Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dead Cap

7:55 EDT

Tom Kowalski of wrote an article about the Lions 2008 "Dead Cap". The article is well written and accurate.

What is Dead Cap? - Dead Cap is having salary cap space used by players who are no longer under contract.

How does that happen? - Most NFL player contracts are not guaranteed and therefore a team can cut a player at any time and not pay the remaining terms of the contract.

If you don't have to pay the remaining contract, how does a team acquire dead cap? - It is attributable to signing bonuses and other items treated as signing bonus, that, for salary cap purposes are prorated over the life of a players contract. For more information on these bonuses, refer to my blog entry, that explains these items. If a player is cut in the 4th year of a five year contract, there is "dead cap" for the unamortized portion of the signing bonus.

Why do the Lions have so much Dead Cap? - When Rod Marinelli took over the Lions in January of 2006, there were about 70 players under contract, the 53 active members of the roster, some players that were on IR and some players signed in early January. Of those 70 or so players, only 14 remain under contract and it's expensive to revamp an entire roster like the Lions have done over the past two years.

Kowalski's list of the Lions 2008 Dead Cap totals $15,192,000 (Plus another $2M of Dead Cap in 2009 for Kalimba Edwards) and based on history, we'll have another $1,100,000 from the normal course of business (injury settlements, workout bonuses, etc):

  • 4,271,000 Shaun Rogers
  • 3,000,000 Damien Woody
  • 2,333,000 Fernando Bryant
  • 1,360,000 Kenoy Kennedy
  • 1,000,000 Kalimba Edwards (Plus another $2M to be recognized in 2009)
  • 1,000,000 Eddie Drummond
  • 741,000 Kevin Jones
  • 500,000 Shawn Bryson
  • 333,000 Rex Tucker
  • 240,000 AJ Davis
  • 180,000 Barry Stokes
  • 150,000 Blaine Saipaia
  • 84,000 Johnny Baldwin

Here's a list of the Lions 2007 Dead Cap that totaled $20,056,000:

  • 5,448,000 Mike Williams
  • 3,275,000 Charles Rogers
  • 1,760,000 Ross Verba
  • 1,600,000 James Hall
  • 1,500,000 Corey Bradford
  • 1,300,000 Dre Bly
  • 1,000,000 Josh McCown
  • 767,000 Marcus Pollard
  • 530,000 Eddie Drummond
  • 500,000 Shawn Bryson
  • 383,000 Rex Tucker
  • 333,000 Marcus Bell
  • 275,000 Donte Curry
  • 185,000 Barry Stokes
  • 120,000 AJ Davis
  • 1,080,000 Miscellaneous others (Injury settlements and workout bonuses)

In 2006, the Lions had almost $13,889,000 in Dead Cap:

  • 7,088,000 Joey Harrington
  • 3,340,000 Charles Rogers
  • 1,350,000 Cory Bradford
  • 469,000 LeVar Woods
  • 375,000 Dan Wilkinson
  • 167,000 David Loverne
  • 1,100,000 Miscellaneous others (Injury Settlements and workout bonuses)

Since Rod Marinelli has been here, he's cleaned up the roster, but that cleaning has had consequences, to the tune of over $52M of Dead Cap, almost 16% of the salary cap space for that time period. The salary cap for the time frame has been a total of $327,727,000 (102M in 2006, 109M in 2007 and 116,727,000 in 2008).

Failed first round draft picks have accounted for $19,151,000, pre-Rod Marinelli:

  • 7,088,000 Joey Harrington
  • 6,615,000 Charles Rogers
  • 5,448,000 Mike Williams

We've gotten some value for some of the players:

  • $4,271,000 Shaun Rogers (for L. Bodden and a 3rd rounder in 2008)
  • $1,600,000 James Hall (5th round draft pick in 2007)
  • $1,300,000 Dre Bly (acquired G. Foster, T. Bell and a 5th rounder)
  • $1,000,000 Josh McCown (for a 4th rounder in 2007 from Oak, along with M. Williams)

As I posted in an earlier blog entry, 2009 Cap Outlook, we are in good shape for 2009 with realistic cap commitments of $78M with a projected salary cap in the neighborhood of $120M (42M under). Dead Cap should be less of an issue going forward, this is Marinelli's roster now and there shouldn't be much of turnover in 2009.

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