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03 Jun 2009

Under the Cap: Moss and Jansen

by J.I. Halsell

Many were surprised last week when the Redskins terminated the contract of veteran right tackle Jon Jansen. The move was surprising because, in spite of his diminishing skill, many around the league felt that the team would not be willing to live with the increased cap number associated with terminating Jansen, $6.1 million, versus keeping him possibly as a reserve at $4.5 million. Jansen’s termination signaled that the Redskins were indeed willing to live with a dead money cap charge of $6.1 million; however, in looking at their recent contract activity it would appear that the recent renegotiation of wide receiver Santana Moss played a direct role in the release of Jansen.

Santana Moss celebrated his 30th birthday over the weekend, and he had 6.2 million reasons to celebrate, as in the $6.2 million signing bonus paid to Moss from his mid-May contract renegotiation. If the Eagles are known for signing players to early extensions, the Redskins are known for guaranteeing previously non-guaranteed money in order to create short-term cap space, and that’s what the Redskins did with Moss.

New Contract



P5 (Salary) $745,000 $968,500


Signing Bonus ($6.3 millon) Proration $1,257,300 $1,257,300 $3,771,900
Prior Contract Proration $3,053,000 $2,453,000 $1,711,000
Cap Value $5,055,300 $4,678,800 $5,482,900

Old Contract



P5 (Salary) $3,700,000 $4,300,000


Prior Contract Proration $3,053,000 $2,453,000 $1,711,000
Cap Value $6,753,000 $6,753,000 $1,711,000

Per NFLPA records, the above tables show that under his old contract, Moss was suppose to make $8 million in non-guaranteed P5 (salary) over 2009 and 2010. By renegotiating his contract, the Redskins have guaranteed $6,286,500 of that P5 via Signing Bonus, thereby reducing his P5 amounts to $745,000 and $968,500 respectively in 2009 and 2010. The effect of this maneuver is cap savings of $1,697,700 in 2009 and $2,074,200 in 2010. In 2011, one will notice that in both tables his P5’s say “Void,” this is to illustrate that Moss’ contract voids after the 2010 season in both his old deal and his new deal. Under his old deal, in 2011 the Redskins would have been saddled with Bonus Acceleration of $1,711,000. Under his new deal, the team will be saddled with $5,482,900 of Bonus Acceleration; this would be considered Dead Money as Moss would no longer be a member of the team.

In essence, the Redskins chose to use Moss’ $1.7 million in cap savings on Jansen’s additional $1.6 million cap charge. In 2011, just as the Redskins are currently saddled with a $6.1 million dead money charge for Jansen, they will be saddled with a $5.5 million dead money charge for Moss, so it’ll be interesting (assuming there is a cap) to see who the Redskins push money out with in 2011 in order to live under the cap with this dead money amount. Other players who could potentially count for significant dead money in the future are Clinton Portis, Andre Carter, and Antwaan Randle El, as these players have been recipients of the Redskins’ money-pushing technique.

The fact of the matter is that a club can continue to push money out for as long as they can, but at some point you have to “pay the piper” when a player’s skill has diminished or they’re simply no longer needed. In managing the cap, it’s a matter of taking your dead money medicine now or later, but taking your medicine is an inevitability. This money-pushing technique has allowed the high-spending Redskins to survive without having to blow up the team, so you can’t exactly knock the technique, but at the same time as our economy has proven, there’s something to be said for financial conservation and prudence versus high-spending quick fixes.

Speaking of which... tomorrow, Under the Cap will take a look at salary cap efficiency, and which teams got the most wins for their salary cap spending in 2008.

Posted by: J.I. Halsell on 03 Jun 2009

17 comments, Last at 11 Jun 2009, 10:38am by 4tuna


by justanothersteve :: Wed, 06/03/2009 - 2:08pm

I'm a bit confused by this. Does void in 2011 mean Moss or the team can terminate the contract or is there no contract beyond that point? If there is no contract, how can there be cap money in that year? Or is the salary in 2011 so outrageous (e.g., $20M) that the Redskins will be forced to let Moss go? This is interesting. Maybe I'm just slow to understand here.

by J.I. Halsell :: Wed, 06/03/2009 - 3:01pm

After the 2010 season, Moss' contract years of 2011-2013 void. Neither he nor the team need to do anything to make those years void; they just terminate at that point (the point of doing this is to have the proration go into those years, 2011-2013, until the void occurs; at which point, all of that money will accelerate into 2011). So in 2011, the Redskins will have a cap charge for Moss (who will no longer be on the team at that point) of $5.4M; similar to how neither Jansen, Brandon Lloyd, Shawn Springs, etc. are on the Redskins' roster yet are counting on their cap this year.

J.I. Halsell

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 06/03/2009 - 3:46pm

"felt that the team would not be willing to live with the increased cap number associated with terminating Jansen, $6.1 million, versus keeping him possibly as a reserve at $4.5 million."

The Redskins cap number increased by more than just the difference between $4.5M and $6.1M - the Redskins also picked up another player instead of Jansen on the top 51, meaning that the Redskins available cap space actually decreased by $2.1M or so (the other player was making $400K/year).

The practical impact on the cap once the season starts could be a little higher. depending on how much the person who takes the spot Jansen would've had is paid. But the fact that the Redskins had to renegotiate Moss's contract to absorb around a $2M increase in their cap number kindof illustrates exactly how constrained they are.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Wed, 06/03/2009 - 3:53pm

Is it just me, or does this give the Redskins an incentive to want the salary cap to go away? I realize that Snyder probably already wants that, but seeing these kinds of deals makes me cringe when I think about the coming CBA negotiations. If teams keep planning for the possibility that the salary cap might go away, sooner or later they're going to realize that they're screwed if it DOESN'T go away.

by Phyrre56 (not verified) :: Wed, 06/03/2009 - 5:38pm

Isn't the Haynesworth deal also structured such that it's much more favorable if the cap disappears in 2010? I thought I remember reading that.

Snyder already said he's opposing the cap though. His actions might indicate that he has a feeling he'll be on the winning side of that argument. Whether that's accurate or not is the question -- he's not known for making the most sound football decisions, after all.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 06/03/2009 - 4:27pm

Well written, highly informative and very interesting. Yup the trifecta to Halsell!

by Greg Trippiedi (not verified) :: Wed, 06/03/2009 - 6:20pm

It's hard to argue that a team is feeling the cap crunch when they decide that freeing up their 9th OL spot on their roster is more important to the team than having 5 million dollars of cap space two years for now.

From what I understand, the Redskins were not forced to restructure Moss to offset the cap hit of Jansen. They had ample space to eat the dead cap hit and still fit the rookie cap under the 133 million total. But I know that the team likes to go into training camp with at least 3-4 million if not more in free space, so that if they suffer a camp injury, they can go trade a draft pick for a veteran talent at that position. T.J Duckett and Jason Taylor are examples of this.

The Redskins operate annually on a tight margin, but I don't know if they've ever reached a point at which they say, "this acquisition could make the team better, but our cap just won't allow for it." Derrick Dockery's departure in 2007 is maybe the closest example, but I don't know if anyone would have offered 50% of what the Bills gave him.

by Greg Trippiedi (not verified) :: Wed, 06/03/2009 - 6:26pm

The Redskins are also the only team in the league who have players on their roster that they will absolutely not play under any circumstances. They show up on the depth chart, but in reality, are below other teams unwanted players in terms of making it to the starting lineup. This makes discovering cheap, young talent excruciatingly rare.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 06/03/2009 - 7:04pm

I don't think the Redskins are that different from other teams in this respect. They know who can play and who can't. It's true that they suffer from a bit of "the grass is greener" syndrome, but that's mostly an offseason issue.

(Formerly "The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly")

by Carlos (not verified) (not verified) :: Wed, 06/03/2009 - 6:28pm

Fascinating write-up. Kudos.

by almon (not verified) :: Thu, 06/04/2009 - 12:40am

i like the analysis (and all your past analyses too), but am glad this job is for someone else and not for me... : )

by t.d. :: Thu, 06/04/2009 - 5:30am

There will be no cap after 2010. The large market teams are already operating on this presumption.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Thu, 06/04/2009 - 10:14am

I hate the idea, but you're probably right. Too many owners want the cap to go away, and the players are too stupid to realize that they would probably be better off with the cap in place. When the cap goes away, the Daniel Snyders will splurge on a few free agents, and the Mike Browns will slash their payrolls in half (and threaten to move to LA if the fans stop coming). I don't know how many owners fall into each of those categories, but I have a feeling that more teams are being constrained by the salary floor than by the salary cap. The big reason the cap got such a boost this spring is because teams already weren't spending as much as they were supposed to under the CBA.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 06/04/2009 - 3:29pm

I don't know. I think about one-third of the owners want a cap. They're just the most vocal. But the rest won't. The owners don't like the current CBA because they think they've already given up too much to the players. No cap would mean even more money to the players, especially in large markets. I wouldn't be surprised with an uncapped year, but not permanently. Anyone want to break it down to likely vote by owner? Obviously, Dallas, DC, and a few others might want to get rid of the cap. But I don't think most owners like the cap. They just want a lower cap or maybe a more flexible one. (E.g., not accelerating cap money for traded players)

by tuluse :: Thu, 06/04/2009 - 6:00pm

You missing DrewT's point. There are a lot of cheap owners that don't want the cap floor. Revenue sharing would still be around, but now Mike Brown, the Bidwells, and all the other owners who don't want to spend 112 million a year on players will just field bad teams.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 06/05/2009 - 4:51pm

It is very, very, very unlikely that revenue sharing would stick around without a cap/floor. The original salary cap (before the 2006 CBA) for the most part guaranteed that no team could make excessive profits by fielding a cheap team, and no team could be bankrupted by being forced to field an overly-expensive team. This is because the shared revenues basically defined the salary cap. The current salary cap does away with that somewhat - the cap is based on total league revenue. To handle that, they increased revenue sharing.

Take away the cap/floor, and no way the large-market teams will agree to the same revenue sharing they have now. Why would they pay the small-market teams when they don't need the money?

by 4tuna (not verified) :: Thu, 06/11/2009 - 10:38am

Revenue sharing is tied to the TV money the stations pay to broadcast the games and is here to stay.