Addressing the John Clayton 2013 Cap Report
Iíve gotten more than a few emails and tweets about the Jets 2013 salary cap so I figure I would just address it here.
The issue came from an article from John Clayton of ESPN where he is discussing the future caps and how the new CBA rewards a different spending mindset. I think that premise is wrong since the cap carryover has always been in the CBA, you just needed to get creative to utilize it whereas now you just carry it over, but thatís neither here nor there. The issue I get the questions on are the Jets being $19 million over the projected salary cap.
My current estimates have the Jets committed to about $139.25 million in cap charges for next season including the minimum workout bonuses. That would seem to coincide with Claytonís information on the team so Iíd imagine my figures are within $1 million of the real total as of today. The Jets have 50 players under contract so the roster is relatively full, though many of the names on the list wonít be here next season. The low wage earners like Matt Simms will be replaced by a new crop of UDFAs making about $405K in 2013 rather than $480K but letís just assume that balances out since they do need to get to 53 names at some point in time.
So why is that $19 million misleading? Because it has no look at the Jets roster makeup and flexibility the team has in navigating the roster. The group that I call ďThe Big FourĒ is a bonanza in cap savings. The Big Four are Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, Wayne Hunter, and Eric Smith. Barring a miracle none will be on the team next season and even if the miracle occurs would be nowhere near their current salaries. Those four represent $22.71 million in cap savings prior to free agency and the draft. That immediately puts the Jets at a salary of about $116.5 million, which would be $4.5 million or so under the Clayton projected cap.
The Jets will also have carry over space. As of June 9 they had about $6 million in cap room with only one rookie remaining to sign. There will be a few changes here and there that will likely bring that number down to $4 million over the course of the year, assuming they donít use their option to borrow against future caps, which will all be carried over giving the team now $8 million in cap room.
Finally you have a number of deals that can be renegotiated. Nick Mangold has a $3 million dollar roster bonus that can be converted to a signing bonus and spread out over 5 years to save $2.4 million. Antonio Cromartie could be extended or save the team some money in a roster bonus conversion. Santonio Holmes and David Harris both could give the team more cap room with renegotiations. If Kenrick Ellis makes Sione Pouha expendable thatís another $4 million in savings.
So, yes, as of today the Jets are $19 million or so over the cap in 2013, but its nothing to worry about or nothing that has not been planned for by the organization. So enjoy 2012 and lets really worry about 2013 next January or February rather than before the 2012 season even begins.
And every year the Jets end up spending 10-20mil of $ on new players.
I reckon there are two schools of thought:
1. Field a bargain basement team this year in order to have a bucket load of money to spend on a superstar team the following year, like the Bucs did. Of course, that will only yield a one year superstar team because the team won't be able to continue paying that huge paycheck year after year.
2. Spend as close to the cap as you can, and field the very best team you can each year, which I believe is more in line with the Jets' approach to fielding a team, and I believe this approach lends itself to repeat Super Bowls.
To be fair, I really don't see the NY fans ever being happy with option 1.
Say what you will about Tannenbaum. He has exhibited some savvy in financial matters, and he has worked out some brilliant trades. I believe his weakness is in spotting talent, but I presume he is surrounded by people who are strong in that regard. Where the communication occasionally breaks down (and not really that often) is in prioritizing. "How badly do you want this player? If I go all out on Player A, I may not have enough money for Player B" Of course, he will try to get both, but you know how that can go.
When it come to the finances, overall, I think the Jets do quite well. I'm not worried.
Jason, I'm not really sure how you get all this info. You must wine and dine the right people. In any event, thanks for another great article.
he goes on sportscenter every year(granted he doesnt have time to explain himself on a 1-2minute quick spot on SC) and makes it sound like the jets are in cap hell.
I reckon a lot of people find it difficult to believe the Jets are solvent. They simply do not understand New York is a world all its own. If you cannot make it in NY, you need to find something else to do for a living.
More than that, though, I do believe the Jets actually do possess financial savvy.
Right now Maybin is a luxury that may stay if the price is right and neither Coples nor Wilkerson turns into a rusher. Keller who knows. Probably commands too much money for a position that will decline in 2 years. Plus if they move to the ground game he loses his value to the team because he cant block. Im sure if Sparano had the option to trade Keller straight up for Fasano he would simply because of the type of game Fasano has compared to DK, even though Keller is the more dangerous player.
Second, that $6M is all but gone. Factor that the 53 will count not just the 51, replacing any players that hit IR and fielding a Practice Squad. Then, performance based pay returns this year. That's your $6M.
You'll also need that same $6M for the same stuff next year, plus $5M for your draft class.
Your plan is cutting 3 starters and the one experienced safety who isn't a free agent. And you have 7 projected starters/ 9 key players all hitting free agency.
That cutting players creates space is great, but it works the same for every team including the ones who aren't $19M over the cap.
They're sitting on an outright mess.
The Jets are not going to be replacing those names with other veterans. They have Scotts replacement on the roster and they think they have Paces. Hunter is a JAG and so is Smith. They are not cap dollar players. Cutting players is not something every team plans on doing. The Jets are going to cut these players because it was worked into the plans when they were originally signed. The media can spin it however they want but not one of them is a "cap casualty". Those players would be gone if the team was 19 million under the cap. The point is that they are 4 players who are only on the roster in 2013 as of today because of the 2012 situation. If the Jets cut Holmes thats a different story and completely cap related. But these 4 guys have no future with the team.
There is obviously more to a plan than cutting 4 guys anyway. You have 2 easily reworkable deals for guys who are long term commitment players. They arent players who got huge bonuses and now you are giving them even bigger ones like Dallas does. They were year over year cash deals that are going to be converted into regular cap deals.
You will never need 5 million for a draft class if the Jets are a decent team. Each guy drafted replaces someone else. 5 million is really only a 2.5-3M hit on the cap.
Im not sure who is considered a key player in free agency. Maybe Keller depending on how this year works out. Slauson is going to be low cost. Moore is 33 years old. He likely won't be back. DeVito was almost gone this year. They will have to pick up a Safety most likely.
The cap is only an issue for the team if the young players dont work out. If Coples goes the way of Gholston and Ellis cant play at DT, etc... then the Jets are in trouble. The cap wont let them put a band aid season together next year. But the cap is not going to be a deterrent to the team if they go out and have a 8-10 win season with the young guys contributing.
It's not uncommon to have 6-7 players on Ir throughout a season. The league average is 8-9. A few in training camp and a few throughout the season could easily be $2M. You can pay your practice squad $700K. If everybody you sign is at minimum-- which means more indemand players walk to other teams.
You'd only need $2.5-3M if your rookies replace top 51 guys. Right now, by my count, there are only 47 you have as being under contract. That means we should either add ~1.9M or factor the top 4 picks at full. Add another 1.9M to replace the roster spots of Pace, Scott, Smith and Hunter when you release them.
It's a lot tighter than the surface numbers look by just brushing off 4 guys on the roster. And when you say Scott and Pace replacements are on the roster are we really talking about Demario Davis as Scott's replacement? And who for Pace? Maybin and Thomas are FA's too. Hunter's a JAG and they've also chosen to pay him $2.5m to be one and start, which tells us what about Ducasse? Allen and Bush are slated to be the safeties in 2013. You're honestly counting on the 2012 draft class to be a homerun and guys to emerge out of the shadows? That's the plan? Griffin and Caleb Schlauderaff in Slausson and Moore leave?
Right now, if that's the plan, and it doesn't look likely to be able to keep more than a 1-2 of the more expensive guys...the franchise alone is roughly $6M for TE... you can honestly say that is good shape/ nothing to worry about? Solid cap management.
This year they were at the cap, re-did Ferguson and Sanchez and it was just enough to pay for Pouha, Landry and Schilens and fill the roster... that's it. And there weren't a mass of FA's to deal with.
I have a few guys missing on the site, but the number under contract is 50, though my guess is 15 of them will be gone by September. As for IR last year the Jets had 7 and before that their norm was about 4, which I would think is closer to the league average since most teams should behave the same. I cant imagine that its 8-9. Young players have splits and Id imagine its pretty uncommon for the IR to pack up early in the season in terms of finances.
On the topic of cap management one of the problems is you are looking at how the deals are currently constituted rather than how they could be. One of the reasons certain teams sign deals the way they do is to retain flexibility either in the current situation or down the line. People make it as if the Ferguson move was unplanned. Sure there was a scenario where they would not need to do it, but this was a player who basically carried no dead hit on the final two years of his contract. Thats not normal. Nor is it normal for Mangold to have zero in dead money on the back end of his deal. Or for David Harris to have a 4 year contract. These are all scenarios planned for by the team. You maintain your most cap flexibility by having cash heavy contracts with minimally prorated money so that when the situation arises you can prorate that money and it doesnt hurt you.
There is a big difference between what the Jets have going on now and say what went on in the past with say Curtis Martin or Vinny. These were players who were near impossible to cut because of cap hits, crippled the cap with their numbers, and further compounded the cap because of the need to adjust their numbers to remain within the cap every season. Cash accounting deals give teams flexibility to adjust to cap accounting style deals if the need arises. The problem is when you go the other way around. When you start with the cap accounting deal and are in a bind it can cripple you.
The reason the Jets pay a base salary of 11 million to Santonio Holmes isnt because they signed a bad contract (though in hindsight it looks like they did) at the time. They paid him 11 million in base because they want to delay the decision on fronting money in the form of a bonus. Seeing how Holmes has worked out what scenario would have been better: 2012 and 2013 cap hits of 6 and 7 million with dead money in 2014 and 2015 of 6-9 million or taking those hits now and getting rid of him at 2.5 million in 2014? One option gives you flexibility (and the Jets could still get into those same low cap numbers by converting money now) over the term of the deal and one maybe looks prettier on the outside but is a disaster if the player doesnt work out.
Sanchez' deal makes little sense to me and I think Harris is overpaid, but what contract on the team is so bad that it makes no sense. Go to the deals and play them out like any other team in the NFL would have played them. Maybe the Jets are going to have to change them that way too to comply with all the numbers last year.
If Harris and Mangold were signed the way the Patriots (who are a well run cap team) would sign their guys the Jets would cut off $10.5 million or so in cap in 2013. But when the Jets turn around and do those changes to make the salary cuts its going to be looked at negatively from the media because its done in 2013 rather than in 2011 the way New England would do. The bottom line result is the same, but the timing makes one stand out while the other would be ignored. The cap is only a problem when you are forced to make a move that cripples your team down the line. Other than doing more craziness with Sanchez what move that the Jets could possibly make is going to cripple them down the line. Extending Harris by a year or two? Giving Mangold 600K of dead money in 2017? Throwing another year on Cromarties deal?
Maybe I just look at it differently. I dont look at them as bad deals individually or in the aggregate. I just see the team handling them in a way that gives them flexibility and in many ways as deferring an option that they have on the player. I feel as if they did those deals in a more traditional structure you would see zero cap problems on the horizon in 2013 and nobody would care.
I'm sure it will be cap friendly for at least 2013, and probably 2014.....
It doesn't really who may be missing or not as long as they aren't big money guys. I didn't go over with a fine tooth comb. The point is just that you have all the money they'll pay and need back in. It isn't simply X- A+B+C-- there's more to what they need to be at the cap.
This the list of IR players league wide in mid-December of last year. The median is 7. The league average is 8.6 and there were a few more added by year end (Jax was up to 29).
Here's an article that says that there were 130 players on IR by week 3 (and average of 4 per team) and that was down year-over-year. http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7040392/nfl-fewer-injured-reserve-players-lockout
The Jets have been recently fortunate w/ injuries that may be skewing your prspective of the norm.
Otherwise, seems to me you're trying to defend the deals themselves and not the whole. League wide there are good deals and bad deals and every team working the cap in some way, but $19M over with the most money on the books and a significant number of free agents is still what it is.
They can cut players, move money into future years or do whatever they want to fix it for 2013-- but that still has repurcussions just because of the total money they have right now. Neither they nor anyone else go year-to-year well over the cap just backing out money with no problem. If it was a perfectly justifiable strategy, why not?
If teams plan on this, why are the teams that come in over the cap usually so limited in what they can do?
Admit it or not, they've been losing players they aren't replacing at a reasonable level or unable to add much because they're cap is being wrapped up into a few players. They're "middle class" is essentially gone and depth is an issue because how they've alotted that money on a whole. And very good chance next year is going to be losing more usable pieces than they gain and more money pushed into the future that just delays the inevitable.
Any idea that there is a lot of money available by re-doing Revis is fools gold. Likely, the only way he signs next year is a mega-deal. They're already committed to $3M on the books in pro-rated bonus they cna get rid of and he will want to be paid something up front. It's very doubtful he'll defer significant money and if he did, the cap hit would be enormour further down the road. Otherwise, by next summer he'll be close enough to his goal of unrestricted free agent he'll be able to smell it. Doubtful there's a team friendly deal in that.
A new deal has to work for the team just as much as it has to work for Revis. A new deal can easily knock $3-4M off his cap number in 2013
He has $3M on the books they can't do anything with. Minimum base would be $840,000. You can only pro-rate a bonus over 5 years.
He'd essentially have to defer his 2013 money and all of the new contract into the future and accept a 2013 reduction.
Considering the size of the next deal, it would be huge cap numbers going forward as the all of the money would be loaded into those years... and he has no impetus to do that deal in 2013. He can play out 2013 and hit his goal of unrestricted free agency. Why not do that since he wouldn't see the money until 2014 anyway? All he'd get is the security of guaranteed money, but it would have to be at top of the market value. Sure they go ahead and get $3-4M next year and have $15M+ cap charges after that.
The only way they get this deal done in 2013 is if they blow him out of the water. This is not a guy who has shown any inclination to do anything 'team friendly'.
Who knows if Sanchez is still around? If Tebow replaces him down the line, he won't be able to command $12-15M a year based on his stats.
Cro is replaceable once he hits 30.
Holmes will be gone by 2014......