Today was the last day to designate a player a franchise or transition player which probably had a number of potential free agents anxiously waiting to hear if they were truly free or confined by the tag. While there were some moves made at the last minute many of the names that had been discussed in recent days, such as Greg Jennings, Aqib Talib, Jake Long, Sean Smith, and so on made out without getting franchised.
Kansas City Chiefs– The most active team of the day the Chiefs locked up WR Dwayne Bowe to a 5 year contract and P Dustin Colquitt to a contract that should make him the highest paid Punter in the NFL. The ability to lock up up Bowe allowed the Chiefs to place the franchise tag on T Branden Albert.
While there have not been concrete terms on Bowe’s contract I have seen the numbers 5 years for $50 million floating around on Twitter. If that is the deal signed it will be a good deal for the Chiefs and probably signal a bad sign for Mike Wallace and Greg Jennings who were hoping to break the bank. They needed Bowe to pushed past Vincent Jackson and $10 million a year does not even come close. Now it is possible that the guarantees are similar as Jackson’s deal was originally a two year contract disguised as a 5 year contract prior to his late season renegotiation, but $50 million shows a depressed market possibility for the position. That said many times when contracts numbers like this just float around they prove to be false so we will just need to wait and see.
The Chiefs should still be in a decent cap position even with the trade for Alex Smith on the horizon. Once the team releases Tyson Jackson and Matt Cassel they will free up $20.845 million on the cap. Both moves seem like no brainers.
Dallas Cowboys– One step forward two steps back? Dallas just seems like such a poorly managed team. Today the team cut S Gerald Sensabaugh to free up $1.4 million in cap room, their first real solid roster transaction of the offseason. They spent two or three days last week extending and/or restructuring contracts to get cap compliant and then they decided to again designate DE/LB a franchise player. This time around the tag should cost the team $10,272,200 which seems absurd for a team with salary cap problems. Can Spencer play in the new defense? I would think so, but this is not a team that can really afford these luxuries.
This isnt a team in a championship game that wants to make one more run. I almost feel as if the owner still thinks its 2007 when Dallas played like an elite team with a young Tony Romo at the helm. They have not had a winning record in 3 years and when that happens you need to start making the tough decisions to not bring back players that are going to kill your financial structure down the line. This move puts Dallas back over the salary cap meaning more restructures. Romo is the one they need to get done and now they gave him even more leverage to make a killing. Even if they are going to entertain trading Spencer the damage is done because they need to get under the cap before a trade can occur. If this team doesn’t win next year its going to get ugly in Dallas which is rapidly turning into the Oakland Raiders of 2004-2011.
New Orleans Saints– The Saints reportedly restructured the contract of Brodrick Bunkley according to Mike Triplett of NOLA.com. I’ll get the details up on the site in the next day or two but this is a team also living in the past. This move more or less guarantees Bunkley a roster spot in 2014 at a cap number above $6 million, a year where the Saints already have $126 million in cap commitments for just 39 players. To go further in on defensive players on an awful defense seems pretty illogical. I guess they are blaming everything on Steve Spagnuolo, disregarding the fact that the defense was pretty bad for about 5 years I guess you can argue that Bunkley was their best defender.
Miami Dolphins– The Dolphins franchised DT Randy Starks which puts the Dolphins interior line investments upwards of $17 million, 2nd highest in the NFL to only the Detroit Lions who have over $18 million tied up in Suh alone. With more and more teams passing the football and running alot less, I think it questions the philosophy of investing high in the interior unless it is for the rare players who are real game wreckers that can rush up the middle.
I understand the decision and financially it makes more sense to do this with Starks and try to work out a long term deal than overspending on Smith or Long on one year deals, but I think it definitely brings up a good positional spending debate. As the run offense went out of style in the mid 2000s the pay has clearly cycled away from the DT and out to the CBs. Miami is taking the opposite approach. The Dolphins now have about $57 million tied up in their defense with only $26 million in the offense, the lowest amount in the NFL. Clearly the rest of their spending needs to be on the offensive side of the ball.
Oakland Raiders– The Raiders reduced the salary of G Mike Brisiel by $3 million dollars. The move was first reported by Steve Corkran and he stated that this will save Oakland $3 million which would indicate a pure paycut rather than restructure. My experience would tell me hs got something in return, but that’s just a guess on my part. I have not updated his cap number yet and will try to see if I can verify that he accepted a paycut, but if not Ill run with that number until I hear otherwise.
Carolina Panthers– I just wanted to throw this one in there because I know of all the teams this is probably the one with the largest discrepancy between the sites numbers and the reports. I do know that the figures we have are estimating Carolina between 1.5 and 2 million on the low end showing them with more cap room than they really have. I am not sure where the error is and whether I am missing a big dead money player or some type of incentives but I will try to work that out to get the number closer to the actual charge.
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.