Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Latest league-wide team salary cap update as of Nov. 20, 2013

Here is the latest update for all 32 teams in the league with regard to available salary cap space (courtesy of the NFLPA's League Cap Report website). First I'll list them in order of most cap space to least cap space, then I'll list them in alphabetical order for reference purposes.

I. Most cap space to least cap space:

II. Alphabetical order:


As can be seen above, the Giants are $251,536 under the cap. They are ranked 31st in the league in available salary cap space. Only the St. Louis Rams have less room under the cap now than the Giants do with $103,482 in available cap dollars.

As I usually state, these figures are the closest that we can possibly know of since the NFL Management Council is the only body that is truly 100% accurate. Those numbers are very difficult to get a hold of, as Jason Fitzgerald from has said over the past summer. The figures that the NFLPA shares on it's public website are sometimes subject to data entry errors, and slow processing of actual numbers that have already been put in with the league itself. For our purposes though, they are sufficient (knowing where teams stand in proximity to each other as well as themselves in the recent past).

Incredibly enough, we're coming up on week 12. There are only 5 weeks remaining in the regular season after this week's upcoming games. With the season being approximately two thirds of the way over, the Giants have enough room to barely skate by. If they have a rash of injuries that forces them to place three or more players on Injured Reserve in the next two weeks, then they'll have to make some more room under the cap. Hopefully that doesn't happen.

The least amount of cap space that a player would cost after this week, from week 13 through the end of the season (5 weeks) would be $119,118. This figure is the result of prorating the bare league minimum of $405,000 for 5 weeks (I'm not counting this upcoming 12th week). The most that a player could count is $185,294. This figure is obtained by prorating the amount of $630,000 over the 5 weeks between week 13 & week 17. This figure of $630,000 is the minimum paragraph 5 salary for players with 3 years of experience, as per the table below:

Players with 4 or more years of accrued service are also listed above. The reason they don't count at the rates listed above is because of the Minimum Salary Benefit (MSB). What the MSB does is that it allows vested veterans (players with 4 or more accrued years) whose minimum paragraph 5 salary figures are between $715,000 & $940,000 in 2013 to still receive their salaries if they sign with a team, but only count against the cap at rate of $555,000---the rate of a player who only has two vested years. That's why I didn't go above $630,000 when I was calculating the possible range of rates that the Giants would have to give players in week 13 if they were forced into signing someone due to injury to somebody on their active 53-man roster. For a more comprehensive look at how the Minimum Salary Benefit works. Please click on the link below:

Teams don't give out bonuses to anyone at this point that they're bringing in off the street, or off of waivers after they've cleared it (a la Ed Reed and the Jets last week). If they happened to give a player a signing bonus of more than $65,000 then the MSB designation goes away. That's not happening until the off-season, but it's something to keep in mind as a general matter of fact regarding caponomics in the NFL. As transactions occur in-season, they almost always only are paragraph salary transactions, and usually involve players with less than 4 accrued season.

The following five players currently on the the 53-man roster who were in-season acquisitions either claimed off of waivers, or signed as "street free agents" are as follows (only Bradofrd wa claimed off of waivers): Brandon Jacobs, Peyton Hillis, Dallas Reynolds, Allen Bradford, & John Conner. Only Jacobs and Hillis are vested veterans out of this group. Termination Pay is potential problem with only Jacobs though out of these two since Hillis will receive it from the league as a result of being released by Tampa Bay after being on their 53-man roster on week 1 of this season. Here is an article on the subject:

Jacobs would have less incentive than usual to use his one-time only claim to termination pay if the Giants waive him for some reason in the coming weeks (doubtful since he'd sooner wind up in I.R. first, and because he has a salary split in his contract). The Giants would probably go to a player that is on the cheaper side of the options they have open to them if push actually came to shove. This is part of the reason that you see Practice Squad players being lured to sign on with other teams in-season, joining their 53-man rosters. This is why the Packers paid QB Scott Tolzien as if he was a member of their 53-man roster when he was on their Practice Squad.

The Packers promoted him to their 53-man roster on November 5th, as per this article from two weeks ago on As indicated in that article, Green Bay also increased Tolzien's salary from the Practice Squad minimum of $6,000 per week to a base salary of player on the 53-man roster--$544,999 to be exact. This was done so as to make sure that he would not be tempted to sign elsewhere. If any more moves are made, they may very well be made with the Giants' pro personnel department looking at players who stand out on other teams first before bringing in a "name player" to fill a hole. Let's hope that the injury bug has taken a little vacation for this club for a while as they continue to try and climb back into the NFC East race.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Could the Giants still trade Hakeem Nicks if they franchise him?

The answer to this questions is yes. Jason Fitzgerald covered the steps in his latest podcast from (November 16th, 2013). You can listen to it by clicking on the link below:

The kind of tag that I'm concerning myself with in this hypothetical situation is the non-exclusive franchise tag, the kind which allows the franchise tagged player to negotiate with other teams. Joel Corry published a fine article related to this subject below:

In the article, Joel projects the projected Franchise Tag number for WRs in 2014 to be $11,539,000 (up $1,002,000 from this year's figure of $10,537,000). Here are the rest of the projected franchise tag figures:

Source: Agent's Take: Ten players who could get slapped with a franchise tag - Nov. 19, 2013

Here is a pseudo transcript of the part of Jason's podcast that focuses on the topic of Nicks and trading franchise players:

Trading franchised players in the NFL:

  • You can't trade franchise rights to a player.
  • If you eventually trade such a player, first, he must have the franchise tag placed on him.
  • The earliest that a player have the franchise tag placed on him for the 2014 league year is February 17, 2014 as per this link (click HERE).
  • Second, he counts fully against the salary cap on the first day of the league year after the tender is extended.
  • As per this link, the start of the 2014 league year & free agency is 4 pm ET on March 11th.
  • Nicks can go shopping as soon as March 8th if the franchise tag is placed on him (three days prior to when players can start to sign contracts with other clubs).
  • In this hypothetical scenario, Nicks and his agent Peter Schaffer (also the agent for David Diehl pictured HERE) would find a team that wants him, and is willing to give him the contract that he wants.
  • Nicks and his agent tell the Giants the terms, as per the Giants' request to them to come back to them if they find a club that is willing to give Nicks the contract that he wants.
    • This is just my opinion here, but the Carolina Panthers seem like an ideal fit since they have an obvious need at the position, as well as the cap room to get such a deal done; there is also obviously a link to N. Carolina for Nicks since that is where he is from and went to college.
    • The fact that Panthers G.M. Dave Gettleman has an extensive history with the Giants, since he worked in their front office for years is also helpful to him. 
  • After Schaffer & Nicks go back to the Giants and tell them the terms of the contract that they've got on the table from a team that wants to sign Nicks, the Giants say they can't match that.
  • Nicks's agent says this team won't pay the steep price of two #1 draft picks to sign him away from the Giants.
  • The Giants and that team then can begin to talk compensation if the Giants want to get something for Nicks that isn't as high as the two #1 picks (say a 2 and a 4 as Jason pointed out in his podcast).
  • The Giants and the team agree to compensation terms.
  • Nicks then signs tender w/the Giants at this point.
  • As soon as Nicks is a contracted player in the NFL, he can be traded---not before, as Jason states in the podcast.
  • The Giants then trade him to the team Nicks wants to sign the new contract with for the compensation agreed upon (Jason used the 49ers as an example, which is fine; I think Carolina would make the most sense in this scenario).
  • The Giants immediately regain the cap space for Nicks (about $11.5 million as per Joel Corry's projections linked above) and get the draft picks agreed upon in the trade.
  • The team that acquires Nicks then gets him to hit their books at the franchise tag number.
  • That same day that team can then  agree to new terms for the Nicks contract, even if they are over the cap once they acquire him that same day, which is interesting (Jason brought up this very interesting point, that I wasn't even remotely aware of).
  • The league allows teams in this scenario a small window to reach new terms for the player.
  • There is a provision in the CBA that allows teams that acquire players in situations like this to change contract terms (same day agreement to a lower figure), even if they are over the cap.

      • Giants must have cap room to franchise Nicks first.
      • Nicks finds team.
      • Giants work out trade compensation w/said team (draft picks).
      • Nicks signs tender w/the Giants.
      • Nicks gets traded, and the Giants get the franchise cap space/money off of their books in addition acquiring the agreed upon trade compensation.
      • Nicks immediately hits the acquiring team's books at the franchise rate for WRs.
      • Nicks's new team has small window (same day) to renegotiate lower cap figure for him once they acquire him (even if the team is over the cap once they get him they can do this provided it is the same day).
      • The league allows the acquiring team this leeway, as per the CBA during this small window.
      • Nicks then gets his contract, and the team fits him under their cap.

I e-mailed Jason about this topic, and he was nice enough to take the time to answer my question. I brought up the Matt Cassel trade in 2009 from New England to Kansas City for comparison's sake (click HERE to read about that deal). Cassel led the Patriots to an 11-5 record in 2008 after Tom Brady was knocked out for the season in their first game of the year.

Cassel played well enough to be considered an asset by the Patriots. Scott Pioli left the Patriots' front office to become the G.M. in Kansas City. The Chiefs needed a QB, and Pioli knew what Cassel could do--or so he thought--from his days in New England. They then agreed to terms on a deal for Cassel after the Patriots had slapped the franchise tag on him. I compared this situation to the Nicks situation for many reasons. One of them in this scenario would be the familiarity between the front offices of the Giants and the Panthers. They've already done business with each other this season (see the Jon Beason trade).

Another would be that both the Panthers and Giants will have cap room this off-season to make some moves (see HERE). Thirdly, is that there is a need at the WR position for Carolina. Finally, Nicks is form the area and seems like a natural fit to go there in light of all the other factors that I mentioned. Panthers G.M., formerly the Giants' Pro Personnel Director, is intimately familiar with Nicks's abilities from his time in the Giants' front office.

It is a process, as Jason points out, but it is not one that is necessarily unlikely to happen, especially if the ingredients for a potential agreement and deal are there for all parties involved. Nicks hasn't exactly handled his time in free agency limbo this season well, and hasn't endeared himself to the fans and the team with his lackluster effort on more than a few plays, as well as his mediocre conditioning relative to past years.

A trade like this might be best for all parties involved. The way Jason described it, it is possible. Thanks to him for explaining how the process works. Try listening to his podcast every week as he covers all sorts of interesting topics related to the NFL Salary Cap. He's great about answering questions too, so feel free to contact him via Twitter (@Jason_OTC) or e-mail ( He often covers topics in his podcast that are based on the questions people ask him. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cap hits for all players on the Giants as of Nov. 17, 2013

As of today, and as per the NFLPA's League Cap website, the Giants are $251,536 under the salary cap. This ranks them 31st out of 32 teams in the league. Only the Rams have less cap room (they are $103,482 under the cap). The NFLPA lists 70 players as being on the team's cap payroll, not counting Dead Money. As per, the Giants have $8,860,510 in Dead Money this season. Their Dead Money total for next season so far is $389,298:

Here are the cap numbers for the 70 players that count towards the Giants' 2013 salary cap as of today. 53 are on the active roster, 8 are on the Practice Squad, and 9 are on season-ending Injured Reserve. To start off, here are the 8 players that are presently on their Practice Squad:

Here are the 9 players who are on season-ending Injured Reserve:

Finally, here are the cap numbers for all the players presently on the 53-man roster:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Potential ramifications of placing Brandon Jacobs on Injured Reserve

Brandon Jacobs has been on the injury report in recent weeks, and was a candidate to go on I.R. if David Wilson didn't have neck problems to make room for the return of Andre Brown. As per a source, Brandon Jacobs has a salary split in his contract. Jacobs has 8 accrued seasons (2005 to 2012), so the veteran salary minimum for him in 2013 is $840,000. He falls under the MSB (Minimum Salary Benefit) category of signings. A bonus of more than $65,000 changes how a player who falls under the Minimum Salary Benefit umbrella counts against the cap. He'll go from counting $555,000 plus up to a $65,000 bonus to counting the salary amount plus the bonus of more than $65,000. Here's the veteran salary amount for players with varying levels of accrued experience in 2013:

Jacobs has a salary split in his deal, as stated above, which would reduce his cap number if he is placed on Injured Reserve. Here are the split numbers that correspond to varying player salaries:

Salary Splits for players between 2012 & 2020. If Jacobs is injured, his salary will split from $840,000 to being $408,000 (Jacobs falls under the 7 to 9 years category in the CS column on the left, & the 2013 row on top).

The reason Jacobs was signed after week 1 was because of termination Pay considerations. Vested veterans (players with 4 or more accrued seasons) who are signed after week 1, don't have guaranteed contracts for the season. They are eligible to apply for and receive termination pay if they are cut during the season. They will get 100% of their remaining paragraph 5 salary if they are on the team in week 1, which is why the Jets cut Brady Quinn. Here is an article on why the Jets did that with Quinn, only to re-sign him 2 days after cutting him:

Jacobs was signed in week 2, making him eligible for the second of the kinds of termination pay, the kind where a player is eligible to collect 25% of their paragraph 5 money instead of all of it. Jacobs's 2013 cap number is $522,353. Here's his salary cap page from below:

Source: Brandon Jacobs's Salary Cap page from

Termination pay is already factored into the equation for veteran players with 4 or more accrued seasons if they are released for salary cap accounting purposes. It can only be used once in a player;'s career, so players who are cut who are on an opening day roster are more likely to use it than players who are cut after signing after week 1, especially if they cut later in the season. Here is an excellent article on how Termination Pay works in the NFL:
Now if Jacobs is waived (he'd have to clear waivers since it's past the trading deadline), teams will have a chance to claim him off of waivers, thus clearing his entire remaining cap space off of the Giants' books. I doubt this happens, though since it would be very likely that Jacobs uses his termination pay right, if he likely clears waivers. He's not a very desirable player at this point in the season, unless a team is absolutely starving for depth at RB--depth that doesn't play Special Teams or back-up any other positions (that's sarcasm by the way).

The Giants' best bet to recoup some cap space for Jacobs would be to place him on I.R. He still get paid, and still have his termination pay right to use in the future, which would be advantageous for Jacobs going forward, although it could be argues that he could be better off using his termination pay this year if he's cut, thereby making him more likely to get signed for a gig in week 1 next year if he's still available as a free agent, as aging players like Jacobs typically are each year. Here are calculations that I made for Jacobs's cap number with respect to termination pay vs. those of his salary with respect to termination pay:

Here are the cap savings and amount of cap space that Giants will need to use if they place Jacobs on Injured Reserve:

As shown above, the Giants will need to use at least $106,235 in cap space if they place Jacobs on I.R., and replace him with a player with no accrued seasons (a rookie for all intents and purposes). The Giants are presently listed as being $251,536 under the cap--second to last in the league to St. Louis as per the NFLPA's League Cap website. This kind of move would place them as being $145,301 under the cap. While that sounds bad, it really isn't as terrible as it would have been if this were week 1. Since we are more than halfway through the season, coming up in week 11 beginning tonight, only 7/17ths of a minimum salary are needed to sign a given player.

Teams like the Giants and Rams (who are last in the league in cap room with $103,482) would run into problems if they have to sign multiple players to contracts to replace players who they've placed on Injure Reserve. The Giants would have to make more cap room if two or three players wind up on I.R. at once at this point in the next week or two. This isn't impossible. The Steelers lost three players for the season in week 1 (click HERE to read about it). Hopefully for the Giants' front office---G.M. Jerry Reese, Asst. G.M. Kevin Abrams, and Dir. of Pro Personnel Ken Sternfeld---this doesn't happen.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cap ramifications of placing Shaun Rogers on I.R., & adding Markus Kuhn to the 53-man roster

Five days ago, on Thursday, November 7th, the Giants placed DT Shaun Rogers on season ending Injured Reserve to make room for second year DT Markus Kuhn off of the PUP List. Rogers had a salary split in his contract that kicked in once he was placed on IR. According to Jason Fitzgerald of, this move saved the Giants $111,529 in cap room. The article below from about seven months ago has the details of Rogers's contract:

His split kicked in once he went on I.R., as detailed below:

Source: Shaun Rogers's salary cap page courtesy of

  • As shown above, according to Jason's figures, Rogers's cap number went down from $620,000 to $508,471.
  • Rogers's salary cap page from is shown above, detailing his contract after the salary split.
  • Jason's number's are different than mine, but I'll take his figures over mine in matters such as this; here are the figures I came up with regarding Kuhn for the sake of reference:

Shaun Rogers's cap number wasn't the only contract that the Giants gained cap room from due to a readjustment. DT Markus Kuhn was on the PUP List to start the year. He was eligible to return to the team between weeks 7 and 13. Once he started practicing in week 7 though, Kuhn's deadline for either being added to the 53-man roster, placed on I.R., or waived kicked in. The Giants had 21 days to decide what to do with him from that point on. They had to make a decision on him when they did. Kuhn, like Rogers had a salary split if he was not on the 53-man roster. Kuhn's salary split began to count from week 1, but ended after week 7. After week 7, Kuhn's cap number began to be calculated at his full rate again. The salary split figures are as follows:

Rogers's salary split from $940,000 to $433,000 and Kuhn's salary split from $480,000 to $303,000.
Source - 2011 NFL/NFLPA CBA - Article 26: Salaries, Section 8: Split Contracts.

Here is my breakdown of Kuhn's adjusted 2013 salary cap figure (work & calculations shown below), as well Kuhn's salary cap page from

Source: Markus Kuhn's salary cap page courtesy of

The NFLPA's league cap website bares out this differential. On November 6th, the Giants were listed as being $129,595 under the cap, to being $140,007 under the cap on the next day when Kuhn's addition to the 53-man roster took place (the difference is $10,412--only a dollar off). The Giants went from being $140,007 under the cap to being $251,536 under the cap on November 8th. This is when Rogers's $111,529 cap adjustment took effect via the NFLPA's cap website.

Readers of this blog should keep in mind the fact that the NFLPA's League Cap website isn't foolproof. Data entry errors and miscalculations are made--this was frequent during the end of the summer this past August. The only cap figures which are 100% accurate are those which are maintained by the NFL Management council, as Jason Fitzgerald from pointed out on his website and one of his early season podcasts. Unfortunately, those numbers hardly ever get out.

The roster moves that were made with David Wilson (placed on season ending I.R.) and Andre Brown (activated off of temporary I.R.) on the same day that the two transactions mentioned above were made had no cap ramifications, which is why I didn't place an emphasis on them when writing this entry. 7th round picks like Kuhn usually have salary splits kick in during the first two years of their deals if they are not on the 53-man roster. First round picks like Wilson don't have salary splits at all. Check out this article on the subject of rookie contracts and salary splits below:

Salary splits are not unique to rookies and second year players. Veteran players with injury histories, like Terrell Thomas, Shaun Rogers, and Brandon Jacobs all have salary splits in their current one-year deals with the Giants. Andre Brown does not since he was tendered at the second round level for $2,023,000. Neither he, nor Wilson impacted the Giants' cap. Next season may be different for Brown though since he is an unrestricted free agent, regardless of where he may end up. The team that he signs with may include a salary split as part of the condition of his deal, the way that the Giants did for Thomas, Rogers, and Jacobs this year on account of Brown's extensive injury history. Keep this mind this coming off-season when a market for A. Brown builds up.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cap ramifications of Dan Connor being waived off of Injured Reserve

This was not an injury settlement by the way, but a flat out waiver of the player. Connor could not be waived until he was healthy. He requested to be waived off of the Injured Reserve list in order to find employment from another team, as evidenced by the tweet below:

It was also a chance for the Giants to hopefully recoup some cap room if another team put in a claim for Connor, which did not happen (it was doubtful that it would happen). Players with 4 or more years of accrued experience towards free agency could no longer be considered free agents upon being cut as of the day after the trading deadline, on the day of Wednesday, October 30th of last week.

The Ravens tried to gain some extra cap space last week with two of the players that they signed in free agency (Michael Huff & Marcus Spears) this past off-season who were still on their roster after the waiver requirement kicked in for players with 4 or more years of accrued service to see if they could gain some cap room after admitting their mistake in signing those two players this past off-season. They weren't claimed, but it was still an opportunity nonetheless for the Ravens' front office to try and make the best of the situation. Jason Fitzgerald wrote a fine article on the subject. Click below to read it, as well as an article explaining the veteran waivers process:

Connor will collect full termination pay (read an excellent article about it HERE) because:

1 - He has 4 or more accrued years towards free agency.
2 - He was on the opening day roster.
3 - He has never been in a position to put in a claim for it in the past (players can only make use of this once in their careers).

Connor will be paid his full salary from the Giants since it's certain that he'll collect full termination pay from the Giants. If a team did claim him, the Giants would have been off the hook for his remaining paragraph 5 salary. They would have stood to gain $261,176 in cap room ($32,647 x 8 weeks) if another team put in a waiver claim for him by the end of the day yesterday at 4 pm. Unsurprisingly, it didn't happen. For the sake of reference, here is his salary cap page from

Connor will actually be in a position to double dip now since he was not claimed off of waivers (he'd get his money from the Giants AND from another team). He'll put in a claim for full termination pay, which for salary cap accounting purposes is already calculated into the equation beforehand even though the veteran player still has to actually file the claim with the league (players have until February 1st to do so in each league year according to the podcast this past Saturday, November 2nd by Jason Fitzgerald of

Look for teams to try and dump players off. and gain extra cap space by using this strategy. Jason pointed it out in the article that I linked above that he wrote last week on the veteran waivers process. The Giants didn't gain any extra cap room as a result of the Connor release (he had no incentive by the way to agree to an injury settlement with the Giants since he would not profit from it). They did have a chance though to gain some cap space though from this, and they took it. They took their shot at it by waiving him off of IR. It was unlikely that he would be claimed, but it was still a possibility nonetheless since he was healthy now (a requirement for him to be waived in this manner).

Other teams have done this, as in the case of Justin Babin being waived from the Eagles last year after the trading deadline, with the purpose of gaining extra cap space in mind--the Eagles/Patriots trade last week involving Isaac Sopoaga actually employed this strategy to the benefit of the Eagles. It helped them gain extra room on the cap both this year and next year. The Patriots had plenty of room to absorb such a transaction. Look for other teams who are out of the race and who are low on cap room to try and employ the same strategy that the Eagles took last year when they released Justin Babin late in the year.

The Giants are now $140,007 under the cap as per the NFLPA's League Cap Report website, ranking them next to last in the entire NFL, right ahead of St. Louis. They could use all the room that they can get at this point. Another $150 K to $200 K in extra cap space could mean the difference in adding another player if someone else goes on IR, and a player is needed to replace him who is currently not counting against the cap.