Over the Cap http://overthecap.com NFL Salary Cap, Player Contracts, and Related News and Analysis Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:37:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 Rookie Option Updateshttp://overthecap.com/rookie-option-updates/ http://overthecap.com/rookie-option-updates/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:35:58 +0000 http://overthecap.com/?p=7276

We learned last night that the first set of rookie options from the 2011 draft class were starting to be picked up, so I thought it might be useful for us to have a running list of the players who are having their contracts extended by one season. The rookie option year is a new rule in the CBA that allows teams to extend the term of a first round draft choice by one season by exercising an option between the end of the players third season and May 3 of the following League Year.

The cost of the option … Read the rest

The post Rookie Option Updates appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>

We learned last night that the first set of rookie options from the 2011 draft class were starting to be picked up, so I thought it might be useful for us to have a running list of the players who are having their contracts extended by one season. The rookie option year is a new rule in the CBA that allows teams to extend the term of a first round draft choice by one season by exercising an option between the end of the players third season and May 3 of the following League Year.

The cost of the option year is dependent upon where a player was drafted and what position he plays. If the player was drafted in the top 10 picks of the draft his one year contract will equal the transition tender for the NFL in 2013. If the player is selected outside of the top 10 then his one year contract is calculated the same way that the transition tag is calculated except the 3rd through 25th highest salaries are used rather than the top 10 highest. All offensive linemen and all linebackers are each grouped as one position and are not specialized (i.e a tackle is paid same as a center or a inside linebacker is paid same as a 34 outside linebacker).

Once the option is exercised the salary is guaranteed for injury only. So if a player is injured in 2014 and unable to pass his physical the following season his entire option salary is protected. However the player can be released at any time up to the start of the 2015 League Year without penalty if he is healthy enough to play football. If the player is on the roster on the first day of the 2015 League Year (first day of free agency) the salary becomes fully guaranteed for all terminations.

There is nothing that prohibits a team from negotiating another contract with the player following the option pickup. In most cases teams will pick the option up to protect their negotiating rights with the player, which is an indication of how little teams really think of injury guarantees. If the option was fully guaranteed there would be a much different approach taken by teams. If teams do not exercise the option they can still use the Franchise or Transition tag the following season, but in most cases that will be more expensive.

What could be interesting is if teams internally calculate out the Transition tag number in 2015 using the 2010 through 2014 cap figures currently available to see if there is a potential decline in the value next year. Being that the salary cap is now rising that would be near impossible, but if a team like the Cardinals estimated that the cost for a cornerback in 2015 could be $9.5 million they may opt to just use the Transition tag in 2015 on Patrick Peterson rather than locking him up at slightly over $10 million now. This would not be applicable to players selected outside the top 10 and would also eliminate a team from using the tag on another veteran player on the team.

My own opinion on the tag is that, while there is no downside to using it, if you have a player you like but not at the option value it is better to try to work out a reasonable extension without having that factored into the equation. Once you lock a player in at say $6 or $7 million it becomes much harder to work out a long term contract valued at $4 or $5. We have seen that often enough with the Franchise tag impeding progress on a long term deal and that can be a detriment to both sides.

Contrary to popular opinion most of the players who will have the option picked up will earn more in their 5th year and have a higher 5th year cap charge than the rookies that were drafted in the old CBA system. So they will have some leverage to negotiate favorable terms if they are a good player. This is not the case for the top 6 or 7 picks who will earn less and have less leverage than their 2010 counterparts. So the option is not a block to a player friendly extension in almost all cases.

While I do not have the numbers for all the players the following chart gives a breakdown of the tag values we do know and the players who are eligible for the option. As more options are picked up I’ll update the table.

first option


 

The post Rookie Option Updates appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>
http://overthecap.com/rookie-option-updates/feed/ 0
Free Agency Thoughts: San Francisco 49ershttp://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-san-francisco-49ers/ http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-san-francisco-49ers/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 01:33:31 +0000 http://overthecap.com/?p=7274

Key Additions: Antoine Bethea ($5.3M per year), Blaine Gabbert ($2M), Brandon Lloyd ($1M)

Key Re-Signings: Anquan Boldin ($6M per year), Phil Dawson ($3.1M)

Key Losses: Donte Whitner (Browns), Tarell Brown (Raiders), Anthony Dixon (Bills)

Major Cuts: Carlos Rogers ($5.1M cap savings- June 1)

Free Agency Thoughts:

After years of having one of the most ideal salary cap situations in the NFL, the 49ers are finally beginning to feel some strains from success.  Nothing has changed with the way they manage the cap or structure their contracts, it’s just that when you build a team with this level of depth … Read the rest

The post Free Agency Thoughts: San Francisco 49ers appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>

Key Additions: Antoine Bethea ($5.3M per year), Blaine Gabbert ($2M), Brandon Lloyd ($1M)

Key Re-Signings: Anquan Boldin ($6M per year), Phil Dawson ($3.1M)

Key Losses: Donte Whitner (Browns), Tarell Brown (Raiders), Anthony Dixon (Bills)

Major Cuts: Carlos Rogers ($5.1M cap savings- June 1)

Free Agency Thoughts:

After years of having one of the most ideal salary cap situations in the NFL, the 49ers are finally beginning to feel some strains from success.  Nothing has changed with the way they manage the cap or structure their contracts, it’s just that when you build a team with this level of depth the cap is designed to not make it last. Eventually good draft picks become stars and good teams prepare accordingly for the time when the extensions come due.

Technically I probably should not even include Anquan Boldin in the discussion since he signed a week before free agency , but I thought  his contract was important to talk about. In order to keep Boldin, who is very important to the team, they had to use the voidable year provisions to spread out his cap charges. Normally San Francisco would want to work in the opposite direction and use player voids to accelerate cap charges, but for the time being they can not do that.

Losing Donte Whitner was inevitable and there was no way to even consider matching the $15.5 million he will earn over two years with the Browns. Antoine Bethea is a better value and will earn just over $10 million in two years, which is less than both Whitner and TJ Ward. I would have thought they would have pushed more for Ward, but I think the 49ers are confident that Bethea will improve further with a better defense in front of him. Both Whitner and Dashon Goldson benefitted from the same circumstances.  They can always walk away from Bethea next year as his guarantees don’t kick in until April 1.

I’m not sure I understand the trade for Blaine Gabbert. I understand looking for talent, but this is different than Colt McCoy in that Gabbert’s contract is guaranteed so it is not like he will take a pay cut. With only this year remaining under contract it’s not like they will recover trade value even if he had to come in due to an injury and played spectacularly ala Matt Flynn a few years back with Green Bay. I have to guess that they intend to extend him in the summer if they like what they see and make him the long term backup QB for the team.

Everyone else that was signed (besides Phil Dawson who is on a market contract) is basically on a no risk contract. Brandon Lloyd was out of the NFL last season and may not even make the team. He has a small workout bonus which is really the only investment in him. Jonathan Martin could have some upside though the media following may be a distraction for the team. Others like Kassim Osgood and Eric Wright are on no guarantee type contracts.

Overall Grade: C

There was no expectations for the 49ers this offseason and they pretty much delivered little. While I’m a little concerned about the void years on Boldin’s contract it’s just one deal and on a win now team sometimes you have to go out of your comfort zone to maximize your chances of winning. I tend to think that they wasted $2 million on Gabbert but in terms of backup salary its reasonable if they can make him passable. They will gain the cap space they need for potential extensions or carryover when Carlos Rogers comes off the books on June2.

The post Free Agency Thoughts: San Francisco 49ers appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>
http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-san-francisco-49ers/feed/ 0
Free Agency Thoughts: Arizona Cardinalshttp://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-arizona-cardinals/ http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-arizona-cardinals/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 01:31:00 +0000 http://overthecap.com/?p=7272

Key Additions: Jared Veldheer ($7M per year), Antonio Cromartie ($3.5M), Ted Ginn ($3.3M),Ted Larsen ($1.3M)

Key Re-Signings: Matt Shaughnessy ($2.2M per year), Jay Feely ($1M), Frostee Rucker ($1M)

Key Losses: Karlos Dansby (Browns), Andre Roberts (Redskins)

Major Cuts: Daryn Colledge ($5M cap savings- June 1)

Free Agency Thoughts:

The most important thing for the Arizona Cardinals to do this offseason was improve the offensive line and they did that with the signing of Veldheer who was one of the better bargains at the position. Veldheer was injured most of last season, but he is an above average player and … Read the rest

The post Free Agency Thoughts: Arizona Cardinals appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>

Key Additions: Jared Veldheer ($7M per year), Antonio Cromartie ($3.5M), Ted Ginn ($3.3M),Ted Larsen ($1.3M)

Key Re-Signings: Matt Shaughnessy ($2.2M per year), Jay Feely ($1M), Frostee Rucker ($1M)

Key Losses: Karlos Dansby (Browns), Andre Roberts (Redskins)

Major Cuts: Daryn Colledge ($5M cap savings- June 1)

Free Agency Thoughts:

The most important thing for the Arizona Cardinals to do this offseason was improve the offensive line and they did that with the signing of Veldheer who was one of the better bargains at the position. Veldheer was injured most of last season, but he is an above average player and they got him at a reasonable cost. The structure of the deal was important. Because of cap constraints the Cardinals needed to have Veldheer at a low cap charge, but rather than doing it strictly through signing bonus money they guaranteed a portion of his second year salary and dangled a third year guarantee. If injuries strike they will carry just $3.75M in dead cap in 2016, which is a dramatic departure from the structures used for Will Beatty of the Giants and Sam Baker of the Falcons signed just a year before with similar cap constraints.

Signing Antonio Cromartie on a one year low cost contract could prove to be one of the better signings of the offseason. Because the Cardinals already have capable cover guys there is really no downside. Two years ago Cromartie was a legit Pro Bowl quality player. He had hip problems in 2013 and I think there is a real fear that last year was the beginning of what could be a fast decline, but this is a situation where taking the risk is well worth it.

While I do think the contract for Ted Ginn is a bit rich, it may just be a one year contract. Either way it’s a more efficient deal than what Roberts signed for in Washington. While Ginn will never be a great receiver teams do have to respect his speed and he can put up a big play late in the game. His ability to change field position on special teams is at the top of the NFL. In a competitive division like the NFC West those types of plays may be more meaningful.

Losing Karlos Dansby will be a blow to the defense but there is no way the Cardinals could justify spending the amount of money the Browns spent on Dansby. $6 million a year for a player on the wrong side of 30 is simply too high to even consider. The odds of Dansby recreating his 2013 season are pretty remote.

Overall Grade: A-

I think the Cardinals 2014 offseason is a great example of the way a competitive team should approach free agency. They identified a weakness and grabbed a very strong player to help solidify the position. They found veterans with some upside that can augment the talent base in place without really damaging future salary cap situations. They signed a number of depth players that should contribute none of whom would hurt the team if they flop.  The wisely used the June 1 on Daryn Colledge which will give them an operational budget for the regular season that could be used in part to pay for an extension for Patrick Peterson or to try to find offensive line help when cuts begin late in the summer.


 

The post Free Agency Thoughts: Arizona Cardinals appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>
http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-arizona-cardinals/feed/ 0
Free Agency Thoughts: Washington Redskinshttp://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-washington-redskins/ http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-washington-redskins/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 01:40:47 +0000 http://overthecap.com/?p=7269

Key Additions: DeSean Jackson ($8M per year), Jason Hatcher ($6.9M), Shawn Lauvao ($4.3M), Andre Roberts ($4M), Tracy Porter ($3M), Darryl Sharpton ($1.8M), Clifton Geathers ($1.6M), Ryan Clark ($1M)

Key Re-Signings: Brian Orakpo ($11.5M per year), Perry Riley ($4M), Santana Moss ($1.02M), Brandon Meriweather ($1M)

Key Losses: JD Walton (Giants)

Major Cuts: Adam Carriker ($5M cap savings), Will Montgomery ($1.9M)

Free Agency Thoughts:

After two years of cap penalties the Redskins were finally able to get back into the free agency game without having to worry as much about cap costs in the first year of the contract. The team … Read the rest

The post Free Agency Thoughts: Washington Redskins appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>

Key Additions: DeSean Jackson ($8M per year), Jason Hatcher ($6.9M), Shawn Lauvao ($4.3M), Andre Roberts ($4M), Tracy Porter ($3M), Darryl Sharpton ($1.8M), Clifton Geathers ($1.6M), Ryan Clark ($1M)

Key Re-Signings: Brian Orakpo ($11.5M per year), Perry Riley ($4M), Santana Moss ($1.02M), Brandon Meriweather ($1M)

Key Losses: JD Walton (Giants)

Major Cuts: Adam Carriker ($5M cap savings), Will Montgomery ($1.9M)

Free Agency Thoughts:

After two years of cap penalties the Redskins were finally able to get back into the free agency game without having to worry as much about cap costs in the first year of the contract. The team got busy in February re-signing some players long before the start of free agency and then were one of the most active teams in terms of quantity of signings.

The biggest signing came in the latest stages of free agency when they grabbed DeSean Jackson as soon as he was released by the Eagles. $8 million a year was probably a little on the high end considering there may have been lack of interest from the rest of the NFL at that point, but its not egregiously high. Surprisingly they used a void provision to further lower the cap costs, but maybe the three year cap cost represents where they wanted him at contractually (about $7.6M per year).

While it is disappointing that the Redskins could not come to terms with Brian Orakpo, it was imperative they keep him in 2014 and they blocked him from leaving by using the franchise tag. Orakpo has the talent to be one of the elite pass rushers in the NFL.  If they can come to a long term agreement with him by the deadlines that would be a good move for the Redskins.

The next two highest priced signings were questionable. Jason Hatcher at $6.9 million a year is arguably the worst free agent contract signed this offseason. Hatcher will be 32 years old in 2014 and is coming off his first ever truly great season. He’ll earn $13.5 million over two years and likely leave the Redskins with $4.5 million in dead money in 2016. This is not a position that traditionally gets paid this much at this stage of a career.

Shawn Lauvao ended up getting a contract on par with the best offseason signings at the position. Lauvao is coming off a poor season and it’s doubtful any other team would have been as high as the Redskins were. They need to get two good years out of him to justify this deal.

In light of the Jackson signing the Andre Roberts contract is going to look bad. The Redskins paid him to be a second receiver based off his 2012 season when he was starting in Arizona. Now he will be a third target which is going to make the salary seem on the high side.

Tracy Porter’s contract is fair within the market, but I tend to think he was on the lesser end of the players who received a similar salary. That said it’s a justifiable deal because he doesn’t have the injury concerns that some of the other players do.

The team did ok with the bargain signings. Sharpton is a reasonable cost and should bring more speed than what they had before. Behind him is Akeem Jordan, a very low cost signing, who may be one of the steals of free agency. Clifton Geathers can bring decent depth to the position while Ryan Clark is certainly someone who can bring leadership to the team.

Overall Grade: C

This is a tough team to grade because I like some of the moves they made, but some of the contracts they doled out are terrible. When the season is complete the performance of Jackson probably makes or breaks free agency for the team. He brings a dimension they did not have and we’ll get a better idea of how RGIII can play with a deeper passing game. Since Griffin is eligible for an extension next year I think the Redskins have to give him as much as possible to get the best idea for him. What you don’t want is to be in a position like the Jets or Rams where every season the question is “if only he had…” when referring to the highly drafted but disappointing QB.

Hatcher is the worst deal of the group and they could have upgraded at safety or corner with some of that money rather than going so much with the quantity approach in the secondary.  They may not have had to go into the upper echelon but if they did I would have preferred a Vontae Davis over Porter and Hatcher.  In terms of talent I think a C+ or B- is fair but the way they go about many of their contracts and valuation process is something that just knocks it down for me.

The post Free Agency Thoughts: Washington Redskins appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>
http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-washington-redskins/feed/ 6
Free Agency Thoughts: Philadelphia Eagleshttp://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-philadelphia-eagles/ http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-philadelphia-eagles/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 01:39:24 +0000 http://overthecap.com/?p=7267

Key Additions: Malcolm Jenkins ($5.2M per year), Darren Sproles ($3.5M), Nolan Carroll ($2.6M), Mark Sanchez($2.3M), Chris Maragos ($1.4M)

Key Re-Signings: Nate Allen ($2M per year), Donnie Jones ($1.8M)

Key Losses: Michael Vick (Jets), Clifton Geathers (Redskins)

Major Cuts: DeSean Jackson ($6.5M cap savings), Patrick Chung ($2.3M)

Free Agency Thoughts:

The most controversial decision of the offseason, not just for the Eagles but probably the entire NFL, was the decision to release WR DeSean Jackson. Jackson was very productive last season, his first in Chip Kelly’s offense, but the Eagles seemed to sour on him internally. Jackson was always going to … Read the rest

The post Free Agency Thoughts: Philadelphia Eagles appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>

Key Additions: Malcolm Jenkins ($5.2M per year), Darren Sproles ($3.5M), Nolan Carroll ($2.6M), Mark Sanchez($2.3M), Chris Maragos ($1.4M)

Key Re-Signings: Nate Allen ($2M per year), Donnie Jones ($1.8M)

Key Losses: Michael Vick (Jets), Clifton Geathers (Redskins)

Major Cuts: DeSean Jackson ($6.5M cap savings), Patrick Chung ($2.3M)

Free Agency Thoughts:

The most controversial decision of the offseason, not just for the Eagles but probably the entire NFL, was the decision to release WR DeSean Jackson. Jackson was very productive last season, his first in Chip Kelly’s offense, but the Eagles seemed to sour on him internally. Jackson was always going to have an uphill battle to earn this year of his contract but the fact that Philadelphia made no push to rework the deal makes it clear they did not want him. If Jeremy Maclin is healthy this move will leave the Eagles cap looking even healthier in the future.

The biggest money acquisition the team made was Malcolm Jenkins who is expected to improve the safety position in 2014. Jenkins is talented and a former first round pick which probably helped augment his contract. At $5.2M a year I would consider him overpaid, but it is a short term deal and hi $10 million two year payout is in line with the players earning in the high $4 million category.

The trade for Darren Sproles was interesting. It jumped their backfield spending to second in the NFL behind the Vikings and may have been made with an eye on 2015 as much as 2014. In 2015 LeSean McCoy will earn $10.25 million, essentially a designed walk year, not unlike the Jackson contract discussed above. By reducing his workload in 2014 it should bring his absolute production down and turn him into a two down player, giving the Eagles more leverage in extending him on more favorable terms in 2015 rather than cutting him. Sproles also gives the Eagles a boost on special teams.

I would not expect the Eagles to miss backup QB Mike Vick too much. Vick would have provided too many distractions to a team that hopes they found their star of the future in Nick Foles. Expecting Foles to duplicate his performance is not realistic and the last thing they want is for crowds to be calling for the backup. Mark Sanchez is a reclamation project and incredibly cheap by any standard.

For a low cost, Nolan Carroll is a capable depth player while Chris Maragos will fill some voids on special teams. The re-signing of Nate Allen was also a limited risk signing.

Overall Grade: B+

Most of what the Eagles needed to happen occurred well before free agency when they locked up Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, which allowed them to jettison Jackson from the team. They also signed Jason Peters to an extension. In general I think the Eagles had the right approach to free agency for their club. They augmented the talent they had on the team, but did so without getting too star-centric or stuck for multiple years on bad deals, which was a lesson they had learned a few years back. Both the Jackson and Sproles moves should lead to much more cap flexibility in the future.  The Eagles are a shrewd organization and one of those teams that should be considered a model franchise to follow.


 

The post Free Agency Thoughts: Philadelphia Eagles appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>
http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-philadelphia-eagles/feed/ 0
Free Agency Thoughts: New York Giantshttp://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-new-york-giants/ http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-new-york-giants/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 22:25:08 +0000 http://overthecap.com/?p=7262

Key Additions: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie ($7M per year), Geoff Schwartz ($4.2M), Walter Thurmond ($3M), JD Walton ($3M), Rashad Jennings ($2.5M), Jameel McClain ($2.3M), Robert Ayers ($1.9M)

Key Re-Signings: Jon Beason ($5.7M per year), Stevie Brown ($2.8M), Trumaine McBride ($1.4M) , Josh Brown ($1.3M)

Key Losses: Linval Joseph (Vikings), Justin Tuck (Raiders), Hakeem Nicks (Colts), Kevin Boothe (Raiders), Keith Rivers (Bills)

Major Cuts: David Bass ($5M cap savings- June 1)

Free Agency Thoughts:

The Giants were one of the most active teams in free agency, adding 7 starting quality players to the team. This was a different approach than last season for … Read the rest

The post Free Agency Thoughts: New York Giants appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>

Key Additions: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie ($7M per year), Geoff Schwartz ($4.2M), Walter Thurmond ($3M), JD Walton ($3M), Rashad Jennings ($2.5M), Jameel McClain ($2.3M), Robert Ayers ($1.9M)

Key Re-Signings: Jon Beason ($5.7M per year), Stevie Brown ($2.8M), Trumaine McBride ($1.4M) , Josh Brown ($1.3M)

Key Losses: Linval Joseph (Vikings), Justin Tuck (Raiders), Hakeem Nicks (Colts), Kevin Boothe (Raiders), Keith Rivers (Bills)

Major Cuts: David Bass ($5M cap savings- June 1)

Free Agency Thoughts:

The Giants were one of the most active teams in free agency, adding 7 starting quality players to the team. This was a different approach than last season for the Giants and really for most teams in the NFL. Last season the Giants attempted to piece a team together with a large amount of minimum salary contracts to supplement the core talent. The team never fired so this year they hit free agency more aggressively but, for the most part, targeted the lower tier of available players to do so rather than signing the highest priced talent.

Of the new players they signed, Geoff Schwartz was the best signing. He is a quality player and fills and immediate need. If things do not go well it’s at worst a two year contract, but if things do go well they could have a top 10 veteran guard at a mid starter price. He should being some instant stability to what was a poor line in 2013.

Jon Beason fit incredibly well in the organization when he came via trade last year and was someone they had to keep. I would have liked to have seen less signing bonus money, but they do have over $3 million in gameday roster bonuses to protect them from injury, something Beason has struggled with.

Walter Thurmond at $3 million was another good signing. It’s a one year contract where you know you will get the best out of the player. This is not unlike the Raiders signing of Tarell Brown where there is really no downside to the decision. He should be a very productive third corner for the Giants.

Re-signing Stevie Brown was something they had to do. He was terrific in 2012 and his injury in 2013 probably hurt the team greatly. He has the ability to take advantage of mistakes on the field and essentially they are paying him $1 million for a look at his health in the summer. If healthy he is a bargain.

The Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signing was a head scratcher at the price and contract construction. He talked about retiring and only had one other real option which was the New York Jets. The Jets had been tight with money all season and represented little threat and I tend to think the Giants were just bidding against themselves. To fit him within the cap they had to give him a large signing bonus which probably guarantees him three years on the team with a significant amount of dead money the following season if cut.

Why the Giants selected JD Walton to take over at center is a mystery. They must have designs on drafting a center and Walton simply being a one year stopgap or veteran backup. Brian De la Puente, now on the Bears, was a superior player and came in much cheaper. The Giants were linked to him early and perhaps he thought too highly of himself which took the Giants out, but that would have made more sense on almost every level.

Of the lesser free agent signings I think Jennings fits the passing situation need the team wants. That said they overpaid for him and a $2.25 million signing bonus is a bit rich, but Jennings has limited wear on his body so perhaps the Giants see more upside. Still it is a high number to bank on a player who just one season ago was not wanted by most teams on a low dollar contract and it is not as if he lit the world on fire in Oakland.

Robert Ayers is a decent upside potential signing and fits in with what most former first round types would get. The Giants have incentives in the deal which they will gladly pay if he develops into a better pass rusher….Jameel McClain will likely be lost in the shuffle, but it was a low risk contract.

Losing Linval Joseph was a mistake. He signed a top 10 positional contract in Minnesota, but he was a young player that was very important to the teams’ better play in the second half of last season.  Perhaps the Giants did not feel he was a strong enough pass rusher to justify the contract, but it is a risky move to abandon the player.

None of the other losses should concern the team. While the loss of Tuck probably has some hurt feelings, the fact is his production had been declining for years before he played much better in his walk year and much of the standout production came in his two games against the Redskins. That’s not something the Giants could pay much for. I think everyone knew the time was over for Hakeem Nicks and the Giants.

Overall Grade: C+

The Giants got better this offseason but I question the cost of doing so, in particular the Rodgers-Cromartie contract that is very player friendly for a player who is by no means a sure-fire bet. They would have been better off committing to Joseph and finding another second tier cornerback. The Giants pushed a few guys into a paycut and did not rework the contract of either Eli Manning or Antrel Rolle, which was a good move since both could be on their way out next season.

I think the team has added far better depth for next season, some of whom bring some upside on lower cost contracts. The way they approached the offseason tells me that they are unsure of where they are right now and how competitive the team can be. Most of this feels like a team making keeping their fingers crossed and taking one last chance with this group. I think they are at a position where I could see them getting hot, if Manning is on a good year, and going deep in the playoffs or just completely falling apart and having to sort through a veteran roster for at least one more year before they can get younger and competitive, likely with a new GM, head coach, and QB.

The post Free Agency Thoughts: New York Giants appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>
http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-new-york-giants/feed/ 0
Free Agency Thoughts: Dallas Cowboyshttp://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-dallas-cowboys/ http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-dallas-cowboys/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 22:17:57 +0000 http://overthecap.com/?p=7260

Key Additions: Henry Melton ($6.9M per year), Jeremy Mincey ($1.5M), Terrell McClain ($1M)

Key Re-Signings: None

Key Losses: Jason Hatcher (Redskins)

Major Cuts: DeMarcus Ware ($7.4M cap savings), Miles Austin ($5.5M- June 1)

Free Agency Thoughts:

While it was a relatively quiet offseason for Dallas, at the same time I think it proved to be a smart one. Dallas came into 2014 with the worst salary cap situation in the NFL but was able to begin the process of turning that around when they released DE/OLB DeMarcus Ware. It was a difficult decision to part ways with Ware and one … Read the rest

The post Free Agency Thoughts: Dallas Cowboys appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>

Key Additions: Henry Melton ($6.9M per year), Jeremy Mincey ($1.5M), Terrell McClain ($1M)

Key Re-Signings: None

Key Losses: Jason Hatcher (Redskins)

Major Cuts: DeMarcus Ware ($7.4M cap savings), Miles Austin ($5.5M- June 1)

Free Agency Thoughts:

While it was a relatively quiet offseason for Dallas, at the same time I think it proved to be a smart one. Dallas came into 2014 with the worst salary cap situation in the NFL but was able to begin the process of turning that around when they released DE/OLB DeMarcus Ware. It was a difficult decision to part ways with Ware and one that I don’t think many expected Dallas to make. My contention has been that the decisions made on Ware were the most important to the long term health of their roster and they gained significantly over the long term with the release.

The team only touched the contracts of Tony Romo and Sean Lee for cap relief, both of which were moves that were essentially built into the contracts when they were signed last year. Importantly they did not touch the deals of Brandon Carr or Jason Witten. Miles Austin was designated a June 1 release, which will give the Cowboys ample breathing room during the season to function and potentially work out an extension with WR Dez Bryant. Starting G Mackenzy Bernadeau also took a pay cut to remain a Cowboy.

The tradeoff of Jason Hatcher for Henry Melton was an excellent decision. Melton is coming off injury but is five years younger and has been much more consistent than Hatcher, who had a career season in 2013. Hatcher signed for ridiculous money in Washington while the Cowboys crafted a contract with Melton that can be escaped after one season if Melton does not play at a high level.

The remainder of the signings are what could be expected with the salary cap constraints as they added players who may be rotational players. The Cowboys also signed QB Brandon Weeden as an insurance policy if Kyle Orton was to opt for retirement. Weeden only costs the minimum.

Overall Grade: C

Nobody expected much but I think the Cowboys come out of this in a good enough position. The release of Ware and lack of renegotiated deals was a big positive for Dallas and should begin the process of freeing their salary cap up over the next two years so that they can add more in free agency. I can’t say the Cowboys are any better this year following the loss of Ware but they should be much better off long term and that’s a successful offseason.


 

The post Free Agency Thoughts: Dallas Cowboys appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>
http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-dallas-cowboys/feed/ 1
Free Agency Thoughts: San Diego Chargershttp://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-san-diego-chargers/ http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-san-diego-chargers/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 22:14:54 +0000 http://overthecap.com/?p=7255

Key Additions: Donald Brown ($3.5M per year), Kellen Clemens ($1.5M)

Key Re-Signings: Chad Rinehart ($2.5M per year), Darrell Stuckey ($1.9M), Reggie Walker($1M)

Key Losses: Cam Thomas (Steelers), Charlie Whitehurst (Titans)

Major Cuts: LeRon McClain ($2.5M cap savings), Derek Cox ($1.7M)

Free Agency Thoughts:

Even moreso than the Chiefs’, the Chargers offseason had almost no chance to go anywhere due to the salary cap mess than was left from the prior front office. If not for the unexpected rise in cap dollars to $133 million, San Diego was going to be in a position where they were going to have a … Read the rest

The post Free Agency Thoughts: San Diego Chargers appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>

Key Additions: Donald Brown ($3.5M per year), Kellen Clemens ($1.5M)

Key Re-Signings: Chad Rinehart ($2.5M per year), Darrell Stuckey ($1.9M), Reggie Walker($1M)

Key Losses: Cam Thomas (Steelers), Charlie Whitehurst (Titans)

Major Cuts: LeRon McClain ($2.5M cap savings), Derek Cox ($1.7M)

Free Agency Thoughts:

Even moreso than the Chiefs’, the Chargers offseason had almost no chance to go anywhere due to the salary cap mess than was left from the prior front office. If not for the unexpected rise in cap dollars to $133 million, San Diego was going to be in a position where they were going to have a hard time just being cap compliant in 2014.

The teams biggest move came before free agency even began with the re-signing of LB Donald Butler to what could be no more than a three year deal worth around $20 million. Because of their cap situation they had to come in with a large signing bonus, which more or less makes the three years guaranteed. Pro Football Focus did not grade Butler highly, but he was a player they wanted to bring back and this was the only way to do it. If looked at as a three year contract the yearly average is close to a fair market value.

Donald Brown ended up as one of the two highest paid running backs of the offseason and I’m not sure I really understand the signing. The team already had capable players at the position and because of the cap situation again they had to go with a relatively high signing bonus to make everything work. Unless the team is considering a trade, my gut tells me that this will lead to wasted salary cap space.

With limited cap room the team was pretty much locked into bringing back their lower cost players, some of whom are listed up top and others who were lower in cost and not listed. Given their cap situation those are all proper moves in hopes of remaining competitive as there were no chances to upgrade at the price point and most played reasonable last season. Likewise the swap of Charlie Whitehurst for he lower cost Kellen Clemens was also the right move for the team.

Besides the no-brainer cuts of LaRon McClain and Derek Cox, the Chargers were proactive in reworking the contracts of Eddie Royal and Dwight Freeney. Freeney is a high upside player that might be worth the risk, but Royal I think would have been better off being let go. Royal was unexpectedly solid last season, but I would not count on that again. I think that would have been $3.5 million better spent elsewhere. Not releasing or reworking the contract of Jeromey Clary is questionable, but perhaps that will come in the summer and was unnecessary based on their anticipated plans.

Overall Grade: C-

The Chargers were a playoff team last season which makes free agency very difficult for a team with limited resources to improve. While I disliked the signing of Brown and keeping Royal, I can’t get on their case too badly since there was little the team could do this year. One of the smart things that I think they have done is resisting the temptation to possibly rework the contracts of Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, and Eric Weddle for cap relief. It will take another year before the new regime can really put a stamp on the team and in order to maintain that ability they need to keep the veterans on their current deals and take short term band aid contracts for the other positions.


 

The post Free Agency Thoughts: San Diego Chargers appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>
http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-san-diego-chargers/feed/ 1
Free Agency Thoughts: Oakland Raidershttp://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-oakland-raiders/ http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-oakland-raiders/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 22:12:41 +0000 http://overthecap.com/?p=7251

Key Additions: Matt Schaub ($6.8M per year), Austin Howard ($6M), LaMarr Woodley ($5.2M), Justin Tuck ($5M), Donald Penn ($4.8M), Antonio Smith ($4.5M), Tarell Brown ($3.5M), James Jones ($3.3M), Kevin Boothe ($1.3M), Maurice Jones-Drew ($2.5M)

Key Re-Signings: Charles Woodson ($2M per year), Darren McFadden ($1.8M), Pat Sims ($1.5M), Usama Young ($1.2M)

Key Losses: Jared Veldheer (Cardinals), Lamarr Houston (Bears), Rashad Jennings (Giants), Tracy Porter (Redskins),

Major Cuts: Mike Brisiel ($1.4M cap savings)

Free Agency Thoughts:

The Raiders went into free agency with the most cap space in the history of the NFL and they did what they could to spend it. … Read the rest

The post Free Agency Thoughts: Oakland Raiders appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>

Key Additions: Matt Schaub ($6.8M per year), Austin Howard ($6M), LaMarr Woodley ($5.2M), Justin Tuck ($5M), Donald Penn ($4.8M), Antonio Smith ($4.5M), Tarell Brown ($3.5M), James Jones ($3.3M), Kevin Boothe ($1.3M), Maurice Jones-Drew ($2.5M)

Key Re-Signings: Charles Woodson ($2M per year), Darren McFadden ($1.8M), Pat Sims ($1.5M), Usama Young ($1.2M)

Key Losses: Jared Veldheer (Cardinals), Lamarr Houston (Bears), Rashad Jennings (Giants), Tracy Porter (Redskins),

Major Cuts: Mike Brisiel ($1.4M cap savings)

Free Agency Thoughts:

The Raiders went into free agency with the most cap space in the history of the NFL and they did what they could to spend it. Was it spent wisely?  I guess that depends on your perspective. If you are excited about having a large number of contracts that are in essence one year contracts then you should feel that the Raiders did great. They added at least nine starters, kept three good pieces and if any fail they can go and cut them all in 2015. If that doesn’t float your boat, then you should think this was a terrible offseason.

The one decision nobody should argue with is bringing in Matt Schaub. Oakland was in desperate need of a QB and Schaub is just one year removed from at least being an effective game manager. In a sense it’s a lateral move from Carson Palmer but with more favorable contract terms. It was a huge need and they filled it. His new deal does not preclude them from drafting a QB either.

The Raiders brought in Austin Howard to play either right tackle or guard at $6 million a year. It’s a very strong contract for Howard made stronger by what seems to be a clerical error by the Raiders which caused a large first year roster bonus to be treated as a signing bonus. I’d be almost certain the Raiders had no desire to do this as no contract they signed had prorated money beyond 2014 and the bonus language here was designed to avoid this bonus from prorating. Perhaps they can petition for a change but the current management council decision has the bonus prorated.

Outside of the Howard signing free agency pretty much played out like an attempt to recreate a Pro Bowl team from 2009. Charles Woodson (38), Donald Penn (31), Kevin Boothe (31), Antonio Smith (33), Justin Tuck (31), LaMarr Woodley (30), and James Jones (30) all make up the post 30’s brigade this year, and all, except for Jones, should have question marks surrounding them. Penn and Woodley were no longer wanted by their original teams because their play had dropped so much. Tuck was willing to stay in New York for less money but the Giants had no desire to bring him back. Smith and Woodson are both at ages where you keep your fingers crossed.

I’m can’t explain the decisions at running back. The team retained Darren McFadden and then signed the ancient, in football years, Maurice Jones-Drew. There are no excuses for McFadden who is not just injury prone but also awful when healthy. McFadden’s deal contains almost no guarantees but even $1.75 million if he makes the team is too high. MJD will earn $500,000 less than the younger Knowshon Moreno and about $1 million less than the top players signed this year at RB. Oakland has to hope that the only cause for his problems in Jacksonville was the poor offensive line.

Tarell Brown was a strong signing by the team. He is a capable cornerback and being on a “prove it” contract should get the best out of him. It would have been nice to get him for two years, but I don’t think he would agree to those terms right now. Jones should be a reasonable veteran that can be the third guy with potential weeks to have more of a role. The re-signing of Sims and Young were both solid and both on reasonable contracts.

I can’t wrap my head around allowing the younger Veldheer and Houston to walk away without a fight. The loss of Veldheer in particular seemed like a lesson in not how to run a franchise. At the least they could have put a transition tag on him and then rescinded the tag had Rodger Saffold, who the Raiders identified as his replacement, passed a physical. Instead they let Veldheer walk and when they backed out of the Saffold deal had to scramble to find a name off the scrap heap to play left tackle.

Overall Grade: D

For whatever reason when I look at Oakland I see the same type of team that they put out there two or three years ago, except the contracts are not obscene this time around. I would have thought they would have been aggressive in trying to nab a few younger players such as one of the cornerbacks or guards but they passed on the front tier of free agents. I understand wanting players on your contract terms (no signing bonus and nothing more than vesting guarantees) but that should not hamper you from getting a player. The Buccaneers run a very similar style and had no issues getting players to sign. If the Raiders vision is to have these veteran players show a new crop of younger guys how to professionally approach the job, that’s something, but as it stands there is very little long term vision in the group that was put together.


 

The post Free Agency Thoughts: Oakland Raiders appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>
http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-oakland-raiders/feed/ 13
Free Agency Thoughts: Kansas City Chiefshttp://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-kansas-city-chiefs/ http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-kansas-city-chiefs/#comments Sun, 13 Apr 2014 13:20:22 +0000 http://overthecap.com/?p=7248

Key Additions: Vance Walker ($3.3M per year), Joe Mays($3M)

Key Re-Signings: Husain Abdullah($1.1M per year)

Key Losses: Branden Albert (Dolphins), Tyson Jackson (Falcons), Jon Asamoah (Falcons), Geoff Schwartz (Giants), Dexter McCluster (Titans)

Major Cuts: Dunta Robinson ($3.1M cap savings)

Free Agency Thoughts:

Free agency for the Chiefs was more about the state of their salary cap than it was about signing players. The Chiefs spending spree occurred in 2013 and with a high payroll already a factor in 2015 with no starting QB under contract that season there was little that Kansas City could do this year but watch their … Read the rest

The post Free Agency Thoughts: Kansas City Chiefs appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>

Key Additions: Vance Walker ($3.3M per year), Joe Mays($3M)

Key Re-Signings: Husain Abdullah($1.1M per year)

Key Losses: Branden Albert (Dolphins), Tyson Jackson (Falcons), Jon Asamoah (Falcons), Geoff Schwartz (Giants), Dexter McCluster (Titans)

Major Cuts: Dunta Robinson ($3.1M cap savings)

Free Agency Thoughts:

Free agency for the Chiefs was more about the state of their salary cap than it was about signing players. The Chiefs spending spree occurred in 2013 and with a high payroll already a factor in 2015 with no starting QB under contract that season there was little that Kansas City could do this year but watch their team begin to get torn apart.

The Chiefs did not really want Albert last season and tried to trade him so it was no surprise to see him leave via free agency. There was barely an avenue to afford him last year and absolutely none this year. Could they have kept one of the guards without touching contracts on the roster?  Probably not, but its realistic to question if money would have been better allocated there than to Joe Mays at LB.

Last year Mays was a late cut from the Broncos who saw no need to pay him $4 million. He signed with the Texans for around $1.1 million. While he played ok, paying $3 million for him is a bit rich. Akeem Jordan signed with the Redskins for the minimum and will only count for $635,000 against the cap compared to $2 million for Mays. That extra $1.5 million may have given the team a way to keep one of their linemen.

Vance Walker should be a solid addition in their rotation and lower in cost than the departing Jackson, who came off a career season which turned into nearly $10 million in guaranteed salary with the Falcons. Teams should always be wary of career seasons from underachievers in a walk year and Kansas City wisely was cautious.

The rest of free agency was basically just signing whatever low cost guys they could with Abdullah leading the way at $1.1 million a year. I’m assuming he will see an expanded role at that salary, if not they should have looked at a minimum contract.

Overall Grade: C-

I’m sure the first inclination is to look at the losses and gains and give the team a D or F, but what else could they have done?  The team had no chance to do anything in free agency due to their cap. They were not going to trade Tamba Hali nor could they justify touching Dwayne Bowe’s contract after the hideous season he had.  You can nitpick Mays but even that may not have resulted in a deal for one of the lost players. Of the teams we have gone over so far this was the first one that faced a salary cap constraint that made it near impossible to do anything.


 

The post Free Agency Thoughts: Kansas City Chiefs appeared first on Over the Cap.

]]>
http://overthecap.com/free-agency-thoughts-kansas-city-chiefs/feed/ 1