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 »

An Offseason Guide to OTC: Free Agency Tables

The OTC free agency pages are the most comprehensive free agency listings that you can find. The tables are interactive to allow you to filter the various types of free agents or by team to quickly drill down the available talent. To access the free agent pages simply click on free agency in the top menu bar or follow this link and bookmark the page. Continue reading An Offseason Guide to OTC: Free Agency Tables »

An Offseason Guide to OTC: Team Cap Pages

We continue our offseason guide to OTC with a look at the team salary cap pages. These are a must bookmark if you want to get a better picture of your overall team and salary cap commitments. The team salary cap page is a current snapshot of the estimated cap charges for every player on the roster as well as what a team could save (or lose) in cap room by releasing a player. To reach a team’s cap page simply click on the team in the top menu that you want to view and bookmark your favorite team so you can quickly get back to it during this busy time. Continue reading An Offseason Guide to OTC: Team Cap Pages »