Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 Dec 2013

Best and Worst Cap Situations for 2014

Joel Corry of CBS Sportsline looks at the best and worst cap situations in the NFL going into the 2014 offseason. It's an interesting start to the offseason discussion. The top 10 are linked above, led by Oakland -- Lord knows they jettisoned enough money last offseason so they could be in this position a year later -- Jacksonville, and Cleveland. Also in surprisingly good cap shape: Washington and Green Bay. The three worst cap situations are linked here: Dallas, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 20 Dec 2013

25 comments, Last at 23 Jan 2014, 4:43pm by Cheap Fitted Hats


by Hurt Bones :: Fri, 12/20/2013 - 7:59pm

I wondered why people were talking about Washington coming out the cap penalty more than Dallas. It seems that Jerry the GM just put his team in a future hole. Good luck on fixing that defense.

by Insancipitory :: Fri, 12/20/2013 - 10:40pm

Doesn't every team build a stellar defense out of a couple high picks, a bunch of day three probowlers, and few affordable free agents?

by Never Surrender :: Sat, 12/21/2013 - 1:59pm

Shanahan and Bruce Allen (the 'Skins GM) deliberately absorbed the effects of the penalty this year, restructuring contracts but never pushing money to 2014 or 2015. Shanahan might be gone after the season, but he did a good job ensuring that the Redskins wouldn't be screwed by the cap come next year and the year after.

It also helps that the Redskins have some of the best cap people in the business. Can't say the same for their GMs in the last decade, obviously, but as a team they never hit the cap hell everyone kept predicting would come in two years.

by apk3000 :: Sun, 12/22/2013 - 7:35pm

Schottenheimer came in and decided to fix the cap. Shanahan did the same. Plus, the temporary relief of the uncapped year. So they've basically rebuilt from cap hell twice now. Not to mention they've been a top heavy team throughout the Snyder era, so they never have depth and are always fooling themselves with a "as long as we stay healthy this year, we're a good team" outlook.

by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Fri, 12/20/2013 - 11:39pm

According to Over the Cap, the Steelers are only 7 million over next year. I thought Detroit was in worse shape, but I guess I was wrong. Suh, Calvin Johnson and Stafford are really expensive though.

I have no idea how Dallas will get under the cap next year, it's just nuts what Jerry Jones has done to that team.

by Hurt Bones :: Fri, 12/20/2013 - 11:47pm

Over the Cap may calculate differently.

In this article:
"Included in each team's calculations in order to give a more complete cap picture are the following:

1. Fourth-year proven performance escalators earned by third- through seventh-round picks under the 2011 collective bargaining agreement's rookie wage scale.

2. Tenders for restricted free agents and exclusive-rights players with expiring contracts.

3. Voidable contract years and futures contracts for practice squad players."

by JMM* (not verified) :: Sat, 12/21/2013 - 10:03pm

I think Taylor signed an extension and lowered his cap number this and next year. That might be the difference.

by Mash Wilson :: Sat, 12/21/2013 - 3:19pm

This is why the Steelers appear to be seriously considering trading Roethlisberger this offseason, rather than giving him a new megacontract that will just prolong their cap problems.

by Hurt Bones :: Sat, 12/21/2013 - 4:00pm

The problem as I see it is that they would be trading their best player for big cap savings in 2015, but they would only save about $7 million this year. Once you trade him all the deferred cap money in 2015 immediately becomes dead money in 2014. The question would be what you get in return for the trade. The Steelers would still have tough salary cap decisions and an aging defense.

by Mash Wilson :: Sat, 12/21/2013 - 6:34pm

Yes, but then they'd basically be free from Cap Hell. Whereas if they give him another huge signing bonus he's going to continue occupying an enormous chunk of cap space for at least 4-5 more years. And it's his decline they'll be buying.

Good quarterbacks are so rare and valuable that it's hard to get rid of one, but Roethlisberger is 32 going on 45 (he's absorbed a lot of punishment over the years and does not take care of himself) and given where the Steelers are now as a team (in Cap Hell and nearly talent-free due to several years of poor drafting) it's probably better to grimace and let him go and start over.

I don't think Roethlisberger would bring more in a trade than maybe a second. His reputations for being out of shape and being a notorious douchebag will not bolster his trade value.

by justanothersteve :: Sat, 12/21/2013 - 6:42pm

I don't see any team trading for Ben until Cutler (and possibly Vick and Freeman) are no longer available. Maybe not until after the draft given this year's QB prospects. It seems like there are fewer GMs these days willing to part with draft picks. Though as long as Jerry Jones insists on being his own GM, there's always a chance.

by Mash Wilson :: Sat, 12/21/2013 - 7:02pm

I think the chances are pretty good that one way or another he'll be an Arizona Cardinal next year. Bruce Arians seems to be the only person working in the NFL who can stand him.

by TomA (not verified) :: Sat, 12/21/2013 - 9:43pm

Ben's still their best player and has been playing BETTER in his old age than in the past. Cutting ties with Ben would be an absolute last resort.

by Jerry :: Sat, 12/21/2013 - 10:24pm

I haven't seen any remotely reputable reporting that the Steelers are considering such a trade, or that Ben wants one.

by Rocco :: Sun, 12/22/2013 - 11:35pm

Except they aren't seriously considering it. And they'd be creating a huge hole at QB with no obvious replacement and no easy way to find a replacement.

Their cap problems aren't that bad. They're cutting Levi Brown. If they cut Polamalu and Taylor to go with Brown they'll free up ~$20M in cap space.

by Mash Wilson :: Mon, 12/23/2013 - 12:53am

There'll be a snowball fight in hell before they cut Polamalu.

by tuluse :: Mon, 12/23/2013 - 3:36am

I could see them agree to restructure his contract.

by Jerry :: Mon, 12/23/2013 - 3:43am

Polamalu will be an ex-Steeler before Roethlisberger.

by Rocco :: Mon, 12/23/2013 - 8:36am

You think they'd dump a QB who is having a great season over a safety on a decline? Sure.

by justanothersteve :: Sat, 12/21/2013 - 6:38pm

I did not realize the Packers were in that good of cap shape. I don't think there will be much of a market for Flynn, so $2.5-3.0 million is probably about all it will take to keep him. Shields, then James Jones and Quarless, will probably be higher FA priorities than Raji who seems to have regressed over the last two years.

They will probably try to sign their older vets (Pickett, Jolly, and Kuhn) to short 1-2 year deals. They could to sign Newhouse, EDS, Neal, and Starks, but it's no big deal if any of them go. I would not be surprised if EDS stays as he seems to like GB, but I expect other teams will value the other three more.

by In_Belichick_We... :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 12:34pm

Aren't the Bills always near the top of this list?
Just because they have the room doesn't mean they will use it.

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 2:53pm

Didn't they throw a ton of money at Mario Williams to sign him?
Besides, you're forgetting that the new CBA requires teams to spend at least 90% of the cap on players.

by tuluse :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 7:48pm

According the site linked it's %89, and averaged over a 3 year period. I wonder how much fudging that allows teams to get away with. Big fake "likely to be earned incentives" they can claim against the cap but not actually pay out.

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