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 Post subject: Interesting read on the salary cap
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:06 pm 
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Caught this from Pat Kirwan at NFL.com, but it's very interesting because it outlines a method the Vikings used to avoid any cap discrepancy with trading Randy Moss. In fact, one would presume that the Vikings planned all along to trade Moss this year. And if not, then they probably would have put in an incentive in one of their players contracts this year to do the same next year.

I figured people that are like me and Cap that are interested in the way the salary cap works, would find this article interesting.

I think it goes to show you just how difficult being a GM is. You really have to be thinking ahead all the time. Any time you sign or draft a guy you need to know where he's going to be 2, 3, or more years from now. Here's the link.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/8279387

The article also points out which RFAs are the best bargains out there, and it always amazes me just how many teams overlook RFAs. Why go after veterans when you can usually get a player that is only 25 that is just as good, and usually has higher upside potential. I think it stems from the fact that teams are weary of extending offer sheets (in essence overpaying for players), and then not being in control of whether they get that player. But in the cases of some RFAs, if you're looking at a guy for depth/competition, you don't have to pay an arm and a leg. Just offer him a decent, incentive-based contract. If the other team matches it, so be it. It's their cap problem. If not, then turn your attention to one of the veterans you probably would have signed anyway.

For instance, if the Falcons are trying to bolster their depth at LB, why not go after some of these RFAs? The guys that are not going to require any compensation and are just ST guys anyway? Guys like Baltimore's Bart Scott, Houston's Troy Evans, Green Bay's Paris Lenon, and SF's Brandon Moore? Maybe the team could negotiate these guys to have minimum level base salaries for this year ($380,000) and put a summer roster bonus in the contract for like $1 million. That would mean that the player would cost roughly $1.38 million against this year's cap, but the team would have the intentions of renegotiating the roster bonus after they signed the player and pushing it back to like next Spring, and then guaranteeing it.

Just an example. Say the Falcons extend an offer sheet to Brandon Moore. It is a 5-yr. contract worth $3.575 million. In it the base salaries are: $380,000 (2005); $455,000 (2006), $540,000 (2007); $550,000 (2008); and $600,000 (2009). It also includes a signing bonus of $50,000, obviously prorated over the 5 years. But also there is a guaranteed roster bonus of $1 million due on September 15. Basically saying that if Moore makes the roster he is going to get the bonus, but if not he will not. But if it's August and it looks like Moore will be on roster, the Falcons can renegotiate the deal and push the bonus back to March 2006, where it all won't count against the 2005 cap, but rather would be prorated over both 2006-09, making his base salaries increase by $250,000 each year: $715,000 (2006); $800,000 (2007); $810,000 (2008); and $860,000 (2009).

But meanwhile the 49ers probably won't match it because they'll see the guaranteed bonuses of the deal of $1.05 million and decline on a special teams player. The Falcons could work other things into the contract, in that if Moore records 10 or more ST tackles this year, his contract voids and he becomes a UFA after '05, or if he plays in 5% of defensive snaps, it will void. The team could be really creative with these contracts. My point is to say, that the Falcons should take a cue from the Vikings and start to get creative with the cap.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 4:19 pm 
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Wonderful article! For guys like me who get their kicks in the offseasons of most sports, this is the kind of stuff that gives a real thrill! The thing I thought as I was reading this article is today's GMs are just now getting to the point where they really know how to work the system. The salary cap has become established in the NFL, and now we are seeing the talented administrators rising to the headlines with their work coming to fruition.

I would like to see the Falcons pick up some of these RFAs. Russell looks like a good player, but most of these guys are simply good backups. There will rarely ever be an undrafted player who can contribute at the same level as the top prospects. Now that doesn't mean that you can't take a couple of these guys and create some better depth for your team. Russell and Herndon are excellent examples of that. I was happy to see that McKay brought Herndon in for an interview after reading this article because it says that we are thinking along these lines now. Some GMs are going to come up with innovative ideas every year, and those are the guys who will get ahead for a year or two until everyone else catches on. Hopefully, McKay and company can find some creative ways to save money and get good talent which will keep us at the top for a while.


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