It was a better day for high-priced youngsters than high-priced veterans in the NFL's expansion stocking draft yesterday.
While such veterans as Mark Rypien, Gary Clark, Chris Doleman, Michael Dean Perry, Leonard Marshall, Ethan Horton and Carlton Bailey were bypassed, three 1992 first-round selections with million-dollar contracts -- wide receiver Desmond Howard, tight end Derek Brown and offensive lineman Eugene Chung -- were among the 31 players selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars yesterday in their draft with the Carolina Panthers.
They carry salaries of $1.7 million, $1.14 million and $1.13 million, but the Jaguars decided to give them a second chance because they're fourth-year players.
The teams that lost them won't have to count the prorated share of their signing bonuses toward the team's salary cap this year. If the players hadn't been drafted, those bonuses would have counted against the teams that took them even if they had been cut.
Howard's selection will save the Redskins $712,500 against the cap this year, while the Giants and Patriots will each save $387,500.
Because they're building for the future, the expansion teams didn't want older players with big contracts, and the Panthers' draft strategy was to stick with lower-priced players. Their 35 players cost them only $9.351 million toward the $36.5 million cap, giving them more money to spend in the free-agent market, which opens tomorrow.
Panthers general manager Bill Polian said: "We were able to achieve our objectives, and that's what it's all about."
Each expansion team must keep either 30 players selected in the stocking draft or keep $14 million tied up in salaries until July 15, when the free-agent market ends. That's to prevent the expansion teams from using all their salary cap money in the free-agent market.
Jacksonville's 35 players cost $15.3 million toward the cap -- Howard, Chung and Brown take up almost $4 million of that.
The most interesting decision in the draft may have been Jacksonville's decision to take a flier on Howard with their 27th pick. Howard played for three coaches -- Joe Gibbs, Richie Petitbon and Norv Turner -- in his three seasons in Washington and failed to impress any of them.
But Jacksonville coach Tom Coughlin said: "We thought Desmond's final four games were outstanding performances."
Howard made 14 of his 40 catches in the final four games.
The Redskins left no doubt they wanted to get rid of him. After Carolina selected rookie tight end Kurt Haws with its third pick, the Redskins pulled back another wide receiver, Olanda Truitt, and left Howard exposed. Truitt caught just two passes in 1994 and may not even make the team this year.
It was no surprise that Jacksonville made quarterback Steve Beuerlein, who has a $2.09 million cap number, of the Arizona Cardinals the first pick. He passed for 3,164 yards in 1993, but fell out of favor with coach Buddy Ryan last year.
"He is not a fun guy to play for if you're an offensive player because he doesn't respect you," Beuerlein said recently.
In Jacksonville he'll play for offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, who was punched by Ryan on the sidelines in 1993 when both were assistant coaches in Houston.
Gilbride said yesterday with a smile, "He's certainly starting off on the right foot. The two of us have the same outlook on certain topics."
Carolina, which selected defensive players with eight of its first 12 picks, made New England corner back Rod Smith its first selection.
The teams put their emphasis on different positions. Jacksonville took nine defensive backs and one defensive lineman while Carolina took six defensive linemen and four defensive backs.
Offensive tackle seemed to be the leanest position. Harry Boatswain of the San Francisco 49ers, Carolina's second player, was the only one picked.
There were 168 players exposed in the draft -- six by each of the existing 28 teams.
The two teams had to take a minimum of 30 players and were allowed to take a maximum of 42, but Jacksonville passed after taking 31 and Carolina quit after selecting 35.
Steve Beuerlein, qb, Arizona; Corey Raymond, db, New York Giants; Jeff Novak, ot, Miami; John Duff, de, Los Angeles Raiders; Keith Goganious, lb, Buffalo;
Mark Williams, lb, Green Bay; Al Jackson, db, Philadelphia; Mark Tucker, c, Arizona; Paul Frase, de, New York Jets; Tom Myslinski, g, Chicago;
Willie Jackson, wr, Dallas; Othello Henderson, db, New Orleans; Santo Stephens, lb, Cincinnati; Darren Carrington, s, San Diego; Michael Davis, db, Houston;
Dave Thomas, db, Dallas; Mazio Royster, rb, Tampa Bay; Le'Shai Maston, lb, Houston; Charles Davenport, wr, Pittsburgh; Monty Grow, db, Kansas City;
Marcus Wilson, rb, Green Bay; Brant Boyer, lb, Miami; Harry Colon, db, Detroit; Derek Brown, te, New York Giants; James Williams, lb, New Orleans;
Eugene Chung, g, New England; Reggie Cobb, rb, Green Bay; Desmond Howard, wr, Washington; Kelvin Martin, wr, Seattle; Cedric Tillman, wr, Denver; Rogerick Green, cb, Tampa Bay.
Rod Smith, db, New England; Harry Boatswain, ot, San Francisco; Kurt Haws, te, Washington; Tyrone Rodgers, de, Seattle; Mark Thomas, de, San Francisco;
Tim McKyer, db, Pittsburgh; Curtis Whitley, ol, San Diego; Howard Griffith, rb, Los Angeles Rams; Greg Kragen, nt, Kansas City; Cary Brabham, db, Los Angeles Raiders;
Dave Garnett, lb, Minnesota; Andre Powell, lb, New York Giants; Dewell Brewer, rb, Indianapolis; Bob Christian, rb, Chicago; Fred Foggie, db, Pittsburgh;
Mark Carrier, wr, Cleveland; Mark Rodenhauser, c, Detroit; Steve Hawkins, wr, New England; Brian O'Neal, fb, Philadelphia; Derrick Lassic, rb, Dallas;
Richard Buchanan, wr, Los Angeles Rams.; Doug Pederson, qb, Miami; Vince Marrow, te, Buffalo; Larry Ryans, wr, Detroit; Baron Rollins, g, New Orleans;
William Sims, lb, Minnesota; Paul Butcher, lb, Indianapolis; Jack Trudeau, qb, New York Jets; Charles Swann, wr, Denver; David Mims, wr, Atlanta;
Shawn Price, de, Tampa Bay; Eric Guilford, wr, Minnesota; Bill Goldberg, dl, Atlanta.; Eric Ball, rb, Cincinnati; Mike Teeter, dt, Houston.