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.