FanPost

Roster Projections and Cap Calculations 2013-2015

This post not only looks at the upcoming season's roster and salary cap issues, but also the two following seasons as well, because roster-building is a long-term strategy game. I am more interested in cap issues here than individual player evaluation - can we re-sign Nicks takes precedence over who is a starter in a particular year. The salary cap is expected to minimally increase this year, the same as last year, and is not expected to see a significant rise until 2015 because of the new TV contracts that start in 2014. This is a problem because most existing player contracts rise over time; one halfway decent player's contract eats up the entire cap increase. As a result I expect free agent prices to stabilize or even drop, as teams will be cutting high-priced players with rising salaries to keep under the cap.

For easier review and discussion below I divided up the post into sections by year. For each year I list a 53-man roster, which may be a player name or a generic identifier like "5th CB", because it does not matter who the particular player is, just that there is a slot for someone who should be making a minimal salary. The spreadsheet should be self-explanatory. Where a player was cut, I provide the amount that would have hit the salary cap if they were retained. This year I put the key details before the spreadsheet to highlight the important moves, making the spreadsheet more of a "show work" product so that you could skip it or skim through it if desired.

All existing or proposed player contract numbers are educated guesses or best available information. I use slight rounding. I have no idea what the required UDFA contract will be in 2015. Information provided by sites such as spotrac, rotoworld, and kffl are generally heresay. The NFL and its teams do not publish contract details.

Two important details. Most players have contracts that guarantee their salary even if injured. This means that they count against the salary cap. So I have an "IR Adjustment" line as an allowance to cover the salaries of the players that replace those on injured reserve. The second, and most important detail, is dead money. Signing bonuses in the NFL are paid out in a particular year (typically all in the first year of a new contract), but are prorated to count against the salary cap equally throughout the length of a contract, for up to five years. The player gets their money up front, and the team gets to lower their immediate cap number, because they can usually offer a very low salary in the first year since the signing bonus replaces salary. So for a 4-year contract for $24 million which includes a $8 million signing bonus, the salaries might be 1, 5, 5, 5 while the cap numbers would be 3, 7, 7, 7 and the actual cash paid out is 9, 5, 5, 5. The signing bonus also impacts releasing players during their contracts. If a player is cut before the end of their contract, and there is remaining signing bonus money that is to be counted against future salary caps, it all becomes counted against the current year's cap (with some exceptions). This is called dead money. So signing bonuses can be a tactic that players use to become too expensive to be cut. Eli and Baas are in that situation now. Of course, if a player thinks he can get a better contract, he may want a lower signing bonus number and a higher salary number to increase the chance he is let go.

Here is the dead money from potential player cuts over the next few years:

2013

2014

2015

(in millions of dollars)

Baas

6.68

4.45

2.23

Boley

1.4

Canty

2.8

1.4

Diehl

3

Bradshaw

2.5

1.25

Rolle

4

2

Snee

3.75

Thomas

.75

.5

.25

Tuck

1.5

Webster

1.75

Baas, Diehl, Rolle, and Snee have had these numbers increase due to restructurings (converting their salary to signing bonus to postpone the cap hits).

So now it is time for the roster predictions.

2013:

Cut: Diehl, Snee (later re-signed), Tuck, Canty, Boley, Webster

Not Re-signed: Barden, Bennett, Beckum, Umenyiora, Bernard, Phillips

Re-signed: Beatty (4 years $24 million, $4 million signing bonus - annual 4,5,5,6)

(multi-year) Snee (3 years $12 million, $3 million signing bonus - annual 2,4,3)

Boothe (2 years $4 million - annual 2,2)

Hixon (2 years $2 million)

Cruz (6 years $44 million, $10 million signing bonus (half year 1, half year 2) - annual 1,6,6,7,7,7)

Drafted: 1st - Kawaan Short, DT, Purdue - 6'3" 315 lbs, similar playing ability as Anvil

2nd - Terry Hawthorne, CB, Illinois - 6'1" with speed and coverage ability

3rd - Devin Taylor, LDE, South Carolina - A 6'7" Tuck, long arms and athletic

4th - Antone Exum, S/CB, Virginia Tech - 6'1" 220 lbs, big hitter, great

stats at two positions, safety for us

5th - DeVonte Holloman, LB, South Carolina - 6'2" 240 lbs LB, former safety

6th - James Wilson, G, Florida - 6'4" 320 lbs, drops because of injury history

6th - Miguel Maysonet, RB, Stony Brook - 5'9" 210 lbs inside runner, AB2 style

(comp pick for losing Ross)

7th - Archibald Barnes, LB, Vanderbilt - 6'4" 235 lb athlete, smart, can cover, ST player, military kid born overseas

Yes, it is a bloodbath. You may think, "We can just cut and re-sign these guys for less". No, we cannot. We start well over the cap, and even with cuts we still get hit for the dead money. You are welcome to play with the numbers yourselves. It has become apparent that either Reese is an idiot, or that he arranged it so our core veterans would be together for one more Super Bowl run. But their time has past, and we cannot afford to ignore the future. While the veterans are declining, I cut them purely for economic reasons. Snee, Canty, Boley, and Webster are among the Top 10, and in many cases the Top 5 highest-paid players at their positions (G, 4-3 DT, 4-3 WILL, CB). We are least ready to replace Snee, his performance is not bad, and there is the family angle, so he will be re-signed to a new deal.

JWill is ready to go, but we need some veteran presence on the Dline and at CB. The cuts leave us with $4.5 million for this veteran presence. I would be happy to re-sign Tuck or Canty and Webster if they will take $2.25 million each. If not, I have other ideas. Justin Bannan is coming off a 1 year $1 million deal with the Broncos, and is near the end of his career. Denver could use him back. But we can offer him double the money to play some DT and LDE on run downs. There are a lot more options at CB, and I think we need a 1-year starter. Cincy is loaded with young CBs, and Terrence Newman and Pacman Jones are coming off 1-year $1 million deals. Nate Clements will also be a UFA in Cincy, as will Marcus Trufant in Seattle. Jones is the youngest, and he is entering his 9th year in the league. These are guys looking for one last good payday and some pride. Leodis McKelvin lost his job in Buffalo, he may be looking for a Bennett-type "prove it" contract.

I had to pick which players to re-sign. I filled holes with cheaper guys. I wanted Bennett, but I think he gets a good offer somewhere. Same with KP, and his injury history makes me hesitant, especially with some ability to replace him. It is hard to find a good LT, so Beatty gets a new deal. I also re-signed Cruz to help Eli, even though he is a RFA it is cheaper to sign him long-term this year. To fill the hole at TE I grabbed Shiancoe, who played under TC and KG, left on good terms, and has been unable to get a good deal elsewhere (NE signed him late for cheap, then just cut him). I looked at Boldin, Rice, and Marshall to get numbers for Cruz's contract. Whitworth and Penn were models for Beatty, Brisiel for Snee.

Blackburn is back at MIKE, unless Herzlich beats him, but with DEs leaving Herzlich may be playing SAM. Brewer, Mosley, and McCants fight it out for the RT job. One starting DT job open for competition. Stevie Brown or Will Hill at safety.

Here is the full roster spreadsheet:

2013

Player/Slot

Status

Action

Cap Number

ber

(all numbers in millions of dollars)

Manning

20.85

Carr

UFA

Re-sign

1

Bradshaw

5.25

Wilson

1.525

A Brown

0.55

Scott

Draft 6th

0.375

Hynoski

0.5

Nicks

2.25

Cruz

RFA

Re-sign multi-yr

2

Randle

0.75

Barden

UFA

6th WR - PS promotion

0.375

Jernigan

0.7

Hixon

UFA

Re-sign multi-yr

1

Bennett

UFA

FA - Shiancoe

1.25

Pascoe

UFA

Re-sign

.75

Robinson

0.575

Beatty

UFA

Re-sign multi-yr

5

Locklear

UFA

Draft 6th or McCants

0.4

Brewer

0.665

Diehl

Cap hit 7.5

Cut - Mosley

0.55

Snee

Cap hit 10.25

Cut - Re-sign multi-yr

3

Cordle

RFA

Re-sign

0.6

Boothe

UFA

Re-sign multi-yr

2

Baas

6.725

Umenyiora

UFA

Draft 3rd

0.55

Tuck

Cap hit 5.65

Cut - Re-sign or FA

2.25

Pierre-Paul

4.25

Tracy

RFA

Re-sign RFA tender

1.25

6th DE

Ojomo/Trattou/Broha

0.5

Canty

Cap hit 8.2

Cut - Draft 1st

1.75

Joseph

1

Austin

1

Bernard

UFA

Kuhn

0.49

Blackburn

UFA

Re-sign

1

Boley

Cap hit 5.9

Cut - Draft 5th

0.425

Kiwanuka

Playing mostly DE

5.125

Williams

0.5

Rivers

UFA

Draft 7th

0.45

Herzlich

0.375

Paysinger

0.55

Webster

Cap hit 9.25

Cut - Re-sign or FA

2.25

Amukamara

2.25

Hosley

0.615

Thomas

Cap hit 8.5

Cut - Draft 2nd

0.65

Tryon

UFA

Re-sign or other 5th CB

0.65

Rolle

9.25

Phillips

UFA

Draft 4th

0.5

S Brown

RFA

Re-sign RFA tender

1.25

Sash

0.635

Hill

0.48

Weatherford

2.475

Tynes

UFA

Re-sign multi-yr

1.5

DeOssie

1.05

Roster Cap Number

102.76

Dead Contracts

13.55

IR Adjustment

5

Practice Squad

0.75

TEAM SALARY

122.06

Salary Cap

122

2014:

Cut: Bradshaw

Not Re-signed: Shiancoe, Tuck or replacement, Tracy, Stevie Brown, Webster or replacement

Re-signed: Nicks (4 years $32 million, $5 million signing bonus - annual 4,7,7.5,8.5)

(multi-year) Joseph (4 years $18 million, $5 million signing bonus - annual 1,4,4,4)

Drafted: 1st - TE, Seferian-Jenkins or Toilolo - Big and fast, blocking an option

2nd - CB - Future replacement for Amukamara

3rd - C/G - Future replacement for interior OL

4th - LB - Competition for starting LB spots

5th - DE, QB, S - Backups (comp picks for Bennett, Phillips or Osi)

6th - CB - Backup CB

Less damage this year. Need to make a little room, so Bradshaw and his mess of injuries get the boot, plus we are stocked at RB behind him. The one-year rentals leave. Tracy and Stevie Brown were kept last year with draft pick tenders (as AB2 is this year), but we are not paying a 4th DE good money (as with Tollefson) and we have guys behind him. Joseph was judged more important than Stevie Brown, and I'm higher on the backup safeties to step up. Blackburn may be the MIKE again unless someone else takes the job. I used the same WR comps for Nicks as Cruz, and his injury history has a slight effect. Cullen Jenkins, Bunkley, Mebane, Cofield were models for Joseph's deal. Two options for a 1st round TE, the first is 6'6" and the second is 6'8". Seferian-Jenkins could be the next Gronkowski, Toilolo is very raw and needs development, but he has the huge size.

2014

Player/Slot

Status

Action

Cap Number

ber

(all numbers in millions of dollars)

Manning

20.4

Carr

UFA

Re-sign

1

Bradshaw

Cap hit 5.25

Cut - Scrub RB

0.375

Wilson

1.825

A Brown

RFA

Re-sign RFA tender

1.25

Maysonet

0.425

Hynoski

1

Nicks

UFA

Re-sign multi-yr

5.25

Cruz

8

Randle

0.875

6th WR

0.45

Jernigan

0.8

Hixon

1

Shiancoe

UFA

Draft 1st

1.75

Pascoe

UFA

Re-sign

0.75

Robinson

0.65

Beatty

6

McCants/Wilson

0.45

Brewer

0.75

Mosley

0.65

Snee

5

Cordle

UFA

Draft 3rd

0.6

Boothe

2

Baas

7.225

Taylor

0.6

Tuck or FA

UFA

Draft 5th - DL

0.5

Pierre-Paul

4.5

Tracy

UFA

Kiwanuka

6.5

6th DE

Ojomo/Trattou/Broha

0.6

Short

1.85

Joseph

UFA

Re-sign multi-yr

2.25

Austin

1.15

Kuhn

0.58

Blackburn

UFA

Re-sign

1

Holloman

0.45

Kiwanuka

Moved to DE

Draft 4th

0.75

Williams

0.5

Barnes

0.45

Herzlich

RFA

Re-signed or open slot

0.75

Paysinger

RFA

Re-signed

0.75

Webster/FA

UFA

Draft 2nd

0.65

Amukamara

1.9

Hosley

0.705

Hawthorne

0.75

Tryon

UFA

Draft 6th or Re-sign

0.4

Rolle

9.25

Exum

0.55

S Brown

UFA

Draft 5th

0.5

Sash

0.635

Hill

0.48

Weatherford

2.675

Tynes

1.5

DeOssie

1.15

Roster Cap Number

112.73

Dead Contracts

2.65

IR Adjustment

6

Practice Squad

1

TEAM SALARY

122.38

Salary Cap

122.5

2015:

Cut: none

Not Resigned: Amukamara, Andre Brown, Boothe, Austin, Blackburn, others

Resigned: J Williams (4 years $20 million, $4 million signing bonus - annual 4,4,4,4)

Pierre-Paul (5 years $75 million, $10 million signing bonus - annual 10,12,13,14,16)

Drafted: 1st - S - The future replacement for Rolle

2nd - T - The replacement for Beatty or RT

3rd - WR - The future replacement for Randle or other WR

4th - TE - The future replacement for Adrien Robinson

5th - G - Backup interior OL

6th - WR - Backup WR

6th - RB - Backup RB (comp pick for Stevie Brown)

7th - LB - Backup LB/Special teamer

This far out we are really guessing. Jacquian Williams got an elite LB contract. JPP I gave slightly more per year than Peppers. If Andre Brown ends up being good, we can't afford to keep him. Early on I figured out that I could only keep Joseph or Amukamara. DTs are cheaper to keep, and Joseph has had fewer injuries. If we need more money, Baas can be cut. But I'm saving that money for 2016 rather than re-signing Prince.

2015

Player/Slot

Status

Action

Cap Number

ber

(all numbers in millions of dollars)

Manning

19.75

Carr

UFA

Previous Draft Pick or UDFA

.4

4th RB

0.4

Wilson

1.825

A Brown

UFA

Draft 6th

0.45

Maysonet

0.5

Hynoski

UFA

Re-sign

1

Nicks

8.25

Cruz

8

Randle

1.025

6th WR

Draft 6th or existing

0.5

Jernigan

UFA

Draft 3rd

0.65

Hixon

UFA

Or Jernigan

1

1st rd TE

1.9

Pascoe

UFA

Draft 4th

0.45

Robinson

0.75

Beatty

6

McCants/Wilson

0.55

Brewer

UFA

Draft 2nd

0.7

Mosley

0.75

Snee

4

3rd rd C/G

0.65

Boothe

UFA

Draft 5th

0.5

Baas

7.475

Taylor

0.6

5th rd DL

0.55

Pierre-Paul

UFA

Re-sign multi-yr

12

Kiwanuka

7

6th DE

Ojomo/Trattou/Broha

0.70

Short

2

Joseph

5.25

Austin

UFA

scrub

0.4

Kuhn

0.67

Blackburn

UFA

Draft 7th

.4

Holloman

0.55

4th rd LB

0.55

Williams

UFA

Re-sign multi-yr

5

Barnes

0.5

Herzlich

UFA

Re-signed or open slot

0.75

Paysinger

UFA

Re-signed

0.75

2nd rd CB

0.7

Amukamara

UFA

FA

1

Hosley

0.8

Hawthorne

0.875

5th CB

0.75

Rolle

UFA

Re-signed

2

Exum

0.6

5th rd S

0.55

Sash

UFA

Draft 1st

1.75

Hill

RFA

Hill or Sash

0.75

Weatherford

2.825

Tynes

1.5

DeOssie

1.2

Roster Cap Number

120.845

Dead Contracts

0

IR Adjustment

6

Practice Squad

1

TEAM SALARY

127.845

Salary Cap

127

FanPosts are written by community members. This is simply a way for community members to express opinions too long to be contained in a comment.

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