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General Manager League 2016

The General Manager League is back for another year! For some this will be a new experience and for others this will be a much welcome return.

For those of you new to this, we have all wished we had a bit more control over what our favourite teams do, or simply just love the roster gymnastics of the offseason, I’d like to introduce and invite you to the General Manager League.

Essentially you are taking over a team and running them through the NFL offseason from a certain point in time forward against other human players. If you’ve followed your favourite team during the offseason, or played Madden’s franchise mode, you know the process. There are some tweaks as it’s a one year league, but the general idea remains the same. The numbers, of course come from right here at OverTheCap.

The basics can be found at ’16 GML Rules, Info, & Timeline and any questions will happily be answered!

To register please use this link to sign up

GM League update

Hey folks, I noticed some people who expressed interest in the initial post seem to have not made it over yet to claim their teams (namely the Colts and Texans). We are filling up the last spots so I wanted to initiate a last call of sorts. We want to try to get things officially started in the next couple of days. To join up use this link and to claim your team, assuming they are available, post in this thread

If you have any questions, please ask!

Flynn-ished: Raiders release beleaguered QB


On Monday, the Raiders took the expected final step of releasing much maligned quarterback Matt Flynn. Heavily assumed to be in the works since Flynn’s disaster of a start against the Redskins, the move took just over a week to be made.

The financial implications of Flynn’s release are pretty cut and dry. The Raiders will gain no cap space from Flynn’s release, barring the event of Flynn signing on with another team. He will still account for $3,875,000 against the Raiders’ cap this season. Considering Flynn’s performance and drastic fall from grace, if Flynn did latch on with another team, the amount would likely be close to the veteran minimum, a paltry recouping of cap space. The remaining pro-ration of Flynn’s signing bonus from his two restructures will result in a dead money hit of $2,625,000 for next season since Flynn obviously was released after June 1st. The Raiders will get back Flynn’s $5,000,000 salary for the 2014 season and that same amount in cap space.

Some have taken umbrage with McKenzie for guaranteeing Flynn’s salary for the season, but I don’t think guaranteeing Flynn’s salary for the 2013 season was a poor move. Though Flynn underwhelmed, he still didn’t underwhelm to the point to where he would have been released before his salary would have vested as a veteran anyway. While initially Flynn wouldn’t have cost any cap space to release after 2013, and the restructures changed that, the amount is comparatively small when juxtaposed with the Raiders’ massive cap space for 2014. In short, it shouldn’t have much, if any of an impact on next year’s situation. Some others would point out that this wouldn’t have been an issue in the first place if McKenzie had simply not traded for Flynn and used that money elsewhere. While viable, the Raiders also needed a quarterback, and there was history there to suggest the move made sense. The more interesting aspect to this move is how Reggie McKenzie completely misread his former player’s fit for the Raiders roster.

Though the financial aspects of this mistake are not dire, there are some troubling factors to this move. The fact McKenzie acquired a former player who he, in theory, knew very well, flamed out so quickly is worrying. A 5th rounder on the whole isn’t a huge sum, but for a GM who has stated he can find starters through the 5th round and relies on the draft, a 5th rounder given up for a player who lasted 5 games that he had worked with before is a blow to his evaluation skills. Those who viewed the move positively at the time assumed that Flynn had the skills to become a decent backup at least. Flynn failed to even demonstrate that by showing no pocket presence or elusiveness. Combined with less than stellar arm talent, and the widespread knowledge that the Raiders’ Offensive Line is atrocious, it is obvious how badly this experiment would end. Everyone knew Flynn was propped up by Green Bay’s talent, but McKenzie should have known just exactly how much Flynn was helped by his surrounding talent.

While it is nice that McKenzie quickly admitted the mistake instead of compounding it, something that Raiders’ fans are not accustomed to, it still doesn’t change the error. McKenzie allegedly wanted Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib over 4th round quarterback Tyler Wilson, but seemingly was so intent on drafting a quarterback, it seems he went against his board, something he says he would not do. Generally reaching at a position, and not following your board, is a quick way to wind up with a talent poor roster. Although the only lingering cost of the Flynn error after the year will be less than 3 million, the implications of the decision making acumen of the person in charge of the Raiders are potentially far more dire.


Raiders Complete Demolition, Terminate Rolando McClain


The odyssey of Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie’s quest to eliminate “out of whack” contracts and other malcontents has come to a close. With the official release of linebacker Rolando McClain on Monday (he was waived Friday, but did not clear waivers until Monday) McKenzie has eliminated every person and every contract he felt was detrimental to the Raiders long term success. The net result: though some may be re-signed, currently only 17 of the 53 plus players including those on injured reserve when the Hue Jackson led Raiders lost to the Chargers in 2011 in finish 8-8 remain. Only 7 of those 17 are under contract for the 2014 season. Hue Jackson was right when he said “Reggie is going to gut this place” and as any situation where a new manager takes over a financially over-extended and under-performing business, it was much needed and long overdue. This will be looked at in a future post though.

First, McClain. While his contract wasn’t Mr. Al Davis’ fault, he was another in a long line of 1st round failures. While drafted to much hype, questions about how he would translate to an even front defense and having to cover more ground weren’t heard too often. People were happy to finally have a promising young linebacker to man the middle for years after many 1st round reaches and busts. Lauded for his intelligence, work ethic, and instincts, McClain was supposed to be the poster child for a turn around of both the team and the way the team drafted hopefully. As most things have gone with the Raiders, it obviously didn’t quite turn out that way.

McClain was often exposed in coverage, though part of that was exacerbated when at times he was inexplicably asked to cover the likes of Calvin Johnson 25 yard plus downfield. McClain never seemed to comfortable in space and struggles sideline to sideline. While he would deliver some ferocious hits if the player was not too far down the field and between the tackles, not only would McClain often fail to show up elsewhere, he had many a mental lapse as most of the Raiders defense often did. One such example was a game against the Packers in Green Bay in late 2011. McClain had crept up right behind Richard Seymour and they both shot the same gap at the snap. Instead of letting the play unfold and acting more in a “contain” role, McClain along with the defensive tackles shot straight through giving up positioning as usual, enabling a 47 yard touchdown. The Raiders defense was obliterated that game, giving up 4 touchdowns in 2 quarters.

As often was the problem with the rest of the defense, they gambled a lot, and for every impressive play they made, their lack of discipline caused them to give up many more. When the defense gave up a bad play, it was often atrocious, and they were continually gashed in this manner. McClain, like the rest of the defense, didn’t lack all that much physical talent, but the mental discipline aspect of the game was always non-existent for them. Now, that will be the problem of a different team and hopefully in the past for the Raiders.

As for the financial aspect of the move, while we still don’t know if a non-vested player can be designated a June 1st release after clearing waivers and having his contract terminated, the point is pretty much moot. The reason for this is that according to the always informative Joel Corry, McClain’s base salary guarantees of $1,535,000 in 2013 and $2,100,000 in 2014 were voided thanks to Al Davis’ always cautious contract language. Because of this, the Raiders are “only” on the hook for $7,260,000, a small increase of $585,000 over what would have been his cap figure of $6,675,000. For a player with attitude questions, off the field antics, and subpar play, it was an obvious move to make despite being essentially a cap neutral move. McClain was Al Davis’ last 1st round pick and in many ways represented a lot of things about the last few years of the Raiders. At one time he represented hope, which turned out to be false. He represented a failure of the 1st round drafting process for the Raiders, the last one of that time before the picks of the next two years were traded. McClain represented the flashing of talent along with the maddening inconsistency that plagued the team. There are a lot of things McClain represented but now he represents just one thing about the Raiders: the old way of building a team has in effect, been terminated. Overpaid and underperforming talent are things of the past and will not be part of the plan going forward. Well, except for Mike Brisiel, but no one is perfect.

After this move, the Raiders had roughly $7,900,000 in salary cap space (and an amazing $46,357,222 in dead money), but have since signed CB Mike Jenkins, FS Usama Young, and re-signed DE Andre Carter and CB Joselio Hanson so the number doesn’t hold much use now. I’d anticipate it’s at least 3 million less, if not more. I also believe based on the reports from the NFLPA, that RB Jeremy Stewart, OL Alex Parsons, and CB Brandian Ross have been tendered contracts as ERFAs. I’ll be looking at where the Raiders go from here at some point, and as Jason mentioned in his podcast, perhaps what could have been done last offseason, but for now, I’ll let the dust settle with the completion of the demolition.

Jim can be reached at


Raiders, Seahwaks, and Cardinals Make Some Moves with Flynn and Palmer


With accurate news of Quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Carson Palmer’s restructures in hand, I figured now would be a good time to look at the set of moves that landed Flynn in Oakland, Palmer in Arizona, and what it all means for the teams involved.

First the Seahawks, who shipped out last year’s usurped before he held the throne starter Matt Flynn. As well know by now, the Seahawks netted a 5th in 2014, and a conditional pick in the 2015 draft. Considering all the circumstances, I can’t imagine that pick being high at all. Still, it’s a decent get for the Seahawks for a disposed starter making decent money. It does, however, also leave Seattle without a capable backup, with all due respect to Josh Portis. The Seahawks will incur 4 million in dead money, the acceleration of Flynn’s signing bonus, but are off the hook for the guaranteed portion of his salary (the Raiders will cover that) and will gain 3.25 million in space, along with Flynn’s would have been salary of 5.25 million. The Seahawks, with more than enough comfort as it pertains to the cap, I imagine will use the savings to find a backup quarterback, and work on extending their own.

Next, the Cardinals, who gain Carson Palmer for a swap of a 6th for a 7th and a conditional 7th the next season. Palmer was never going to see his 13 million salary, and sure enough isn’t going to see it in Arizona either. If the recently reported numbers are correct (and considering Mr. Brian McIntyre’s usual excellent work, they should be), Palmer will not only give the Cardinals something more than a warm body at quarterback (apologies to another deposed not quite the starter Drew Stanton) but something at least league average from the position. Palmer should be a good fit for Arians downfield attack as his arm has looked much better than the last of his Bengal days. Part of that though also assumes they keep him upright, and in that vein it would not be surprising to see the Cardinals and Raiders connect on another trade for the #3 pick come draft night. For now though, Palmer sees his salary reduced to 2 million this year, and along with the proration of his new 6 million signing bonus, gives him a cap number of 4 million for 2013. For 2014, his cap number is 10 million, though if he flops, or wants to leave, or for whatever reason is no longer in the team’s plans, the Cardinals could release him and save 4 million against the cap once Palmer’s acceleration and guaranteed portion of his salary is accounted for. Palmer’s contract will void after 2014 currently, though there’s plenty of time before then. The Cardinals overall cap health isn’t drastically affected by the Palmer acquisition and remain in decent shape.

Finally, the Raiders. The Raiders give up a 5th rounder in the 2014 draft (which according to more than a few essentially equates to a 6th rounder in this draft) along with a still unknown conditional pick. Some may pan this move for the Raiders, but I think it’s a decent fit. The quarterback class has been viewed with skepticism this year, and Flynn still has some upside. General Manager Reggie McKenzie also is obviously familiar with Flynn from their Green Bay days. Flynn can come in and compete with Terrelle Pryor (I’d expect him to win based on contracts and reports, but one never knows) and either serve as a veteran backup, a stop gap starter, or flourish into something more. Considering the way some 3rd day picks are thrown away, I think it’s a worthwhile gamble. Reports has Flynn originally getting an increase in base pay this season along with a reduction next season, but this is not the case and never did make much sense as Jason noted. New numbers finally released today have him reducing his former base salary of 5.25 million down to 3.25 million, and in return he gets the additional 1.25 million guaranteed (originally 2 million from Seattle already was) and a 3.25 million signing bonus spread over 2 years. Flynn’s 2014 base salary also reportedly has been reduced from 6.25 million down to 5 million, putting his cap hit that season at 6.625 million. Essentially McKenzie took 2 million from Flynn’s salary this season, and 1.25 million next season and combined it into a signing bonus. This will save the Raiders only 375,000 against the cap this year, but they maintain future flexibility if Flynn doesn’t work out saving 5 million next season if they release him, being on the hook for only 1.625 million.

The other part of this trade for the Raiders was dumping Carson Palmer’s contract. Conflicting reports makes it unclear who exactly wanted out, but it’s safe to say both sides had likely grown tired of each other. Palmer was not going to be around if and when the Raiders had successfully rebuilt the team and reportedly wanted to play for a team closer to contention. Palmer will leave the Raiders with 9.34 million in dead money, though the Raiders will save a hair short of 6 million in cap space and 13 million in cash by trading him. The Raiders also managed to secure a higher pick in this draft, moving up from the 7th into the 6th, along with potentially getting an additional 7th next draft. It’s not much, but it’s better than the nothing that was due with an expected release. These moves put the Raiders roughly 9.8 million under the cap, which while I won’t expand on in this post, currently gives them more than enough flexibility to eat all of Rolando McClain’s contract this offseason if they so choose.

It’s safe to say I think everyone is mostly happy with the returns. Arizona gets a quarterback who fits their direction without giving up a ransom, the Raiders get one who fits their team and save cap space and money, and Seattle unloads a player who was not in their long term plans though I’m sure Seattle would like a set backup quarterback, though the team is in amazing shape. In the end though, only time will tell how these trades fare.

Jim can be reached by angry Seahawks and Cardinals fans who know more about their teams than he does at

Raiders Finally Drop Tommy Kelly


The Raiders released DT Tommy Kelly yesterday, a move long suspected to be in the works. Kelly was the Raiders 2nd longest tenured player, only surpassed by kicker Sebastian Janikowski. While Janikowski is certainly well paid for a kicker, his numbers are not exceptionally egregious and he is a UFA next offseason. It is fitting that Kelly is essentially the end of late Raiders owner Mr. Al Davis’ massive overpayments to keep his own players in Silver and Black. Kelly may have been the quintessential poster child for this spending, and was the last remaining truly massive contract doled out by Mr. Davis still on the roster. As often was the case, this practice usually meant very large numbers for very small play.

Kelly was in the second to last year of his massive 7 year $50 million plus contract. Kelly was ascending and largely unproven at the time, and though he went on to flash at times, his play was largely inconsistent. Often reminding some of the way former LB Lavar Arrington played, Kelly seemed to eschew gap integrity and responsibility in order to make a big play. Sometimes it worked, often times it was the impetuous for those all too often long touchdown runs for the opposing running back.

Kelly also seemingly had become more outspoken about the team and its direction, something that couldn’t have sat well with tight lipped General Manager Reggie McKenzie. It’s possible that Kelly had already seen the writing on the wall anyway. Kelly, along with DT Richard Seymour, DB Michael Huff, and QB Carson Palmer restructured their base salaries to the veteran minimum last offseason in order to get the Raiders under the cap. I had assumed this move was done because the Raiders could not afford to absorb the cap hit it would have taken to release them last offseason. As of today, only Palmer remains and his days appear numbered.

Assuming Kelly’s release was straight, and he was not designated a June 1, the Raiders will get roughly a $4,775,000 cap savings. Kelly will count for $6,324,270 of dead money for 2012 and then disappear from the books. Kelly was due a $11,099,270 cap number, and a $6,500,000 base salary – far too prohibitive for a player of his caliber on a team deep into a rebuilding project.

This leaves two players on the Raiders with exorbitant long term cap numbers: QB Carson Palmer and LB Rolando McClain. Interestingly, neither is a direct result of Mr. Davis. Palmer was acquired by former HC Hue Jackson, and McClain was paid under the old rookie scale. McClain as has been noted is likely to be a June 1st designation. The Raiders currently seem to be in a game of chicken with Palmer, and as some have noted, may be hoping to exact some value in a trade. The Arizona Cardinals are most often used as the team in that exercise, but whether or not that comes to fruition remains to be seen.

The Raiders are set up for long term success with regards to the cap in any case, perhaps coming in at over 30 million in space next offseason. A time when they will have to re-sign key free agents, among them LT Jared Veldheer and DL Lamarr Houston. The Raiders sit about 5 million under the cap with Kelly’s release not including the rollover. So while they don’t have a ton of room to play with currently, this will soon change next offseason. The Raiders finally appear to be out of cap hell, which also means that will soon no longer be a viable excuse. The demolition is almost complete. Now comes the time to build.

In the mean time, the Raiders contracts and cap situation can be found here as always.

Jim can be reached for any questions or comments at


Raiders Continue Purge of “out of whack” Contracts


The Raiders continued their roster make over, releasing FS Michael Huff, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, and DE Dave Tollefson. The moves collectively saved about 6.2 million in space for the Raiders currently, bringing them to roughly 15 million under the cap. They will also gain more space in June due to Michael Huff’s June 1st designation. The moves added more than 9 million in dead money however, bringing that total to almost 27 million this season. 6 million more, namely most of Huff’s dead money as a June 1, will hit next season. That is a result of the continued and necessary culling of contracts GM Reggie McKenzie had deemed not representative of the player’s worth.

Looking at each move individually, we’ll start first with perhaps the most out of whack contract, FS Michael Huff. Unlike Bey, Huff’s deal was no longer inflated by a rookie contract under the old system, this was a deal made by Mr. Al Davis. Unfortunately due to the guaranteed salary last year, it almost necessitated being pushed off a year to this year in order to absorb the cap hit. The way Huff’s deal was restructured last year, to mimic his existing years, made it almost a guarantee Huff would not be around much longer. Though Huff flashed at times, and filled in adequately at CB last year, he never lived up to his high 1st round selection, but had been paid as such. By designating Huff a June 1st cut, The Raiders will save 8 million, though must carry his $11,288,750 cap number until then, when it will drop down to $3,288,750, all dead money. The Raiders will also be responsible for $6,208,750 in dead money next season. Both numbers are a result of Huff’s initial signing bonus, and his restructure last season. After that, Huff’s albatross contract will be removed from the books.

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey has been much maligned since he was initially drafted, in a few ways, a prime representative of Mr. Davis’ final years of running the draft for the Raiders. Bey looked to be turning the corner after 2011, but had a fairly dismal 2012, though he was not alone under Greg Knapp’s offense. While he also never lived up to his first round selection, he wasn’t an outright bust, offering value as a depth receiver. Bey was playing under the old rookie contract structure, and his inflated $10,601,000 cap number was untenable. The Raiders will absorb $5,260,000 in dead money, the remainder of his option bonus, though gain $5,341,000 in net cap space. Heyward-Bey was the last remaining player under contract from the 2009 draft for the Raiders, though a few became UFAs this offseason.

Lastly, we have a player that has no ties to Mr. Davis, DE Dave Tollefson. Tollefson came over from the Super Bowl champion Giants, after notching 5 sacks for them that year. He was expected to add some sort of pass rush for the Raiders, but managed to only notch half a sack, likely due to not having the surrounding talent he had in NY to help scheme him loose. Hardly an exorbitant contract, Tollefson was scheduled to only count $1,525,000 against the cap. The Raiders saved $900,000 in cap space by releasing him, absorbing a dead money charge of $625,000, that is made up of the guaranteed part of his salary, signing bonus, and guaranteed roster bonus. It is in a way, comforting, that Mr. McKenzie was willing to admit this mistake, something his predecessor often did not. It should be noted neither of Mr. McKenzie’s 2 main free agent signings have panned out, a perhaps troubling sign for someone noted for his ability to discern whether a player could play or not. The large difference being, this contract was not as financially crippling or as large as deals for Huff, or Seymour who currently counts for almost 14 million in dead money. If you have to bust on a free agent, it’s obviously far more palatable if the dead money is less than a million.

Though in decent cap shape, far better than the usually have been recently, the Raiders have a couple more abnormally large contracts to deal with. They very likely will be dealing with them soon as they work their way hopefully to financial soundness. In the mean time, the roster as it stands now can be found here.

Jim can be reached for any feedback or questions at

Post was edited to reflect Huff’s designation as a June 1st cut