Who Can Afford Stephon Gilmore?

I started to get a number of cap questions about who can and can not afford Stephon Gilmore once he hits free agency so I thought I would put a quick post together outlining the way a contract would work. Not it is important to not that it is exceedingly rare for a player who is a free agent to sign a big contract in October but this may prove to be a unique situation. According to Josina Anderson, Gilmore is looking for $15M/year so we can work off that number to get an idea of who can and can not afford him.

Assuming that Gilmore would not sign this week, a $15 million salary would prorate out to between $10 million and $10.83 million for the balance of the year. Obviously few teams have that kind of cap space, but most teams would simply utilize four dummy years in the contract, which would allow them to count the majority of the salary on the cap in 2022 rather than 2021.

If he signed next week the team would be required to pay him for 13 weeks of the season. To make it a clean cap number a team would pay a base salary of $1.15386M, which would prorate out to $833,333, along with a $10 million signing bonus. Of that $10 million, just $2 million would count in 2021 and $8 million would be pushed to 2022 if the contract voids before an extension is signed. That would bring the all in charge for 2021 to $2.83 million.

If he waits an additional week the team would be on the hook for 12 weeks of the salary. Here you would pay a base rate of $1.2 million along with a $9.2 million signing bonus. That would be a cap charge of $2.64 million with $7.36 million being pushed to 2022.

In both scenarios the net cap impact would be a little lower (between $440 and $470K at the least) since he would be replacing someone on the roster. There are other ways to bring the cap charges lower depending on how much incentivized salary Gilmore would be willing to take, but this would be about the bare minimum on a straight contract.

So who can afford the number? Pretty much everyone. The Jaguars, Panthers, Eagles, Broncos, and Football Team could pretty much do a straight contract without void years if they wanted. The Bengals, Chargers, Seahawks, Steelers, Browns, and Texans could probably lessen the amount of void money. The Packers, Titans, Jets, Raiders, Cowboys, 49ers, Bills, Vikings, Lions, Buccaneers, and Chiefs would have to be closer to what I have here as the way to do the contract.

The Saints, Falcons, Bears, Cardinals, Rams, Rams, Dolphins, Colts, and Giants would be the teams that probably could not afford him on the cap within their current roster construct. They would either need to be more creative or manipulate the cap figures of other players to sign him. Most would have the ability to do that though the Saints would be hard pressed since almost everyone is at a minimum salary but there are a few buttons they could push to do it.

Questions about this article? Reach Jason Fitzgerald on Twitter at @Jason_OTC