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Offline Fireman202

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Salary Cap Article
« on: January 24, 2013, 07:40:50 PM »
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Green Bay - It doesn't matter if you're the best team in the NFL or the worst, there is going to be turnover on your roster.

For some teams like the Green Bay Packers, it's a function of building almost exclusively through the draft and favoring younger players over older ones. Some of the players who won't be back next season might not even know it until late April, when the Packers replace them with draft picks.

Still, every off-season tough decisions are made based on salary, and the Packers are not exempt this year from having to make them.

Through prudent salary cap management over the past decade they have never had to completely strip down a team and start over due to bloated veteran contracts.

This year, through a mechanism negotiated in the last labor agreement and available to all NFL teams, the Packers have been able to carry over to 2013 all $7,010,832 of cap room they had leftover in 2012.

If they weren't allowed to carry over that money, they would be tight to a 2013 salary cap that is expected to be about the same as last season's $120.6 million limit. They have roughly $120.7 million dedicated to the highest-paid 51 players - the number the NFL counts in the off-season - through existing contracts.

So, with the '12 cap room carried over, the Packers have about $7 million of cap space a month and a half before the start of the new NFL year. Some of that will be shaved off through restricted free agent tenders and contract escalators before free agency starts, but they will still be comfortably under the cap.

Following their 45-31 divisional playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Packers general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy have the task of determining how they can get better.

At the same time, they have to think about addressing the contracts of future free agents like linebacker Clay Matthews (2014), nose tackle B.J. Raji (2014), quarterback Aaron Rodgers (2015), cornerback Sam Shields (2013, restricted) and tight end Jermichael Finley (2014).

In order to lock up even two or three of those players it's going to take a lot of cash and salary cap space.

After making $42.7 million in profit last fiscal year, the cash shouldn't be a problem. President Mark Murphy made it clear last summer that the Packers were able to compete with other franchises when it comes to large signing bonuses, a common tool for keeping salary cap numbers manageable.

"There's no question there's flexibility," Murphy said of having so much cash around, "but with the salary cap there's limits on what you can do. But I look at it as we can remain competitive."

The cap factor is something different altogether and it is something that Thompson and vice president of player finance Russ Ball are going to have to manage to get some of those players signed. Anticipating a need for cap room is a big reason the Packers did not offer receiver Greg Jennings a contract extension and are prepared to let him leave in free agency.

In all likelihood, it's going to require some unsavory trims to get the desired amount of salary cap room to sign players as valuable as Rodgers, Matthews and the others. The Packers could wait out the future free agents and try to sign them after this season, but they would only have a two-month window to get something done before all but Rodgers become free agents.

So, where can the Packers get the money?

Here are some potential sources through contract terminations with the cap money the Packers would gain:

Safety Charles Woodson, $10 million

Tight end Finley, $8.25 million

Linebacker A.J. Hawk, $2.25 million

Center Jeff Saturday, $2.2 million

Fullback John Kuhn, $2.6 million

It's a given that Saturday won't be back, and if the Packers really want the cap flexibility to offer contract extensions they're going to have to either release Woodson or get him to take a major pay cut. Assuming the Packers have $5 million of cap room (after the restricted tenders are offered), they could increase that total to $17.2 million by cutting ties with Woodson and Saturday.

Given they have no other fullbacks on the roster, releasing Kuhn would be a risk, especially when his salary isn't extraordinary. But it's not out of the question.

Finley and Hawk are other subjects all together.

McCarthy sure made it seem like Finley would be back when he talked to reporters in his season-ending news conference.

"I feel very good about the way he finished the year," McCarthy said. "He did some good things (against the 49ers). There was a change in that young man. But we obviously have to look at the first half (of the season), too, and make sure that's part of the evaluation because we're all judged on 17 games."

Shearing off $8.25 million certainly has to be attractive to Thompson and Ball, but with Jennings leaving they can't afford to just let receiving targets walk.

Letting Hawk go would be a gamble given Desmond Bishop is coming off a torn hamstring, D.J. Smith tore up his knee during the season, Brad Jones is a free agent and Terrell Manning couldn't get on the field. On the other hand, Thompson may try to find in the draft a bigger, more physical linebacker to play inside and could chance that Bishop, Smith and Manning are a strong enough core.

Because Hawk has two years left on his contract with $3.2 million of prorated signing bonus to absorb, the net gain is only $2.25 million. If the Packers waited until after June 1 to cut him, they could push the $3.2 million to 2014 and get the full relief of Hawk's $5.45 million salary.

The roster doesn't have many other players who are candidates for cap relief. Most of the highest-paid players are ones Thompson recently signed to extensions.

There also aren't a lot of players he needs to re-sign as unrestricted free agents. The group includes receiver Donald Driver, linebacker Erik Walden, running back Cedric Benson and Jones. It's very possible none of them will be back.

The bottom line is the cost to sign Matthews long-term could be more than $70 million on a five- or six-year deal. Raji's deal shouldn't be too far behind. Rodgers' deal would probably be for six or seven years and worth well more than $100 million.

There are ways to structure the contracts so the immediate cap hits aren't great, but that would put future years in jeopardy. Thompson and Ball would like to dump as much money from those contracts into the 2013 season, thus making them less burdensome in the future.

To do that, it means creating as much space as possible this year. And that means roster changes.

"Change is constant, and I think everybody understands that," McCarthy said. "I don't exactly know what the statistics are, but I know it has been around 20% for us, the way your roster changes every year. That will probably hold true this year."

CAPPING IT OFF

Here is a list of each Green Bay Packers player under contract for the 2013 season, his salary cap number and the money he will actually be paid. Only the top 51 cap numbers count against the cap in the off-season. At the bottom is a list of "dead money," which is any cap charge carried over from someone who was released during the 2012 season. In some cases, that player was re-signed.


Pos. Cap number Cash owed
Aaron Rodgers QB $9,750,000 $9,750,000
Charles Woodson S $9,437,500 $10,000,000
Jermichael Finley TE $8,750,000 $8,250,000
Tramon Williams CB $8,500,000 $6,500,000
A.J. Hawk LB $7,050,000 $5,450,000
Ryan Pickett DE $6,700,000 $6,200,000
B.J. Raji DT $6,195,000 $4,315,000
Josh Sitton OL $5,550,000 $4,350,000
Desmond Bishop LB $4,764,000 $3,964,000
Jeff Saturday OL $4,625,000 $3,750,000
Jordy Nelson WR $3,975,000 $3,150,000
James Jones WR $3,750,000 $3,250,000
Mason Crosby K $3,150,000 $2,550,000
T.J. Lang OL $3,100,000 $2,000,000
Clay Matthews LB $2,672,500 $1,532,500
John Kuhn RB $2,543,750 $2,350,000
Bryan Bulaga OL $2,125,500 $962,000
Derek Sherrod OL $1,800,546 $975,182
Jarrett Bush CB $1,783,333 $1,450,000
Nick Perry LB $1,704,375 $730,875
Tim Masthay P $1,105,000 $865,000
Jerel Worthy DT $897,319 $569,464
Randall Cobb WR $875,299 $666,766
Mike Neal DT $865,000 $575,000
Brett Goode OL $821,250 $740,000
Morgan Burnett S $793,775 $575,000
Casey Hayward CB $752,253 $540,451
Alex Green RB $691,250 $562,500
Davon House CB $630,145 $555,000
Graham Harrell QB $630,000 $630,000
Andrew Quarless TE $620,607 $575,000
Marshall Newhouse OL $612,464 $575,000
D.J. Williams TE $604,500 $555,000
James Starks RB $600,075 $575,000
C.J. Wilson DE $587,590 $575,000
Darryl Smith LB $580,788 $555,000
Ryan Taylor TE $569,794 $555,000
Jamari Lattimore LB $556,668 $555,000
M.D. Jennings S $555,834 $555,000
Mike Daniels DT $555,146 $480,000
Jerron McMillian S $555,146 $480,000
DuJuan Harris RB $555,000 $555,000
Brandon Saine RB $555,000 $555,000
Terrell Manning LB $522,870 $480,000
Dezman Moses LB $481,166 $480,000
Sean Richardson S $481,666 $480,000
Don Barclay OL $480,833 $480,000
Jarrett Boykin WR $480,000 $480,000
Jordan Miller DT $480,000 $480,000
Jeremy Ross WR $480,000 $480,000
Greg Van Roten OL $480,000 $480,000
Brandon Bostick TE $405,000 $405,000
B.J. Coleman QB $405,000 $405,000
Andrew Datko OL $405,000 $405,000
Garth Gerhart OL $405,000 $405,000
Joe Gibbs OL $405,000 $405,000
Micah Johnson LB $405,000 $405,000
James Nixon CB $405,000 $405,000
Chaz Powell CB $405,000 $405,000
"Dead money"
B.J. Coleman QB $34,422
Andrew Datko OL $34,422
Lawrence Guy DE $22,950
Tommie Draheim OL $5,667
Dale Moss WR $3,334
Marc Tyler RB $3,334
Jaymes Brooks OL $3,000
Duane Bennett RB $2,667
Vic So'oto LB $2,834
Eric Lair TE $1,667
Mike McCabe OL $1,667
Nicholas Cooper RB $1,000
Dion Turner CB $667
Shaky Smithson WR $334

 scratchhead1 Crosby is making more than Matthews

Offline Cheesedog

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Re: Salary Cap Article
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2013, 11:20:13 PM »
Good article.. I think Crosby making more than Matthews is due to veteran Crosby re-signing and Matthews still on rookie contract. It's more a function of that 1.5 mill being ridiculously low for Matthews.

Finley and Woodson take big paycuts or get cut. Finley has not done anything any reasonably priced journeyman TE couldn't do, heck even Crabtree could match those numbers given the chance.

Saturday is certainly gone, Kuhn doesn't have a huge contract but if need be he could be replaced. He's a hard worker, committed and dependable. Be he isn't irreplaceable.

Between Finley, Saturday, Woodson TT should be able to get 13-15 mill more easy. That could be enough for the draft and to find a good FA for the DEF. And set himself up for re-signing the guys next year.

Online 68md

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Re: Salary Cap Article
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2013, 04:52:22 PM »
Saturdays retirement cuts $3,750,000 off the cap...  also we need to cull out guys like Starks and Quarless etc. Could find 2-4 million in space cutting those players loose.  twocents1

Offline Crease Creature

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Re: Salary Cap Article
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2013, 01:48:15 AM »
Wasn't Saturday only signed to a one year deal anyway? Or was that just Benson?
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Online 68md

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Re: Salary Cap Article
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2013, 07:49:32 AM »
Wasn't Saturday only signed to a one year deal anyway? Or was that just Benson?

Saturday was a 2 year 6.8 million deal.... Benson was 1 year 800,000 vet min

Offline Badger

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Re: Salary Cap Article
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2013, 09:15:39 AM »
Looks to be some very tough cuts this year, will be interesting to see how TT aproachs things.

Offline Half Empty

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Re: Salary Cap Article
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2013, 11:38:16 AM »
Wholeheartedly cocur with the "interesting" part.  Not so sure about the "tough" decisions.  Would be interested to see what everyone would view as tough cuts.  Thinking in terms of paying for performance (and possible cheaper replacements available), arbitrarily placing the effective cutoff at $2 mil, and not wanting to get into "net" savings, my on the fly thoughts are:

Aaron Rodgers QB $9,750,000 $9,750,000 - obvious
Charles Woodson S $9,437,500 $10,000,000 - cut
Jermichael Finley TE $8,750,000 $8,250,000 - cut
Tramon Williams CB $8,500,000 $6,500,000 - before this season, given his performance that that of the rest of the CBs, no question I'd have retained him.  Now, I wouldn't be shocked to see him go.
A.J. Hawk LB $7,050,000 $5,450,000 - cut
Ryan Pickett DE $6,700,000 $6,200,000 - keep, but isn't this high for a plugger?
B.J. Raji DT $6,195,000 $4,315,000 - hate the "potential" tag, but have to give him more time
Josh Sitton OL $5,550,000 $4,350,000 - seems to be the only consistent OL, so keep
Desmond Bishop LB $4,764,000 $3,964,000 - might be a medical decision, but otherwise, the only other decent LB they have
Jeff Saturday OL $4,625,000 $3,750,000 - done
Jordy Nelson WR $3,975,000 $3,150,000 - cheap enough, and with Jennings gone...
James Jones WR $3,750,000 $3,250,000 - cheap enough, and with Jennings gone...
Mason Crosby K $3,150,000 $2,550,000 - certainly want some competition, depends on dates of payment
T.J. Lang OL $3,100,000 $2,000,000 - cheap enough, and with the other holes...

Offline walleye67

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Re: Salary Cap Article
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2013, 09:39:00 PM »
Those numbers are going to drastically change when the Packers give Rodger 120,000,000

Offline GBP4EVER!

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Re: Salary Cap Article
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2013, 05:40:32 PM »
The Packers are going to have to get creative with the cap. The Packers have Matthews, Raji, Finley, and Jones all UFA after 2013 season and Rodgers and Nelson after the 2014 season. The Packers are going to have hard choices to make I don't know if you can keep them all as likely they could all see their per year numbers double outside of Finley.

Offline Bud

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Re: Salary Cap Article
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2013, 07:20:39 PM »
The Packers are going to have to get creative with the cap. The Packers have Matthews, Raji, Finley, and Jones all UFA after 2013 season and Rodgers and Nelson after the 2014 season. The Packers are going to have hard choices to make I don't know if you can keep them all as likely they could all see their per year numbers double outside of Finley.

It's crazy isn't it? I would not want to be a GM and to be faced with these types of decisions. As a fan, you hate to see some players go, especially ones that have contributed in a meaningful way. Tough decisions for sure but ones that have to be made. Hopefully some development of young guys or draftees help ease the pain of letting some guys go.
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