Buccaneers Modify K Connor Barth’s Contract


According to a source with knowledge of the contract, the Buccaneers have slightly modified the contract of K Connor Barth. Barth who is currently on the Reserve/NFI list due to suffering an Achilles injury during a charity basketball game had $1.15 million of his 2014 Paragraph 5 converted to an incentivized roster bonus that will be paid for each week he is on the Active 53 man roster in 2014.

The reason for the move is to aid the Buccaneers in creating cap space for 2014. Because Barth will spend no weeks on the active roster the Buccaneers will gain $1.15 million in cap space during the 2014 offseason and free agency period as Barth’s bonus will carry a $0 cap value. This is not an uncommon move for teams as they utilize the prior injury history of players to artificially create cap room in future years.

Barth will be paid $500,000 of his $2.3 million base salary in 2013 while on NFI. The Buccaneers could have opted to pay him nothing while on NFI, but considering he was injured at a charity event it would create a strained relationship with Barth and could have reflected poorly on the organization for others considering the Bucs in free agency.

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Using Free Agency To Build a Team: The NFC Edition


As requested we will take our look at the NFC’s approach to using free agency to find starters in 2013. Just as a reminder we consider trades if the players traded signed new contracts with the acquiring team, which makes players such as Carson Palmer count as a free agent acquisition. The rosters are determined based on Ourlads current depth charts with the exception of the Seahawks where I did include Percy Harvin simply because he was expected to start.

The first thing that jumps out when looking at the data is the difference between the AFC and NFC in approaching free agency, which I think plays to the fact that the NFC is the more dominant conference with teams having less need to change their rosters. On average the AFC has 3.75 new starters per team while the NFC has just 2.44.  The NFC quality of free agent was considerably higher as teams were looking for at the approach of bringing in talent to complete the puzzle and help push the team over the top.

All told three NFC teams brought in no free agents to start for their club. Those teams were the Packers, Redskins, and 49’ers. The Vikings and Saints both brought in just one each. The Steelers and Bengals were the only AFC teams to have that low of a level of activity.

The team to do the largest overhaul of their roster was the Cardinals, who tied for most in the NFL with 8 free agents.  However their spending was moderate at just $20 million per year in new salaries and with no players signing for more than 3 years this was not the win now with big money spending approach of the Dolphins nor long term vision of the Colts. I tend to think this was a team desperately clinging to the amount of money invested in Larry Fitzgerald, Darnell Dockett, Darryl Washington, and Calais Campbell and trying to piece together a team around them that makes that spending result in wins. Their big pick up was Carson Palmer.

The Eagles spent more money than anyone else in the NFC and 3rd most in the NFL. Like the Cardinals most of the contracts were shorter term (five were 2 or 3 years) but on higher priced players. That plays to the fact that the Eagles did not have a great deal of talent to begin with as well as an approach to likely work in two and three year windows. This will be Phase I of Chip Kelley’s program and would represent places where perhaps the team would prefer to not invest in the draft.

The Bears were the only other team to add more than five new starters, but they were almost all short term moves to just get by on the 2013 season. Of their six FA starters only two are signed for more than just one season, one of whom is TE Martellus Bennett whose contract is structured in a way where there is a good chance he would be cut after the 2013 season.

The Buccaneers, Vikings, and Rams only added five free agent starters combined, but allocated major dollars on those players. Tampa committed over $24 million a year to Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson, far and away the most expensive per player spending in the NFL. Clearly they are expecting these players to be the missing pieces that push them from 7 wins to 9 wins.  Minnesota signed Greg Jennings at $9 million a year to improve their passing game while the Rams spent over $15 million on Jake Long and Jared Cook.

I don’t see people looking at any of the NFC teams the way that they will be watching the results for the Dolphins and Colts this year. The real stories in the NFC would seem to involve “impact” acquisitions, specifically of the three teams listed above. The Seahawks would also be in that mix, but with Harvin sidelined it is not fair to consider them.  I would think most neutral observers would say Revis, Goldson, and Cook were all overpriced with Jennings slightly overpriced. If the teams all improve it could potentially help some of the top of the market players to continue to find teams willing to go above and beyond for their services.

The following chart illustrates the cost, number and years given to Free Agent starters in the NFC.



Best & Worst Contracts: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers


A few weeks ago Jason LaCanfora published a list of best and worst contracts in the NFL so I thought it might make a good idea for us to do the same here at OTC, with a team by team approach. I’ll try to be a bit more analytical in terms of why money was paid and how it fits in the market, but the general premise is the same. The one key difference is outside of restructured rookie contracts under the old CBA we will only use veteran contracts as there is a big difference between best draft picks and best contracts.  Please note that there is a difference between a bad player and a bad contract when discussing some of the selections. Clicking on a players name will take you to his salary cap page.

Donald PennBest Contract: Donald Penn

Penn never misses a game and is a steady player who made good, but by no means great, money at a time when Left Tackles had exploding salaries. Penn was a restricted free agent in 2010 which put him in a negative position when trying to negotiate a contract. The Buccaneers could have forced Penn to play the year at slight above $3 million and then let him re-enter free agency in 2011. Instead they signed him to a contract that gave Penn some protection and the Buccaneers favorable terms over the life of the contract.

Penn would not receive top level money and would be required to play at a very high level to bring his average to that of some of the better players at the position, with incentives tied to Pro Bowl nominations. Only $6.5 million of Penn’s new contract was fully guaranteed, $2 million of which came in the form of a signing bonus, giving the Buccaneers an easy escape if his play declined. In return for the lower APY and guarantees Penn would receive a guaranteed $6.5 million in 2010, more than doubling his salary for the year, and another non-guaranteed $7.6 million in 2011. He also received injury guarantees for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Tampa Bay tied $600,000 per season to weight based incentives and also included $400,000 per year in workout money to ensure that he participates in the teams’ offseason workout and conditioning programs. With no real guarantees and only $333,333 in prorated money each year, Penn has to keep up a solid level of play to maintain his spot on the team. The team was able to also receive favorable terms in the middle portion of the contract with cap charges never exceeding $6.4 million dollars.  He can earn pay raises at the end of his contract, at which point the cost to cut him would be less then $1 million making those raises more or less worthless as he would be released prior to any raises kicking in.

dashon goldsonWorst Contract: Dashon Goldson

The way the Buccaneers structure their contracts makes it difficult to find a bad contract in terms of longevity. Since most of their deals contain no prorated money you really can only examine the frontend of the contract to try to best determine how good or how bad the contract is.  One of the negative features of the contract philosophy is that the Buccaneers are often overpaying for players.  Almost every one of their big free agent signings over the last two seasons you can make an argument are overpaid and receive contracts with higher guarantees than better players. The philosophy also can turn deals from passable to bad with the stroke of a pen when cap relief is needed and prorated money is added to the contract, as they did with Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks at the end of last season.

I think a strong case can be made that Nicks is the worst contract on the team following the restructure because it now is the worst of both worlds- overpaid plus a contractual structure that gives added layers of protection to the player- but I think Goldson stands out even moreso than Nicks because of the talent level. Nicks is a legit exceptional player. Goldson is more of a reputation player. That doesn’t make him bad by any stretch but he is someone that was aided greatly by the defense he played on.

Looking at the top end of the Safety market Goldson does not compare to players like Eric Weddle yet he is essentially making the same type of money. His first two years are completely guaranteed and his $9 million dollar cap charges these next two seasons are going to rank in the top 5 both seasons, figures that should be too high based on what he will give the team.  I’m not sure if many people realize that Goldson will be 29 this year. Weddle was 26 when he signed his extension. Kam Chancellor will only be 25 this season. Jairus Byrd is 27. Antrel Rolle was 28 in his season of signing. It is a significantly higher risk to guarantee the type of money that the Buccaneers guaranteed to Goldson. The real comparable to Goldson is someone like LaRon Landry who earned $6 million a year with $11 million guaranteed on a deal most thought was overpayment for the 29 year old Safety.

The more worrisome aspect will be if they decide that they need more cap room and go to him for relief as he and CB Darrelle Revis would be the logical candidates for cap relief as they look to get the funds to sign or re-sign a Quarterback. That would have the potential to make his contract a real problem in the future with more cap charges in excess of $9 million a season. Unfortunately because of the high guarantees in 2013 and 2014, plus an injury guarantee in 2015, they have little wiggle room if they need cap relief for another spending spree next offseason. Currently the Buccaneers are projected to be a few million under the 2014 salary cap, a projection that does not include a QB salary making Goldson a likely restructure candidate.

Check out Our Other Best & Worst Contract Articles

AFC East: Buffalo BillsMiami DolphinsNew England PatriotsNew York Jets

AFC North: Baltimore RavensCincinnati BengalsCleveland BrownsPittsburgh Steelers

AFC South: Houston TexansIndianapolis ColtsJacksonville JaguarsTennessee Titans

AFC West: Denver BroncosKansas City ChiefsOakland RaidersSan Diego Chargers

NFC East: Dallas CowboysNew York GiantsPhiladelphia EaglesWashington Redskins

NFC North: Chicago BearsDetroit LionsGreen Bay PackersMinnesota Vikings

NFC South: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina PanthersNew Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC West: Arizona Cardinals(July 29)


Mike Williams $40 million Contract In Reality is Worth $10 Million


Much publicity was made about WR Mike Williams $40.25 million dollar contract he signed with the Buccaneers on Wednesday. There was talk about how he was the first ever to reach that number without a 1,000 yard season (I would have thought that was Percy Harvin but maybe they mean all purpose yards). There was talk about the impressive $15 million guarantee that was coming with the contract.

In reality the extension actually averages $7.924 million a year in new money with $9.4 million in guarantees and an extremely friendly cap structure that could leave Williams with a 1 year contract worth $10 million dollars. As is standard for the Buccaneers no signing bonus was included in the contract. Without a signing bonus the only protection Williams has is guarantees in his contract. His salary in 2013 and 2014 are both protected but to earn the full $15 million in guarantees Williams has to be on the roster in 2015.

Williams cap hit next season will only be $1.8 million with $600,000 tied to workout participation to ensure his presence in the offseason. Those workout bonuses are present in every year of the contract. If he remains on the team in 2015 the cap charge is only $6.8 million. With no potential guarantees beyond that season the $23.45 million in salary due the final three years of the contract is only going to be seen if Williams plays well.

It is possible that Tampa Bay could walk away after payments of just $9.37 million in new money for the one extension year and $10 million total for the 2013 and 2014 season. Considering the franchise tag last season was over $10.5 million for a WR, the Buccaneers could have faced a situation where Williams earned his $630K this season and then was tagged for over $10 million in 2014. So the Buccaneers more or less received a discount of $1.2-$1.5 million and keep the franchise tag open for Josh Freeman in the event he has a terrific season in his walk year.

It is a very strong deal for Tampa who has built their team with a clear vision for the next two seasons and left open the possibility of changing course with almost no damage to their salary cap structure if the two year window doesn’t pan out. You can view Mike Williams’ Salary Cap Page by clicking here. 


NFL Salary Cap Space Update: July 19


We keep track of the salary cap (or at least try to) on an everyday basis, so I thought it might be good to do a weekly recap of the effects of the weeks cap moves as we make a turn towards training camp time where the transaction sheet will likely begin to pick up pace.

Moves from the Week:

Cincinnati Bengals– The Bengals signed DE Carlos Dunlap to a 5 year contract extension worth just under $40 million dollars and also locked up their first round draft pick Tyler Eifert to a standard 4 year deal. Dunlap’s contract was heavily frontloaded and cost the Bengals $5,418,200 in cap room. Between he and Eifert the Bengals spent $6,439,231in cap space.  There should be no worries as the moves left them with nearly $15.55 million in cap room, 7th most in the NFL.

Green Bay Packers– The Packers extension of S Morgan Burnett reduced their 2013 cap space by $1,650,000, the amount of Burnett’s proration attributed to his $8.25 million dollar signing bonus. With $14.67 million in cap room the Packers have the 8th largest amount of unused cap in the NFL.

Denver Broncos– The Broncos lost $2.72 million in cap room with the signing of LT Ryan Clady to a heavily frontloaded contract and vesting future guarantees. Already counting $9.828 million against the cap the Broncos agreed to pay Clady a $10.5 million dollar roster bonus to keep his future charges low rather than looking to build carryover cap space this season. Denver has $7.39 million in cap room.

Jacksonville Jaguars– The Jaguars came to terms with rookie WR Ace Sanders on a four year contract. Jacksonville lost $45,362 in cap room following the signing. The Jaguars still have $22.9 million in cap space, 2nd most in the NFL.

Detroit Lions– The Lions gained $321,000 in cap room with the release of RB Jahvid Best and they will now carry $1.1 million in dead money on the 2014 salary cap. The Lions have $5.22 million in cap room.

Dallas Cowboys– The Cowboys gained  $225,000 in cap room when Josh Brent retired. Dallas can also go after his proration from the year, $11,889, though I can’t imagine they would do so.

New England Patriots– The Patriots released WR Donald Jones to save themselves from paying a $200,000 reporting bonus due at the start of training camp. Jones was set to count for $1.131 million against the cap in 2013. Releasing him created $576,250 in cap space pushing the Patriots to $9.79 million.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers– The Buccaneers traded troubled cornerback Eric Wright to the San Francisco 49ers for a conditional late round pick. The Bucs got off great with Wright as off the field problems saw his guarantees for 2013 void, which allowed them to push him into a paycut. With more legal troubles Wright was sent packing creating $945,000 worth of cap space in the process. Tampa has he 4th most cap space in the league at $19.22 million.

San Francisco 49’ers– The 49’ers were on the other end of the trade with the Bucs, taking on Eric Wright and his $1.5 million dollar salary. The addition of Wright reduced San Francisco’s cap room by $945,000. The 49’ers now have $4.49 million in cap room and limited space in 2014, fueling speculation that the team may cut CB Carlos Rogers, saving over $4 million in 2013 and $5.1 million in 2014, giving the team much more breathing room as they prepare for an extension with QB Colin Kaepernick after the season.

Three to Keep an Eye On

St. Louis Rams– With just $214,088 in cap room the Rams do not have enough cap space to function once the regular season begins. They will need to restructure contracts or make a few cuts to be able to function in the regular season.

Washington Redskins– At $1.4 million in cap space the Redskins have the 2nd least amount of space in the NFL. Once rosters expand to 53 and teams spend $1 million on a practice squad the Redskins will be forced to make moves to be cap compliant in September. They should have over $10 million in cap room in 2014 so they may look to push some money into next year if they do not want to make any cuts.

Houston Texans– Houston still needs to sign their first three draft picks, which will eat into their $2.8 million in cap room leaving them with around $1.6 million in room when the season begins. Add in two contracts and a Practice Squad and you get the idea- Houston can’t stand pat and do nothing over the next few weeks.

Click Here to View The Current Cap Space for All 32 Teams 



Buccaneers trade for Bears OT Gabe Carimi


According to Adam Schefter the Chicago Bears have traded disgruntled OT Gabe Carimi to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 6th round draft pick.

The trade illustrates the changing landscape of the NFL caused by the new CBA slotting system. Carimi, selected 29th overall in the 2011 draft, only spent two seasons with Chicago prior to the trade. The Bears will only absorb $907,918 in dead money in each of the next two seasons for making the trade while the Buccaneers will pick up $1 ,016,458 in salary in 2013 and $1,337,187 in salary in 2014. The Buccaneers will also own Carimi’s rights in 2015 if they choose to pick up a 5th year option that will be equal to the average salary of the 3rd and 25th highest offensive linemen in the NFL next season. In contrast the 29th pick in the 2010 NFL draft, Kyle Wilson of the Jets, would have cost the Jets $1,097,400 in dead cap charge in the year of the trade and $2,194,800 the year thereafter had they traded him, making the cost somewhat prohibitive to the team that drafted him.

Carimi’s contract calls for offseason bonuses in 2014 worth $692,187 and none of his salary is guaranteed in 2014 so this is likely a 1 year audition for the Buccaneers. Carimi’s salary in 2013 is fully guaranteed so as long as he reports to the team. If Carimi continues to be unhappy and fails to report the Buccaneers will now be able to recover bonus money paid to Carimi by the Bears, so all things considered this is a low risk trade for the team.


Answering Feedback on Likelihood of a Revis Holdout


I promise that this will be the last Revis posting for awhile, but Ive gotten so many questions and comments, mainly from my fellow Jets fans, about how he is going to hold out again that I just wanted to discuss what I think will actually happen assuming he is perfectly healthy.

The first question you have to ask yourself is what does Revis really have to gain by holding out?  His cash flows each year are $16 million. That is an extremely high amount of money to chance losing, especially in this market. Even without his injury the potential teams that were going to be interested in Revis at that cost were few. With defensive contracts trending downward as a whole there is really no avenue for Revis to get a raise. He would have to do something other worldly for the Bucs to even consider a raise. He will likely never have a year as good as he did in 2009 again and that was the best a corner has ever played in the history of the game. He would need to be even better to justify approaching for a raise.

Others have mentioned that he knows he wont get a raise but will hold out for more guaranteed money. Again I would think there is a slim chance to this. A player of Revis’ stature, if healthy, is most likely not going to get cut, so he already has his guarantee.  Holding out risks your offseason bonuses, which are worth $3 million and also gets the player a terrible reputation.

From a marketing perspective Revis is trying to make himself into a brand that makes money beyond the field itself. For better or for worse Revis has been able to spin his tenure with the Jets as Revis being in the right and the Jets being in the wrong. Whether it be that they refused to give him the years most get as a rookie or that they refused to pay him for playing well, the holdouts were always spun to be the Jets fault. Last year he convinced most of the media that the Jets really just gave him a band-aid contract and were going back on their word when they forced him to play on that contract. On his way out the door he made sure to make it known that he wanted to be a Jet, would have taken the same deal, but the Jets were too cheap and didn’t even want him to stay.

Now that Revis Island has a new home the same techniques won’t work. At some point people begin to look at the player if the same thing occurs with two franchises. Though a different type of situation this was similar to Terrell Owens stay in multiple cities. Once it was the team but by the time he is doing sit ups in his driveway everyone pretty much turned the other way when it came to discussing him. Owens was able to punch his ticket to Dallas but if Revis Island cant relocate a third time it makes it impossible to win back those fans.

Now that doesn’t mean Revis won’t try to get more guaranteed money it just wont come in the form of a holdout. The NFL is all about precedence. You look at other players to come up with pricing points on a player. You look at how a team likes to structure deals to understand the way you need to work with that team. Remember in Jerry Maguire when Jerry signs the number 1 pick but his father says they don’t do signed deals but instead just shake hands?  Jerry (much to his dismay) shakes his hand because he needed to play ball on his field. The same holds true when you approach Tampa to negotiate. You don’t ask for bonus money. You simply begin on a yearly cash basis.

But the Buccaneers did tip their hand last year when they restructured the contracts of Carl Nicks and Vincent Jackson at the end of the 2012 season. Neither player had bonus money in their original contracts but both players received large bonuses in which their 2013 salary was almost all converted to a prorated bonus in order for the Buccaneers to create huge cap room to go out and have a big offseason acquiring Revis and Dashon Goldson.

My guess is what will happen is that Revis’ agents will approach the team in December (and remember Revis’ agents are the same ones who represent Jackson), point out that their client is healthy and how Revis understands he takes up a large cap percentage next year but wants to help the team win in the offseason as well. Ideally it would be great if at the time the Bucs were a 7-5 or 8-6 type team. A team that looks decent enough to get in the playoffs but not good enough to where you think you can just stick with the team the way it is in 2014. Its possible that they could wait until the new year as well if the team looks like a playoff team.

They will attempt to convince the Buccaneers to reduce Revis’ base salary from $13 million to $855,000 and prorate the difference at a charge of $2.429 million a year. Such a move would reduce Revis’ cap from $16 million in 2014 to $6.284 million. If done in December the Bucs would also lose $2.429 million in 2013 carry over, making the net gain $7.287 million in cap space. That money would be enough to sign a pass rusher or a Mike Vick  type QB in the event Josh Freeman can’t get the job done.

That $7.287 million in cap savings would become the dead money charge for Revis in 2015 giving him some added layer of protection towards reaching the real milestone of seeing the third year of the contract. Its very close to the same level of dead money that Jackson and Nicks now have in the third years of their contracts, making the format likely acceptable to the Buccaneers front office since its simply following the path through a door that they already opened.  Who knows maybe the two sides have even discussed the possibility of this since it was done so recently for others, but if the Bucs say no there might be some grumbling behind closed doors but it wont amount to anything more than that.