The OTC 2021 Free Agency Guide is Now Available

Cutdown Day Updates

Today is always a bittersweet day as the NFL makes their cuts down to 53 players. On one hand it marks the turn into the regular season which is exciting for fans and players alike but on the other hand over one thousand players will lose their chance to play this year. A few notes on our schedule at OTC.

We won’t process cuts until they become official. Today will be loaded with news of players who are being cut, expected to be cut, and so on. Some actually wind up on IR. A few may be traded. A few are not actually cut. It is easier to just wait to process everything.

Due to the high volume of transactions expect to see some delay in updating everyone. We’ll get there by Monday for certain but expect a lot of changes over the next 48 hours.

Practice squad players will start signing tomorrow afternoon once they clear waivers. Again we will process these when official and we have completed the initial cuts. There are a lot more practice squad spots than usual so on the bright side expect more rookies than usual to get a chance at making a roster.

It is important to remember that the 53 man today is also not going to be the 53 man tomorrow. The rosters in the NFL are very fluid this time of year and really are not set until Tuesday afternoon which is the day the players earn a pay check.

Salary cap calculations change on Tuesday as well. On that day they move from the 51 man offseason system to the full roster in-season accounting system. Expect every team to lose at least $3.5 million in cap space. We will switch over to the in season system earlier than Tuesday and will put an update on the front page when we do so.

This is the last week where we usually see last minute contract changes and extensions. This take time to get information on so if you have any information to share please let me know and we will update it. Once we get the cuts all processed Ill probably also post an update on the cap numbers in place at the time.

Finally due to all the salary cap stuff going on right now the podcast will be late this week. I probably wont record until Tuesday or Wednesday night and will look at the final rosters and do some (bad) predictions for the season. So if you have any questions you can let me know.

We should have some good stuff on tap for OTC this year. We will do the weekly valuations again hopefully starting in week 1 but definitely in week 2. We should have some added materials by the end of the year in the premium section that I think you will also enjoy looking at and find useful for research too.

As always thanks for the support and continuing to use OTC.

Notes on Handling of Offseason Updates

Just wanted to post a brief update on the status of some salary cap related stuff on OTC over the next few weeks. This time of year is filled with all kinds of rumors, announcements of signings, possible trades, cuts, etc….and it always causes all kinds of confusion so here is how we plan on handling the various items in the offseason.

Potential Trades

Trades can not be processed until  the beginning of the league year so from a technical standpoint all of these players should remain on their current team until March 18th at 4PM. During the next few weeks its always possible that the trades can fall through or a new trade partner pops up essentially making the trade announcement nothing more than a fantasy. In the past trade agreements during February and March were pretty rare but it picked up steam last year and we did adjust the way we handled them last year. Provided that the trade is reported by a reputable source (Adam Schefter for example)or announced by the team we will process it within a day or two of the announcement even though we may need to revert it if the trade falls through.

Potential Cuts

There is always talk of players that are being released. We will not process any cuts unless officially announced by the team either through a press release or the official NFL transaction wire.


Retirement announcements often occur in February and March, but until these are official with the NFL we will not process these.  We will treat it this way even if the team and/or player announces it. Why?  There are cases that arise where a player realizes that retiring is not in his best financial interest and ends up not retiring. From a cap perspective teams may want to hold off on officially placing someone on a reserve list until June 2.

Rumored Signings

Unless we confirm the numbers with someone we will not process any rumored signings. We may, during free agency, put in some placeholder numbers based on reports that assign the player to the right team and put his overall reported contract numbers into our rankings, but please remember that often reported values end up very different than the actual ones so if you see numbers change over time that may be why.

Void Acceleration

Players with voids (like Tom Brady) often have cap dollars that may accelerate into 2020 if they do not sign an extension. This acceleration doesn’t happen until the first day of the league year and we will not adjust until that date. For players with voids earlier than that we will accelerate it once the void occurs and move the player from the active list to the “dead money” list. We never count fake base salaries (contracts will usually have a large salary in the contract) at any point for voidable contract years.

Declined Options

With NFL rules changes these options will likely soon come to an end, but for the next year or two they have to dealt with. The declined option, despite the nicer sounding words associated with it, is nothing more than a cut. The only difference is that the player wont be free until the start of free agency. As long as the news of the declined option comes from a reputable source we will process this as a cut,

Because of the difference in the way we will be treating this versus how others will and specifically how the NFL will when you see wild differences between reported numbers this is likely a main reason why. Also remember that things are always very fluid this time of year and while we do our best to keep up with contract announcements and details there is always going to be some lag especially with new rules possibly in place this year. So just stick with us while we get it all sorted out.

Thanks as always for making OTC a small part of your football world and lets get ready for another wild free agency period.

Introducing Our NFL Draft Research Book: A Pre-Screening Offer for NFL Teams & Affiliated Parties

We are excited to announce the debut of a small research book that focuses on the successes and failures in the modern NFL draft:

The Drafting Stage – Creating a Marketplace for NFL Draft Picks

Written by: Brad Spielberger & Jason Fitzgerald 

If you work in/are affiliated with the NFL and are interested in receiving an electronic copy of the book, please email Brad at

The concept for the research was to use NFL salary data to retroactively grade every draft selection from 2011 through 2015 following the conclusion of their rookie contracts, and to use that data to better project the value of each future draft selection. To the best of our knowledge nobody has used this type of metric to value draft selections, as most other papers have dealt with inputs like “years making a pro bowl,” or “games started” to value the contribution and talent level of a draft pick in the NFL. Nothing is more all-encompassing, in our opinion, than the ultimate salary of a player, which should be reflective of every aspect of the player’s game.  

We extended the study to go beyond just the typical “draft pick values” that are usually derived from draft analysis work. In the book we touch on the following: 

  • Assessing every draft pick trade outcome from 2011 to 2015, by round, to determine who was the ultimate “winner and loser” based on the financial outcomes of the trade 
  • Developing Tiers based on a player’s salary to better identify the probabilities of finding a superstar, starter, backup, or replacement level player in the draft based on the draft round and position played 
  • Creating a system to evaluate contracts fairly and independent of position to better illustrate the value that can be found based on position influenced drafting 
  • Examining the success rates and selection rates by position to provide better information on when to strike on a specific position in the draft 
  • Providing some context to the idea of finding “ten-year starters” in the draft through examining the actual outcomes of every draft pick selected during the draft years that were studied  
  • Identifying the typical range and price of free agent talent available to better plan what positions should perhaps be given additional weight in the draft 

Tulane’s Fifth Annual Pro Football Negotiation Competition

The Tulane Sports Law Society is currently accepting applications to compete in their fifth annual pro football negotiation competition. The competition is open to any current law students and is an event that I highly recommend for anyone who may be interested in pursuing a career in sports law Continue reading Tulane’s Fifth Annual Pro Football Negotiation Competition »

Tulane’s 4th Annual Pro Football Contract Negotiation Recap

I just wanted to share with our audience my experience at this year’s Tulane Pro Football Negotiation Competition. This is the 3rd year I’ve been invited to judge the event and it remains one of my favorite events of the year.  I once again would encourage any law student who is thinking about pursuing a career in sports to participate in next year’s competition. Continue reading Tulane’s 4th Annual Pro Football Contract Negotiation Recap »

Salary Cap Space Updates

As the season draws closer and closer to the end I’ve been getting more and more questions about cap room for next year and why some of my twitter replies dont match the website. So since we are getting close to the end of the year I figured to help lessen those questions I would begin to add the adjustments to the 2018 salary cap space charts to give everyone a more realistic picture of where teams will be next year.  Continue reading Salary Cap Space Updates »