Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sometimes it's when, not if

Before I post some of the updated cap numbers there is one additional item that needs to be pointed out... cuts for salary cap reasons have their own schedule and some decisions will have to be made sooner rather then later, others can wait right up until the day before the season begins. What we're dealing with here are a couple of things, first is some players have a roster bonus due usually in March, that get paid as long as they have not yet been cut. Paying these roster bonuses can greatly affect whether a player will be cut or not later on. Workout bonuses are paid if the player reports for the voluntary off season workouts, once again affecting any savings if cut later. Then in the other direction there is the June 1st rule, any player cut after June 1st (or designated as a June 1st cut when cut if earlier then June 1st) the future year signing bonus allocations do not accelerate into the current season, it does create dead money for the next season but if the player is signed for future years in addition to this year and had a signing bonus when signed to their contract they can be cut later in the season and save cap space.

Lions players who have bonuses are: QB Shaun Hill; TEs Pettigrew and Scheffler; RB Leshoure, WR Titus Young, WR Mike Thomas; OL Peterman, OL Sims, OL Backus; DE KVB, S Wendling and CB Bentley.

All NFL team rosters are currently frozen, no player can be cut until the day after the superbowl, so any cut activity is still a little over a week away. Teams then will have roughly 5 weeks to tender their restricted free agents, franchise tag players, even re-sign their own players before free agency begins March 12th at 4pm. That is also the date (I believe) that all teams have to be in salary cap compliance (meaning their top 51 contracts have to be under their cap maximum).

Using my updated contract numbers, these should be the accurate salary cap savings for each of these players as long as their salaries are not guaranteed:

Ndamukong Suh -$5,127,500
Kyle VandenBosch -$4,962,500
Dominic Raiola -$4,050,000
Stephen Peterman -$3,250,000
Nate Burleson -$2,925,417
Shaun Hill -$2,750,000
Jeff Backus -$2,750,000
Tony Scheffler -$2,450,000
Rob Sims -$2,225,000
Mike Thomas -$1,500,000
Brandon Pettigrew -$1,396,250
Ronald Bartell -$1,000,000
Matt Stafford -$958,750
John Wendling -$730,000
Brian Robiskie -$715,000
Tyrell Johnson -$715,000
Ashlee Palmer -$666,667
Ogemdi Nwagbuo -$630,000
Don Carey -$630,000
Terrence Austin -$555,000
Dominique Curry -$555,000
Devin Moore -$480,000
Lance Long -$480,000
Chastin West -$480,000
Nathan Overbay -$480,000
Bill Nagy -$480,000
Jimmy Saddler-McQueen -$480,000
Kellen Moore -$473,334
Travis Lewis -$450,414
Mikel LeShoure -$437,802
Jonte Green (PUP) -$431,500
Rodney Austin -$405,000
Conroy Black -$405,000
Lionel Smith -$405,000
Ross Weaver -$405,000
Troy Burrell -$404,333
Carmen Messina -$403,333
Patrick Edwards -$391,666
Chris Greenwood -$384,000
Tahir Whitehead -$374,000
Titus Young -$335,335
Ronnell Lewis -$281,456
Dwight (Bill) Bentley -$225,444

Most of these cap savings are the same as they were in my original post below, a few have changed however so I thought I would post them. Now as I mentioned above, some of these cap savings change once the roster bonus is due and payable in March (or whenever due), the same goes for the workout bonuses, and then there's that cap savings trick of waiting until after June 1st as well.

My guess as to who may be cut shortly after the Super Bowl probably isn't as large a list as some others because I am not sure the Lions will cut various players without first being certain they have a replacement on hand. I really can't see the Lions paying Kyle VandenBosch a $2 million roster bonus and I'm thinking they may be hesitant to pay Peterman his $600,000 as well. Not saying that one or the other or both won't be cut and then re-signed for a much smaller amount, just that I can't see the Lions paying the bonus even without a replacement player on hand (not counting Lewis and Nagy who may actually be pegged as the replacements).

Other players the team will make a decision on sooner rather then later is QB Shaun Hill, WR Titus Young, LT Jeff Backus and TE Tony Scheffler. Since we don't know the exact date of each of their bonuses we can't know (yet) the final date the Lions have to make a decision on them. Once the bonus is paid though it is entirely probable the player makes the final roster.

This will be the first year in a very long time that the decision(s) on who to cut won't be made entirely on talent, the salary cap monster is sitting in Mayhew's office and licking his chops. That said, Mayhew created the monster in the first place so he's the one who has to feed it. At the same time, creating too many more holes in the roster will only make it that much harder to field a decent team in 2013 (and beyond). The Lions are about to find out just how good their GM is.

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