Who Can Afford Stephon Gilmore?

I started to get a number of cap questions about who can and can not afford Stephon Gilmore once he hits free agency so I thought I would put a quick post together outlining the way a contract would work. Not it is important to not that it is exceedingly rare for a player who is a free agent to sign a big contract in October but this may prove to be a unique situation. According to Josina Anderson, Gilmore is looking for $15M/year so we can work off that number to get an idea of who can and can not afford him.

Assuming that Gilmore would not sign this week, a $15 million salary would prorate out to between $10 million and $10.83 million for the balance of the year. Obviously few teams have that kind of cap space, but most teams would simply utilize four dummy years in the contract, which would allow them to count the majority of the salary on the cap in 2022 rather than 2021.

If he signed next week the team would be required to pay him for 13 weeks of the season. To make it a clean cap number a team would pay a base salary of $1.15386M, which would prorate out to $833,333, along with a $10 million signing bonus. Of that $10 million, just $2 million would count in 2021 and $8 million would be pushed to 2022 if the contract voids before an extension is signed. That would bring the all in charge for 2021 to $2.83 million.

If he waits an additional week the team would be on the hook for 12 weeks of the salary. Here you would pay a base rate of $1.2 million along with a $9.2 million signing bonus. That would be a cap charge of $2.64 million with $7.36 million being pushed to 2022.

In both scenarios the net cap impact would be a little lower (between $440 and $470K at the least) since he would be replacing someone on the roster. There are other ways to bring the cap charges lower depending on how much incentivized salary Gilmore would be willing to take, but this would be about the bare minimum on a straight contract.

So who can afford the number? Pretty much everyone. The Jaguars, Panthers, Eagles, Broncos, and Football Team could pretty much do a straight contract without void years if they wanted. The Bengals, Chargers, Seahawks, Steelers, Browns, and Texans could probably lessen the amount of void money. The Packers, Titans, Jets, Raiders, Cowboys, 49ers, Bills, Vikings, Lions, Buccaneers, and Chiefs would have to be closer to what I have here as the way to do the contract.

The Saints, Falcons, Bears, Cardinals, Rams, Rams, Dolphins, Colts, and Giants would be the teams that probably could not afford him on the cap within their current roster construct. They would either need to be more creative or manipulate the cap figures of other players to sign him. Most would have the ability to do that though the Saints would be hard pressed since almost everyone is at a minimum salary but there are a few buttons they could push to do it.

Patriots to Release Stephon Gilmore

Yesterday it was the Cowboys and Jaylon Smith and today its the Patriots and Stephon Gilmore who will be released according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who properly described this release as a stunner .

Gilmore is just two years removed from being the defensive player of the year, but was injured last season and had played in no games this year while residing on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Gilmore had long been unhappy with his contract following his 2019 performance and pretty much made his displeasure known and one would think his release may have to do with that.

The Patriots, as a middle ground, agreed to pay Gilmore $3 million of his 2021 salary in 2020 and give him a very unlikely chance of earning a $2 million incentive. While that pacified the situation for a season the reduction in salary from 2021 was going to make him more unhappy with the contract once this year hit if the Patriots would not extend him or again modify the contract. Despite spending millions on outside players they did not touch Gilmore’s contract again and give a raise or any salary guarantee.

There are two ways to look at the release. One is that Gilmore was likely to come off the PUP list soon and suit up for New England. The team would need to insert him into the lineup and hope whatever ill feelings there were about the contract did not spill over to the field or locker room. It was almost a certainty that Gilmore would be asked about his contract status over and over once back. So perhaps they needed to get away from a distraction.

The Patriots also have very little in the way of cap space this year, about $2.5 million. They have a roster filled with players with large per game bonuses which will eat into that cap space during the year. They also have a few players who may qualify for injury protection from last season which would be a big charge if they were to qualify and file for the benefit.

Releasing Gilmore will give the team breathing room. They will be responsible for 5/18ths of his salary- $1,944,444- and save $5.055 million. They will also keep his $8.53 million proration charge bringing the total cap cost to $10,474,563. The immediate cap savings will be $5.79 million and they will also not be responsible for a potential 17th game bonus and other per game bonus charges. These savings probably made the release easier to consider.

I would expect Gilmore to get a good look as a free agent by a contending team but I am not sure if a team at this stage of the season will sign a long term deal or not. I would lean more toward a heavily incentivized one year contract with a chance for free agency next season.

Explaining the Fletcher Cox Restructure

I had a few people ask me about the Fletcher Cox restructure in Philadelphia and just exactly how it works so I put together a video explaining what it should mean for the Eagles moving forward.

Week 4: Salary on Injured Reserve

Here is a look at the salary cap and contract dollars sitting on reserve lists in week 4 of the 2021 NFL season as well as a listing of which positions have been the most impacted by injury. The numbers include players on injured reserve, PUP, and the covid list. They do not include players on NFI or who are suspended. These numbers will change each week as new players are added to IR and some are removed and re-activated.

This was the first week that teams have been able to activate players from IR so we saw a very low net gain of just 4 players to reserve this week and a net loss of about $14M in cap room and $37M in annual contract value. Expect more players to be added back to the rosters next week.

The Cowboys have moved into the top spot for salary cap dollars lost and it is a wide $5M gap between them and the Ravens. The Packers still have the most salary cap dollars on reserve this week but the Ravens are only about $600,000 off from jumping ahead of Green Bay.

TeamPlayersPlayer ChangeSalary CapChangeAnnual Contract ValueChange
Cowboys18-1$38,737,535($1,619,167)$38,039,639($920,000)
Ravens180$33,744,137($7,066,942)$43,231,965$2,154,976
Jets13-3$32,565,023($2,664,533)$35,241,931($2,981,847)
Packers72$31,248,769$3,484,448$43,814,389$1,919,389
Broncos152$26,756,092$2,077,909$32,913,519$2,444,284
Texans92$25,377,631$7,567,382$36,000,242$16,486,863
Colts123$25,346,178$9,721,149$24,849,610$8,913,331
Lions110$24,637,156$0$35,440,468$0
Patriots110$23,793,128($2,282,395)$23,449,818($119,587)
Saints12-1$23,361,467($1,610,556)$36,239,773($920,000)
Browns112$21,029,556$331,200$24,277,945$331,200
Eagles90$20,708,030$1,850,095$33,537,378$4,918,194
Raiders80$19,018,333($650,000)$20,420,000$0
49ers11-1$17,416,334($1,403,334)$16,527,222($1,045,000)
Giants120$16,497,913$4,622,320$23,589,009$8,000,000
Steelers80$16,054,458($283,333)$23,149,958$0
Cardinals51$14,573,144($2,144,500)$13,103,144($2,004,500)
Dolphins60$13,412,867$930,712$15,495,888$787,962
Chargers40$13,163,933$0$12,473,933$0
Panthers82$12,423,673$8,344,960$17,817,167$9,278,037
Seahawks81$12,206,262$4,971,727$15,537,255$6,059,999
Football Team4-1$11,895,269($3,979,167)$12,402,769($11,500,000)
Bears40$10,525,685$0$16,050,231$0
Titans140$10,299,859$0$14,437,127$0
Falcons90$9,119,612$0$9,240,862$0
Jaguars5-1$8,529,499($465,000)$9,953,693($1,075,000)
Buccaneers10-2$7,347,363($3,858,640)$8,664,727($3,816,140)
Vikings90$6,247,920($729,167)$8,241,970$0
Chiefs20$2,697,965$0$2,817,762$0
Bengals3-1$2,688,319($448,933)$3,700,523($165,600)
Rams50$2,656,873($421,967)$3,925,681$23,090
Bills20$948,135($204,167)$1,833,135$0

Week 3: Salary on Injured Reserve

Here is a look at the salary cap and contract dollars sitting on reserve lists in week 3 of the 2021 NFL season as well as a listing of which positions have been the most impacted by injury. The numbers include players on injured reserve, PUP, and the covid list. They do not include players on NFI or who are suspended. These numbers will change each week as new players are added to IR and some are removed and re-activated. This week we saw a net gain of 33 players and around $100 million in contracts sitting on the sidelines. Overall there is over $600 million in annual contract value currently unable to play.

The Ravens have moved into the top spot for most salary cap lost ($40.8M) but trail the Packers in total value. Dallas still has the most players on the list at 19. This table should be sortable if you click on the header.

TeamPlayersPlayer ChangeSalary CapChangeAnnual Contract ValueChange
Ravens184$40,811,079$17,173,852$41,076,989$10,202,030
Cowboys191$40,356,702$639,444$38,959,639$3,883,194
Jets161$35,229,556$252,000$38,223,778$252,000
Packers51$27,764,321$477,778$41,895,000$695,000
Patriots110$26,075,523$0$23,569,405$0
Saints130$24,972,023$0$37,159,773$0
Broncos132$24,678,183$11,208,709$30,469,235$7,611,306
Lions114$24,637,156$5,010,154$35,440,468$6,630,172
Browns91$20,698,356$14,711,765$23,946,745$15,100,000
Raiders81$19,668,333$1,220,000$20,420,000$2,120,000
Eagles92$18,857,935$15,002,235$28,619,184$23,300,000
49ers122$18,819,668$955,556$17,572,222$1,230,000
Texans72$17,810,249$5,968,426$19,513,379$6,717,879
Cardinals40$16,717,644$249,477$15,107,644-$11,356
Steelers81$16,337,791$2,037,500$23,149,958$2,750,000
Football Team50$15,874,436$0$23,902,769$0
Colts90$15,625,029$0$15,936,279$0
Chargers40$13,163,933$0$12,473,933$0
Dolphins61$12,482,155$6,880,781$14,707,926$7,568,859
Giants122$11,875,593$3,852,369$15,589,009$4,285,841
Buccaneers123$11,206,003$4,253,100$12,480,867$4,478,100
Bears40$10,525,685$0$16,050,231$0
Titans140$10,299,859$0$14,437,127$0
Falcons91$9,119,612$165,600$9,240,862$165,600
Jaguars62$8,994,499$2,513,266$11,028,693$3,495,426
Seahawks70$7,234,535$0$9,477,256$0
Vikings90$6,977,087$0$8,241,970$0
Panthers61$4,078,713$1,360,000$8,539,130$4,500,000
Bengals41$3,137,252$165,600$3,866,123$165,600
Rams50$3,078,840$0$3,902,591$0
Chiefs20$2,697,965$0$2,817,762$0
Bills20$1,152,302$0$1,833,135$0
TOTAL27933$520,958,017$94,097,612$619,649,082$105,139,651

The second thing I looked at this week was just which positions have been impacted the most by injury. I stripped the Covid players from the list and to best compare across positions I used the percentage of all contract value at a given position to be injured this year. Here are the results.

Position% of Contract Value% of All Players
WR12.0%11.4%
CB11.5%10.8%
OT11.2%12.8%
EDGE10.6%9.4%
RB10.3%11.9%
Int. O-Line8.1%9.7%
LB8.0%12.2%
ST7.9%7.8%
D-Line6.4%9.7%
TE5.5%10.4%
QB4.6%10.1%
S3.9%8.6%

I thought some of these were interesting. The most money on the sidelines is from wide receiver, corner, and offensive tackle while safety has been the safest investment. Offensive tackle, linebacker and running back have the most players who are injured. Linebacker surprised me a bit there. I’m not sure if Ill track this every week but I will update this every few weeks as well.

Raiders Gain $3.4 Million in Cap Space

The Raiders who were hard up against the salary cap created $3.4 million in salary cap space by restructuring the contract of linebacker Cory Littleton for the second time this year. The Raiders converted $4.25 million of Littleton’s salary to a bonus reducing his cap charge from $9.329 million to $5.929 million.

The conversion increased Littleton’s salary cap charge in 2022 by $850,000 to $15.768 million, 5th highest at the position. The Raiders will be in better salary cap shape next year but the 2022 cao number combined with what will be a $9.98 million charge on the cap in 2023 if they allow his contract to void, probably puts Littleton in a great position to receive a contract extension next year.

The Raiders now have approximately $3.1 million in cap room this year, which should be enough to function for the remainder of the year. The Raiders project to have around $40 million in cap room next year.

Week 2: Salary on Injured Reserve

Here is a look at the salary cap and contract dollars sitting on reserve lists in week 2 of the 2021 NFL season. The numbers include players on injured reserve, PUP, and the covid list. They do not include players on NFI or who are suspended. These numbers will change each week as new players are added to IR and some are removed and re-activated.

For this week I added columns to show the change in the salary on reserve as well as the number of players. the Packers, Broncos, Chargers, and Football Team all had bad weeks while the Jets, Saints, Cowboys, and Ravens are just having bad years in general. The columns should be sortable if you click on them.

TeamPlayersSalary CapChangeAnnual Contract ValueChange
Packers4$27,286,543$14,620,000$41,200,000$16,500,000
Jets15$34,977,556$1,651,445$37,971,778$3,009,202
Saints13$25,926,290$4,796,535$37,159,773$5,342,975
Cowboys18$39,717,258$19,678,027$35,076,445$8,918,528
Ravens14$23,637,227$1,648,073$30,874,959$1,691,823
Lions7$19,627,002$7,620,119$28,810,296$8,382,132
Football Team5$15,874,436$10,537,500$23,902,769$10,000,000
Patriots11$26,075,523$660,000$23,569,405$808,333
Broncos11$13,469,474$7,452,945$22,857,929$13,798,240
Steelers7$14,300,291$0$20,399,958$0
Raiders7$18,448,333$8,870,000$18,300,000$8,930,000
49ers10$17,864,112$9,803,469$16,342,222$9,110,428
Bears4$10,525,685$743,269$16,050,231$953,269
Colts9$15,625,029($415,000)$15,936,279($660,000)
Cardinals4$16,468,167($422,500)$15,119,000($815,833)
Titans14$10,299,859$1,034,072$14,437,127$814,072
Texans5$11,841,823$3,676,441$12,795,500$3,998,574
Chargers4$13,163,933$11,248,933$12,473,933$10,165,600
Giants10$8,023,224$810,118$11,303,168$910,535
Seahawks7$7,234,535$2,000,000$9,477,256$3,000,000
Falcons8$8,954,012$0$9,075,262$0
Browns8$5,986,591$1,821,666$8,846,745$3,000,000
Vikings9$6,977,087$0$8,241,970$0
Buccaneers9$6,952,903$2,011,636$8,002,767$1,619,000
Jaguars4$6,481,233$0$7,533,267$0
Dolphins5$5,601,374($972,990)$7,139,067($1,011,122)
Eagles7$3,855,700($1,063,000)$5,319,184($1,588,000)
Panthers5$2,718,713($371,434)$4,039,130($529,767)
Rams5$3,078,840$0$3,902,591$0
Bengals3$2,971,652$1,045,588$3,700,523$830,000
Chiefs2$2,697,965$0$2,817,762$0
Bills2$1,152,302$0$1,833,135$0