An Expensive Suspension For the Rams Jo-Lonn Dunbar


The NFL has just announced that Rams starting LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar has been suspended for 4 games for violating the NFL’s PED policy. These suspensions can be very costly for players.

Dunbar was set to earn $1.3 million in base salary this season. He will now lose 4 weeks of that salary, which totals $305,882. Dunbar received a $1 million dollar signing bonus in 2012 which was prorated for two years. He will now forfeit $117,647 of that figure. So the total salary loss for Dunbar is $423,529.

The situation gets worse for Dunbar. His contract has up to $750,000 in incentives based on playing time. Dunbar earns $500,000 if he participates in 70% of his teams snaps. That number increases by $250,000 if the Rams also make the playoffs. Dunbar, who played almost every defensive snap last season, will lose out on participating in 25% of the Rams games for the season. That now makes the 70% playtime bonus go from basically being a gimme to something he may have to fight for.

If he is not immediately re-inserted into the starting lineup he will likely miss out on the bonus. If he plays between 65 and 69% of the teams snaps the bonus drops to $250,000 with no increase for the team making the playoffs. If he falls between 60% and 64% the bonus falls to $125,000. If he fails to reach 60% he would fail to earn any incentives in his contract.


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 



Alec Ogletree Receives No Offset Guarantees with Rams- Should Anyone Care


Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk just picked up the details that the Rams put no offset language in the contract of Alec Ogletree drafted number 30 overall which now has some speculating that it will change the parameters of contract negotiations of those selected between 21 and 30 as the players now have some leverage in their negotiations with the their teams. As I had pointed out back in my article on negotiating points for rookies the Rams actions in the draft will have almost no bearing on the negotiations of other teams.

The Rams are a franchise that simply believes in putting no offsets in the contracts of their 1st round draft picks.  Maybe its to show that they believe in them. Maybe they just want to be different as they are a bit quirky with some of their money allocations. Whatever the case this is what they do.

In 2011 the Rams had the 14th pick in the draft which they used on Robert Quinn. Quinn received a guarantees with no offsets. The only other player drafted that season to garner such a deal was Cam Newton, selected first overall. The Rams struck again last season, ironically with the 14th pick (Michael Brockers), with the no offset language on the guarantees. The next highest player to receive such a contract was Luke Kuechly selected at number 9 overall. The players selected between number 11 and 13 all signed well after Brockers. His signing made no impact. It was no surprise that Tavon Austin, picked number 8, received no offsets from the Rams and while no one knew for certain about Ogletree nobody will be swayed one bit by the move.

Last season the Detroit Lions caved on the no offsets for the 23rd pick in the draft, Riley Reiff. The Lions now have a similar reputation as the Rams. Signing after Reiff were Kendall Wright(pick 20), Brandon Weeden (pick 22), and David DeCastro (pick 24). All contained offset language.

Might some look at Ogletree and Reiff and think it gives them more reason to wait to sign?  Possibly. The team with the most riding on it is the Vikings who dug in last year with Matt Kalil and lost, but Kalil had extreme leverage in that everyone around him was receiving those contracts. Minnesota has three picks in the 20s, but they won’t have the same leverage Kalil had because of precedence of the last two years. With the Broncos and Packers looking to sign deals with picks 26 and 28 respectively, it would seem that almost any leverage would disappear for the other players as those two teams are extremely tough on contracts and would likely not even entertain the issue if brought up.


Panthers sign Star Lotulelei and it could impact the Jets?


The Carolina Panthers signed DT Star Lotulelei today to a 4 year contract. The contract should be worth a fully guaranteed $9.604 million with a $5.365 million signing bonus, but that is not the important thing to discuss. According to Joel Corry Lotulelei’s contract contains the standard offset provisions most contracts contain. For those unfamiliar with offsets it essentially is a provision to not allow a player to double dip in the event he is cut. Basically it says that a player is worth X amount of dollars to play in the NFL regardless of where he is. Having no offsets means that the player is worth X amount of dollars just to that one team meaning he is allowed to earn more if the original team cuts him.

So why is this a big deal and what in the world does it have to do with the Jets?  Lotulelei’s draft slot (the 14th pick of the 1st round) and drafting team provided one of the more intriguing side stories in the NFL draft. In 2011 the Panthers were the lone NFL team to give a contract to a player in the top 10 with no offsets in the contract. This was given to Cam Newton, the number 1 pick in the draft. The only other team to give a deal with no offsets was the St. Louis Rams whose deal with Robert Quinn, selected with the 14th pick in the draft, also contained no offsets. Last season the Rams again had the 14th pick in the draft and again gave a deal with no offsets this time to Michael Brockers.

The Panthers were the first team to sign a player to a contract in the top 10 last year, signing LB Luke Kuechly to a fully guaranteed contract containing no offset language. The deal was a blow to the NFL as Kuechly was only the 9th pick in the draft setting the stage for agents to argue that all players selected in front of him should have no offsets in their contract. It was an argument that worked. While contract negotiations dragged on until at least July the top 7 picks in the draft all ended up receiving no offset provisions in their contracts including troubled Justin Blackmon. The Dolphins were able to draw the line and held firm on Ryan Tannehill where he took a deal at the 8th slot in the draft with offset provisions.

All eyes would be on Carolina this year because last year teams could at least argue that the Panthers just did not care about offsets, similar to the Rams and to a lesser extent the Detroit Lions. With the Rams twice giving no offsets to the 14th pick the precedent was set for the Panthers to do the same. Except they didn’t, giving far more credibility to 9th pick in the draft deserving to have a truly fully guaranteed deal.  The Jets own the 9th pick in the draft this season, used on CB Dee Milliner.

Normally I would say that the team picking 8th has the most important deal because the Dolphins laid out a model framework containing offsets and roster bonuses that an agent would want to break, except the 8th pick belongs to the Rams who simply do not care. So the 8th pick is going to get a contract with no offsets leaving the Jets to battle things out with Milliner, the CB that is unfairly going to be compared to Darrelle Revis and any later season signing is only going to bring up bad memories of Revis and his holdouts. In many ways the 9th pick becomes the most important in the draft (unless the Dolphins can again hold firm on offsets for the 3rd pick in the draft, a much harder task than last years fight with Tannehill).

Joel Corry made an important point when I was discussing this on Twitter that Milliner’s new agents are the same agents, Pat Dye Jr and Bill Johnson, who represented Tannehill last year.  That gives the Jets a specific point to exploit as the agents did agree to a structure with Tannehill that contained offset language. The Jets might be forced to pay money earlier than desired in executing that same contract, but it could get their player into camp right away. At the same time his agents may not want a stigma that they are the group that cant seal the deal on the no offset provisions. Its actually a small point that makes the hiring a little strange from Milliner’s perspective as there may have been other agents that did secure their clients no offsets last year that were also interested in Milliner.

All in all it makes for what could be a sticky situation for the Jets and by extension perhaps the Titans who picked 10th and could see G Chance Warmack look to wait to see what occurs with Milliner before signing. I would imagine that with Lotulelei now signed the door is opened for the 11th thru 13th picks to sign this week as there should be no hangups in those contracts now at all.


Chris Long Restructures Contract with Rams


Chris Long has restructured his contract according to Jim Thomas of the St Louis Post Dispatch, converting $6 million of his $13.25 million base salary into a roster bonus. The roster bonus, which is fully guaranteed, will be treated as a prorated signing bonus per CBA rules. This reduces Long’s cap charge from $13.25 million to $8.75 million, a savings of $4.5 million.

The Rams, right up against the salary cap, have a number of high priced contracts on their team making the restructure of Long a no brainer to gain enough cap room to finalize their roster. The move increases Long’s cap charges in 2014 to $14.7 million and increases dead money by $4.5 million, but with his salary fully guaranteed for 2014 and his position as best defensive player on the team he was never going anywhere anyway. Long had no dead money in his contract beyond 2014 and the addition of a small amount does not make a material difference in the event his play significantly declines over the next two years.

View Chris Longs Cap Page


Recapping Todays News…Chiefs, 49ers, and Rams

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.