A cap budget
For now let us assume that we have $20M to spend. If this is a bit high, then a couple of restructures can move it up to that. The bottom of the roster is about $350K or will be soon.
A CAP BUDGET (All amounts as net cap effects)
CATEGORY ONE $5M (this is bit higher than Miguel's estimate)
Player 52 and Player 53
UDFA's (this year or last)
IR and injury fund
CATEGORY TWO $1M
veteran free agents (7 players, could be 6-8 depending on experience)
CATEGORY THREE $14M
Consider a 3 year contract with a $1M bonus per year of contract and $1.35M salary or a $2M net cap effect. There are even more favorable cap structures. $2M first year cap buys a lot.
We can afford 7 of these players.
We could substitute a HUGE contract and replace two players
$12M bonus, 4 years, 1.35M salary with a net cap of $4M. Almost any player can be signed with a cap of $4M.
So let's say we sign one major an 6 mid-level free agents.
A lot can be done with a $2.35M cap effect ($2M net)
BOTTOM LINE BUDGET - ADDITIONS FOR CAMP
9 rookies (draftees and UDFA's with a chance)
7 veterans at minimum (about $800K, $465M cap hit)
1 top free agent (or substitute 2 regular)
7 mid-level free agants
25 players in addition to what we have.
plus a few of additional UDFA's as camp fodder with no cap effect.
THERE IS NO CAP CONSTRAINT
The other way to spend cap money is to exptend Branch or Koppen. Extending Seymour makes cap money available.
That's where we armchair GMs are at a disadvantage. I'm sure that Pioli has spreadsheet models built that allow him to plug in what if scenarios this year and see the cap implications on a complete roster in 2007/08/09 etc. He certainly has a firm grasp on how many slots are available for players at each cap level and, more specifically, how those slots need to be distributed among the various groups on the team (o-line, d-line, secondary, etc.). Furthermore, I bet that Pioli already has penciled in when each aging vet will have to go in order to properly redeploy cap room.
Just as examples of simple items to consider: The increase in vet minimum salaries and shorter rookie prorations both eat up cap space, not only this year, but in future years. Colvin's and Vrabel's increasing cap numbers eat up space in future years that must be factored into the equation.
I agree that we use a mult-year chart, perhaps using Miguel's future cap numbers and salary terms. I just used the common structure that we use. I trust bb and pioli not to mortgage the future.
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