A few days ago Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald wondered if the Miami Dolphins might try to trade DE/OLB Dion Jordan. Former GM Jeff Ireland traded moved up nine spots to make the selection by trading the 12th and 42nd overall choices for Jordan. Now that Ireland is gone there could be a chance that his pick goes with him. So let’s look at the salary cap consequences and financial considerations for both sides.
As a rookie Jordan only saw action on about 29% of all snaps and primarily was used in passing situations, as 75% of his snaps were on passing plays. His performance as a rusher was not bad for a rookie. He pressured the QB on 11.7% of his pass rush opportunities which was second among Dolphins’ defensive lineman to only Cameron Wake (17.1%). However he produced few sacks and considering his role never grew during the season it did not seem as if he was growing as a player or earned the trust of his coaching staff, which still remains in place.
Jordan signed a four year contract worth a fully guaranteed $20,572,298. While the deal does contain offsets all of the remaining salary and cap charges would be due to Jordan if released, so for anyone discussing that option it will not happen. Trades however are a possibility. If traded the situation would be somewhat similar to the situation with RB Trent Richardson, who was traded last year from the Browns to the Colts. When traded all of the future guaranteed salaries transfer to the new team, leaving the drafting team’s responsibility to simply be the prorated bonus charges remaining in the contract. That is still a hefty figure, but much more reasonable than an outright release.
The Dolphins, if seriously considering this option, would need to make the trade sometime before the 5th day of training camp. If Jordan is on the roster as of that day the team would have to pay him $845,104. Most likely he would be traded prior to this years draft, but here are the three trade scenarios and cap charges, and savings involved:
|Before June 1|
|After June 1/Before Camp|
|After 5th day Camp|
It should also be worth noting that if they opt to trade him for the 22nd pick in the draft they will also be spending more money on a draft pick. The cap charges for that player should be $1,499,745 and $1,874,681 in 2014 and 2015 so the savings are less than listed in the above charts due to the replacement player cost.
From the side of the Eagles that presents an interesting situation. They would take on cap charges of $1,340,104 in 2014 and $2,275,209 in 2015 which means over the next two years they would pay just an additional $240,887 in salary cap for a player with, on paper, top 5 talent if they execute the trade. The Eagles overall would be responsible for $6,825,626 in total salary paid for Jordan over the next three seasons compared to $6,703,248 for the number 22 pick. The guarantee for the number 22 pick should be just over $7 million with a first year cash payout of $4,738,980. So the Eagles would save over $3 million in cash expenses in 2014 and have less guaranteed salary left for Jordan than on the blind draft pick.
So clearly there would be a financial advantage for the Eagles to strongly consider the trade if they feel that Jordan is truly a top 10 player. Miami would just be accepting a sunk cost as gone and moving on from a player they don’t believe in.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.