Caveat: I have read sections of the new CBA - not the entire thing, and I will read the whole thing very closely after the 2012 Draft. Even after I read it, I know I will still have more questions than answers, but I am sure some things will crystalize. Right now, I am reading sections and interpreting them the best I can - I am not an attorney or a cap expert - just a fan trying to follow my team and figure out how much money the Seahawks have to spend.
That being said - a couple cap odds and ends I wanted to follow up on are here below. Just trying to learn and push the conversation forward. Chime in if you know the answer - and if you have chapter and verse in the new CBA please share!
51 TOP PAID PLAYERS
Thanks to Mr. Beekers - he reminds that during the offseason, the top-paid 51 players' salaries are used to calculate the cap (this is how teams stay under the cap even with 80 man rosters). When the league year begins, I believe the top 51 contracts are counted toward this figure, and if there are some futures contracts in there, then I believe the highest priced futures contracts are in that top 51 figure. I may be wrong- but that is how I read those parts of the CBA. The Seahawks may have only 46 or 47 2011 players under contract in 2012, but they have many players signed to futures contracts as well.
Some of the drafted players will take the spots of these futures contract players, and will increase the cap by perhaps $100-200k per non first-round drafted player. There may be an additional $1M to $2M in cap room for the Seahawks than my original post speculated, but I don't think it changes the overall article greatly.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL ROOKIE CONTRACT LOOK LIKE AND HOW DO I CALCULATE A CAP FIGURE?
This is a good thing to know. Let's use for example, the Seahawks second pick of the 2011 Draft.
John Moffitt, 2011 3rd Round Draft Pick. John's contract looks like this:
2011 $375k base
2012 $505k base
2013 $625k base
2014 $725.5 base
Signing bonus $637.5k
How do you calculate his cap figure? Pro-rate his signing bonus over the number of years in his deal (max five years per the CBA), in this case - 4 years.
$637.5k / 4 years = $159,375 per year pro-rated signing bonus
Add that to his annual base salary:
2011: $375k +$159k = $534,375 Cap
2012: $505k +$159k = $664,375 Cap
2013: $625k +$159k = $784,375 Cap
2014: $725.5k +$159k = $884,875 Cap
That's it. Most non first-round rookie contracts look a lot like this, and are pretty simple to calculate. The previous CBA 1st Round Contracts (Aaron Curry, Earl Thomas, Russell Okung) are the hardest to calculate. There are various easy-to-attain bonuses and club options/salary escalation/etc that make calculating those contracts difficult without having direct information. In fact, I was stuck calculating these deals last year - had done the other 50 or so players - and Mike Sando threw me a bone and gave me the figures for Earl and Russell. So, thanks Mike!
James Carpenter's deal is actually pretty straightforward. The new CBA is much better than the old on many levels, in my view.
Can a team roll over excess cap space each year in the new CBA? Yes. Can a team balloon to a humongous salary cap this way? Not sure. I haven't figured out all the scenarios - and we will see how teams with big cap space operate in 2012 (CIN, KCC, TAM, etc...). Do I think these teams will spend a big chunk of their cap? I actually do. Will they roll some over to 2013? Perhaps.
Let's assume the 2012 Cap is $120M and the 2013 Cap is $130M (no one knows yet as it is calculated each year based on revenues).
2012 Assume $120M Cap
Let's say a team rolled over $30M from 2011, and had $90M committed to 2012 already. The team would have $60M in available Cap and have a "soft cap" or "adjusted cap" of $150M. This seems like a nice advantage for a Tampa Bay over the current cap situation in Pittsburgh.
2013 Assume $130M Cap
89% of $130M is $115.7M. It would be wise for this "big cap room" team to spend $115.7M in 2013, so assuming the team has only $90M committed to 2012 and 2013- then they should look to shell out an additional $25.7M in 2012 and 2013.
The CBA ensures that all teams spend the riches of the NFL on the players.
Now, if they are under that 89% floor in 2013, they actually are not in violation until 2016! The team has to add together the 89% floor from the 2013-2016 years Announced Cap and the 4 year total of those combined Announced Cap has to be measured against what the team actually spent in that four year period. If the team was short (think Cincy), the team has to pay out in 2016 to "match up".
ONE MAJOR QUESTION:
One last thing - and I don't know the answer to this - but will hunt for it. Lets say this team had a 2012 Adjusted Cap of $150M and ended up spending $115M in 2012. Could they roll over $35M into 2013 and then have an adjusted cap of $165M while another team may have a cap of only $130M? Personally, I am not sure - but I do not think so.
My guess is that the cap resets to the 2013 Announced Cap (in this scenario the 2013 Cap is $130M). The team has spent $115M and then can carry over $15M. Their 2013 Adjusted Cap would then be $145M. (Still a nice advantage of $15M). If someone knows the definitive answer to this- please let us know.
I will have some 2012 Seahawks Cap Numbers posted here in a few days...
---------- UPDATE ----------
From Andrew Brandt, former executive with the Packers and president/owner/creator of the National Football Post.
Yes. RT @MattRichWarren: the salary floor is based on the NFL's cap and not the team's rolled over "cap"?— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) February 16, 2012
Yes. RT @Dutchrudder: If a team rolls over 20m in 2012, and doesn't spend any of it, can they roll that 20m into 2013 as well?— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) February 16, 2012
DK edit: Everyone go and make sure to thank "Dutchrudder" for having a great twitter handle and asking a good question to the right person.