Jimmy Graham, Saints Cap Trouble, & The Void Year

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Jason brought up a very interesting point in his breakdown of Jimmy Graham’s new contract: the potential role that the Saints’ poor future cap outlook had on Graham’s willingness to accept this deal. Specifically, he mentioned how difficult it’ll be for the Saints to keep Graham’s $11 million cap figure on their 2015 books. And since Graham’s 2015 salary is guaranteed, the Saints might have to explore the option of adding a voidable year to the deal.

While adding a voidable year would provide the Saints with 2015 cap flexibility, it would increase Graham’s chances of earning his respective $9 million and $10 million salaries in 2016 and 2017.

Outlined below are two different scenarios. The first table represents Graham’s current contract, while the second table represents the scenario where the Saints convert $6 million of Graham’s 2015 base salary into a prorated bonus, while also adding a voidable year (2018).

*The last column in each table states how likely I think it is that Graham will be on the roster for that given year (I am seemingly more confident than Jason that Graham will fulfill the contract’s entirety).

Jimmy Graham’s New Contract 

Year Base
Salary
Prorated 
Bonus
Cap 
Number
Dead 
Money
Cap 
Savings
Total Cash Earned *Likelihood Of Graham On Roster
2014 $1,000,000 $3,000,000 $4,000,000 $13,000,000 100%
2015 $8,000,000 $3,000,000 $11,000,000 $21,000,000 >95%
2016 $9,000,000 $3,000,000 $12,000,000 $6,000,000 $6,000,000 $30,000,000 90%
2017 $10,000,000 $3,000,000 $13,000,000 $3,000,000 $10,000,000 $40,000,000 75%

Jimmy Graham’s New Contract w/ Void Year Added

Year Base
Salary
Prorated 
Bonus
Cap 
Number
Dead 
Money
Cap 
Savings
Total Cash Earned *Likelihood Of Graham On Roster
2014 $1,00,000 $3,000,000 $4,000,000 $13,000,000 100%
2015 $2,000,000 $4,500,000 $6,500,000 $21,000,000 100%
2016 $9,000,000 $4,500,000 $13,500,000 $10,500,000 $3,000,000 $30,000,000 >95%
2017 $10,000,000 $4,500,000 $14,500,000 $6,000,000 $8,500,000 $40,000,000 85%
2018 void $1,500,000 void $0 void void void

As shown, the addition of a voidable year would more or less guarantee Graham’s spot on the 2016 Saints roster. Additionally, it’d enhance Graham’s chances of being rostered in 2017.

You can go to the Saints 2015 salary cap page to see details of their cap mess. New Orleans has a whopping $152,812,277 on the 2015 books, and there aren’t many guys whose post-2014 releases would clear considerable cap space. They’d save $6 million by cutting Jahri Evans and $4.3 million with the release of Marques Colston—both of whom will be 32 by opening day in 2015. However, Evans and Colston have long been two of the Saints’ best players.

Ultimately, Mickey Loomis will likely have to navigate the Saints’ 2015 salary cap mess via the use of restructures and the addition of voidable years—-a reality that Graham’s agents were surely aware of this when negotiating this deal. Graham’s will be a prime candidate to have a void year added, meaning he’ll increase his chances of earning more money.

Andrew Cohen
@ajcohen03
ajcohen3@gmail.com
 
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