2014 Off season plan: Part 1, Cap talk.
Ok tumblers are clicking into place. Now that the tagging season has passed we have a better sense of who is available, positional depth, and so we can do some better projecting of how the Browns cap and the Browns needs will look.
Let’s get methodical.
I’m going to break this into multiple posts.
- Salary cap talk (this year’s spend, 2015 keepers,,,)1.
- Free agent targets (who fits our holes without putting us in a box where we’re cutting Jabaal Sheard or something).
- Fine tuned draft needs (post-UFA) review.
- THEN. Then we start the ‘good draft’ post.
I’m going to break this up into several posts. Cutting to the chase on today’s post: I’m arriving at usable cap space for 20142 at between 30M – 40M and that is AFTER extending the top tier free agents whose contracts are up in 2015.
State of the Browns’ salary cap.
Browns’ cap looks good if you don’t dig deep. We show as #3 in available cap space today with 57M up for grabs. Nice right? But we need to factor in that there are a slew of cornerstone players with expiring contracts in 2015. A large chunk of the 57M must be used there.
This table takes today’s salary cap hits, uses the new 133M NFL cap number, applies the 24M of rollover and arrives at a current cap space number.
THEN –this is the tricky part– we apply some estimates on how the cap space looks if we get proactive on the Class of 2015 UFAs. I’ve sliced these into tiers like so:
- Tier 1: Haden, Taylor, Sheard, Cameron, Hoyer;
- Tier 2: Rubin, Skrine, Pinkston, Groves;
- Tier 3 (not doing anything with these guys): Little, Ogbonnaya, Lewis, Sanford).
My process here is simple:
- Is the subject 2015 UFA a top-5? Assign franchise number for cap hit;
- Top-10? Assign transition number, or;
- Other? Assign my swag at a percentage of the transition number.
The official tag numbers are here.
Tier 1 UFAs.
As a starting point, let’s project what our Tier 1 guys’ cap hits look like at market rates.
- Haden: top 5 CB –> was 8.9M, now 11.8M. Comp: Ike Taylor.
- Taylor: top 10 DT –> was 2.6M, now 8.1M. Comp: between Barry Cofield and Geno Atkins.
- Sheard: let’s say top 20 DE –> was 1.6M, now (10.6M x 80% =) 8.5M. Comp: Carlos Dunlap.
- Cameron: top 10 TE –> was 1.5M, now 6.1M. Comp: Owen Daniels.
- Hoyer: top 20 QB –> was 1.25, now (14.7M x 50% =) 7.3M. Comp: between Alex Smith and Cam Newton.4
Subtotal: Signing the Tier 1 guys, without bonus shenanigans, yields 26.0M in additional cap hits.
Tier 2 UFAs.
Let’s just check to see what these guys might cost.
- Rubin: top 20 DE –> was 8.2, let’s just use the (optimistic) Sheard number, 8.5M
- Skrine: top 50 CB –> was 1.4M, let’s use Darius Butler comp, 3.0M
- Pinkston: top 100 OG –> was 1.4M, let’s keep him flat, 1.4M. Comp: Clint Boling.
- Groves: top 50 LB –> was 1.1M, let’s keep him flat, 1.1M. Comp: Zach Brown.
Subtotal #2: this group’s revised contracts eat up 3.4M more.
If we decide we want to lock-in these current players, we now have 7.7M in cap space and that’s without TJ Ward or any UFAs.
Soooooo… some of these guys are going to get to be UFAs in 2015. With next year’s cap expected to be north of $140M in 2015, perhaps a Skrine or Pinkston can be kept. Don’t see any way to lock up Rubin long-term, though. It’s Rubin or Sheard and with Mingo sitting on the bench no way we keep both… I choose Sheard.
Back to business, let’s scratch the re-do of the Tier 2 2015 contracts. My math then has us with 11.1M in cap space. That’s not great.
Through the magic of signing bonus and contract prorations, a better estimate of cap space AFTER extending Haden, Taylor, Sheard, Cameron, Hoyer to the rough numbers outlined above:
I’m coming up with $39M in cap for 2014; $40M in 2015.
Here is the tool I’m using and regrettably, there’s no clean way for me to save and share my work. But, I’m basically giving all these guys a 10M signing bonus and bumping their contacts up to the numbers above starting in 2015. Across the board. I’ve also cut Campbell, Bess, Weeden, and anyone whose name I don’t recognize and that includes Alex Tanney.
Let’s throw in 10M fudge-factor and use a conservative 30M in cap space as available to play with for new UFAs this year and also 30M of cap space for 2015.
That’s good work for today. In part two of this series, we’ll take a look at where to spend this loot. (Yes, I see you TJ Ward.)
- Quarterback: $16.192 million
- Running back: $9.54 million
- Wide receiver: $12.312 million
- Tight end: $7.035 million
- Offensive lineman: $11.654 million
- Defensive end: $13.116 million
- Defensive tackle: $9.654 million
- Linebacker: $11.455 million
- Cornerback: $11.834 million
- Safety: $8.433 million
- Kicker/punter: $3.556 million
- Quarterback: $14.666 million
- Running back: $8.033 million
- Wide receiver: $10.176 million
- Tight end: $6.106 million
- Offensive lineman: $10.039 million
- Defensive end: $10.633 million
- Defensive tackle: $8.060 million
- Linebacker: $9.754 million
- Cornerback: $10.081 million
- Safety: $7.253 million
- Kicker/punter: $3.205 million.
- And, point of personal privilege, let’s stop the forward-looking cap projections at year 2015 because we might be speaking Russian in 2016. I kid, I kid,, just pointing that it’s simply crazy talk for a Browns fan to entertain “positioning our cap structure responsibly for 2018” talk as reasonable. Fuck that. My goal here is win this year, win next year. We’re all in accord on the folly of sensible deferred gratification with respect to our football team by now are we not? [back]
- and 2015 [back]
- Link to the Google Spreadsheet here. Not sure I love the ‘new’ Google Docs. Definitely not thrilled with my embedding technology but it’ll do for now. [back]
- Seems a lot for Hoyer doesn’t it? Ask yourself what you’ll have to pay him after the Browns go 10-6 and win a playoff game. We’re playing poker here; we’re better going all in to close this deal. (IMO.) [back]