Nov 202013
 
 November 20, 2013  Posted by  Articles, The Salary Cap

November 20, 2013 NFL Salary Cap Update: Here is the latest update for all 32 teams in the league with regard to available salary cap space (courtesy of the NFLPA’s League Cap Report website):

CAP SPACE RANK
TEAM
PREVIOUS YEAR CARRYOVER
TOTAL CAP SPACE
12Arizona$3,600,110.00 $5,780,006.00
14Atlanta$307,540.00 $3,184,011.00
26Baltimore$1,182,377.00 $1,504,228.00
3Buffalo$9,817,628.00 $19,069,281.00
6Carolina$3,654,825.00 $11,607,268.00
22Chicago$3,236,965.00 $1,794,800.00
8Cincinnati$8,579,575.00 $8,237,179.00
1Cleveland$14,339,575.00 $24,388,412.00
27Dallas$2,335,379.00 $1,462,282.00
11Denver$11,537,924.00 $6,650,879.00
23Detroit$466,992.00 $1,729,611.00
7Green Bay$7,010,832.00 $9,916,149.00
25Houston$2,422,689.00 $1,532,158.00
28Indianapolis$3,500,000.00 $1,101,439.00
2Jacksonville$19,563,231.00 $20,344,446.00
17Kansas City$14,079,650.00 $2,845,270.00
4Miami$5,380,246.00 $18,233,200.00
29Minnesota$8,004,734.00 $685,150.00
13New England$5,607,914.00 $4,423,986.00
30New Orleans$2,700,000.00 $682,491.00
31NY Giants$1,000,000.00 $251,536.00
20NY Jets$3,400,000.00 $1,950,056.00
16Oakland$4,504,761.00 $2,953,594.00
5Philadelphia$23,046,035.00 $17,158,574.00
24Pittsburgh$758,811.00 $1,576,037.00
19San Diego$995,893.00 $2,414,431.00
15San Francisco$859,734.00 $3,130,547.00
18Seattle$13,265,802.00 $2,818,454.00
32St. Louis$247,347.00 $103,482.00
9Tampa Bay$8,527,866.00 $7,170,367.00
10Tennessee$12,867,893.00 $7,138,089.00
21Washington$4,270,296.00 $1,945,457.00
Total cap numbers for all teams as of November 20th, 2013

As can be seen above, the Giants are $251,536 under the cap. They are ranked 31st in the league in available salary cap space. Only the St. Louis Rams have less room under the cap now than the Giants do with $103,482 in available cap dollars.

As I usually state, these figures are the closest that we can possibly know of publicly since the NFL Management Council is the only body that is truly 100% accurate. Those numbers are very difficult to get a hold of, as Jason Fitzgerald from OverTheCap.com has said over the past summer. The figures that the NFLPA shares on it’s public website are sometimes subject to data entry errors, and slow processing of actual numbers that have already been put in with the league itself. For our purposes though, they are sufficient (knowing where teams stand in proximity to each other as well as themselves in the recent past).

Incredibly enough, we’re coming up on week 12. There are only five weeks remaining in the regular season after this week’s upcoming games. With the season being approximately two thirds of the way over, the Giants have enough room to barely skate by. If they have a rash of injuries that forces them to place three or more players on Injured Reserve in the next two weeks, then they’ll have to make some more room under the cap. Hopefully that doesn’t happen.

The least amount of cap space that a player would cost after this week, from week 13 through the end of the season (5 weeks) would be $119,118. This figure is the result of prorating the bare league minimum of $405,000 for five weeks (I’m not counting this upcoming 12th week). The most that a player could count is $185,294. This figure is obtained by prorating the amount of $630,000 over the 5 weeks between week 13 & week 17. This figure of $630,000 is the minimum paragraph 5 salary for players with 3 years of experience, as per the table below:

 

NFL league minimum salaries for 2013

Players with four or more years of accrued service are also listed above. The reason they don’t count at the rates listed above is because of the Minimum Salary Benefit (MSB). What the MSB does is that it allows vested veterans (players with four or more accrued years) whose minimum paragraph 5 salary figures are between $715,000 and $940,000 in 2013 to still receive their salaries if they sign with a team, but only count against the cap at rate of $555,000 – the rate of a player who only has two vested years. That’s why I didn’t go above $630,000 when I was calculating the possible range of rates that the Giants would have to give players in week 13 if they were forced into signing someone due to injury to somebody on their active 53-man roster. For a more comprehensive look at how the Minimum Salary Benefit works. please click on the link below:

Teams don’t give out bonuses to anyone at this point that they’re bringing in off the street, or off of waivers after they’ve cleared it (a la Ed Reed and the Jets last week). If they happened to give a player a signing bonus of more than $65,000 then the MSB designation goes away. That’s not happening until the off-season, but it’s something to keep in mind as a general matter of fact regarding caponomics in the NFL. As transactions occur in-season, they almost always only are paragraph salary transactions, and usually involve players with less than 4 accrued season.

The following five players currently on the the 53-man roster who were in-season acquisitions either claimed off of waivers, or signed as “street free agents” are as follows (only Bradford wa claimed off of waivers): Brandon Jacobs, Peyton Hillis, Dallas Reynolds, Allen Bradford, and John Conner. Only Jacobs and Hillis are vested veterans out of this group. Termination Pay is potential problem with only Jacobs though out of these two since Hillis will receive it from the league as a result of being released by Tampa Bay after being on their 53-man roster on week 1 of this season. Here is an article on the subject:

Jacobs would have less incentive than usual to use his one-time only claim to termination pay if the Giants waive him for some reason in the coming weeks (doubtful since he’d sooner wind up in I.R. first, and because he has a salary split in his contract). The Giants would probably go to a player that is on the cheaper side of the options they have open to them if push actually came to shove. This is part of the reason that you see Practice Squad players being lured to sign on with other teams in-season, joining their 53-man rosters. This is why the Packers paid QB Scott Tolzien as if he was a member of their 53-man roster when he was on their Practice Squad.

The Packers promoted him to their 53-man roster on November 5th, as per this article from two weeks ago on NFL.com. As indicated in that article, Green Bay also increased Tolzien’s salary from the Practice Squad minimum of $6,000 per week to a base salary of player on the 53-man roster – $544,999 to be exact. This was done so as to make sure that he would not be tempted to sign elsewhere. If any more moves are made, they may very well be made with the Giants’ pro personnel department looking at players who stand out on other teams first before bringing in a “name player” to fill a hole. Let’s hope that the injury bug has taken a little vacation for this club for a while as they continue to try and climb back into the NFC East race.

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May 202013
 
 May 20, 2013  Posted by  Articles, The Salary Cap
Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (December 30, 2012)

Ahmad Bradshaw – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The NFL Salary Cap and the New York Giants: In today’s NFL, the salary cap rules all. The NFL salary cap is an opponent that many front offices have simply dealt with on an intermediate level, a few have mastered, and a few more have fallen to ruin against as a result of mismanagement. It has risen $88.392 million over the course of 19 years from $34.608 million back in 1994 to $123 million in 2013. Over that time, we’ve seen the New York Giants deal with it to varying degrees. George Young clearly had issues dealing with it, when a bloodletting took place in its first year, when in the Spring of 1994 Giants fans experienced their first casualty of the cap era: the release of Phil Simms, who incidentally was coming off of the second Pro Bowl year of his career in 1993, which turned out to be the final season in his distinguished career (This Day in Football: Giants cut Phil Simms). Reality quickly sunk in for Giants fans with respect to the cap: “if Phil Simms could get cut, then anybody can.” The cap’s influence on free agency was a reason why players like Dave Meggett, Myron Guyton, and Mark Collins walked in free agency as well despite the Giants still wanting to retain them.

Once Ernie Accorsi took over as GM, things started to clear up cap-wise. That then carried over to this regime headed by GM Jerry Reese and Assistant GM (formerly titled cap analyst) Kevin Abrams. We now see a team that is shrewdly managed, with solid drafting and wisely signed free agent additions. What we also see as a result of the cap is the know-how that is required to keep a team with a franchise QB in his prime years competitively balanced when it comes to knowing when to let certain veteran players walk in free agency. The New York Giants did that this offseason with Kenny Phillips and Osi Umenyiora. The ins and outs of navigating the NFL salary cap are numerous though. The best thing to keep in mind when it comes to understanding the underlying motivation for people in NFL front offices is younger and cheaper. That is why it is important to find talent via the draft, rookie free agency, and through prudent veteran free agent acquisitions (something which is often overlooked by many fans). Keeping track of these ins and outs is something that is also key. Following these moves as they are made is not difficult. However, what can be difficult at times is understanding how these decisions are arrived at. This brings us to mapping out roster distribution and cap numbers.

There are several rules that teams – specifically cap analysts – must adhere to when it comes to assisting in team building and roster management. They revolve around the Top 51 rule, when it is in effect during the off-season (which is 7 to 8 months of a calendar year), and the regular season salary cap rules from a team’s first regular season game to its last regular season or post-season game of a given year. Here is an article for it that explains it well, along with some other basics:  Explaining The NFL’s Salary Cap” by Dan Durkin.

What is also important to understand, but from a fan’s standpoint, is the fact that cap numbers are not the same as salary. A cap number is calculation of how the money that a player earns counts towards the salary cap, and includes within it a portion of any number of bonuses, along with whatever guaranteed base salary a given player receives (a.k.a. “cap spending dollars” as opposed to “cash spending dollars”). A player’s salary has nothing to do with the calculations that are taken into account to come up with a given player’s cap number. Instead it has to do with a player’s “Paragraph 5” salary. I refer readers to this excellently written article by Jason Fitzgerlad from overthecap.com regarding the matter: A Guide to the NFL Salary Cap.

I’ll also provide a direct link to the Collective Bargaining Agreement agreed upon by the players and owners: 2011 NFL CBA (agreed upon on August 4, 2011). This latest CBA has been the source of much discussion since its ratification almost two years ago, and there has been a lot analysis regarding what the players gained (mostly lost) since it has been in effect. I’ll table an article on that though for some time in the future. What needs to be mentioned regarding the understanding of the cap itself is that it is not covered enough in the mainstream media. What we see regarding its implications is only touched upon very briefly at best. There’s nothing sexy about it to those who cover the team. It is indeed a shame that this is the case because in actuality there is no single more important factor in play when it comes to understanding how a team is built both in the short-term as well as the long-term, and what factors go into determining a team’s decision making regarding its personnel. It is for this reason that you see specialized websites specifically for the discussion and analysis of the salary cap with respect to the league as a whole and for specific teams.

One such website that stands out for the overall discussion of the league as a whole is overthecap.com. It includes both quantitative as well as qualitative analysis of the salary cap as it pertains to the entire league. I have a personal salary cap blog that I started up this month titled New York Giants Salary Cap Central which is my recent attempt to replicate this quantitative and qualitative approach that Jason Fitzgerald has done with his website, except it’s for a specific team, the Giants. There is also spotrac.com, but it lacks in any kind of qualitative discussion (at the least the free part anyway). It also directly lifted the numbers from overthecap.com, as per this article: Site News: Explaining my issues with another website.

Hopefully, a cap section on BBI can function to serve the purpose of gathering information from different places that serve to facilitate the increased understanding of how the cap works and its effect on the Giants’ overall decision making with respect to putting together their roster as whole. It’s one thing to list the order of the cap numbers on the team in such a section – which I intend to do – but it’s another thing to qualitatively break down and analyze patterns that are related to each player’s overall cap situation with respect to the Giants and their long-term and short-term plans for each player. Each year situations change, but teams try their best to control how players fit into the overall scheme of their plans. Hopefully, a cap section on BBI can serve to accumulate a decent enough amount of information so Giants fans who frequent the website can understand how the Giants’ cap situation reflects and determines the moves they make.

Personally, I look forward to spearheading the creation of such a section here on BBI. Currently, there is no other website on the internet which focuses on such a specific topic. In the coming weeks and months that will change for the better. Websites that focus on the cap for the other teams in the NFC East will be linked here, so that fans understand how the inter-divisional competition fares with respect to their respective cap situations. I encourage people to read and ask questions about the information contained herein; questions will serve to help to drive the content that is put out in this section, and make it a truly interactive experience for readers, rather than one which driven by individual whims alone (that’s what my cap blog linked above is for). It will be fun to integrate this new section on the cap here on BBI. My hope is that readers will find it equally fun and interesting to read.

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