As far as I can figure it, the reason for the lack of FA action is due to the concept that the cap has only gone up 2% per year for the last few years.....while player salaries have been rising at a much higher rate. Simply put, if we sign any more FAs this off-season......our 2014 cap situation is looking to be in bad shape.
The reason we have 18m+ available is due to the new cap rollover rules. Rollover money from 2012 into 2013 is treated as “adjusted cap”. Any unused “adjusted” money in 2013 cannot be rolled over again into 2014.
This is an extremely important point and I think that most people don't understand the ramifications of how it effects future cap planning.
Having all of that rollover money looks exciting, but the reality is it could easily become a cap-trap that destroys a roster.
Effectively this means that if a team spends above the cap(into their rollover).......they will have no rollover money the following year. If the cap increase for the following season is similar to recent times(2%), this likely will place teams in a tenuous position in regards to the cap for future years as teams will be going from a higher cap situation to a lower cap the following year......and as player contracts are usually structured in a manner where the cap hits increase each year throughout the contract, this would place the team in a very difficult position.
Looking at the Bills(for example).....
At the moment we have spent 109m(top 51 player caps).....we will get back 4.5m for Fitz contract in a few months. We also have a dead cap number of 6m......and 4m for rookie contracts(I've adjusted this down from 5.5m as several of the rookie contracts will fall outside the top 51 cap hits)............bringing the total spend to.....114.5m.
The base cap figure is 123m.
The Bills' rollover amount is 10m.
This means that we are 8.5m under the cap.......and 18.5m under the adjusted rollover cap.
Ignoring any adjustment for Byrd(leaving his cap hit at 6.9m).....if we don't spend any more money on FAs, we will take a 8.5m rollover into the 2014 season.
Placing a base 6.9m cap hit for Byrd, our 2014 cap situation is currently 111m. Adding in the 4m for the 2013 rookies.....and 4m for the 2014 rookies, this places our 2014 cap situation at 119m. Assuming there is only a 2% increase in the cap in 2014.....the 2014 cap figure will be 125m.
This would leave us with 6m(plus 8.5m rollover) to re-sign Wood, Chandler, Carrington, Moats, 2nd & 3rd string QB & a raft of other FAs (13 more players).
If we chose to sign another 2 FAs this year(total cost 6m/year, assuming the same cap cost through each year)......this would mean we would have ZERO money left(with a 2.5m rollover) to sign all of our own FAs in 2014(19 players).
Obviously, if we chose to spend into our current rollover we would need to either re-structure major players, cut more players, or not be able to re-sign anybody who is worth keeping.
With a new coach, it seems logical to progress through a season for him to see what he has.....and what he can get out of the current players, before mortgaging the future with relatively expensive FAs.
From what I can tell, it is not just the Bills in this situation. Many teams have already started to cut good players due to future cap concerns this off-season.....and likely this will continue for a few more years.
Edited by Dibs, 23 March 2013 - 11:04 AM.