Ryan Feder

Tulane University Law School J.D. Candidate 2015. President of the Tulane Sports Law Society. Football Division Assistant for Metis Sports Management, LLC. Graduated Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Business Marketing while a member of the Florida State Men's Lacrosse Team.

Recent Posts by Ryan

Philip Wheeler and the June 1 Cut

With most of the NFL world congregating in Indianapolis for the NFL combine, the rumors are starting to pick up.  While most of the talk is focused on whispers of which teams are looking to strike in free agency, there are a few more subtle storylines lingering.  One of these was this little nugget from @VicTafur, who covers the Oakland Raiders and NFL for the San Francisco Chronicle. 

Screen shot 2014-02-24 at 1.33.42 PM

I haven’t discussed my background yet on the site, but this may explain why I found this rumor more interesting than most others.  I am a native of Miami, Florida and grew up a fan of the Dolphins.  The linebacker swap of Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett for Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler has remained a hot topic among Dolphins fans since last year’s free agency. While Ellerbe and Wheeler both struggled mightily, Wheeler has caught significantly more criticism and become the focal point for explaining what is wrong with the Dolphins’ defense among fans. With rumblings of Wheeler’s future being uncertain I wanted to clear up some confusion I have been encountering regarding “how” Wheeler should be cut if the Dolphins choose to move on. 

Wheeler signed a 5-year/$26 million dollar last offseason, and below is the breakdown of the remaining 4 years.

 

P5 Salary

Signing Bonus Proration

Workout Bonus

Cap Number

2014

$5,000,000

$1,400,000

$0

$6,400,000

2015

$2,900,000

$1,400,000

$100,000

$4,400,000

2016

$4,900,000

$1,400,000

$100,000

$6,400,000

2017

$4,900,000

$1,400,000

$100,000

$6,400,000

The simple fact is that this deal was not designed to be a one-year deal, or even a two-year deal for that matter.  And because of this, the notion of moving on from him after one year is costly.  Many fans, mistakenly, try to justify cutting Wheeler by throwing out the idea of using the June 1st Designation as some form of “money-saver”.  I found this contract situation to be a great illustration of what the June 1 Designation is designed to do, what it is not designed to do, and how it affects Wheeler.

The June 1 Designation is a mechanism to defer the acceleration of prorated signing bonus money for one year.  The NFL has decided that June 1 is somewhat of a dividing line between Salary Cap years.  When you cut a player outright before June 1st, the remaining guarantees in P5 (base) salary and outstanding prorated signing bonus money accelerates on to the current season’s cap.  After June 1st, only the current year’s expense stays on the books.  The June 1st designation allows a team to cut up to two players prior to the June 1st deadline that are to be treated as if they were cut after June 1st.  One misconception here is that many believe designating a player a June 1st cut allows you to spend more money in Free Agency in March when in fact it does not.  When a player is designated a June 1st cut, they must remain on the books until June 1st, at which point the relief is granted, enabling a team to create space to sign their rookies or to have some breathing room in their cap for the season.  The real benefit of using the June 1st cut is for teams that are very tight against the cap in the current season and simply cannot afford to take the lump sum of accelerations in the current year.  By using the June 1st cut, it defers the later guarantees and prorations until the following season.  The team does not “save” this money, but rather pushes the payment back one year.

How does this affect Wheeler?  Well once the misconception that the June 1st designation somehow saves money over a regular cut is put to rest, and it is understood that it is only a deferment of payments, Wheeler’s future becomes clearer.  I think the best way to illustrate this will be to just show what it looks like to keep Wheeler, cut him outright and cut him as a June 1st cut.

 

Keep Wheeler For the 2014 Season

 

P5 Salary

Signing Bonus Proration

Workout Bonus

Cap Number

2014

$5,000,000

$1,400,000

$0

$6,400,000

As you can see above, if Wheeler plays the 2014 season on his current contract, he will count $6,400,000 against the cap.

Standard Cut Prior to June 1st

 

P5 Salary

Signing Bonus Proration

Workout Bonus

Cap Number

2014

$5,000,000

$1,400,000

$0

$6,400,000

2015

$2,900,000

$1,400,000

$100,000

$4,400,000

2016

$4,900,000

$1,400,000

$100,000

$6,400,000

2017

$4,900,000

$1,400,000

$100,000

$6,400,000

What I have done above is show what the remaining four years of Wheelers contract looks like but crossed out all the money that would be wiped clean if he is cut.  As you can see, only Wheelers 2014 P5 (base) salary of $5,000,000, which is guaranteed, and the remaining prorations of his signing bonus would need to be accounted for in the cap.  Because a standard cut accelerates all of the remaining guarantees in P5 (base) salary (there are none remaining for Wheeler) and remaining signing bonus prorations, Wheeler’s 2014 cap hit would look like this.

 

P5 Salary

Signing Bonus Proration

Workout Bonus

Cap Number

2014

$5,000,000

$5,600,000

$0

$10,600,000

Total cap spending on Wheeler for 2014-2015 = $10,600,000

There are two important factors to remember here.  First is that this would clear the Dolphins of any future commitments to Wheeler, they would be biting the entire bullet in 2014.  The second thing to remember is that now Wheeler’s roster spot has to be replaced and effectively the total cost of his roster spot for 2014 would be $10.6m PLUS the cost of his replacement.

June 1st Designation Cut

 

P5 Salary

Signing Bonus Proration

Workout Bonus

Cap Number

2014

$5,000,000

$1,400,000

$0

$6,400,000

2015

$2,900,000

$4,200,000

$100,000

$4,200,000

2016

$4,900,000

$0

$100,000

$0

2017

$4,900,000

$0

$100,000

$0

Total cap spending on Wheeler for 2014-2015 = $10,600,000 (same as standard cut)

Above is what the June 1st Cut would look like.  Here the 2014 cap commitment is only his guaranteed $5,000,000 P5 (base) salary and his 2014 prorated signing bonus of $1,400,000.  Unlike the standard cut, the Dolphins are still cap committed for the 2015 season, which is the remaining $4,200,000 (1.4×3) of signing bonus money that needed to be accounted for.  As you can see, the only difference between the standard cut and the June 1st cut is not whether or not Wheeler saves any more or less money on the cap, but rather WHEN the money has to be accounted for.  Again, the June 1st Cut is a deferral mechanism, not a money saver.  You save the exact same amount of money whether you cut a player normally or with the June 1st cut, it’s only a question of how you want the payment plan to be.

Again, because Wheeler is no longer on the roster, the cost of a replacement player has to be accounted for as well.

With the breakdown above, I have one fundamental question.  Even if you believe Wheeler is going to play as poorly as he did last year, or even worse, what benefit do the Dolphins get from cutting him, either outright or as a June 1st?  An open roster spot at the end of the bench?  At the very worst, he should be the best backup linebacker, on your team because there is no benefit to cutting him.  Even though he will be being grossly overpaid, you are either going to be accounting for him on the cap whether he is in a Dolphins uniform or not.  There is one other option –a trade.  Much like the Cardinals and Jaguars did last year with Levi Brown and Eugene Monroe; the Dolphins could pay a portion of the money owed to Wheeler to a willing trade partner, which would mitigate some of the damage of moving on from Wheeler.  If he improves, now that’s just an added bonus.  But because of all this, I would be shocked if the Dolphins chose to cut Wheeler, with either designation, or find a willing trade partner and expect him to be on the Dolphins roster in 2014. 

 
Ryan Feder
Tulane University Law School
J.D. Candidate 2015
@RyanFeder
rfeder1@tulane.edu

2013 All-Pro Teams Announced

The 2013 All-Pro Team has been announced.  Per NFL.com,  full story here

1st Team2013 Cap Hit2014 Cap Hit
QBPeyton Manning, Denver

$17,500,000

$,17,500,000
RBLeSean McCoy, Philadelphia

$4,931,250

$9,700,000

RBJamaal Charles, Kansas City

$4,333,333

$4,833,333

FBMike Tolbert, Carolina

$2,025,000

$3,325,000

TEJimmy Graham, New Orleans

$1,489,285

FA
WRCalvin Johnson, Detroit

$8,773,000

$13,058,000

WRJosh Gordon, Cleveland

$1,139,564

$1,456,813

OTJoe Thomas, Cleveland

$11,400,000

$12,300,000

OTJason Peters, Philadelphia

$11,042,000

$10,292,000

GLouis Vasquez, Denver

$3,250,000

$7,250,000

GEvan Mathis, Philadelphia

$4,000,000

$6,000,000

CRyan Kalil, Carolina

$6,400,000

$10,400,000

KJustin Tucker, Baltimore

$480,000

$570,000

KRCordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota

$1,312,918

$1,641,147

DEJ.J. Watt, Houston

$3,064,772

$3,575,567

DERobert Quinn, St. Louis

$2,573,469

$3,002,380

DTGerald McCoy, Tampa Bay

$10,916,250

$13,190,000

DTNdamukong Suh, Detroit

$10,492,500

$21,412,500

OLBRobert Mathis, Indianapolis

$10,750,000

$8,750,000

OLBLavonte David, Tampa Bay

$789,030

$946,836

ILBLuke Kuechly, Carolina

$2,858,773

$3,430,528

ILBNaVorro Bowman, San Francisco

$3,105,562

$7,050,000

CBRichard Sherman, Seattle

$600,606

$690,606

CBPatrick Peterson, Arizona

$5,026,227

$5,863,932

SEarl Thomas, Seattle

$3,500,000

$5,175,000

SEric Berry, Kansas City

$10,211,700

$11,619,700

PJohnny Hekker, St. Louis

$483,333

$573,334

2nd Team
QBNone
RBAdrian Peterson, Minnesota

$13,900,000

$14,400,000

RBEddie Lacy, Green Bay

$616,802

$771,003

FBMarcel Reece, Oakland

$1,957,485

$3,880,838

TEVernon Davis, San Francisco

$8,739,916

$7,367,916

WRA.J. Green, Cincinnati

$5,369,481

$6,264,394

WRDemaryius Thomas, Denver

$2,592,750

$3,081,250

WRAntonio Brown, Pittsburgh

$3,120,000

$8,470,000

OTTyron Smith, Dallas

$3,408,027

$3,976,031

OTJoe Staley, San Francisco

$2,800,000

$3,400,000

GJahri Evans, New Orleans

$6,740,000

$11,000,000

GLogan Mankins, New England

$10,000,000

$10,500,000

GJosh Sitton, Green Bay

$5,550,000

$6,400,000

CAlex Mack, Cleveland

$5,032,000

FA
KMatt Prater, Denver

$3,312,500

$3,812,500

KRDexter McCluster, Kansas City

$1,100,000

$1,400,000

DEMario Williams, Buffalo

$12,400,000

$18,400,000

DEGreg Hardy, Carolina

$1,328,946

FA
DTDontari Poe, Kansas City

$2,572,728

$3,087,274

DTMuhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets

$1,875,000

$2,187,500

DTJurrell Casey, Tennessee

$734,359

$824,359

DTJustin Smith, San Francisco

$3,726,666

$6,936,666

OLBTamba Hali, Kansas City

$15,464,706

$11,464,706

OLBAhmad Brooks, San Francisco

$5,050,000

$7,500,000

ILBVontaze Burfict, Cincinnati

$480,333

$570,334

ILBKarlos Dansby, Arizona

$2,250,000

FA
CBAqib Talib, New England

$4,882,813

FA
CBJoe Haden, Cleveland

$9,086,129

$8,827,895

CBAlterraun Verner, Tennessee

$1,454,785

FA
SEric Weddle, San Diego

$8,600,000

$10,100,000

SJairus Byrd, Buffalo

$6,916,000

FA
SKam Chancellor, Seattle

$3,878,404

$5,725,000

ST.J. Ward, Cleveland

$1,198,750

FA
SDevin McCourty, New England

$1,845,000

$2,115,000

SAntrel Rolle, New York Giants

$9,250,000

$9,250,000

PBrandon Fields, Miami

$1,645,000

$3,586,116

 

Status Update on the Eight Franchised Players

It was a big week for a few players playing under the Franchise Tag this season and I figured it was a good time to just check-in and see they are doing so far this season.

The Good:

Michael Johnson – Defensive End – Cincinnati Bengals – Tag $11,175,000

The Cincinnati Bengals defense is playing excellent football and at the heart of that success is Michael Johnson.  Johnson tied for 9th in the league last year with 11.5 sacks and although he has only recorded 1.5 sacks this year, there may not be a defensive end playing better football in the league right now than Johnson.  Johnson watched the Bengals pay out serious money in extensions to fellow defensive end Carlos Dunlap ($40 million) and All-Pro Defensive Tackle Geno Atkins ($55 million) this offseason and both haven’t played up to their billing through three games.  The Bengals have plenty of cap space but also have to worry about the monster deal coming for  All-Pro WR AJ Green and a new deal for Quarterback Andy Dalton (most likely).  With so much money already tied up in the defensive line and only so many dollars to go around, they Bengals might not have a choice but to let Johnson walk, especially if he keeps this elite level of play up leading to his free agency.

Branden Albert – Left Tackle – Kansas City Chiefs – Tag $9,828,000

Branden Albert had a tumultuous offseason to say the least.  It seems as if he was tagged for the sole purpose of being traded and was floated on the trade block leading up and through draft day while at the same time watching the Chiefs spend the 1st overall pick on what is believed to be his replacement, offensive tackle Eric Fisher.  Interestingly enough, Fisher is struggling mightily three games into his NFL career and Albert has protected new quarterback Alex Smith extremely well.  Through three games, Albert has only allowed 4 quarterback hurries and 1 sack despite sustaining a shoulder injury in week 2, which led to his worst performance of the season in week 3.  It will be interesting to see if Albert continues his solid play from the first two weeks or if the shoulder injury will hamper him.  Either way, I believe this will be the last season for Albert in Kansas City.

Pat McAfee – Punter/Kickoff Specialist – Indianapolis Colts – Tag $2,977,000

There isn’t much to talk about here seeing as I seriously lack any experience evaluating Punter’s performance.  But it is worth noting that McAfee has performed near the top third of the league in Punting according to Pro Football Focus, hasn’t showed up on the wrong end of any highlights and is healthy.  As we will see later, half the battle in making the good section of this article is staying out of the news and actually being able to suit up on game day.

 

The “Bad”:

Randy Starks – Defensive Tackle – Miami Dolphins – Tag $8,450,000

Despite a scheme and position change, Randy Starks has continued to be an extremely productive defensive lineman for the Miami Dolphins since joining the team via free agency prior to the 2008 season.  Starks thrived as one of the league’s best 3-4 defensive ends from 2008-2011 and now is getting the hang of playing defensive tackle in Kevin Coyle’s 4-3 defense.  Unfortunately, there have been some negative reports floating around about Starks during the offseason and now during the season.  One of which was a report that Starks believes the Dolphins punished him for missing offseason voluntary workouts and stripped him of his starting role while he was lobbying for a long-term deal.  While defensive tackles Paul Soliai and Jared Odrick are listed as starters ahead of Starks, the snap counts were all relatively similar prior to Soliai’s week 2 knee injury.  Starks regained his starting role, at least temporarily, after Soliai went down with a knee injury although he didn’t play particularly well in the Dolphins’ win against Atlanta.  To further complicate issues, Starks was caught on camera flipping the bird on the sidelines during the Dolphins’ week 1 victory against Cleveland.  Reports were the gesture was directed at the coaching staff but Starks claims it was him just joking on the sidelines with his teammates.  Who knows what the truth is, but Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin have been quick to rid themselves of players that cause distractions and the soon to be 30 year-old Starks in the headlines surely isn’t helping his cause to secure a long-term deal with the Dolphins this offseason.

Jairus Byrd – Free Safety – Buffalo Bills – Tag $6,916,000

Muddled in an ugly contract dispute, Jairus Byrd’s 2013 season hasn’t started smoothly to say the least.  As one of the leagues’ top safeties he was hoping to cash in big during the offseason but never could get close enough with the Bills to hammer out a deal.  Unhappy with his current situation, Byrd didn’t sign his franchise tender until August 20th and reportedly was asking to be traded.  To make matters worse, Byrd reported to the team complaining of sore feet, which was determined to be plantar fasciitis.  I can tell you first hand that dealing with plantar fasciitis is extremely painful and frustrating.  Citing his foot pain, Byrd has yet to suit up for the Bills this year despite the rest of their secondary also being decimated by injuries.  Cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore, Ron Brooks, and Leodis McKelvin are dealing with an assortment of injuries of their own.  What complicates Byrd’s injury and contract situation further is the discovery that he played through the injury last season.  Whether it’s fair or not, it looks as if Byrd was willing to play through the pain last year in search of a big payday and now doesn’t see it as worthwhile to risk playing through it this year.  You would have to figure we are going to see Byrd suit up for the Bills soon, but it may very well be the last season he plays for Buffalo unless of course the Bills decide to tag him again, since it would only cost around $8.3 million, and this whole drama plays out again next year.

 

The Ugly:

Henry Melton – Defensive Tackle – Chicago Bears – Tag $8,450,000

After back-to-back stellar years at the Defensive Tackle position Henry Melton’s shaky 2013 start went from bad to flat out devastating.  As we mentioned in previous articles, the Chicago Bears have a number of key players in contract years and franchised Henry Melton was one of them.  With the Bears thriving under new head coach Marc Trestman, it’s looking increasingly likely that a higher number of the players would be retained.  Unfortunately for Melton, he is going to be a perfect case study of why players value long-term contract security so much and fight so hard to avoid the franchise tag.  Melton suffered a torn ACL vs the Steelers this Sunday and not only is he going to miss the rest of the season, his value in free agency this upcoming offseason just took a crippling blow.  While it seems to be the trend that players can recover from ACL injuries faster and more efficiently than ever, Melton may have to take a shorter “prove it” deal instead of a more substantial free agency haul that he was looking forward to.

Anthony Spencer – Defensive End – Dallas Cowboys – Tag $10,627,200

In 2012, Spencer and the Cowboys were unable to reach a long-term deal and he ended up playing through the season on the $8,856,000 franchise tag.  Not only did he avoid serious injury, Spencer probably played the best football of his career.  With Monte Kiffin bringing in his Tampa 2 4-3 defense, Spencer was asked to switch from 3-4 Outside Linebacker to 4-3 Defensive End and the position change ending up being one of the contentious points that prevented the Cowboys and Spencer from seeing eye to eye on his value and reaching a long-term deal yet again this year.  The Cowboys and Spencer both seemed content to play the year out on the franchise tag again, but as mentioned above with Henry Melton, it comes with serious risk.  Spencer had offseason surgery on his left knee and after missing week 1 was able to play against Kansas City in week 2.  It’s unclear what happened during the game, but after missing week 3, news broke that Spencer would have micro-fracture surgery on his left knee and will miss the rest of the season.  Spencer is now in the same bucket as Melton and will have to prove to teams he is past his injury if he hopes to cash in next offseason in free agency.

Ryan Clady – Left Tackle – Denver Broncos – Tag $9,828,000****

Of the eight players who were franchise tagged this offseason, Ryan Clady was the sole player who reached a long-term extension with their team.  Trusted with protecting the blind-side of early-season MVP Peyton Manning, the Broncos agreed to a 5-year $52.5 million extension.  Clady becomes another example of why players fight so hard to avoid the franchise tag and hold out of team activities while they pursue long-term security from the teams.  Just two games into his new mega-deal, Clady’s foot suffered a season-ending Lisfranc sprain in a seemingly docile collision.  Of the three players now on season-ending IR, Clady is the only one with any multi-year security and doesn’t have to worry about proving his worth and health next offseason in search of a new deal.

Buccaneers Release RB Peyton Hillis

The Buccaneers have decided to release RB Peyton Hillis today.  Hillis, who broke out for the Cleveland Browns in 2010, was brought in to be the primary back-up to Doug Martin in the backfield during the offseason.  Hillis had signed a 1-year Veteran Minimum Salary Benefit contract which paid him $715,000 in P5 (base) salary with no guarantees but would only count $555,000 on the cap.  Remember, a Minimum Salary Benefit contract allows a veteran player, in this case 6-year veteran Peyton Hillis, to only count as much on the cap as a 2-year veteran.  After not seeing the field during the Buc’s first two games, the decision to release Hillis is much easier than it would have been previously without MSB contracts.

Hillis’ release leaves Brian Leonard and Mike James as the backups to Doug Martin and Tight End Danny Noble is being promoted to the active roster to replace Hillis.

 
Ryan Feder
Tulane University Law School
J.D. Candidate 2015
@RyanFeder
rfeder1@tulane.edu

State of Rebuild – Oakland Raiders

How do you build a winning football team?  Over the next few weeks I am going to look at a handful of teams that are relatively early in their rebuilding process or on the verge of a possible rebuild.  The purpose of this is not to reflect on past regime decisions compared to the current decisions but rather to start the analysis from day one and evaluate personnel decisions along with contract structures and styles to see if certain trends help produce a winning franchise.

 

State of the Franchise and Front Office

It’s well recognized by even the most diehard Raider fans that the team hasn’t lived up to its mantra “Commitment to Excellence” for a very long time.  General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Head Coach Dennis Allen enter their second year with the Raiders in one of the most unique situations I can remember.  To put it simply, McKenzie has blown the whole thing up.  This is essentially an expansion team that has been broken down to the bones and in the early stages of a massive and complete rebuild.  For a great in-depth look at how the Oakland Raiders got to where they are, I encourage you to read Joel Corry’s piece by clicking here.

la_a_mckenzie-allen01jr_576

GM Reggie McKenzie and HC Dennis Allen

With McKenzie seemingly purging the roster completely, the Raiders have amassed a stunning $50,321,847 in dead money this year, effectively decimating this year’s salary cap.  In my opinion, it’s an absolutely brilliant maneuver.  The Raiders weren’t going to compete for a Super Bowl this year, let alone a division title, and were anchored down by terrible contracts and personnel decisions.  By cutting loose the awful contracts and biting this bullet this year, the Raiders are set to have almost a complete clean slate heading into 2014.  The Raiders currently have the smallest amount of money committed to players under contract next year at $51,476,044, and are set to lead the league in cap space going into next year by a long shot even after factoring in the $6,609,588 of dead money.  With a cleaned out roster and tons of cap space, it will be interesting to see if McKenzie builds through the draft and avoids free agency like he did when he was the Director of Football Operations for the Green Bay Packers or splurges with all the available funds.

Despite all the pessimism around the chances of the Raiders winning more than a handful of games this year, there was a brief moment during last weekend’s contest against the Colts where everyone watching thought, “The Raiders might actually win this game.”  But alas, a late interception by Terrelle Pryor sealed a week 1 loss for the Raiders to the relief of nearly half the Survivor Pool participants who confidently picked the Colts.

 

Contract Strategies and Trends

There isn’t a ton to look at in this section yet.  Most of the players McKenzie has brought in this offseason have similar style deals, usually one-year in length, with a small to medium sized signing bonus, and a workout bonus usually ranging from $100,000-$250,000.  Some of these players include S Charles Woodson, CB Mike Jenkins, and DT Vance Walker.  McKenzie for the most part has avoided using roster bonuses but there are a few exceptions including Tracy Porter’s $187,500 RB and Usama Young’s $65,000 RB, both of which are in 2013.  After using the franchise tag on S Tyvon Branch last offseason, McKenzie also used a pair of roster bonuses when the Raiders agreed to a new contract with him before the deadline that contained a $1,000,000 roster bonus in 2014 and 2015.

McKenzie’s biggest free acquisitions over the past two offseasons were G Mike Brisiel and LB Nick Roach.  Both contracts are set up very similarly with Brisiel’s 5-year deal and Roach’s 4-year deal both containing a standard breakdown of P5 (base) salaries, signing bonuses, and workout bonuses.  Brisiel was brought in last year to play guard in the zone-blocking scheme, but after one unsuccessful year the Raiders have abandoned it.  Brisiel’s underwhelming play last year and an offensive-line scheme change led to what was originally believed to be a pay-cut.  Instead it seems to be more of a normal restructure.  This is odd because it was widely believed that Brisiel wouldn’t quite fit into the Raider’s new scheme, and would only have cost $2,240,000 in dead money to move on from him.  Now it would cost almost $3,930,000.  If Brisiel turns his play around this year than there is nothing to worry about, but if he continues to struggle, now the Raiders are committed even more to a player they don’t want, and had the chance to bite a smaller bullet earlier.  For what it’s worth, PFF graded his first game against the Colts as an average performance.

Of course there is always K Sebastian Janikowski.  The longtime Raider was given an extension through the 2017 season maintaining his status as the leagues most expensive place kicker.  From what I can tell, Janikowski’s P5 (base) salaries are guaranteed in 2013 and 2014 at $3,500,000 and $2,700,000 respectively, and with small signing bonus proratations, it’s basically only a 2-year deal.  If the Raiders finally decide to move on from the Janikowski era after the 2014 season, it will only cost them $360,000 in dead money in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

McKenzie also extended long snapper Jon Condo shortly after Janikowski.  Condo’s deal isn’t anything special contractually, just a standard P5 (base) salary and signing bonus, but yet again a Raider who plays special teams is being paid at the top of the market.  For more details on Condo’s extension, click here.

 

Biggest Upcoming Roster Decision

The comical but semi-realistic answer to this question would be Jadeveon Clowney or Teddy Bridgewater but it is the NFL, and despite Oakland’s current situation, the Raiders are by no means guaranteed to have the 1st pick in the 2014 draft (looking at you Jacksonville).  The Raiders actually host the Jaguars this week and are giving 6 points now in what could be a decisive game for determining who has the 1st overall pick in next year’s NFL draft.  The real decision then is between Matt Flynn and Darren McFadden.

The Raiders and Flynn restructured his deal in May to create a little cap space, which in turn aided in bringing back Charles Woodson to the silver and black.  As a result, Flynn goes into the 2014 season with a cap charge of $7,625,000.  Had he won the job, and presumably would have been the starting quarterback going into next offseason, that figure isn’t terrible at all.  But after losing to Russell Wilson in Seattle last year, Flynn lost the quarterback competition again, this time to Terrelle Pryor.  Whether Pryor is the starter heading into 2014, or the Raiders use a high draft pick on one, the total cost allocation of the quarterbacks for the Raiders is still going to be a friendly figure, making keeping Flynn at the high cap number, even as a backup, reasonable.  If they decide to cut him, it would cost the Raiders $2,625,000 in dead money in 2014 as well as throwing away the 2014 5th round pick and most likely the conditional pick in 2015 that was paid to the Seahawks for Flynn.  Jason pointed out one additional reason the Raiders might choose to keep Flynn around – to reach the CBA mandated minimum cash spending.  Remember the CBA divided the actual cash spending by the teams into 4-year buckets.  Because the Raiders payroll is so freakishly low this year, they are one of the few teams that could plausibly not reach the minimum threshold.  Keeping Flynn, and paying him, would help the Raiders reach that threshold.

mcfaddenAs for McFadden, it was reported that the Raiders haven’t officially reached out to him about signing an extension before he hits free agency next offseason. The 4th overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft is entering the sixth season of a disappointing career.  The best player comparison I can think of going into this season for McFadden is 2008 2nd overall pick Reggie Bush.  Before being traded to Miami prior to the 2011 season, many of the concerns about Bush are shared by McFadden now; unproductive, injury-prone, and underachieving.  Through the first five years of each of their careers, one of those players played in 57 of 80 possible games, scored 23 rushing or receiving touchdowns, and compiled 4,803 yards from scrimmage while the other played in 60 of 80 possible games, had 29 rushing or receiving touchdowns, and compiled 4,232 yards from scrimmage.  Player 1 is McFadden and Player 2 is Bush.  Both stat-lines are extremely similar and fall far short of the expectations both franchises had when they selected the running backs at the top end of the Draft.  While I personally don’t see McFadden resurrecting his career like Reggie Bush has, I think it’s more than likely this is the final season Run DMC spends in Oakland, completing the eradication of the Raiders’ 1st round picks.

 

This is going to wrap up the preliminary look at some of the franchises starting their rebuilding process, in the midst of it, or on the verge of one.  There are a few more teams we could have taken a look at but I either felt that they are going to be sufficiently analyzed on the site already (Jets) or would repeat some of the styles we’ve already started analyzing from previous teams.  I’ll probably do a check-in article sometime towards the middle of the season to look at some of the moves that have been made since the articles were written and a general progress report on how their season is currently going.  As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or disagree with anything – don’t hesitate to comment or reach out to me.

 

Past ‘State of Rebuild’ Articles

Philadelphia Eagles

Chicago Bears

Buffalo Bills

San Diego Chargers

 

Ryan Feder
Tulane University Law School
J.D. Candidate 2015
@RyanFeder
rfeder1@tulane.edu

State of Rebuild – Philadelphia Eagles

How do you build a winning football team?  Over the next few weeks I am going to look at a handful of teams that are either relatively early in their rebuilding process or on the verge of a possible rebuild.  The purpose of this is not to reflect on past regime decisions compared to the current decisions but rather to start the analysis from day one and evaluate personnel decisions along with contract structures and styles to see if certain trends help produce a winning franchise.

State of the Franchise and Front Office

There might not be a team in the NFL with more question marks heading into the 2013 season than the Philadelphia Eagles.  Like most of the teams featured in this series, the Eagles have greatly underachieved and fallen far short of expectations in recent years.  After the “Dream Team” stumbled to a disappointing 8-8 record in 2011, the wheels really fell off the wagon in 2012.  A 4-12 season was bound to come with serious consequences, and none was greater than the departure of longtime Head Coach Andy Reid.  The awful 2012 season was the final straw that ended a 14-year tenure that included 9 playoff appearances, 6 NFC East Division Titles, 5 NFC Championship Game Appearances, 1 Super Bowl Appearance, but no Lombardi Trophies.  Reid wasn’t on the market for long, as he quickly agreed to become the Head Coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.

kelly and roseman

HC Chip Kelly and GM Howie Roseman

One man who survived was General Manager Howie Roseman.  Entering his fourth season as GM, Roseman is going to be the longest tenured General Manager in our case study.  The University of Florida and Fordham Law School graduate now faces at least a partial rebuild after two incredibly disappointing seasons following an NFC East Division title in his first year as GM in 2010.  Roseman grabbed one of the biggest headlines of the offseason when he successfully lured offensive-guru Chip Kelly from Oregon to become the 21st Head Coach of the Eagles even after Kelly announced he was going to remain at Oregon.

While the Eagles may not be a contender right now, the team still a ton of cap room and serious talent across its roster.  The Eagles currently have just under $21 million in cap room despite eating some dead money costs after moving on from 2011 1st round pick Danny Watkins and 2011 free agent prizes Nnamdi Asomugha and Jason Babin. In the NFC East, a division with no clear-cut favorites yet again, the Eagles might be able to make some noise while also transitioning their roster.

 

Contract Strategies and Trends

Although we have a lot more data available due to Roseman’s longer tenure, I’m still going to keep the analysis consistent with the theme of State of Rebuild and try to only look at the more recent moves.  The Eagles seemingly use most of the contractual tools we have been going over including the standard roster bonuses, per-game roster bonuses, workout bonuses, and the Minimum Salary Benefit (Felix Jones).  What is more interesting is the amount of money the contracts are actually worth relevant to the rest of the league. Players such as Lesean McCoy (3rd), Jason Peters (1st), Trent Cole (5th), DeSean Jackson (8th), Connor Barwin (10th) and Todd Herremans (10th after switch to Guard) are all being paid near the top of their positions on an Average Per Year basis.  While the Average Per Year amount of a contract isn’t by any means a full-proof barometer, the Eagles have an exorbitant amount of players being paid near the top of their respective positions for a team that has struggled so mightily.  This isn’t to say that they aren’t very good players, but it is interesting to me that a team with so many highly paid talented players is now trying to find a way to re-do their roster.

The Eagles do have a few interesting contracts on the books that I felt would be worth taking a look at.  The Eagles are another one of the teams we have looked at recently that have used a very low P5 (base) salary and a high roster bonus in the first year of a new deal.  Some of the Eagles players with this setup include DT Isaako Sopoaga, S Patrick Chung, FB James Casey, and CB Bradley Fletcher.  Just as a brief refresher, this type of deal gives the team some cap flexibility by limiting 3rd year guarantees and prorated bonuses while it gives the player the money up front and protects against potential forfeitures.

There is one more little nuance to these four deals that I found particularly interesting.  There are no official Team or Player option contracts in the NFL like you see in some of the other major sports, but the way the Eagles structured these contracts essentially turn them into 1 year deals with 1 or 2 yearly team options.  As an example we’ll look at James Casey’s new deal.

As you can see, if you click here to view James Casey’s salary cap page, in year 1 of his new deal Casey has a low $715,000 in P5 (base) salary and the large $3,300,000 Roster Bonus.  The remaining two years of his deal only contain unguaranteed P5 (base) salaries of $3,985,000 in 2014 and $4,000,000 in 2015.  What does this mean?  For one thing, it fully illustrates the benefits to both the team and the player we noted above.  Casey gets a substantial amount of cash right up front with more protection than a signing bonus and the Eagles now have an extremely cap friendly deal as long as they can eat the higher cap number in the first year of the deal.  They could have turned that same $3.3 million roster bonus into a signing bonus but that would have meant prorating it over 3 years.  With this setup, after 2013 the Eagles have a clear and easy decision to make – Is James Casey worth $3,985,000 to us this year?  If that answer is yes, they will basically be exercising a team option to keep him under contract.  If the answer is no, the Eagles can release him with no cap penalties in 2014 or 2015.  The deals for Sopoaga, Chung, and Fletcher are all setup the same way and as you can see, for a team looking to have a quick turnaround, the idea of keeping a good player or releasing an unwanted player at no cost is extremely beneficial.

The really interesting scenario I wanted to take a look at is the one that got the most attention during the offseason for the Eagles, Michael Vick’s paycut.  I’m almost reluctant to use the term paycut, because to me they basically just tore up the old deal and created a truncated 1-year deal.  There are a lot of moving parts to this whole scenario and because of that, this explanation might get a little confusing but I am going to do my best to get the big picture across.

Before even looking at the new deal, it’s important to look at a few of the factors leading up it.  One of which is before the paycut, the Eagles were prepared to move on from Vick.  Vick was set to count $16,900,000 on the cap this year and the Eagles weren’t going to have him on the roster at that figure.  At first Vick said he wasn’t going to redo his deal, which led most to believe he would simply be released.  Next, Vick was guaranteed $3,000,000 of his P5 (base) salary in 2013 and if the Eagles decided to release him, he would have cost them $7.2 million in dead money over the next three years ($3 million + $4.2 million of remaining prorated signing bonus).  Finally, Vick reportedly had suitors in the event he was released.  It was reported that the Browns, Cardinals, and Bills were among the teams that were interested in Vick in the event he became available.

vickWhether it was Chip Kelly convincing Vick to stay, or Vick realizing on his own that this offense might be the lynchpin to an Arizona Cardinals Kurt Warner-like resurrection, the two sides agreed to a new deal that would keep Vick an Eagle for one year.  This is where some things might get a little confusing.  Prior to the paycut, Vick still was under contract through the 2016 season, had $3 million of his 2013 P5 (base) salary guaranteed, and $4.2 million of prorated bonus money still to be accounted for on the cap.  After the paycut, the 2014, 2015, and 2016 years of the contract were voided, none of his P5 (base) salary was guaranteed, and all $4.2 million of prorated bonus money accelerated into the 2013 season as one hit.  I know it’s messy, but before showing the revised deal I wanted to at least attempt to show where some of the core parts of the new deal came from.  Vick’s new deal is a 1-year deal with an unguaranteed P5 (base) salary of $3.5 million and a signing bonus of $3.5 million.  In addition, Vick has a per-game roster bonus of $31,250 and a playtime incentive bonus of $500,000, both of which are not guaranteed.

So what does all this actually mean?  When the deal was redone, Vick wasn’t named the starter, as that was a recent development.  But at the time, it gave Vick a chance to compete for the starting job in a system he might be able to flourish in and it gave the Eagles an opportunity to see if he was worth keeping for the year with limited added risk.  If the Eagles had cut Vick in March, they would have had to sign a replacement level backup quarterback and gone with Nick Foles as their starter.  Suffice it to say; I don’t think Chip Kelly ever wanted that option.  By keeping Vick, even if he lost the competition and the Eagles decided to cut him, it would have cost them $7.7 million, only $500,000 more than if they had cut him originally in March, which is basically the cost of signing the replacement level backup quarterback.  The Eagles essentially got a starting quarterback tryout for the cost of a replacement level player.  In the end, they didn’t just get a tryout of Vick; they got their starting quarterback for the year.  What happens after this year is totally up in the air.  My guess is the Eagles decide to move on from Vick (again), but who’s to say what happens if the Eagles offense clicks on all cylinders with Vick at the helm.

 

Biggest Upcoming Roster Decision

Aside from the obvious question of what the team is going to do at quarterback after this season, there are a few roster question marks that will need to be addressed.  When the Eagles traded a 4th round pick and swapped 3rd round picks to the Houston Texans for Demeco Ryans last year, it was proclaimed as an absolute steal for the Eagles.  One year later, it seems more likely that Ryans will never revert back to his pre-achilles injury days.  Unless Ryans’ play this season improves, the Eagles will most likely move on and create quite a bit of cap relief.  Because he was acquired in a trade, all of his prorated signing bonus money was accelerated into the Texans’ cap in 2012, leaving the rest of his contract free of guarantees for the Eagles.  If the Eagles decide to move on from Ryans after the 2013 season, they would save the entirety of his $6.9 million figure in 2014 as well as an additional $6.9 million in 2015.

deseanOne more position to look at for the Eagles is at Wide Receiver.  With former 1st-round pick Jeremy Maclin sidelined with a torn ACL and set to be a free agent after this year, the situation was already one that needed to be addressed.  To further stress the issues with the position, the Eagles decided to keep Riley Cooper after his racist outburst.  The Eagles decided it was more worthwhile to deal with the distraction of keeping Cooper around than release him and incur $42,871 in dead money this year, the final year of his contract.  What complicates things further is DeSean Jackson’s contract.  With Jackson set to count $12.5 million on the cap in 2014, $12 million in 2015, and $12 million in 2016, something is probably going to happen next offseason to adjust those figures.  Jackson would still have $6 million of his $10 million dollar signing bonus to be prorated over the remaining years at $2 million per year, making cutting him relatively inexpensive.  If Jackson chooses not to renegotiate his deal, the Eagles could save around $30 million of cap over three years by releasing him.  The fact of the matter is that barring an explosive year under Chip Kelly, Jackson just is nowhere near a $12 million dollar a year receiver in this league.

In the next few days we’ll be wrapping up the first stage of State of Rebuild with a look at the Oakland Raiders.

 

Past ‘State of Rebuild’ Articles

Chicago Bears

Buffalo Bills

San Diego Chargers

 

Ryan Feder
Tulane University Law School
J.D. Candidate 2015
@RyanFeder
rfeder1@tulane.edu

State of Rebuild – Chicago Bears

How do you build a winning football team?  Over the next few weeks I am going to look at a handful of teams that are either relatively early in their rebuilding process or on the verge of a possible rebuild.  The purpose of this is not to reflect on past regime decisions compared to the current decisions but rather to start the analysis from day one and evaluate personnel decisions along with contract structures and styles to see if certain trends help produce a winning franchise.

 

State of the Franchise and Front Office

When the Bears hired Phil Emery to replace Jerry Angelo as General Manager a year ago, it was said that then Head Coach Lovie Smith was safe for the year.  With one of the most feared defenses in the league and a defensive-minded head coach, Emery made it a priority to improve a struggling offense by trading a pair of 3rd round picks to the Miami Dolphins for mercurial wide receiver Brandon Marshall.  The defense continued its dominance in 2012, but despite an All-Pro season from Brandon Marshall, the Bears offense overall struggled again and ranked near the bottom of the league.  Despite the poor offense, the Bears managed to finish the season 10-6, with all 6 of their losses coming at the hands of playoff teams.  However, 10 wins were not enough to make the playoffs, losing a tiebreaker to the division rival Vikings, nor enough to convince Emery to retain Lovie Smith (or his long-time defensive anchor Brian Urlacher).  Again looking to improve the Bears offense, Emery hired offensive-minded Montreal Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman to fill the vacated head coaching position.

trestman emery

HC Marc Trestman and GM Phil Emery

Trestman spent 17 years in the NFL, mostly as an offensive coordinator and quarterback’s coach, before becoming the head coach of the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes.  Trestman lead the Alouettes to three Grey Cup appearances and back-to-back- championships in 2009 and 2010.  Personally, as a law student, the most interesting aspect of Trestman’s road to the NFL is prior to joining the University of Miami Hurricanes football program as a volunteer coach and quarterback’s coach; Trestman earned his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law and became a member of the Florida bar.

 

 

 

Contract Strategies and Trends

Finishing up his second offseason as General Manager, Emery has utilized standard roster bonuses, per-game roster bonuses, and workout bonuses to continue the improvement of the Bears offense.  After slapping the franchise tag on running back Matt Forte last year, and a contentious negotiation, the Bears and Forte agreed to a four-year extension through 2015 worth roughly $30.4 million.  Forte’s deal has a few nuances worth taking a look at.

The first of which is why Forte had a $5 million roster bonus due in the first year of his extension in 2012 compared to such a low P5 (base) salary of $800,000.  I am assuming that the roster bonus is paid up front and is not deferred, which is sometimes the case.  I first came across a scenario like this when looking at Paul Kruger’s new deal with the Cleveland Browns (Julius Peppers has a similar structure that was done under former GM Jerry Angelo).  Kruger is due a $6,285,000 roster bonus compared to his $715,000 P5 (base) salary in 2013, the first year of his new deal.  At first I could not wrap my head around the purpose of this.  Forte and Kruger were both guaranteed to make the team in the first year of their deals, so why make that guaranteed money a roster bonus and not just guaranteed P5 (base) salary or part of the signing bonus?  After some discussions with Jason and a little digging into the CBA, a few reasons made sense.

From the team’s point of view, they are creating cap flexibility by limiting 3rd year guarantees and higher prorated bonus hits by guaranteeing the money up front in a roster bonus.  This could be done through the P5 (base) salary as well, but players prefer to have the money up front rather than later in increments.  The trade-off for the team is a higher cap hit in year 1 of the deal, but with lower guarantees later, making it easier for the team to move on.  A look at Forte’s contract shows that he is not guaranteed any money in 2014 and 2015 and the only possible dead money costs would be the prorated amount of his signing bonus of $1 million each year, a cost of only $2 million to move on before the 2014 season and $1 million before the 2015 season with cap savings of $5,500,000 and $7,800,000 respectively.

From the player’s perspective, receiving the guaranteed money in the form of a roster bonus presents two interesting perks.  The first of which is rather simple and was mentioned earlier – when given the choice of receiving a $5,000,000 bonus, would you rather receive it in one lump sum up front or in weekly, monthly, or even yearly increments?  NFL players, like everyone else,  prefer to have that cash in hand as soon as possible; which is why they prefer the guaranteed amount in a lump sum roster bonus as opposed to P5 (base) salary in game checks.  The second perk for the players derives itself from one simple sentence in the CBA, which states,

“With respect to roster bonus, option bonus and reporting bonus, a forfeiture may only occur if the Forfeitable Breach occurs in the same League Year in which the bonus is scheduled to be earned.”

 

What this means is unless the player receiving the roster bonus, in this case Matt Forte, had breached his contract to the point where a forfeiture of salary was in order, the breach had to be in 2012, the same league year in which the roster bonus was received.  If Forte breaches his contract during the 2013 season, his $5 million dollar roster bonus would not be part of his possible salary forfeiture.  In contrast, if the same $5 million had been part of the player’s signing bonus or P5 (base) salary, the signing bonus money can always be attacked regardless of which year the breach occurred in or the player could forfeit P5 (base) salary if suspended.

The other interesting part about Forte’s contract is use of both standard and per-game roster bonuses throughout his deal.  On top of the $5 million standard roster bonus Forte received in 2012, he is due a $4 million standard roster bonus and $468,750 in per-game roster bonuses.  The 2013 per-game roster bonus is actually $31,250 per game but because Forte missed one game in 2012, for cap purposes the per-game roster bonus is treated as a LTBE (likely to be earned) incentive.  If Forte plays in all 16 games this year, he will earn $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses (31,250 x 16) and his cap number will be adjusted up accordingly.  The opposite is also true if Forte plays less than 15 games.  Forte is also due per-game roster bonuses of $53,125 per game in 2014 and $65,625 per game in 2015 as well as yearly $100,000 workout bonuses.

Another tool Emery has used to add veteran players without compromising future cap space is the Minimum Salary Benefit.  For a more detailed description of how the MSB works, click here to look at an article Jason wrote earlier this year.  The long and short of the MSB’s purpose is to help teams avoid signing a younger player over a veteran if the main reason is cost.  The CBA mandates a higher minimum salary for veterans based on how many years they have played in the league.  The choice of a cheaper younger player or an older more expensive veteran provides little incentive for the team to choose the veteran.  The MSB looks to provide an incentive to choose veterans who if not for the mandated CBA salary would likely play for cheaper to stay in the league.  Veterans have to meet the following criteria, which I grabbed from Jason’s article, in order to qualify for a MSB contract.

All players with at least 4 credited seasons are eligible for the MSB. However, to qualify for MSB treatment your contract has to meet specific criteria, explained as follows:

1.  The contract must only be 1 year in length

2.  Additional compensation can not exceed $65,000 in 2013 (this number rises by $15,000 every 3 years, with the next increase set for 2015), and that includes bonuses from other teams

3.  P5 guarantees can not exceed the P5 salary of a 2nd year player, which is $555,000 in 2013

The end result is veteran players who qualify can be signed and paid their mandated minimum salary but for cap purposes are only charged the amount it would sign for a player who has been in the league for 2 seasons.  The Bears have used the MSB on a handful of players including Zack Bowman, Jonathan Scott, and Kelvin Hayden, who was just lost for the season with a hamstring tear.

A quick look at the two major free agent signings for the Bears this offseason shows a very simple contractual setup. Left Tackle Jermon Bushrod received a 5-year/$35.965 million deal with $11.715 million guaranteed while Tight End Martellus Bennett received a 4-year/$20.4 million deal with $5.215 million guaranteed.  Both players received the first year of their deal guaranteed ($715,000 each), with no roster bonuses, and a yearly $100,000 workout bonus.

Biggest Upcoming Roster Decisionbears FA

The Bears are not rebuilding.  They weren’t rebuilding last year and they aren’t rebuilding this year.  They finished last season 10-6 and barely missed the playoffs.  They also are loaded with talent, having four All-Pro’s last year, with WR Brandon Marshall and CB Charles Tillman earning 1st Team honors and DE Julius Peppers and CB Tim Jennings earning 2nd team honors.  So why do I think the Bears should be looked at during our State of Rebuild Series?  A glance at the free agency statuses of the projected offensive, defensive, and special teams starters should help provide a little clarity.

Through most of the offseason, the fact that so many projected starters will be free agents after the 2013 season was enough for many pundits to speculate that Emery would be doing a serious roster overhaul next offseason.  Jason actually took a look at the Bears current status and upcoming decisions in his article The Chicago Bears: Past, Present, and Future, which touches on a lot of the premises discussed here.  With starting quarterback Jay Cutler, franchised defensive tackle Henry Melton, strong safety Major Wright and All-Pro cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman among others all set to be free agents after this season, the team was set to look a little different even with a few extensions.  Then Emery said this,

“…where we’re at with our current salary cap and the room that we have in our cap in our efforts to put together a championship team in 2013, I do not anticipate that we will do any extensions of contracts during this season. All those will occur, with the players it will occur with, will happen in 2014 and not during the 2013 season.”

While the Bears do only have $2,192,768 of cap room right now, after saving $555,000 with the release of DE Jamaal Anderson today, a few extensions could easily create some sizable room. Emery’s decision to wait on any possible extensions until after the 2013 season only furthers the speculation that this year’s Chicago Bears could look considerably different than next year’s team.  Considering that it would cost nothing for the Bears to move on from WR Brandon Marshall, $1 million to move on from OLB Lance Briggs, and $2 million to move on from RB Matt Forte, if they wished to do so, we could be looking at a possible ground-zero rebuild going into next offseason.  The fact of the matter is if this team flourishes under new head coach Marc Trestman, all of this is moot.  But for now, it remains a very plausible possibility that the Chicago Bears will be rebuilding next year.

So what is actually the single biggest upcoming roster decision for the Chicago Bears?  It could be what to do with All-Pro defensive end Julius Peppers in the event of a full rebuild.  Peppers is still due almost $37 million between the 2014 and 2015 season, and would cost $6,366,668 in dead money if cut or traded before 2014 and $3,183,335 if cut or traded before 2015.  It is highly unlikely that the Bears would outright release Peppers, but how much could they really fetch in a trade for a 34 or 35 year old defensive end?  If I had to pick one, it is whether to retain Jay Cutler.  Jason coincidentally wrote an enlightening article here, describing how Cutler’s market value may not match his play-level – barring a Joe Flacco -esque stock rise after his Super Bowl run.  However the simple answer is to close your eyes and throw a dart at the depth chart.  The question isn’t which single player presents the biggest question mark but rather whether the team as a whole will be remade.

 

Past ‘State of Rebuild’ Articles

Buffalo Bills

San Diego Chargers

 

Ryan Feder
Tulane University Law School
J.D. Candidate 2015
@RyanFeder
rfeder1@tulane.edu