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Old 05-08-2004   #1
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Question Donovin Darius: What would you give up?

According to this article, Jacksonville is rumored to be asking for a 2nd round pick. I wonder if they'd accept the Dallas 3rd round pick & our 4th or 5th round pick? Would you give up that much, or not? To sign him to a long term contract, it'll cost us between $3 million & $4.1 million per year. Eric Brown makes about $1.39 million this year & $1.71 million next year. Is Darius that much of an upgrade to Brown?

Is Ramon Walker healed up completely from his season ending injury last year? How about a 1-2 punch of Darius & Brown at SS this year? That'd give Earl time to heal up & be groomed to start next year. We could then slide Darius over to FS, once Coleman leaves. I'd be surprised if Coleman resigns with us at a Safety's pay.

A FS/SS lineup of Darius/McCree & Earl (assuming he lives up to the hype)/Brown would be deep & pretty tough to beat.

Or, would you rather stand pat & hope that the Jammal Lord transition experiment works out? What would you do?

Darius dilemma
Jags safety says he's at peace with situation
The Times-Union

Breaking his four-month silence on his contract situation, safety Donovin Darius said he's "disappointed" he didn't get the long-term deal he was looking for from the Jaguars, but added he'll be happy to play for the $4.1 million franchise number this year if he's not traded.
Darius, 28, a first-round draft pick in 1998, also said there's a possibility he'll rejoin the Jaguars for their next organized team workout on May 18.

Darius, who has declined to participate in the team's voluntary workout program and reached a mutual agreement with coach Jack Del Rio to skip the team's mandatory minicamp last weekend, said he understands the business side of football and is not upset about his situation.

"I'm not disgruntled. I'm not mad. I have no grudges. I don't have any anger against anybody. What is not to like about [the franchise number of] $4.1 million? What is there to be disgruntled about?" he said.

He said he's at peace with the situation whether he plays for the Jaguars or is traded.

This is the second consecutive year the Jaguars have put the franchise tag on Darius after he turned down a long-term deal because its average was less than the franchise number.

According to his agent, Tom Condon, the Jaguars offered Darius an average of $2.6 million last year and he played for the franchise number of $3 million.

Condon said the Jaguars' new coaching staff wanted a chance to evaluate Darius. But after a year in which he missed only two plays, they offered him a contract with an average of $3 million.

After he rejected that figure, they put the franchise tag on him again. The franchise tag salary jumped to $4.1 million this year for safeties and he quickly signed it. Condon, though, thinks the Jaguars' true intention is to trade Darius.

"He had an excellent year and they offered him six years at $3 million [average]. What their offer is telling me is that they don't like the player very much and they want to be in a position where they can trade the contract," Condon said.

Darius said he was given high marks from the team's coaches for playing both the run and the pass last year. He had 118 tackles -- third highest on the team -- and one interception.

"Where is the knock? What don't you like about me? If any of the areas are not up to par, communicate that and we'll have a true negotiation," Darius said.

Condon said the rumor around the league is that the Jaguars are asking for a second-round pick for Darius.
James Harris, the vice president of player personnel, would not address those rumors.

"I'm not going to get into negotiating in the paper," he said.

"If we trade Donovin, we want value for a player who's a top-rated player. If we can't get the value, then we certainly would like to have Donovin. We're prepared to play with Donovin."

Meanwhile, Darius followed Condon's advice and has been a no-show in the team's voluntary offseason workout program. Instead, he's been working out on his own with his own training regimen.

Last weekend's minicamp was mandatory, but Del Rio told him to skip it if he wasn't ready to join the team.

"There was a mutual agreement that if I didn't come, they won't fine me," Darius said.

The next question is whether Darius will wait until the start of training camp to show up if he's not traded, or will participate in some of the 14 organized workouts each team can have besides a minicamp. The Jaguars' sessions run from May 18 to June 16.

Darius doesn't rule out the possibility of participating in those sessions.

"I'm a professional. Some things aren't going to go your way. If I decided to go down to the stadium, it would have anything to do with anything that was said about me," Darius said.

Condon said that if another team trades for Darius, they'll have to negotiate a long-term deal because a team wouldn't want to give up a draft pick only to see him become a free agent at the end of the season.

The Jaguars risk losing Darius without compensation if they don't trade him this year because it would be difficult to put the tag on him again next year. He would automatically get a 20 percent raise and Condon said he'd become the highest-paid safety in the league at $4.9 million.

If Darius does stay this year, he thinks he could be part of a successful team.

"We made some key moves, got some key acquisitions to help increase our chances. We've got some developing to do, but our chances are as good as anyone else's [at getting into the playoffs]," he said.
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