Jaguars: Bobby, what are you thinking?

It has been reported by multiple sources that Bobby McCray is unhappy with the first-round tender that the Jaguars have placed on him, being that he is a restricted free agent. McCray and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus have said that they don't plan on signing the tender.

Basically, what the first-round tender does is pay McCray a salary of $1.85 million, if signed, and allows him to test the free agent market, with the assumption that if another team is in the market for his services, they could sign him, and then give the Jaguars a first-round draft pick as compensation, or try to work out a trade.

I'm not going to play the "$1.85 million is a lot of money" card, even though it is. Bobby McCray had a fantastic year in '06 rushing the passer, which netted him 10 sacks while starting the season as a backup. With the first-round tender on him, no other team is going to realistically sign him, and pay the Jaguars that kind of compensation. It has to be frustrating for McCray to see a guy like Dewayne White, formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, sign with the Detroit Lions for five years and $29 million, with $12 million of that guaranteed. White is 27 years old, more than a year older than McCray, and he has just 12.5 career sacks. McCray has 19 career sacks while playing one fewer year, while starting just 20 career games. McCray is one of those guys with the perfect mix of productivity and youth, that gets paid huge money in free agency. McCray sees a guy like Dewayne White who is older than him, and not as good of a football player, who will earn more than six times what Bobby will this year.

When looking at the situation that McCray is in, most anyone can understand his frustration. He is grossly outperforming his contract and there is virtually nothing that he can do to be paid more this season. Although nearly $2 million is more than most of us earn in a year, it's a far cry from the eight-figure signing bonus that McCray could've received on the open market. That being said, here's some advice Bobby, "sign the tender that's been offered to you, the only alternative you have is to sit out the season and earn zero dollars playing football." Last year Dewayne White was a restricted free agent. He signed his tender and played with it. His modest 2006 total of 42 tackles and four sacks earned him huge money in March. The big free agent money isn't going away, if anything it's getting better. Next year the salary cap will be up to $116 million. If McCray has his usual season and stays healthy, he will get paid more than White did, and if he's so upset with the Jaguars front office, he doesn't have to re-sign in Jacksonville. The worst thing the team could do next year is franchise him and pay him in upwards of $9 million guaranteed for one year (which is not likely to happen).

The offseason is the time for taking care of business. I completely understand McCray and Rosenhaus' position, but making noise in the press isn't going to do either or them any good. The Jaguars front office has all the leverage and they're going to use it. As many Florida Gator fans as there are in the area, Bobby isn't going to win a battle of public perception because a guy is unhappy with the nearly $2 million he has coming to him. Your average $40-60K per year working man doesn't feel bad for you, even if he is a Gator fan. Listen to my advice and sign the tender, then work hard and play out the year. You'll be able to buy the yachts, Ferrari's, and 15,000 square foot mansion a year from now.

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