Numbers are slowly trickling in on the signings from the past few days and we were able to track down a few of them from a league source. John Abraham officially signed a two year contract worth $4.6 million with the Arizona Cardinals. The only guaranteed portion of the contract is a $1 million dollar signing bonus that is prorated for two years for salary cap purposes. Abraham is also due a $100,000 roster bonus which I would assume is for games active. Abraham’s 2013 salary is $1 million, making his cash takehome in 2013 just $2.1 million.
In 2014 Abraham will carry a non guaranteed base salary of $2.5 million. He also has an escalator available plus incentives. As Abraham learned last season season achieving an escalator could lead to release, as escalators are often not guaranteed once earned for prior years performance.
This is a tremendous deal for the Cardinals as Abraham was an effective situational pass rusher for the Falcons last season and at the most will be a $2.1 million dollar one year rental. Dwight Freeney will cost the Chargers over $5 million dollars in 2013 while Osi Umenyiora will cost Abraham’s former team $5 million.
In addition the Cardinals also signed RT Eric Winston to a contract worth just $1.25 million. The only guarantee for Winston is a $160,000 signing bonus. His base salary for the season is $840,000 and he also has a roster bonus worth up to $250,000. The contract contains $750,000 in incentives, which are valued as “Likely To Be Earned” and thus count towards the cap in 2013, pushing Winston’s 2013 cap charge to $2 million. If Winston does not actually earn the incentive during the year the Cardinals salary cap will be credited for the difference in 2014.
Winston started 16 games for Kansas City in 2012 and has not missed a game since 2006, which should give him a strong chance to earn the extra $750,000. This is another low risk and potentially high reward contract for the Cardinals.
View John Abraham’s Salary Cap Page
View Eric Winston’s Salary Cap Page
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk the Dallas Cowboys are prepared to sign RT Eric Winston, arguably one of the top right tackles left on the market. Of course then that leaves the question as to what the cap strapped Cowboys do with current RT Doug Free. Free is set to count for $10.02 million against the 2013 salary cap but due to a prior restructure in 2012 will also count for $10.02 million in dead money if released. That leaves Dallas with a situation where they either need Free to accept a paycut to remain in Dallas or to designate him a June 1 cut.
Dallas currently has about $4.5 million in cap room which is enough to fit both Free and Winston on the team for the time being. The problem comes once July rolls around and the Cowboys need to sign their rookies and earmark funds for the season when the cap calculations expand to 53 active plus all other paid players. Marcus Spears will come off the books on June 2nd, freeing up an additional $1.7 million in cap space, but that will not be enough to cover the cap space needed for the season.
Designating Free a June 1 cut or simply waiting until June to release him would save the Cowboys $7 million in cap space in 2013. That $7 million would need to be accounted for in 2014. While on the surface that sounds like a bad thing for the Cowboys, considering Free does not factor into the teams long term plans anyway his 2014 $7 million dollar hit was going to hit the books in 2014 whether or not he remains in Dallas in 2013. Considering the Cowboys cap starved position over the next two years cutting Free now if probably the more prudent option rather than paying him a salary in 2013 that eats into the teams carryover, however limited it may be, making the navigation of 2014 that much more difficult. The one option Dallas can not consider is restructuring his contract to prorate more money and damage the future salary cap that much more.
Kansas City Chiefs– The big news of the day came late with Chiefs RT Eric Winston announcing that he was being released by the Kansas City Chiefs. This is the second time in two seasons that Winston was released but I have a hard time believing he will have trouble finding a home. He may not be a good fit for a team with a new coach as Winston seems to always speak his mind (and I dont mean that in a bad way) which can rub some coaches who dont want to be questioned the wrong way.
The numbers we had on Winston indicated that he was going to count for $6.5 million against the cap but our dead money estimates were far different than those of Pro Football Talk who stated that he received a signing bonus of $8.3 million. Our information indicates that the Chiefs should save $3.5 million in cap room and only carry $3 million in dead money. The Chiefs will save $5.5 million in cash. If I hear otherwise on the contract I’ll fix it.
St. Louis Rams– Andrew touched on this earlier but the Rams released RT Wayne Hunter to save a bit over $4 million in cap room. Hunter was given a starting job with the Jets in 2011 and imploded. It got to the point where the Jets didn’t want him to go to a public family day because he had become such a target to the fans. The two teams eventually swapped contract mistakes with the Rams sending bust Jason Smith to the Jets in return for Hunter. Both players have been released.
San Francisco 49’ers– In a move that had been more or less known for at least a week the 49’ers moved on from K David Akers, creating $3 million of cap room in the process. Akers leg began to really fail down the stretch and considering the Niners tight cap space spending $3.57 million dollars on an older kicker is simply not possible.