cap hit this season is way too much.

Ryan from Jacksonville:
Given all this draft and free agency talk recently, I have gained a lot of faith that the new front office and coaching staff will lead the team in the right direction. Looking to the future, I noticed the Jags have an unusually difficult schedule next year, one during which I will be extremely surprised if they can get six wins. With this in mind, I have two questions: First, what would it take for you to consider this upcoming year a successful season? Also, wouldn't it be wiser to keep one-year signings to a minimum and to sign players to multi-year deals, when they will be more beneficial to a rebuilt Jaguars team?

Vic: Contracts are tailored to players' talents. A proven veteran is worthy of a multi-year deal, as was the case with Chris Naeole last year. Players who haven't established themselves in the league are more likely to be given a one-year deal to prove themselves, before the team reaches into its pocket for significant signing bonus money to be amortized over several salary caps. Patrick Johnson was a one-year guy last year. The key is to know which players are worthy of a multi-year investment, and which players aren't worth the risk. As far as next season is concerned, you're right, the Jaguars have a very difficult schedule. I'm not going to start making predictions in March, but I'm probably going to use the same criteria in judging success that I used last season. The number one criteria will be roster reconstruction. This team needs young, star-quality players for its future. A strong draft that produces a crop of young players for this team's future will satisfy me. Play hard, identify and develop young talent, manage the salary cap responsibly and finish the season as a team in ascent; those are the ingredients to a successful season.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content