Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Notebook

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Notebook

Article excerpt

HOLLIS WANTS BARKER TO STAY

He is the only player in Jaguars history to play every game, but that could end soon for punter Bryan Barker. One player not thrilled with the idea is Jaguars kicker Mike Hollis.

Barker, the Jaguars' punter since 1995 and a 1997 Pro Bowl selection, has been the team's punter every game except this season's opener in Cleveland. He had an ankle sprain that game and played as a holder on kicks.

Beyond his punting, Hollis said Barker has value as perhaps the NFL's best holder on field goals and extra points.

Barker is an unrestricted free agent, and the Jaguars have yet to open serious negotiations with him about re-signing.

"I'm not sure what they're going to do, and I don't think they're going to bring him back, based on what I've heard," Hollis said. "They're not talking to him, so he's just waiting around for that date when he can start talking to other teams."

The free agency period begins March 2. Asked if the idea of Barker leaving bothered him, Hollis said, "It does, because I think the Jaguars are overlooking a person who has contributed a lot to this franchise. Look at the last six years. When's the last time you saw Bryan Barker drop a snap, whether it was field goal or punt? He's never messed up a field goal opportunity."

Barker, a 10-year veteran, had a salary cap value of $453,000 last season, but a rookie punter could be signed for a cap value as low as $195,000.

STOCK RISING

How much has the stock of offensive tackle Todd Fordham risen since mid-season? Enough that his agent expects him to get serious offers on the free-agent market.

Fordham's agent, Atlanta-based Kenneth Landphere, said while Fordham has close friends on the team and wants to return, Fordham's play after becoming a starter in Week 9 this season may force him to test the market.

"We've had preliminary discussions," Landphere said. "He's certainly not going to turn his back on Jacksonville, but any player that achieves a status at this time in his career has a tremendous opportunity. It's usually unwise to turn your back on any option."

Landphere said he, like most agents of Jaguars players, is watching the negotiations with quarterback Mark Brunell, and anticipates talks to begin with his client after a deal is reached.

"The Brunell situation is going to be pivotal," Landphere said. "Their situation is well-documented. They're well over the cap and they've got to figure a way to get it down."

Fordham, who signed with the Jaguars as a rookie free agent in 1997, returned from a torn anterior cruciate ligament last season. He started just one game the previous three seasons, but started the final eight games last season. He held Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse and Giants defensive end Michael Strahan without a sack. …

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