The End Is Nigh

Posted: July 15th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 18 Comments »

Y’all may not have been aware of this, but technically, Iggles Blitz is not a one-man operation. There is a cap guy in the house as well, and now that the labor dispute is (pleasepleaseplease) coming to an end, I’m back. It is time to start figuring out what the Eagles will have to spend in 2011.

By my calculations, the Eagles have nearly $98 million of salary cap commitments. This includes the $16 million franchise tender signed by Michael Vick way back in March. David Akers’s unsigned transition tender, on the other hand, is not included. (Note that EaglesCap comes up with about the same cap commitment level but is including Akers … we have slightly different assumptions/information right now, but that’s partially because there has been limited available information on this stuff for the last couple of years).

There are 49 members of the 2010 team under contract, and the team has rights to an additional 11 draft picks. This will be an important benchmark when league-wide cap figures are revealed, because there are likely to be teams with far fewer players on the roster — and far more important players unsigned.

If the cap winds up being $123 million (which includes a mysterious $3 million exemption), then the Eagles effectively have about $26 million of cap space heading into the free agency period.

We should also note that the number is effectively going to be bigger, most likely. I have Marlin Jackson at $2 million (though EaglesCap disagrees), but either way, he is probably not long for the payroll — even if he is healthy enough to come to camp, I can’t imagine the team risking him blowing out another body part and getting that salary paid in an injury settlement. Leonard Weaver’s contract is also at risk, though I believe some portion of his salary is guaranteed.

Further, Vick will probably sign an extension. The Eagles can structure that extension in whatever way they need, to either add cap space or to use it early to keep Vick’s future cap hits relatively low.

On the other hand, DeSean Jackson’s extension, whenever it gets done, will cause his cap number to go up this year. And rookies have to be signed, which will also eat into the available space a little bit.

All that aside, the Eagles have ample salary cap space to wade into the deep end of the free agent pool. How many other teams are there with them will be a big question.

The salary cap floor is a topic that has been discussed. However, I can’t figure out what the rules will be for that yet. I see reports of individual team cash floors ranging from 90% to 95% and reports of a league-wide cash target of 99%. I have seen the individual team cash floor (if that is what winds up going into place) being calculated as a three-year average, but also reports of it being enforced each year.

Because of the uncertainty, I am going to have to hold off on guessing how the dynamics of the new system will work or guessing whether it will be a good thing or a bad thing. There are too many conflicting reports out there right now. But know that, in general, I think that a high cash floor (95%) enforced annually is bad for the competitiveness of the league. It forces teams to spend cash in years when that may not be the best thing for their team, and those contracts that they shouldn’t have signed could hamstring them in years when they do need to spend cash. I think it is a bad incentive, which is why I hope the floor is imposed as a multi-year average rather than as an annual threshold, since that would allow teams some leeway in terms of timing their spending.

But this much is certain: the most boring, frustrating off-season for fans in recent memory is almost over. Bring on the NFL!

18 Comments on “The End Is Nigh”

  1. 1 mcud said at 12:13 PM on July 15th, 2011:

    Sam is back and posting! NOW it feels like an offseason…

  2. 2 Iskar36 said at 12:19 PM on July 15th, 2011:


    It’s good to see you writing something on here. Definitely adds to the feeling that this awful offseason is coming to a close. I did have one question regarding the 95% rule (or whatever it may turn out to be). In general, how much of the cap do the Eagles normally use? I realize it varies a lot between the teams (and the year), but what about teams in general? Are teams usually above 90%?

  3. 3 CVD said at 12:41 PM on July 15th, 2011:

    I agree. That would suck if you have to spend just to spend. This year is one of those where it shouldn’t be too difficult to spend. But when there aren’t much options, then you wind up overpaying for people. Or you start extending guys on the team much earlier than you normally would. I don’t like it at all if it works like that

  4. 4 Sam said at 12:49 PM on July 15th, 2011:


    It is a hard question to answer until we see what the number really means. Several points:

    * Prior to the 2006 CBA, teams ON AVERAGE spent about 105% of the cap in terms of cash.
    * Once the 2006 CBA jacked the cap way up, teams UNDERSPENT the cap in terms of cash, probably at about 99%, which is the target being discussed — I will look at this in a later post once the floor and the rules are known
    * From 2004-2009, the Eagles were middle of the pack in terms of cash spent
    * Annual cash spend varies substantially from year to year. In 2004, for example, they spent about 130% of the cap in cash terms. In 2005, they spent 85%. Which makes sense — in 2005 they were coming off a Super Bowl, it wasn’t like they needed to sign the top free agents that year.

  5. 5 CVD said at 1:38 PM on July 15th, 2011:

    if we dont get fat al or johnson, i wouldnt mind getting antwan barnes back or getting clemons back by trading kolb. i wish we could have hung on to clemons (and our 4th round pick) just one more year, he would be a good fit for wash

    here is a cool article about pass rushers

  6. 6 Cliff said at 1:40 PM on July 15th, 2011:

    Just a side note because I see people bringing this point up; from the NFLPA’s perspective a salary floor doesn’t just cause a team to “spend for spending’s sake.” It forces teams to reward their current roster as well. The Players don’t really want money gowing down the drain in the form of lousy players, I assume, because they want more of that money going in to their bank accounts.

    For example: let’s say next year we’re somehow below he salary floor. We can use that opportunity wisely by handing out a new contract with a nice bonus to one of our young players (Maclin, McCoy, etc) instead of going out and yanking Marlin Jackson off the couch because we have a salary minimum to meet.

    At least that’s how it looks in my feeble mind.

  7. 7 Sam said at 1:46 PM on July 15th, 2011:


    It depends somewhat on when teams can renegotiate contracts. If you have to wait until year 4 (as was proposed) you are really only looking at extending one rookie class at a time, at least beyond the first round. I think we can all agree that there are a lot of classes where you won’t want to extend anyone, or at least not for very much. Imagine if it were 2006 and we were looking at the 2003 rookie class, for example. Our only real option would have been to extend LJ Smith — a bad use of money.

    You have good years and bad years for young players; enforcing it every year means that you can’t tailor your spend around that natural variation in quality.

  8. 8 Thunderlips said at 1:53 PM on July 15th, 2011:


    Per Andrew Brandt: “In return, Players compromised on renegotiation rules; previously teams were prohibited from renegotiating contracts with drafted players until after their third year and undrafted players until after their second year. These limits are expected to be relaxed slightly in the next CBA.”

    Doesn’t that mean they will be able to offer extensions earlier?

  9. 9 nicolajNN said at 2:08 PM on July 15th, 2011:

    Two questions for you Sam. First of, and the answer might be simple and I just don’t understand all this money talk, but how can a team spend more than 100% of the salary cap?

    And how much are we approx. going to spend on our rookies?

  10. 10 Sam said at 2:23 PM on July 15th, 2011:


    I saw that, but he’s sort of wrong. Previously, teams were prohibited from negotiating with players until after their second year, not third. So I’m not sure what he’s talking about, and I haven’t seen anything concrete about it. Again, it’s hard to evaluate these things in full until we see the details. But my example is just as strong if we look at the 2003 and 2004 draft classes combined.


    Cash is not cap. For example, a $10 million signing bonus for a 5 year deal is $10 million in cap in 2011, but $2 million against the cap each year from 2011-2015. Thus, they don’t always add to the same thing.

    Because the cap was always expected to rise, teams spent more and more future cap dollars each year, which allowed them to spend far more cash than cap prior to the 2006 CBA. Because the cap was no longer a real constraint to spending after the 2006 CBA, they didn’t need to spend future cap space in the current year, and cash spending fell below the cap.

    Which is why the lowering of the cap won’t really impact player compensation, at least initially — there is plenty of room to lower the cap accounting for the same amount of cash spending.

  11. 11 Sam said at 2:27 PM on July 15th, 2011:

    Oh, and no idea on the rookies. From what I understand, there will be a cash amount each player can earn during his deal, but how teams account for that in terms of salary/bonus/et al is up to each team/player. So it is hard to project exactly how much those guys will count against the cap in 2011 … that will be up to Howie and Joe.

    But if I had to guess, maybe $4 million of cap space, give or take. But half of that will be offset by the fact that we have so many guys under contract … adding a rookie means subtracting a vet.

  12. 12 Cliff said at 7:33 PM on July 15th, 2011:

    Thanks for all the info, Sam.

  13. 13 eagles nut said at 10:28 PM on July 15th, 2011:

    From an ESPN article tonight:

    “The NFL and its players agreed on Thursday night to a $120 million cap with players agreeing to a team minimum cash payroll of 89 percent of the cap as long as the league-wide cash guarantee is 99 percent of the cap, sources said. For example, the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills or Jacksonville Jaguars would be required to have a minimum cash payroll of $106.8 million in 2011. If they fail to reach that level by the end of the season, they would distribute the difference to the players on team at the end of the season.

    League-wide, the 32 NFL teams must spend $118.8 million per team — $3.801 billion — in 2011.

    That 89-99 formula stays in place for the first two years of a proposed new collective bargaining agreement. In the third year, the guaranteed spend of a team rises to 95 percent.”

  14. 14 ATG said at 1:18 AM on July 16th, 2011:

    Off-topic, but I read this quote on BGN:

    “‘We’re trying to be as prepared as possible in the event we go to Lehigh for training camp,’ Eagles spokesman Derek Boyko said.”

    1. That’s Igglesblog Derek, right? Good for him. I knew the Eagles were a smart organization.

    2. How does that smart organization not have him writing on

  15. 15 Mike said at 2:20 AM on July 16th, 2011:

    @ ATG

    Not him.

  16. 16 D3Keith said at 7:58 PM on July 16th, 2011:

    Good to have you back. Carry on …

  17. 17 Cliff said at 8:14 PM on July 16th, 2011:

    @ eagles nut

    That “If they fail to reach that level by the end of the season, they would distribute the difference to the players on team at the end of the season” is sort of what I was getting at in my previous comment about the salary floor. The Players don’t want teams going out and wasting money on scrubs just to meet the floor obligation.

  18. 18 Iggles Blitz » Blog Archive » Where Did All The Secret Money Come From? said at 11:42 AM on August 5th, 2011:

    […] as I said before the lockout ended, the Eagles were looking at about $26 million of space. They then went out and signed four large […]