...the good part might have a chance to get paid.
As I wake up in this new, wonderful 2009, I felt this sudden urge to take a gander at the cap and sees what happens when we cut all the dead players. I mean TJ, Weaver, Greenwood, and Ahman. I may or may not have not thought of the idea at all, but rather been nudged by Tim, Shake, and OTD.
Either way, lets take a look at what it would cost us to carve out some of the "lazy" and "bad" that permeates Mr. McNair's pocketbook, and what the final cap space may look like after we sign rookies, re-sign OD, and re-sign Dunta. Numbers and stuff after the break.
Taking information provided by Oiler-Texan Diehard in the comments section, I went and took a gander at In The Bullseye.com Cap Figures for your Houston Texans, along with some fact-checking over at Rotoworld, and here's what it looks like.
In 2009, the cap for the team is an estimated $124,000,000.00. The Texans, at the moment, have an estimated $29,695,000.00 available under the cap.
First, let's give Salary Cap 101 -
The salary cap was created by the NFL to allow salaries to remain relatively constant and to allow smaller market teams to compete. However, as star players started getting paid more, their cost against the cap started to rise, and the difficulty of fielding a full team rose. This facilitated the creation of the signing bonus. A signing bonus is guaranteed money that the player physically receives up front, BUT the cap cost is distributed across the length of the contract.
For example, say we sign Player X to a 4 year, $8 million dollar contract, with a $4 million dollar signing bonus.
Player X gets paid the entire $4 million dollar signing bonus up front, but the cost of the bonus gets evenly distributed throughout the contract even though it has already been paid. Say we cut this player immediately after his second season. His normal salary in no way affects us, but his signing bonus does. His total signing bonus of $4 million has already been physically paid, and as 2 years have passed, 2 years of the bonus have been cleared out of the cap. When he gets cut, the final 2 years of signing bonus that are still owed to the salary cap all get bundled up and added to the current year's salary cap. So after we cut Player X, we owe him no money, but our cap takes a $2 million dollar hit (the final 2 years of the signing bonus that would have counted against the cap).
So, Texans that we have an interest in getting rid of may or may not include Ahman Green, Anthony Weaver,
Dick Smith, Travis Johnson, and/or Morlon Greenwood. What would that cost us?
Travis Johnson's contract is through 2011, and for the next 3 years his signing bonus against the cap counts $1,190,500.00 per year, or a total hit of $3,571,500.00 against the 2009 cap.
Anthony Weaver's contract is through 2010, and for the next 2 years his signing bonus' value against the cap is $2,700,000,00 or a total hit of $5,400,000.00 against the 2009 cap.
Morlon Greenwood's contract is through 2009, so we would take his final year of cap damage, which is $1,500,000.00.
Ahman Green, after his new contract , is owed $500,000.00 in bonus money for 2009 and 2010, totaling $1,000,000.00 in cap penalties if the team parted ways with him.
So, if we cut all 4 of these players, we are looking at a cap penalty totaling $14,546,500.00.
That's about half of our cap space. However, we will save just as much when we don't have to pay their salaries as well (detailed a little later on). With re-signings to OD and Dunta, and the possible holdout of Steve Slaton, plus the cost of new rookies and free agents - it will be interesting. That's definitely testing the financial acumen of Rick Smith. Now, if any of these players are cut after June 1, 2009, we pay their 2009 bonus on this cap, but all of their other penalties count toward the 2010 cap, and we do not pay the salary. This really only makes a difference in TJ's contract, because all other contracts mentioned finish in 2010.
Now, Nnamdi Asomugha was franchised by the Raiders and was paid $9,765,000.00. If we franchise Dunta, we would have to pay somewhere around that. I very, very seriously doubt we are going to front $10 million bucks for an (I'm sorry Dunta) above-average corner coming off an absolutely grotesque leg injury.
Owen Daniels is probably going to want to be paid like a top ten, or maybe top 5, tight end. Well, the contracts of Dallas Clark , Antonio Gates , Tony Gonzalez , Todd Heap, and Vernon Davis averaged somewhere around 5 years, $25 million. That probably what we can expect to be desired from O.D's agent (hopefully less).
Also, we have to think out the cost of our first round pick as well. Last year's #15 pick, Branden Albert, did not have his contract released, so we will look at cost of #14 Chris Williams, and #16 Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie. Chris Williams received a 5 year, $12.73 million contract with a ton of escalators (play time, Pro Bowl appearances, etc). DRC received a 6 year, $16 million contract, with $9 million guaranteed. I believe I read somewhere that rookie contracts increase, on average, between 6 and 10 percent per year. That implies we might be looking at a 5 year, $14 millionish contract for
Taylor Mays whatever rookie Rick Smith happen to choose. I'm sure I'll be happy with Taylor Mays Rick Smith's decision.
These are all estimates and options that our relatively savvy GM has available to him. This doesn't include any free agent contracts we might sign, which would get very expensive very quickly.
To sum up this makeshift set of calculations, if we cut all 4 waste-of-oxygen players, our 2009 estimated cap space goes down to $15,150,000.00. We also don't have to pay their salaries, which reduced the "total cost" on the In The Bullseye lists by $14,098,000.00. What that means, <pushes glasses up) if my calculations are correct, is that we get our cap penalized by $14,564,500.00 but also save $14,098,000.00 if we cut them, netting essentially a wash, taking us back to roughly $30 million under the cap.
We now have space for $30 million dollars worth of players, plus the benefit of having our cap expand by $15 million in 2010 due to clearing the cap penalties we got by cutting the four previously mentioned players.
Now, if we re-sign OD to a 5 year, $25 million contract, he probably takes up $3 millionish worth of cap space in 2009 (I'm guessing a scaling base salary and a $5 million signing bonus).
If we re-sign Dunta for something similar, its another $3 million into the 2009 cap. If we franchise him, it's $10 million right out of the cap, as that would roughly be his one year base salary for the 2009 season.
That leaves us either $24 or $17 million available to sign all of our rookies and whatever free agents we can manage. It cost us about $4.1 million against the 2008 cap to sign our 2008 rookies, so if we account for a little inflation, we will probably have $5 million in rookie signings against the 2009 cap. That leaves us at either $19 or $12 million under the cap, depending on the Dunta franchising, available for free agent pick-up.
Well guys, I hope you enjoyed that. First, I want to disclaim that this is my first attempt at cap analysis. Second, if I screwed up, please let me know - I want to be able to do this right in the future. So read up, heckle and cajole, and get hyped up for 2009!