Ravens Hope to Use Waiver Process in Releasing Huff and Spears


The Ravens have waived S Michael Huff and DE Marcus Spears according to multiple sources. Both players were signed to multi-year contracts this offseason by the Ravens after they had been released by the Raiders and Cowboys respectively.

The timing of the release is likely due to the waiver process I had discussed yesterday as neither had been effective at any time this season. Both players are vested and thus eligible for Termination Pay. For Huff that would mean the Ravens would have to pay him the balance of his $850,000  salary, which is $400,000. For Spears the number is slightly higher at $423,529. If claimed the Ravens would no longer be required to pay those amounts. The Ravens would have likely released both sooner if veteran waivers was not a consideration. The Ravens are very smart with their management and this is another way in which they stand out even if neither player is claimed.

Both signings were misfires by the Ravens. Huff was given a $1.5 million dollar signing bonus on a three year contract and had only played 97 snaps on the year. Huff currently counts for nearly $3.3 million in dead money on the Raiders salary cap and will count for $6.2 million in dead money next season in Oakland. His dead charge for the Ravens next season will be $1 million, making him one of the most expensive safeties in the NFL in terms of cap, despite likely never playing a down for another team. Spears was given a $600,000 signing bonus on a two year contract. His cap number for Baltimore will be $300,000 in 2014.



What Teams Will Gain in Cap Space with the June 1 Cut


With June 1 rapidly approaching I thought this would be a good time to update on the salary cap changes that will occur for a number of teams as well as some other thoughts on the subject. On June 1 the league changes their accounting rules for acceleration of prorated bonus money. If a player is cut prior to June 1 all of a players unaccounted for bonus money accelerates onto the salary cap. If a player is cut after June 1 the players unaccounted for money accelerates to the following season (in this case 2014) with only his current proration remaining on the 2013 cap books.

The NFL allows teams to cut up to two players prior to June 1 and designate them “June 1 cuts”. If this mechanism is used the team carries the players’ full cap charge in their top 51 until June 1. On June 2 the player is officially removed from the roster with only his current years proration remaining on the books and in many cases a dramatic increase in cap space for cap starved teams that need to sign rookies or have money on hand for in season roster management. 10 teams utilized the June 1 designation, with the Dolphins being the only team to use it on two players.

For many of the teams the money is desperately needed. The Oakland Raiders have yet to sign a draft pick as they remain right around the NFL’s cap limit, but on June 2 their cap will grow to about $7.86 million after Michael Huff drops off the books. The Steelers with almost no breathing room and less than $600,000 in cap room with 4 picks to sign will now have $5.59 million to spend, due to the June 1 treatment of Willie Colon. The Chargers, the other cap strapped team with less than $1 million in room, will remove Jared Gaither to jump to $4.65 million in cap space.  The other teams with limited cap funds that will benefit from the June 1 rule are the Falcons and Ravens, both of whom currently have around $2 million in cap space.

Other teams such as the Bills and Dolphins will see large increases that will jump them very close to the top of the NFL in cap space. The Dolphins will jump from 15th to 7th in the NFL in cap space while the Bills will go from 7th to 5th. This is primarily because of the large cap investments that the teams’ made in mediocre players. Ryan Fitzpatrick current sits as the 2nd largest cap charge on the Bills active roster while Karlos Dansby has the highest cap figure of any Dolphin. Huff of the Raiders also ranks as the highest cap charge on his team.

Most of the players are all good enough to find another job in the NFL, only Gaither has not found a team willing to take him, but only 5 received multi-year contracts and the highest cap charge to be found is Tyson Clabo, now of the Dolphins, at $3.5 million. The June 1 rule really illustrates the mistakes that teams make when valuing players and structuring contracts. While Dansby, Huff, and Fitzpatrick were outrageous figures, 6 of the June 1 cuts still take up a top 5 cap spot on the active roster and 9 are in the top 10. The following table shows the amount of estimated cap space that was to be spent on these players, dead money the teams will carry, and how much cap new teams are going to pay these players this season:



Original Cap Charge


2013 Dead Money


2014 Dead Money


New Team 2013 Cap


So the cutting teams will carry more dead money this year than the players will collectively make from their new teams to play in the NFL. The league valued these players at 74.3% less than the teams original projections. Assuming that the average salary for the group in 2014 is $1 million each then those players will play football over a 2 year period for 50% less than the dead money totals that the original teams will now carry in 2013 and 2014. That’s one of the reasons why when we do some of the valuations on the site from a team perspective we try to take into account future productivity as this was, for the most part, money thrown away on players. These are the type of contracts that get General Managers fired over the long run.

As for the June 1 cuts themselves here is the list of players that will be removed on June 2 and what the projected cap totals for the teams will be based on the official salary cap numbers as of May 28, 2013.


Current Charge

New Charge


New Team Cap Space

James AndersonPanthers





Michael HuffRaiders





Bernard PollardRavens





Ryan FitzpatrickBills





Karlos DansbyDolphins





Kevin BurnettDolphins





Willie ColonSteelers





Jared GaitherChargers





Tyson ClaboFalcons





Marcus SpearsCowboys





Adam SnyderCardinals






Raiders Continue Purge of “out of whack” Contracts


The Raiders continued their roster make over, releasing FS Michael Huff, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, and DE Dave Tollefson. The moves collectively saved about 6.2 million in space for the Raiders currently, bringing them to roughly 15 million under the cap. They will also gain more space in June due to Michael Huff’s June 1st designation. The moves added more than 9 million in dead money however, bringing that total to almost 27 million this season. 6 million more, namely most of Huff’s dead money as a June 1, will hit next season. That is a result of the continued and necessary culling of contracts GM Reggie McKenzie had deemed not representative of the player’s worth.

Looking at each move individually, we’ll start first with perhaps the most out of whack contract, FS Michael Huff. Unlike Bey, Huff’s deal was no longer inflated by a rookie contract under the old system, this was a deal made by Mr. Al Davis. Unfortunately due to the guaranteed salary last year, it almost necessitated being pushed off a year to this year in order to absorb the cap hit. The way Huff’s deal was restructured last year, to mimic his existing years, made it almost a guarantee Huff would not be around much longer. Though Huff flashed at times, and filled in adequately at CB last year, he never lived up to his high 1st round selection, but had been paid as such. By designating Huff a June 1st cut, The Raiders will save 8 million, though must carry his $11,288,750 cap number until then, when it will drop down to $3,288,750, all dead money. The Raiders will also be responsible for $6,208,750 in dead money next season. Both numbers are a result of Huff’s initial signing bonus, and his restructure last season. After that, Huff’s albatross contract will be removed from the books.

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey has been much maligned since he was initially drafted, in a few ways, a prime representative of Mr. Davis’ final years of running the draft for the Raiders. Bey looked to be turning the corner after 2011, but had a fairly dismal 2012, though he was not alone under Greg Knapp’s offense. While he also never lived up to his first round selection, he wasn’t an outright bust, offering value as a depth receiver. Bey was playing under the old rookie contract structure, and his inflated $10,601,000 cap number was untenable. The Raiders will absorb $5,260,000 in dead money, the remainder of his option bonus, though gain $5,341,000 in net cap space. Heyward-Bey was the last remaining player under contract from the 2009 draft for the Raiders, though a few became UFAs this offseason.

Lastly, we have a player that has no ties to Mr. Davis, DE Dave Tollefson. Tollefson came over from the Super Bowl champion Giants, after notching 5 sacks for them that year. He was expected to add some sort of pass rush for the Raiders, but managed to only notch half a sack, likely due to not having the surrounding talent he had in NY to help scheme him loose. Hardly an exorbitant contract, Tollefson was scheduled to only count $1,525,000 against the cap. The Raiders saved $900,000 in cap space by releasing him, absorbing a dead money charge of $625,000, that is made up of the guaranteed part of his salary, signing bonus, and guaranteed roster bonus. It is in a way, comforting, that Mr. McKenzie was willing to admit this mistake, something his predecessor often did not. It should be noted neither of Mr. McKenzie’s 2 main free agent signings have panned out, a perhaps troubling sign for someone noted for his ability to discern whether a player could play or not. The large difference being, this contract was not as financially crippling or as large as deals for Huff, or Seymour who currently counts for almost 14 million in dead money. If you have to bust on a free agent, it’s obviously far more palatable if the dead money is less than a million.

Though in decent cap shape, far better than the usually have been recently, the Raiders have a couple more abnormally large contracts to deal with. They very likely will be dealing with them soon as they work their way hopefully to financial soundness. In the mean time, the roster as it stands now can be found here.

Jim can be reached for any feedback or questions at JimOTC@gmail.com

Post was edited to reflect Huff’s designation as a June 1st cut