2016 Cap Analytics: Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are one of only two teams (the Seahawks are the other) with no players who can be considered more likely to be released than not, and as a result the team has the lowest expected change in salary cap room in the entire league.  Further, the team’s 4th place ranking in True Cap Space and 26th place ranking in Commitment Index show that these high Expected Outcomes are not a result of heavily mortgaged contracts that would be painful to terminate from a salary cap perspective.  On the contrary, the team has consistently demonstrated an ability to both accurately forecast which players will perform well in the future and to capitalize on negotiating leverage to design team-friendly contracts.

Absent from the Bengals cap sheet are the needless Accelerated Future Team Option Deadlines and option bonuses that litter the cap sheets of other teams with avoidable risk.  Every contract involves a tradeoff between the team and player as to contractual risk (guaranteed money), potential for surplus value (total contract value) and optionality (number of nonguaranteed contract seasons).  The Bengals seem to consistently secure team-friendly or team-neutral terms as to all three considerations.  In this respect, the Bengals can be considered arguably the most effective salary cap management front office in the league.

Expected Contract OutcomesExpected Contract Value 2.0 utilizes an algorithm based on a player’s contract characteristics, age, position and 2015 performance to forecast probabilities as to the outcomes of contract termination decisions.   The lower the Expected Outcome, the more likely the player’s contract will be terminated in 2016.  A pay cut is treated as a termination.  We have applied ECV 2.0 to all contracts scheduled to count $2 million or more against the 2016 salary cap with the exception of exercised 5th year rookie options.  Expected Savings is the calculated by multiplying the probability a player will be released by the cap savings realized by the team upon such release.

PlayerPositionExpected OutcomeExpected Savings
Geno AtkinsF799.9%$4,680
AJ GreenREC98.7%$12,800
Andrew WhitworthOL98.4%$94,200
Carlos DunlapF798.4%$49,410
Clint BolingOL97.9%$57,200
Cedric OgbuehiOL96.9%($150,838)
Andy DaltonQB96.3%$218,890
Vontaze BurfictF794.8%$118,300
Darqueze DennardDB94.8%($54,112)
Michael JohnsonF794.5%$152,075
Tyler EifertREC86.9%$100,345
Rey MaualugaF786.9%$536,278
Domata PekoF774.0%$969,245
Kevin HuberKP69.1%$734,944
Expected Change in Cap Room+$2,843,417


True Cap SpaceRealizable Cap Space depicts the total amount of salary cap space potentially at the team’s disposal in 2016, and True Cap Space makes further adjustments to take into consideration amounts that are accounted for in practical terms.  Most True Cap Space will be used on players currently under contract as a result of the team choosing to not release them.

True Cap Space (2016)
Adjusted Salary Cap$157,712,902
Prorated Signing Bonus Amounts($19,947,649)
Realizable Cap Space$137,765,253
Fully Guaranteed Salary($4,398,274)
Minimum Salary Cap Holds($21,600,000)
True Cap Space$111,766,979
League Rank4th

Commitment Index – Commitment Index identifies the degree to which a team has “mortgaged its future” by measuring its net future salary cap commitments as a percentage of the average net future salary cap commitments of all teams.  A Commitment Index Score of 100% is average, and a negative Commitment Index Score indicates that the team has more current salary cap space than future salary cap commitments.  The Commitment Index Score of every team in the league changes to at least some degree with every transaction executed by any team in the league, so Commitment Index Score is measured as of a specific point in time (in this case, January 11, 2016). 

Commitment Index (2017+)
Prorated Signing Bonus Amounts$29,296,070
Fully Guaranteed Salary$2,392,790
Current Cap Space($36,573,157)
Net Commitment($4,884,297)
Commitment Index Score-28%
League Rank (1st = Most Committed)26th