FanPost

Salary Cap 101

I previously posted a suggested offseason plan (link) and had wanted to revisit this once the first wave of free agency was complete. I had hoped this would include resigning Andre Smith but this doesn’t seem to be happening in the near future. Rather than wait for this to happen, I thought a recap would help clear up a lot of confusion that is surrounding the team’s cap room and how the NFL salary cap works in general.

We started the offseason with $55,319,197 in cap room and 53 players under contract or tendered as restricted free agents. Prior to the start of free agency the team made the following transactions:

Player

Date

Contract

2013 Cap Hit

Net Cap Change

DE Michael Johnson

3/1

Franchise tag

$11.175M

$10.770M

P Kevin Huber

3/8

5 yr, $14M, $2.8M avg

$2.720M

$2.315M

LS Clark Harris

3/8

5 yr, $4.79M, $0.96M avg

$1.340M

$0.935M

RB Cedric Peerman

3/8

2 yr, $2.515M, $1.26M avg

$1.115M

$0.710M

K Mike Nugent

3/10

2 yr, $3.5M, $1.75M avg

$1.600M

$1.195M

DE Wallace Gilberry

3/11

3 yr, $6.3M, $2.1M avg

$2.550M

$2.145M

DE Robert Geathers

3/12

3 yr, $9.0M, $3.0M avg

$3.250M

$2.845M

The sum of the 2013 cap hits is $23.750M but with the Top 51 rule in place the real change in cap room was only $20.915M. Total cap room at this point was $34.404M.

The next wave of signings was less exciting although not without controversy:

Player

Date

Contract

2013 Cap Hit

Net Cap Change

LB Rey Maualuga

3/18

2 yr, $6.5M, $3.25M avg

$2.625M

$2.220M

OT Dennis Roland

3/22

1 yr, $0.78M

$0.620M

$0.215M

QB Josh Johnson

3/23

2 yr, $1.545M, $0.77M avg (est)

$0.765M

$0.360M

TE Richard Quinn

3/23

1 yr, $0.715M

$0.555M

$0.075M

CB Adam Jones

3/25

3 yr, $8.9M, $2.97M avg (est)

$2.950M

$2.470M

WR Brandon Tate

3/25

1 yr, $0.715M

$0.555M

$0.075M

The sum of cap hits was $8.070M but only lowered the cap room by $5.365M, leaving the room at $28.989M. Assuming we don’t make any trades during the draft, our 10 picks will have total $6.355M in cap hits but again only about $2M in cap room reduction.

So at the end of the day, $38M in cap hits only cost $28M in cap room. Magic right? No, that’s the benefit of the Top 51 rule. But what happens when the Top 51 rule is no longer in effect? Not a major difference really. You add two more base salaries to round out the active roster (bonuses were already included in the Top 51 calculation) plus the cap hits of players who land on injured reserve and practice squad players. The remaining room will be used to sign injury replacements and/or carried over into 2014 as excess cap room.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.

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