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Strategies for an uncapped world

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by BlitzFritz, Mar 11, 2009.

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  1. BlitzFritz

    BlitzFritz Rookie

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    I would imagine that BB is thinking hard about how to be best positioned heading into the strong possibility of an uncapped world next season. To recap my own understanding of what that would mean:

    - rookie contracts get extended to 6 years
    - additional franchise tags and transition tags
    - limits on our ability to sign others' FAs, based on how many of our FAs get signed (assuming we go deep in playoffs)
    - prospect of idiots like Dan Snyder paying for lots of FA talent

    What would you do if you were BB in this situation? What strategies would you employ? My simple mind would say:

    1. Get as young as possible. Load up on rookie contracts, since they will be even more valuable in the future. Push the envelope to get as many rookie contracts on your roster.
    - Might this explain our loading up of draft picks?
    - Would we expect to see BB be a bit more aggressive in certain positions (like OLB) in drafting for talent?
    - Would he try to draft some more cheap DL bodies

    2. Sign more one year contracts with veterans. This would give you flexibility to let more FAs walk, and get signed by other teams, increasing your own number of FA signings.

    3. Dont extend your own rookies to big contracts, if they are going to get extended via the uncapped rules out to 6 years. They will not become UFA's as early as they hoped. I think this would cover all the guys playing in their last year of their original contact on our team right now I may be mistaken about this, but if true, it would mean Wilfork, Watson, Thomas, Mankins, etc would all remain on this team next season, or perhaps would become RFAs instead? I think this is a big deal.

    I am NOT an expert on any of this, but have been trying to decipher this a bit. Please pile on.

    -- FRITZ
  2. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Rookie contracts, AFAIK, do not get extended; rather, the service needed to reach unrestricted free agency jumps to six years.

    It's possible that the Patriots could enter the draft with 11-12 picks, including six in the top 100. The only problem is that loading up on rookie contracts, as it were, reduces the overall experience level of the team.

    Wilfork and Watson were drafted in 2004, and so will be UFAs regardless. Everyone from 2005 and after, though, will be an RFA (including Thomas, Mankins, and Gostkowski).
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2009
  3. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

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    A few questions about the UnCapped year?

    1. Is It only for one year if the CBA isn't extended this year and a new CBA IS made the following year?

    2. If an unCapped year only last for one year, meaning a new CBA made,
    then the subsequent years would be Capped. If this is so then would any contract amounts due after the uncapped year would count against the cap in those years?

    In other words could team give a FA a 40 Mil contact, 30 of it due in
    the uncapped year and say 2 mill the next 5 years so the team would only
    incur a 2M Cap hit in years 2 through 6 of that FA's contract.

    Is this how it could work?
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2009
  4. Rob0729

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    The thing that can hurt the Pats is the top 8 team rule (which the original poster alluded to). If the Pats make it to the divisional round of the playoffs, they will only be able to sign as many free agents as they lose to other teams. That means if the Pats get to the divisional round and don't lose any free agents (not likely), they cannot sign a single new free agent (I think they get some leeway if they lose the divisional round).

    So getting deep into the playoffs without winning the Super Bowl sucks even more this upcoming season than other seasons. This season and only this season, I would be happier if the Pats missed the playoffs all together rather than going deep into the playoffs and not winning a Super Bowl.
  5. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Actually, it seems they're doing a test run this year--those restrictions, if they come about, will not apply to players who are waived by their former teams. And, interestingly enough, the Patriots have not signed a single true UFA this year.
  6. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    I too have been wondering about the Uncapped year. With Mankins, Seymour and Wilfork coming free as well as Watson, and Gostkowski, an uncapped year is actually appealing in some ways.

    Kraft could sign all these guys for big bucks in 2010 and lower amounts afterwards, when a new CBA is signed.

    Many have been questioning whether Seymour and Wilfork will be kept but my view is that Belichick would cut half the team to find the money to keep keep his Defensive line. It is hard to comprehend, as Seymour seems to have been be around forever, but he is only thirty. And just entering the theoretical best and Prime of his career. :eek:

    I had not thought of the implications of having lots of rookies on the roster and their extended RFAs. Your observation is apt, there. :)

    But it also makes sense then to not extend Watson or Gostkowski or Mankins yet, as they would still be RFAs. Spend the 2009 money on better then usual additions to the Team. Something that Belichick appears to be doing.

    I had thought that Belichick was stockpiling good QBs and hoping to do a Montana & Young with Brady & Cassel. That was when he signed Cassel to the Franchise tag, but I was wrong. It still makes sense to load up good depth there if you can. If K'OC looks good this TC, would they write him a new extended contract, as they probably should have done with Matt, immediately after Brady was hurt? :confused:
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2009
  7. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    But cap casualties like Leigh Bodden, Fred Taylor, and Shawn Springs won't be available next year without a cap (at least in theory).
  8. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    I thought that Springs and Taylor signed multi-year contracts. Only Bodden signed for one year.
  9. stinkypete

    stinkypete Rookie

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    Interesting. I wonder if that has anything to do with the low free agency activity overall in the league.
  10. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    Were they really cap casualties? Or just that the team didn't want to pay them? Snyder seemed to have plenty of money this year. He just chose different players to spend it on.

    I think teams will still cut players they think won't fit their system, and the Pats could pick up players that way. They could also pick up players via a trade if they are loaded with draft picks.

    And don't forget, the Patriots have a pretty good team right now. In an uncapped year, they can keep all the players they want. They can exptend Brady, Serymour, Wilfork, Warren, S Thomas - they needn't lose any player they don't want to lose.
  11. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    They were all cap casulaties because they all were getting paid beyond their value and both the Redskins and Jags had cap issues.

    Snyder didn't have plenty of money, but he made room by cutting Springs. Springs was cut to make room for the DeAngelo Hall resigning and Albert Haynesworth (Hall didn't sign until after Springs was cut). Cutting Springs gave the Redskins $6 million of cap space and they were only $1 million under the cap when they cut him.

    Fred Taylor was clearly cut because of his cap number and his age. The Jags probably keep him in an uncapped year unless they are hurting so bad financially.

    Bodden was cut because of his cap number too. They might have cut him anyway, but who knows.

    Yes, there will be players cut next year with or without a cap. You won't see players like Fred Taylor or Jason Taylor cut like this year because their age and cap number were getting too high for their value. That means the number of players getting cut will go down exponentially next year.

    I don't know if the Top 8 rule has anything to do with trades. There may be a restriction there, but I really don't know.
  12. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Your comment brings up a very good topic I had not considered: trades.

    Assuming 2010 becomes an uncapped year, it could become a trade-intensive season. With a cap in place, teams don't make trades because of the acelerated hit to their salary cap. But with no cap, is it possible that the NFL resembles MLB with their trades?
  13. BlitzFritz

    BlitzFritz Rookie

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    OK so i would add a few more strategies from this discussion

    4. Dont extend your key players until 2010 if you can. Next year there will be no cap, so you wont have that to consider in negotiations.

    5. Worry about lack of FAs and cap casualty players on the market in the future, especially if you are a playoff team with limited FA slots. Prepare yourself for making more trades potentially. So stockpile picks that can help facilitate trades?

    we really need a CBA guru!!
    anyway, this is really interesting stuff.

    -- FRITZ
  14. solman

    solman Rookie

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    CBA means collective bargaining agreement. The rules for future seasons will be determined by collective bargaining between the players union (as long as there is one) and the owners.

    They are free to negotiate a new CBA without a salary cap.

    They are also free to negotiate how a new CBA with a salary cap treats contracts signed during an uncapped year.

    In all likelihood, any amounts paid during 2010 in the form of roster bonuses or salary (i.e. compensation that would have been counted against the 2010 cap under the old CBA) will not be counted against the teams in future capped years. The union will insist on this. Otherwise, in any future capped year, the owners will act as if they are constrained by an (as yet unknown) cap.

    The owners are likely to insist that signing bonuses and option bonuses paid during the 2010 season be prorated into future capped years according to the same set of rules used by the new CBA, but they have somewhat greater negotiating flexibility on this point.

    I think that we are very likely heading into an uncapped 2010. The players are ultimately going to have to give back some of the revenue that they gained in the last CBA. It will be difficult for them to stomach this without first forcing the owners into an uncapped year. (In which the true cost of the salary cap will become apparent). The exception to this would be if the new union leader determines that salaries are likely to fall in the uncapped year, and is able to persuade the rest of the players to accept an early haircut. But it is difficult for me to imagine the union achieving such a level of unity.

    I think that an uncapped year will most definitely work in the Patriots favor. We are one of the rich teams, and we have a HUGE class of critical free agents next year [many of whom will be restricted free agents if the year is uncapped]. Kraft will try to act responsibly [and, in part, be forced to by the final 8 provision] but our team will still benefit substantially.

    I also think that a couple of the poorer teams will take advantage of a season without minimums, and drop their payroll by $40M+, thus strengthening some balance sheets that may have difficulty surviving a 2011 lock out. This may very well have a significant negative impact on 2010 salaries. Certainly any continuing economic weakness will help the owners keep 2010 salaries down.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2009
  15. Jimke

    Jimke Rookie

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    The Patriots have to draft a lot of players in 2009 and 2010

    to offset having to over pay some key veteran players.
  16. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    Cutting a player because they make more than they are worth does not make them cap casualties. Every year teams who are not in cap trouble cut players who make more than they are worth.

    Players who are being paid more than they were worth to a team are prime candidates to be cut any year, cap trouble or not.

    And next year, cap or no cap, teams will find themselves with players who are getting paid more than they are worth and will cut them. Some team will pick them up at bargain rates.

    Those players can be signed by any team as they do not fall under the Rule of Eight.

    I would not panic about there not being any veteran players available for the Pats to sign.

    Edit: Also, as someone above, cash poor teams will be fiscally prudent and cut payroll to the bone in anticpation of a lockout. The Krafts, Rooneys, Jones, etc of the league can absorb a lockout hit, the Wilsons and Irsays cannot. If there is a hint of a labor issue in 2010, some teams will slash their rosters.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2009
  17. Rob0729

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    Many of the time players who are getting cut because they are getting paid more than they are worth is because of their base salary and amortized bonus money combined is too much. In an uncapped year, the amortized bonus money is irrelevant. Many times the player getting cut has a reasonable base salary, but may have millions in dead bonus money tied up that other than this year half or more could be pushed into the next year against the cap.

    Even if a player's base salary is too high next year, teams still have a better chance to retain these players because they will be in a better position to renegotiate with them since they won't have to worry about cap ramifications. For example, say Taylor counted $10 million against the Jags cap this year (I don't know what his bonus money was, but his base salary was reported to be $6 million). Even if they gave Taylor the same deal as the Pats gave him after his release their cap would still be over $6 million. Without having to worry about the cap, the $4 million in dead money would be irrelevant.

    The bottom line is amortized bonus money that was paid out years earlier usually plays a role in most veterans getting released because of money issues. That issue is irrelevant in an uncapped year.

    Yes, there will still be veterans who are released, but many of the veterans who still have value who would be cut in a salary cap world will be more likely retained in an uncapped year. I think the Jags would have been far more likely to either pay Taylor or give him more attractive renogiated deal if there were no cap concerns even with them being a smaller market team. In fact, these smaller market teams may be more likely try to retain their own players since they know they will have trouble competing for free agents against the bigger market teams who will spend like drunken sailors on any decent free agent.
  18. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Gene Upshaw stated that if the cap was gone, then it was gone for good. I am not sure how the new President will go as that person hasn't been elected yet. In fact, I am expecting the owners to lock out the players after the SB to prevent an uncapped year from occuring.

    I would have to say yes.

    I believe so. However, as I said, I don't foresee the owners allowing the uncapped year to occur as its not in their best interest financially.
  19. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Here is the list of players who will be free agents next year. Beside their name, I have put the type of free agent. If it says RFA/UFA then the player would be a RFA in an uncapped year and a UFA in a capped year.

    Sam Aiken, WR - UFA
    Tully Banta-Cain, LB - UFA
    Leigh Bodden, CB - RFA/UFA
    Tedy Bruschi, LB - UFA (expected to retire)
    Kevin Faulk, RB - UFA
    Jarvis Green, DE - UFA
    Chris Hanson, P - UFA
    Russ Hochstein, G - UFA
    Nathan Hodel, LS - UFA
    Matt Light, OT - UFA <------ Key Player
    Stephen Neal, G - UFA
    Richard Seymour, DE - UFA
    Ben Watson, TE - UFA
    Vince Wilfork, DT - UFA
    <------ Key Player
    Eric Alexander, LB - UFA
    Stephen Gostkowski, K - RFA/UFA <------ Key Player
    Ellis Hobbs, CB - RFA/UFA <------ Key Player
    Nick Kaczur, T - RFA/UFA
    Logan Mankins, G - RFA/UFA
    <------ Key Player
    Ryan O'Callaghan, T - RFA/UFA
    Le Kevin Smith, DE - RFA/UFA
    David Thomas, TE - RFA/UFA
    Raymond Ventrone, S - RFA/UFA
    Pierre Woods, LB - RFA/UFA
    Billy Yates, G - RFA/UFA
    Gary Guyton, LB - ERFA
    Brad Listorti, TE - ERFA

    There are 5 players who I feel are MUST re-signs unless the Pats have someone in the pipeline to replace them. And you are reading that properly. I don't consider Seymour a must re-sign. I love the guy, but if he's expecting to make Haynesworth money, then he won't be retained, regardless of whether the year is capped or uncapped.
  20. HEY BRO! WHAT UP?

    HEY BRO! WHAT UP? Banned

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    I don't know exactly how it's going to work but the NFL needs to decide very soon if their going to be uncapped for an extended period of time or not. I don't think it's fair for teams to be uncapped next year and take advantage of it by signing key free agents and then to find out in 2011, their 20 million over the cap. This should be the only thing that worries us. Other than that, an uncapped world only helps teams like the Pats, Cowboys, Redskins and NY teams because they are in a big market. They are the highest grossing franchises in all of sports. It basically comes down to whether the owner wants to pay the luxury tax or not. So in the Pats case, they can sign whoever the hell the want. However, the teams that should be s***ting their pants are the Jaguars, Lions, Packers, Browns and other small market teams. You know, the whole point of the salary cap was to create more parity in the NFL and reduce the spending of big market teams, no matter how much revenue they made.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2009
  21. MoLewisrocks

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    I believe there is language in the currently expiring CBA that precludes a lockout (or either side from instituting any kind of work stoppage) before 2011.
  22. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    ???????? I don't think you meant what you typed.

    Amortised bonus money is irrelevant. Cutting a player does not make amortised bonus money go away. It is still on the cap.

    The only money you can save by cutting a player is current and future salary. That is what determines the players worth. Is he worth the salary we are going to pay him, or would we be better off with the cash?

    This is like the guys who say that Jarvis Green's cap number at $5 mil is too high for a backup. His salary is only about $2 mil, and that is the only number that counts when you are looking to reduce a cap hit in a capped year. That $3 mil of amorised bonuses and incentives is there whether you cut him or not.

    Or perhaps a better analogy is repairing your car. You spent $3000 four months ago to replace the transmission. Now the water pump goes for $1000. You have to ask yourself if the car is worth the $1000 dollars, not $4000. $1000 is all you will save by "cutting" you car.

    The Patriots will do just fine in an uncapped year. There will be plenty of players to sign, and the Partiots under Kraft and Belichick will have placed themselves ina position to capitalize on opportunities and minimize the pitfalls of an uncapped year. Or years.
  23. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    Yes, I think that was someone's point, that in the 2010 uncapped year, with no salary minimum floor, cash-poor teams would be dumping salaried players to have the cash to withstand a 2011 lockout.

    I hope it doesn't happen, be a shame if it does, but if I owned the Bills I would have to plan for such a contingency.
  24. solman

    solman Rookie

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    This is very probably wrong.

    *All indications from the owners suggest that they view 2011 as the year when any possible stoppage would occur.

    * Article 4 section 1 of the CBA prohibits the owners from locking the players out in 2010. I am not a labor lawyer, so I don't know if this is enforceable or not; but I don't see why they would put it in the labor agreement if it wasn't

    * It is highly questionable whether or not an uncapped 2010 would be financially detrimental to the owners. Over the course of this labor agreement (occurring mostly during "boom" times), the owners have paid less than the amounts targeted by the CBA (leading to upward adjustments of the cap). In a troubled economy, with many teams deeply in debt, the possibility of a lockout looming, and no minimum required salary expenditure, many teams will attempt to significantly reduce their payroll. It remains to be seen whether or not increased spending by the financially strong teams will be more or less important than decreased spending by the lower 24. I predict that during an uncapped 2010 salaries will increase by a smaller rate than required under the CBA for a capped 2010.



    When Gene Upshaw made his threat, the possibility of an uncapped year was terrifying to the owners who expected salaries to skyrocket. Today, expectations have changed dramatically, and its just not that effective a threat.
  25. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    And I disagree. Seymour is Foundation Tackle. Those guys come along once a Decade, and make all those players around them better. They never get traded, and go directly to the Hall of Fame as soon as eligible. Sey should have been a probowler in 2008. The Merlin Olsens, Alan Pages, Bob Lillys, Mean Joe Greenes, and Dan Hamptons stay with their teams for their entire careers. And they get paid.

    The only Foundation lineman that I know who walked was the Reverend Reggie Wright, at age 36.

    Bill would cut half his team to keep his Defensive line.

    And he certainly would not let a young 31 year old HOFer go. I just don't understand the posters here who are trying to run Seymour out of town. :mad:
  26. Miguel

    Miguel Patriots Salary Cap Guru PatsFans.com Supporter

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  27. upstater1

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    Nice article.

    One year is not enough to change the balance of power, BUT, you can set yourself up nicely for a good run if you run things right.

    I'm not concerned that other teams will give out big bonuses, but if a player is willing, a team could give him an astronomical first year salary in lieu of a bonus, and thereby they could circumvent (somewhat) the hit on futre caps.

    Whatever owner shells out big $$$ for contracts next year will set his team up well in the future.

    It's interesting to note that this uncapped year is happening is a horrific time for the economy, which will likely make owners reluctant to take advantage of the uncapped year. But maybe I'm wrong on that.
  28. Rob0729

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    I meant exactly what I wrote. Amortize bonuses are not irrelevant in an uncapped year. No they do not go away if a player is cut, but in a capped year the combination of the amortized bonus and base salary can make a player too expensive to keep even if the team can easily afford their base salary vs. the cap.

    Every team is only allowed to spend $127 million or so vs. the cap. That means the amortized bonus can play a key roll in the value of the player. Don't forget other than this year, dead money can be spread out over two year in the NFL capped world.

    Take the Jarvis Green example you used, in pure salary cap terms his salary this year is $5 million. From a salary cap standpoint, it doesn't matter where the money is coming from (base salary, amortized bonus, etc.). That is the number the Pats have to deal with and make him work under the cap. Right now he accounts for roughly 4% of the cap (would be about 2-2.5% if there was no amoritized bonus) which is high for a back up. So if the Pats cut Green, his amortized bonus money would still be there but they would free up 1.5-2% of cap space. If Green had additional years left on his contract and if this wasn't a year vs. an uncapped year the Pats could probably free up 2.5-3% of overall cap space by cutting Green.

    If this was an uncapped year, the only thing the Pats would care about is the base salary and any bonuses paid out in the current year. So all they care about is real dollars, not cap dollars. That makes it far easier for teams (even some of the smaller market teams) to bear especially with bigger name, popular players like Fred Taylor who can generate additional revenue for the team with merchandise sales and marketing opportunities. Amortized bonus would not play a part of the overall decision.

    In a capped NFL, teams may decide to cut an older player who is making say $2 million in real money, but has a $5 million hit reducing the cap by say $3.5 million (assuming it was any other year besides this one, the dead money would be split over two years). And then they turn around and sign a lesser player with a $750k base salary and a $3 million signing bonus because his current year cap hit will only be $1.5 million this year. So they saved $2 million in total against the cap because of the amortized bonus of the original player, but actually spent $1.75 million more in real dollars to make this move. In an uncapped year, you see it will be more cost effective to keep the veteran.

    Bottom line in a capped NFL, amortized bonus along with a spending limit makes players' salaries more bloated than they really are in real dollars and making older veterans far more expendable to maintain an overall salary budget under the NFL cap. In an uncapped world, teams only have to deal with real dollars which in many cases favors keeping the older veteran over cutting him and pay more to get a replacement.
  29. Synovia

    Synovia Rookie

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    No, the bonus money that is being amortized is irrelevant. Its sunk cost. Whether or not Jarvis Green is worth 5M doesn't matter, because that 3M is already gone. They can't save it. The question is whether he is worth 1.5-2% (2m) of the cap. The 3M is gone, and theres nothing they can do to get it back. Its irrelevant.
  30. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    First off, Green is only one situation. Many times a veteran is cut because he has multiple years left on his deal and the dead money can be split over two years sometimes even lowering that number in the current year because teams can push more of the dead money into the second year than the first.

    Second, amortized bonus is very relevant in a capped world vs. an uncapped world. Next year, no one is going to be cut because he eats too much cap space if there is no cap. No team is going to say that they aren't going to say they can't spend because they would go over the cap because of amortized bonuses, but eventhough it is irrelevant it is irresponsible to spend over the non-existent cap. It is a fact of the NFL cap that amortized bonuses reduces the amount teams can spend and eventhough they may spend $127 million or so of cap dollars, the number of real dollars could be far more or far less depending on how many bonuses they do or don't pay out in that year. Amortized bonuses are extremely relevant.
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