The next few days could be a very interesting time for our Miami Dolphins. It has been said that up to 10 players that will be on our week one roster are currently not on our team. And when most people were like wow that is 20%! I was the guy sitting at my screen going...18.87 (rounded to the nearest hundredth). Now I have spent a lot of time compiling information about the Salary Cap, Player Contracts and how they work together. Because it seems to be this mystical thing that people don't get and understandably so as the rules are complex as hell. People want to make a bunch of personnel suggestions but few of them take the time to look up the contracts involved and how the rules work. It is a tangled web of money and not the easiest thing to figure out. So I am going to break it down for everyone as best I can.
Let's start with the salary cap. The NFL has a hard cap that all teams must stay under at all times. The math is complicated but is basically the TOTAL revenue collected by all teams added together and divided by all 32 teams.(A certain percentage of this and that and subject player benefits etc etc.) The CBA is now going to require the league to count monies made by airing the games on T.V. Something that was not done before. Now this includes monies collected all the way through the Super Bowl and that is why we don't get next years Salary Cap number until near the FA period. Also players making league minimum, which is 390,000 for a rookie and goes up on sliding scale based on years in the league, do not count against the cap.
There is also a floor that they must stay above. If you thought the cap was complicated the salary floor is freaking crazy. It is 95% of the cap must be spent leauge wide with each team having to spend at least 89% of the cap in Cash Money, which is different than Cap Money. Cash Money includes and entire signing bonus, say 8 mil. For easy math say that is applied to a 4 year contract. The team can choose to spread that 8 mil across the 4 years of the contract in Cap Money. What this means is that the 8 mil signing bonus counts as: 8mil to the Cash Money and Salary Floor, but it could only mean 2 mil per season to the Cap Money and Salary cap.
Still with me so far? Good, that was the easy part. Now onto the contracts themselves.
When a player is traded away, the cap is effected as if the player were cut. However, if the player were to receive a suspension for conduct while he was still on your team, and maybe the reason you traded him, you get a portion of that back in cap space. The mathematical logarithm for that is incredibly complex but us basically a sliding scale of games suspended/ base salary. This is why the F.O. was hoping Brandon Marshall was gonna be suspended after we traded him to Da Bears!
Now, you can begin to see why trading a player too early in his contract would negatively effect the cap. For example, Karlos Dansby, due to the huge signing bonus would cost us an EXTRA 50,000 to the cap this year if we traded him. Jake Long on the other hand even with a 12mil contract saves us 7mil if we trade him because it is the last year on his contract and the signing bonus has basically already been paid out. And if we traded him we would only count half his salary and the amount of the signing bonus that was placed into this year of his contract. (I am not advocating trading Long before anyone says anything.)
I just thought this little bit of info would help you along when your thinking about who we might trade and who for and if we can pay them or not.
2.9 million doesn't sound like huge cap space, but trade away Reggie Bush, Tony McDaniels and Matt Moore and suddenly we have 13.68 million to resign players that we traded for. Or better yet, trade Bush and some picks for a player and get picks for the other two.
Lyndon Murtha (2nd year in a row on IR) 1.9 million and Ryan Cook 1milion and we are looking at having 16.58 million in capspace. Yes, we could sign Mike Wallace (12mil) and Jabar Gaffrney(Vet minimum) and James Jones (2.8 mil I think) and it would leave us with 1.7 mil in the bank. BOOYA Math rocks!