Andrew Cohen

Offseason Low Down

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Salary Cap Notes: Team Updates

Monday, March 24, 2014


18. New Orleans Saints

 

Substantial FA Acquisitions

Jairus Byrd (Signed six-year, $54M deal)

Total Money Given to Substantial FA’s = $54 million

Fully Guaranteed Money Given to Substantial FA’s = $18.3 million

2014 Cap Hit of Substantial FA’s = $3.5 million

 

Jairus Byrd’s $3.5 million cap hit compared to the $18.3 million in fully guaranteed money says it all. The Saints ‘act now, think later’ approach here will likely cause serious cap stress down the line. But there’s no denying that Rob Ryan’s defense will be a force to be reckoned with. Only time will tell if this ever-risky Mickey Loomis decision will pay off.

 

19. Green Bay Packers

 

Substantial FA Acquisitions

Julius Peppers (Signed three-year, $26M deal)

Total Money Given to Substantial FA’s = $26 million

Fully Guaranteed Money Given to Substantial FA’s = $7.5 million

2014 Cap Hit of Substantial FA’s = $3.5 million

 

Never bullish on the concept of big-ticket free agents, Ted Thompson’s acquisition of Julius Peppers is as big a splash as you’ll ever see him make. But don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t judge an NFL contract by its total length and value.

 

Thompson’s thought process was likely similar to Seattle’s when the Seahawks signed Michael Bennett to a one-year deal last offseason. Both scenarios embodied a contender signing a needed pass-rusher to a deal containing no guaranteed money beyond year one. Unless Pepper turns back the clock in 2014, he’ll be a one-and-done in Wisconsin.

 

20. San Francisco 49ers

 

Substantial FA Acquisitions

Antoine Bethea (Signed four-year, $21M deal)

Total Money Given to Substantial FA’s = $21 million

Fully Guaranteed Money Given to Substantial FA’s = $6.25 million

2014 Cap Hit of Substantial FA’s = $3 million

 

With so much talent packed into one roster, the Niners didn’t need Bethea even after the departure of Donte Whitner. But after three straight conference championship appearances, it’s hard to argue with this move. Bethea technically has nothing fully guaranteed beyond 2014, but his $5 million signing bonus was prorated over the four years of this contract. This means that the soon-to-be-30 safety will almost certainly be on the roster under his $3 million 2015 base salary.

 

21. Buffalo Bills

 

Substantial FA Acquisitions

Corey Graham (Signed four-year, $16M deal)

Total Money Given to Substantial FA’s = $16.3 million

Fully Guaranteed Money Given to Substantial FA’s = $5.5 million

2014 Cap Hit of Substantial FA’s = $2.55 million

 

While the Bills had (and still have) plenty of cap space to work with, they failed to grab many headlines over the past few weeks. Corey Graham, signed for four-years and $16 million, was their biggest free agent snag. The contract’s prorated signing bonus carries a $3 million 2015 dead money hit against a $4.3 million 2015 cap hit, meaning the 28-year-old Graham will be a Bill for a minimum of two years.

 

22. Oakland Raiders

 

Substantial FA Acquisitions

Austin Howard (Signed five-year, $30M deal)

Total Money Given to Substantial FA’s = $30 million

Fully Guaranteed Money Given to Substantial FA’s = $7.9 million

2014 Cap Hit of Substantial FA’s = $8 million

 

A rare scenario where a team that should have handed out some big contracts failed to do so.  The Raiders made plenty of minor moves, but their roster has holes everywhere. The fact that they didn’t get any of the market’s top guys is disappointing for a team with so much spending money.

 

 

The following nine teams did not sign a new free agent to a deal that was at least three years in length and worth a minimum of $15 million.

 

23. New England Patriots

 

It’s fitting that New England still found its way into the “no substantial FA signings” section of this list. Revis, Edelman, LaFell, Browner—the Pats have obviously been extremely active the past couple weeks. But signing a free agent they’re not familiar with to a mega-deal is simply not the Patriot way.

 

24. Baltimore Ravens

 

It’s also not a surprise to see Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens here, a franchise that didn’t have one “substantial free agent” on either of the 2011 or 2012 teams that reached the conference championship. After a successful couple of weeks, the Ravens have less than $5 million in cap space remaining.

 

25. Seattle Seahawks

 

John Schneider’s primary concern was re-signing Michael Bennett—a mission he successfully accomplished. With so many talented players with expiring contracts, it should be quite a while before we see Seattle signing an outside to free agent to a significant deal.

 

26. Dallas Cowboys

 

Inactive by necessity rather than choice, the Cowboys’ salary cap mess can primarily be attributed to perpetual cap mismanagement rather than overpaying free agents. Conceptually, Jones has the right idea—he attempts to retain his own guys. His problems mainly stem from misvaluing talent.

 

27. Cincinnati Bengals

 

Congratulations to the Bengals, who continue moving up the “Available 2014 Cap Space” list—their $29.7 million of space currently ranks third-most in the league. They have not made a peep in free agency thus far.

 

28. Houston Texans

 

The Matt Schaub era has officially come to an end. Credit the Texans for receiving compensation (a sixth rounder) for a guy they would have otherwise released. Trading Schaub as opposed to releasing him outright (which they would have otherwise done) did not affect Houston’s salary cap scenario—the guaranteed portion of Schaub’s contract had already expired. He still leaves the Texans with $10.5 million in 2014 dead money.

 

29. Kansas City Chiefs

 

The Chiefs, who have lost multiple starters during free agency, had a quiet week. They’re currently approximately $5 million under the cap, with a projected $1,402,441 of cap space required to sign their incoming rookies.

 

30. San Diego Chargers

 

Like the Chiefs above, the Chargers are running low on spending money. Approximately $3.7 million under the cap, their projected cap space required to sign their rookies stands at $1,585,487. The Chargers will continue to remain quiet.

 

31. Carolina Panthers

 

Their wide receiver corps has been bolstered with the acquisitions of Joe Webb, Jerricho Cotchery and Tiquan Underwood over the past week. Currently around $5.5 million under the cap, they’ll have to find their new #1 WR through the draft.

 

32. St. Louis Rams

 

Despite what the Rams say, the organization is not sold on Bradford as their quarterback of the future (with good reason). If they were, they’d have extended his current deal to gain cap space in the present. His $17.6 million 2014 cap figure that decreases to $16.58 million in 2015 has really hindered St. Louis.



Overthecap.com is the leading source for all NFL salary cap and contract information analysis. Follow me or OTC founder Jason on Twitter.
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