Browns are fine for the 89% cap floor.
A couple weeks ago I thought I was on the scent of a brewing scandal and was poised to unleash a low-grade rant. Subject was the four year 89% cap spend floor and the Browns’ prospective failure to hit it. It turned out I was entirely wrong with my premise (the Browns are in good shape w.r.t. the floor as explained below) and so then I sat on the news.
That’s not sporting is it? So here’s the post.
In the outfall of Jimmy’s private presser with his hand-picked journos and with all the attention spent on Jimmy’s ignorance of his first round QB’s scouting report and the contents of his GM’s texts which herald fines and lost draft picks… as well as his blessing to have lots of intelligent people in rooms weighing in on any old topic since they’re so intelligent and such…1
Lost in all that was Jimmy’s statement the Browns would be “not a player in free agency.”
We’re way under the cap now, we were way under the cap last year, and the year before that.
Wait: Isn’t there a floor wherein the aggregate over so many years spend has to total some percentage of the aggregate total?
Wasn’t I pounding the table on this thing a couple years ago? And then wasn’t I chastened because I was operating on bad data when I learned that rollovers were ok and the floor is basically spread out over time?
Yeah, that all rings bells. So rather than be wrong and guessing, this time we’re going to the source.2
Dig into the CBA.
Here’s the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Let me try to wade through this dense doc and pick out the relevant info and offer a translation.
Page 61 is “Article 12 Revenue Accounting and Calculation of the Salary Cap.” Basically they’re defining ‘All Revenue’ (AR) and ensuring a percentage of AR is fed to players as ‘Player Cost Amount’ (PCA).
Skip to page 77 and there’s “Section 6. Calculation of Player Cost Amount and Salary Cap.” Page 80, (c. i.) tells us PCA = 55% of NFL Media + 45% of jerseys and such as + 40% of local media + 50% of new revenue streams.
An interesting note is found right below (p. 80, c. iii.) on “Bands” and “Stadium Credit.” The net here is that Stadium Credit costs seem to be divert money away from players. Since I’m not 100% on this, I’ll leave it alone but will bookmark in my mind that your sin tax dollars for scoreboards probably mean Jimmy is less compelled to spend in free agency and also that monies spent on escalators mean less monies for NFLPA members.
The 89% floor.
Here’s the key section for this discussion.
Page 84: “Minimum Team Cash Spending.” Every four years, teams need to ‘true-up’ with their spend and ensure they have spent up to at least 89% of the previous four years of cap.
The NFL cap from 2013-2016 looks to be in the $550M range; 89% would be ~490M.
Browns spent 94.6 in 2013. 112.2 in 2014…
Wait is the data correct? What numbers should I be looking at?
Enter Jason from OverTheCap.com.
At this point I’m first realizing that I’m out on thin ice. That’s because there are cap spend numbers but also cash spend numbers.
So I reached out to the proprietor of OverTheCap.com, and Jason replied and walked me through the subject so clearly that it’s worth posting our exchange here for everyone’s edification.
Me: Hi Jason, appreciate your work at OTC. I’m trying to get my arms around the Browns cap sending and specifically with regard to the 89% rule.
If I’m reading the CBA correctly, teams have to spend up to 89% of the sum of the salary caps from 2013-2016. Using the OTC NFL cap numbers of 123, 133, 140, and 150; 89% of that sum is 485.9M. The Browns’ cap spend (again using OTC numbers) has been 2013-94.6, 2014-112.2, 2015-107.0 (projected).
Based on these numbers, am I correct in thinking the Browns will need to spend 172.1M in cap in 2016 either through players signings or else they cut checks to get them up to that number to members of the current roster? Or am I missing something… like does the dead money factor into this somehow?
Jason: Hi Mike. The actual numbers you need to look at for this are cash spending rather than cap spending. The floor is designed such that the team spends 89% of the cap limit in actual cash payments.
I have to check how we have the calculations set up right now (everything is set to top 51 on the cap charts so it understates 2013/14, but I cant recall how the cash ones are set up). But for the Browns I know that spending is not an issue.
In 2013 their official spend was around $107 million. In 2014 they had one of the highest payrolls in the NFL around $148 million. The reason it was so high was because they had the two first round draft picks, the extension for Haden, and a pretty large salary for Alex Mack.
So they are basically right at 100% spending right now. They only need to spend around $95 million in cash to stay on the 89% mark. They are almost already there and thats before the draft where they again have two first rounders. Those two firsts will lock them into another $11 million in salary.
So when he says he’s not spending its likely because he realizes they can play at the minimum from this point forward and not have issues with that 89% rule.
How cool is that?
So thanks Jason for this info and I’m sorry readers for not posting this initially largely because it wasn’t bad news.
What the hell is my problem?
On the logo.
Just a quickie on the logo and uniform happenings. Browns announce a new logo today. If they actually pull off an understated Paul Brown inspired logo like at right, I’d be shocked and happy.
I don’t expect to be shocked or happy.
I expect something more like this.
And that would be fine.
But I am resigned to the change and all we can do is wait and see.
Update: here’s the new logos.
First take: this orange makes my retinas hurt. The guess here is that every minute Alec Scheiner wasn’t helicoptering Shannahan about how to apply analytics to ZBS efficacy was spent frantically attempting to conjure how to inject a cool not-found-in-nature accent piping like the Seahawks have.
Let’s just be glad it’s not 1992 because if it were you can bet Alexander Julian would have been consulted on how best to use teal and purple.
As for the Dawg Pound logo,,, just whatever. The misspelled DAWG is an affectation that has never sat well here so I’m obviously the wrong person to ask.
And finally: how come you spend on this money on branding and mulling over the facemask and then not manage to use an accurate facemask? There’s no double bar grill in real facemasks. See the Haden picture up top and use that one. Cripes.
Wait. One more point about the color change: Bengals much?
- From Tony Pauline yesterday: “… I’m told its not happy times for the Browns front office. People familiar with the situation have compared the present situation in Berea to the one that’s taken place in San Francisco the past three years. I’m told there’s a lot of dissension in the Browns front office and people are not working well together and are not fond of each other.” [back]
- Or alternatively, I could’ve simply re-read Pokorny’s excellent piece on this subject from last year found here. [back]