2016 Cap Analytics: Houston Texans

The Texans possess a solid degree of long-term cap flexibility (18th in Commitment Index) for a playoff team, which is a good thing considering that this placement does not include a large QB contract.  The contracts the team has signed its core players to over the past several years seem likely to age well under the quickly rising salary cap, and the team is in a position to add talent to the roster while only making a few expected subtractions for cap-related reasons.  This separates the Texans from other teams in the 7-9 win range that possess less long-term cap flexibility, more expected contract terminations, and greater numbers of free agents.

The team tends to include guaranteed money in the form of base salary rather than just signing bonus, suggesting a cautious approach with respect to the tradeoff between maximizing the current roster and maintaining the ability to maximize future rosters.  With an uncertain QB situation, this seems like a prudent philosophy.  The structure of a DeAndre Hopkins extension may shed light on whether the team will continue to take this approach.

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.

Player Position Expected Outcome Expected Savings
JJ Watt F7 100.0% $50
Kevin Johnson DB 100.0% ($1,781)
Jadeveon Clowney F7 99.8% ($12,048)
Whitney Mercilus F7 99.5% ($15,950)
Derek Newton OL 97.0% $0
Kareem Jackson DB 96.9% ($133,256)
DeAndre Hopkins REC 95.9% $58,667
Brian Cushing F7 95.9% $92,803
Rahim Moore DB 79.1% $432,989
Johnathan Joseph DB 68.7% $938,400
Duane Brown OL 57.2% $2,999,500
Brian Hoyer QB 48.3% $2,513,269
Cecil Shorts REC 42.3% $1,685,922
Vince Wilfork F7 33.0% $2,682,000
Akeem Dent F7 26.7% $1,602,563
Garrett Graham REC 14.9% $2,660,938
Arian Foster RB 13.7% $5,720,688
Expected Change in Cap Room +$21,224,754


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 $153,099,555
Prorated Signing Bonus Amounts ($28,535,699)
Realizable Cap Space $124,563,856
Fully Guaranteed Salary ($20,532,396)
Minimum Salary Cap Holds ($20,250,000)
True Cap Space $83,781,460
League Rank 21st

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 $34,545,219
Fully Guaranteed Salary $6,611,182
Current Cap Space ($29,194,427)
Net Commitment $11,961,874
Commitment Index Score 69%
League Rank (1st = Most Committed) 18th