Saturday, June 8, 2013

Variables that factor into cap adjustments & the Giants' present team cap space situation

The Giants are officially $3,308,682 under the salary cap as of today. This information is accurate as of today (source: NFL Top 51 League Cap Report for all 32 teams).

I listed the cap numbers for all 88 Giants players under contract on the 90-man roster two days ago. Here is the post I'm talking about. Let me explain how I got that figure:


Every team starts out the league year with a base number to refer to for salary cap spending purposes. That base number is a cap dollar spending limit (not cash spending) that can't be surpassed (cue up Gandalf)...

That magic number is $123 million dollars. However, no team in the league will have the same exact cap spending limit, unless it is merely by pure coincidence. There are simple factors such as carryover money from the last year to consider as well as a few others, while I'll mention and explain below.

  • The total amount of cap dollars for all 32 teams that carried over from last season to this season is $201,072,624.00
  • The average carryover amount from last season for team's on this year's cap is $6,283,519.50
  • The carryover money range from 2012 begins at $247,347 on the low end (belonging to the Rams), & goes all the way up to $23,046,035 on the high end (belonging to the Eagles).
  • The Giants rank near the bottom in this department, (going from most money to use to least money to use)  ranking 26th out of all 32 teams in the league in the carryover department from last year's cap.
    •  They have exactly $1 million leftover dollars to use from last season's salary cap.

That's not all though there is to factor in to the Giants' own unique cap limit, or adjusted 2013 cap number. There are also cap adjustments that take the form of incentives that are categorized as follows:

  1. Cap Penalties
  2. Finalized Grievances
  3. LTBE (Likely to be earned)
  4. NLTBE (Not likely to be earned)
These incentives can result in the increasing or decreasing of a team's given salary cap number from incentives that weren't paid, but counted on the previous year's salary cap.

  • Cap penalties and Grievances are part of this act as well. Cowboys and Redskins fans are familiar with cap penalties since the league levied both of those teams with penalties in 2012 and 2013 (read about it HERE).
  • The Redskins lost $36 million in cap space last year and this year, with $18 million being lost in each year. The Cowboys didn't lose as much--$10 million--but it is still a significant sum; $5 million was lost last year in 2012, and the remaining $5 million was lost this year.
  • That money was distributed to 28 other teams in the league last year and this year, with $23 million being distributed equally last year, and the same amount being distributed to 28 other teams this year.
  • In watching/listening to Jason Fitzgerald's "Caponomics 101" YouTube video (watch/listen from the 27:17 to the 28:25 marks), I found out something interesting regarding those 2 teams who didn't receive that redistributed cap money--the Raiders (surprise, surprise) & the Saints (not surprising at all considering their crappy streak in the league the last couple of years).
    • It turns out that the Raiders and Saints, while not penalized like the Redskins and Cowboys, were found to be guilty to some degree of wrong doing, but not as much as the other two aforementioned teams. As a result, no cap room was taken away from them, but they were not awarded any of the cap room taken away from the Redskins and Cowboys that was distributed out to the other 28 teams in the league.
  • That $23 million from last year ($18 million from the Redskins, and $5 million taken away from the Cowboys) was distributed to the 28 other teams in the league evenly last year. The same exact equation occurred this year ($23 million divided by 28 teams in both 2012 and 2013). The other 28 teams in the league received $821,428.57 in 2012 as well as 2013.
  • LTBE incentives by themselves can result in a given team's salary cap getting a boost based on incentives that weren't earned on a team's cap the previous year. Since the player or players in question with LTBE incentives were supposed to earn this money last year, but didn't, with it counting on the team's salary cap the previous year, the team gets a bump in their overall cap number the net season.
  • The same principle also applies with NLTBE incentives, but in the opposite manner. If a player or players were not supposed to earn an incentive, but did, with it not counting on the team's salary cap the previous year, the team then gets that money deducted from their salary cap the very next season to even the salary cap balance sheet out.

These adjustments all factored into the $300,580 increased cap adjustment that I figured out for the Giants through a bit of reverse engineering. The League Top 51 Cap Report has the Giants overall team cap number listed as $120,278,602.  I used the figures on that page, along with my cap own cap estimate to help figure out what the Giants' cap adjustments from 2012 would be. Through reverse engineering it, I got a $300,580 overall net cap increase that resulted in the cap number of $3,308,682 for the Giants. We know part of it is due to the Cap penalties ($821,428.57 was credited to 28 teams in the league, of which the Giants were one), and most likely an increased amount of NLTBE incentives that were met that led to the increase not being so large.

Finalized Grievances are the only factor that I'm not sure about, which is what may account for the sudden fluctuation, either up or down a few dollars here and there at certain points during the off-season in a given team's overall salary cap number in the absence of any transactions (i.e., player signings, releases, renegotiations, or restructures). I saw this happen twice in the last week or two with the Giants, the most recent occurring last week when the Giants' cap number went from being $3,312,016 earlier in the previous week to $3,308,682 yesterday. In the absence of any known transaction, this to me, seems to most likely be the result of an arbiter's decision in favor of a player who played for the team last year who filed a grievance against the Giants, resulting in the recouping of a small sum ($3,334) thereby explaining the slight fluctuation between the two cap figures figures mentioned above.


In summary, I'm not sure how all these variables (Carryover money, Cap Penalties, Finalized Grievances, LTBE incentives, & NLTBE incentives) factor in the Giants' 2013 adjusted cap. In the end, I'm just speculating, but I do figure that the cap is adjusted slightly upwards by the amount of $1,300,580 however those aforementioned variables factor into the overall equation. These led me to figuring the Giants' 2013 adjusted cap number to be $124,300,580. I then subtracted the amount for the cap dollars spent so far for 2013 for the Giants' Top 51 cap numbers to get the official cap number of $3,308,682 listed in the league's latest official Top 51 Cap Report listed above.