Sunday, June 10, 2012

Current Cap Room for All 32 NFL Teams

In alphabetical order:

 In order of cap room:

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Four NFL Teams Gain Cap Room from Post-June 1 Releases

Four NFL teams gained salary cap room today as their "post-June 1" releases finally became official. Although the players had been released weeks ago, the scheduled salary cap numbers for Terence Newman (Dallas), Travelle Wharton (Carolina), Gary Brackett (Indianapolis) and Kevin Boss (Oakland) remained in full on those teams' caps until today. Now, their contracts are treated as if they were released today  their 2012 bonus prorations remain against this year's cap, and all future prorations accelerate into 2013 instead of this year.

Each of these players still counted as part of his team's Top 51 until today. That means that when those players' releases became official, they were each replaced by another player in their team’s Top 51. So, the net gain in cap room for each team is not simply equal to the reduction in the released player's cap charge, because another player's base salary begins counting against the team's cap.

Here's the cap savings breakdown for each team, along with the dead money charges in 2012 and 2013 for each player:


Terence Newman’s cap charge goes from $8.016 million to $2 million for 2012, with $2 million in dead money left in 2013. Newman is replaced in Dallas’ Top 51 by a player whose base salary is $465,000, giving the Cowboys a net gain of $5.551 million in cap room. That puts Dallas $7,595,361 under the cap.


Travelle Wharton’s cap charge goes from $7,562,882 to $1,862,882, with $1,862,882 in dead money left in 2013. Wharton is replaced in Carolina’s Top 51 by a player whose base salary is $540,000, so the Panthers have a net gain of $5.16 million in cap room and are now $8,383,625 under the cap.


Gary Brackett’s cap charge drops from $7.4 million to $2.4 million, with $4.8 million in dead money for 2013. Brackett is replaced in the Colts’ Top 51 by rookie Josh Chapman, whose base salary is $390,000, giving the Colts a net gain of $4.61 million in cap room. Indianapolis is now $14,953,698 under the cap.


Kevin Boss’s cap charge goes from $4.75 million to $750,000, with $1.5 million in dead money in 2013. Boss is replaced in Oakland’s Top 51 by a player whose base salary is $465,000, so the Raiders’ net gain is $3.535 million in cap room. They are now $3,581,346 under the cap.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The NFL rookie pool and the salary cap

A lot of people, including many in the media, have a misunderstanding of how the NFL salary cap and rookie pool are intertwined, beyond the misnomer of "a cap within a cap." This post is an attempt to explain exactly how the rookie pool works and how it relates to the cap. (Note: This post is a rewrite of a 2009 post, with all information updated to apply to 2012.)

First, a couple of definitions:

Top 51 Rule: This is explained in Article 13, Section 6, subsection (a)(i) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The rule states, "between the start of the League Year and the first day of the regular playing season, only the following amounts from Paragraph 5 shall be included for players whose Player Contracts are not among the Team’s 51 highest valued Player Contracts, tenders and Offer Sheets (as determined under this Section 6): (1) Any amount that exceeds the Minimum Active/Inactive List Salary for Undrafted Rookie Free Agents; and (2) Any amount that exceeds twice the applicable Minimum Active/Inactive List Salary for all other players."

In simple terms, it means that during the offseason, for any player whose cap number is not among his team's 51 highest cap numbers, his base salary ("Paragraph 5" salary) does not count against the cap. The two exceptions listed above ("any amount that exceeds ...") are not known to have ever come into play, because teams traditionally give undrafted rookies minimum base salaries, and it would be extremely unlikely for a team to have a player outside its Top 51 with a base salary more than twice his applicable minimum.

As an example of how the Top 51 Rule works, consider a team whose 51st-highest cap number for current players (contracts, tenders or offer sheets) is $480,580. The team's next-highest cap number is $475,580, which is for a second-year player with a base salary of $465,000, a signing bonus proration of $5,000 and a standard workout bonus of $5,580. Because this player is outside the hypothetical team's Top 51, his minimum base salary does not count against the cap, but the other $10,580 does. The same thing would apply to the rest of the team's players outside its Top 51: their minimum base salaries would not count against the cap, but everything else would. (All "dead money" also counts against the cap.)

Rookie pool: On a league-wide basis, the rookie pool (described in Article 7 of the CBA) is the total amount of money that can be spent on all rookies, except that the minimum base salaries for undrafted rookies do not count toward the rookie pool. Each team's rookie pool is its portion of the league-wide total and is determined by the number, round and position of the draft choices it uses, plus one-third of the annual limit for signing bonuses given to undrafted rookies. (One-third of the total represents the first-year proration of bonuses on their three-year contracts.)

Basically, the entire first-year cap numbers for all of a team's draft choices must fit into its rookie pool, along with any first-year cap charges for undrafted rookies other than their minimum base salaries. When a team signs a drafted player, his first-year cap number does not have to be equal, or even close to, the rookie pool value of the pick used to select him, as long as the team's combined rookie pool charges for all of its rookies don't exceed its limit.

(NOTE: The 2012 team rookie pool figures that have been reported do not include the undrafted rookie reservation, which is one-third of $76,585 for each team. That means that each team's true rookie pool, as defined by the CBA, is $25,528 higher than the reported figure. Post updated May 13, 2012)

How it all works

Saying that the rookie pool is "a cap within a cap" is a bit of a misnomer because the rookie pool actually is a separate accounting from the salary cap, although rookies count toward both limits. The calculations are different, though, so the amount a rookie counts against the rookie pool isn't necessarily the same as the amount he counts against the salary cap.

When a player is drafted, he automatically is tendered a one-year contract for the rookie minimum base salary (for 2012, that is $390,000). This amount immediately is applied to the team's rookie pool and salary cap. Because most teams have at least 51 players with cap numbers higher than the rookie minimum salary before the draft, the automatic tenders for drafted players won't affect those teams' caps at all. It sometimes is mistakenly reported that teams must have cap room in order to use their draft choices, but that applies only to teams that have fewer than 51 players signed or tendered at the time of the draft. And even then, it applies only to the number of draft choices a team uses until it has 51 players signed or tendered. So, for example, if a team had 49 players signed or tendered before the draft, it would need only $780,000 of cap room in order to make all of its selections. After the first two draftees are automatically tendered, the team would have 51 players signed or tendered, and the rest of the team's draftees would fall outside its 51 highest cap numbers and would not affect its cap.

When a drafted player signs his contract, the team is charged against its salary cap according to the Top 51 Rule, and it is charged against its rookie pool according to the rules in Article 7.

Let's consider a seventh-round draft pick who signs a four-year contract with minimum base salaries and a $44,000 signing bonus and who was selected by a team with its 51st-highest cap number being $480,000 (for a second-year player with a $465,000 base salary). The rookie's first-year cap number would be $401,000, consisting of his $390,000 base salary and his $11,000 bonus proration. Because he was drafted, the entire $401,000 would count against his team's rookie pool, replacing his automatic tender. But because he is below his team's top 51 cap numbers, only his $11,000 bonus proration counts against the salary cap during the offseason.

Now consider a third-round draft pick for the same team. He signs a four-year contract with minimum base salaries and a signing bonus of $700,000. His first-year cap number would be $565,000, consisting of his $310,000 base salary and his $175,000 bonus proration. All $565,000 would count against his team's rookie pool and against his team's salary cap. However, by assuming his place among the team's top 51 cap numbers, he knocks the player with a $480,000 cap number ($465,000 base salary) out of the team's top 51. For that player, his base salary no longer counts against the cap, leaving only the other $15,000 counting against the cap. The net result is that the team's cap room is reduced by only $100,000 — the draftee's $565,000 is charged against the cap, but the second-year player's $465,000 base salary no longer is.

As you can see, as long as his team already has at least 51 players signed or tendered, a draftee's effect on his team's salary cap is far less than his rookie pool charge. Most people forget this when they consider how much cap room must be "set aside" for rookies. You'll often see people say that, for example, if a team has $4 million of cap room and a rookie pool of $5 million, it will need to clear another $1 million from its cap in order to sign all of its draft choices. Of course, if the team already has close to or more than 51 players signed or tendered, that's wrong, because that team's rookies will reduce its salary cap by far less than $5 million, as shown above.

As long as a team has at least 51 players already signed or tendered, it is impossible for its entire rookie class to reduce its cap room by more than its rookie pool minus the amount equal to the minimum rookie salary times the number of draftees signed. For example, if a team with a rookie pool of $5.9 million already has at least 51 players signed or tendered, then signs all 10 of its draftees and any number of undrafted rookies, it is impossible for the team's entire rookie class to reduce its cap room by more than $2 million. That's because the $390,000 base salary of every undrafted rookie and every draftee who doesn't make the team's top 51 won't count against the cap, and every draftee who does make the top 51 will knock another player's base salary of at least $390,000 out of the top 51.

To determine the maximum amount that a team's entire rookie class could reduce its cap room, it is necessary to know how many players it has signed or tendered, how many of its draftees are likely to have first-year cap numbers that qualify for its top 51 and the cap numbers and base salaries for as many players at the bottom of its top 51 as it has draftees who will qualify for the top 51.

If all of that is not known, a reasonable estimate for most teams this season can be made by starting with each team's rookie pool, then subtracting $465,000 for each draft pick in the first four rounds and $390,000 for each draft pick in the fifth, sixth or seventh rounds. For example, a team with a rookie pool of $5 million and one draft pick in each round will use approximately $1.97 million of cap room to sign all of its rookies ($5 million, minus the $1.86 million for the four players displaced in the team's top 51, minus $1.17 million for the three late-round draftees whose base salaries won't count against the cap). Using this method might not be precise for every team, but it will provide a pretty good estimate.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pick-By-Pick Rookie Pool Figures for 2011

According to, the 2012 Rookie Pool has not yet been determined. (UPDATE: has now reported that the league and the NFLPA have reached an agreement on the 2012 Rookie Pool.) Previous reports have indicated that it might be less than in 2011, although the Collective Bargaining Agreement seems to indicate that it must increase by the same percentage as the salary cap. If so, it would rise by just 0.187 percent. These facts likely mean that the 2012 Rookie Pool will be very close to the 2011 Rookie Pool. Thus, it will be possible to project each team's rookie pool for 2012 based on the figures from 2011.

Below are the actual 2011 rookie pool values -- in other words, those players' 2011 cap numbers -- for each of the 2011 draft picks. When available, the 2011 rookie pool allocation number -- the number used by the NFL to set the team-by-team and league-wide limits -- has been included in parentheses. As this shows, many of the 2011 draft picks' rookie pool numbers exactly matched the allocation figure for their respective picks after the allocation numbers were revealed to the teams and agents for the first time. To project a team's 2012 Rookie Pool, these figures can be used for each of the team's draft picks, and $25,000 can be added for undrafted rookies' signing bonus prorations.

1 Cam Newton Panthers $4,004,636
2 Von Miller Broncos $3,818,250
3 Marcell Dareus Bills $3,710,418
4 A.J. Green Bengals $3,579,655  ($3,579,655 allocation)
5 Patrick Peterson Cardinals $3,350,818
6 Julio Jones Falcons $2,942,500
7 Aldon Smith 49ers $2,615,273  ($2,615,273 allocation)
8 Jake Locker Titans $2,288,364
9 Tyron Smith Cowboys $2,272,018
10 Blaine Gabbert Jaguars $2,182,118
11 J.J. Watt Texans $2,043,182
12 Christian Ponder Vikings $1,847,036
13 Nick Fairley Lions $1,798,000
14 Robert Quinn Rams $1,715,658  ($1,716,273 allocation)
15 Mike Pouncey Dolphins $1,683,581
16 Ryan Kerrigan Redskins $1,585,508
17 Nate Solder Patriots $1,552,817
18 Corey Liuget Chargers $1,511,954
19 Prince Amukamara Giants $1,487,436
20 Adrian Clayborn Buccaneers $1,492,758  ($1,479,264 allocation)
21 Phil Taylor Browns $1,471,500
22 Anthony Castonzo Colts $1,454,745
23 Danny Watkins Eagles $1,442,900
24 Cameron Jordan Saints $1,405,709
25 James Carpenter Seahawks $1,389,364
26 Jonathan Baldwin Chiefs $1,373,018
27 Jimmy Smith Ravens $1,356,673
28 Mark Ingram Saints $1,348,500
29 Gabe Carimi Bears $1,282,918
30 Muhammad Wilkerson Jets $1,250,000
31 Cameron Heyward Steelers $1,219,096
32 Derek Sherrod Packers $1,200,364


33 Ras-I Dowling Patriots $964,382
34 Aaron Williams Bills $956,209
35 Andy Dalton Bengals $948,036
36 Colin Kaepernick 49ers $931,691  ($931,691 allocation)
37 Jabaal Sheard Browns $925,500
38 Ryan Williams Cardinals $910,442
39 Akeem Ayers Titans $895,731
40 Bruce Carter Cowboys $882,654
41 Jarvis Jenkins Redskins $869,578
42 Brooks Reed Texans $854,867
43 Kyle Rudolph Vikings $841,791
44 Titus Young Lions $829,331
45 Rahim Moore Broncos $808,750
46 Orlando Franklin Broncos $792,000
47 Lance Kendricks Rams $768,437  ($768,236 allocation)
48 Stefan Wisniewki Raiders $751,891
49 Benjamin Ijalana Colts $735,545
50 Marcus Gilchrist Chargers $719,200
51 Da'Quan Bowers Buccaneers $701,025
52 Marvin Austin Giants $686,509
53 Stephen Paea Bears $670,164
54 Jaiquawn Jarrett Eagles $654,318
55 Rodney Hudson Chiefs $637,495
56 Shane Vereen Patriots $629,300
57 Mikel Leshoure Lions $624,396
58 Torrey Smith Ravens $616,224
59 Greg Little Browns $605,000
60 Brandon Harris Texans $599,878
61 Jonas Mouton Chargers $593,340
62 Daniel Thomas Dolphins $588,435
63 Marcus Gilbert Steelers $586,802
64 Randall Cobb Packers $583,531


65 Terrell McClain Panthers $550,826
66 Dontay Moch Bengals $549,394
67 Nate Irving Broncos $548,750
68 Kelvin Sheppard Bills $547,708
69 Robert Housler Cardinals $546,023
70 Justin Houston Chiefs $542,812
71 Demarco Murray Cowboys $540,625
72 Martez Wilson Saints $539,081
73 Stevan Ridley Patriots $537,000
74 Ryan Mallett Patriots $535,969
75 John Moffitt Seahawks $534,375
76 William Rackley Jaguars $529,868
77 Jurrell Casey Titans $529,359
78 Austin Pettis Rams $528,604  ($528,450 allocation)
79 Leonard Hankerson Redskins $526,594
80 Chris Culliver 49ers $524,719  ($524,719 allocation)
81 Demarcus Van Dyke Raiders $522,844
82 Vincent Brown Chargers $521,517
83 Jerrel Jernigan Giants $518,813
84 Mason Foster Buccaneers $506,250
85 Jah Reid Ravens $515,810
86 Allen Bailey Chiefs $513,986
87 Drake Nevis Colts $512,278
88 Johnny Patrick Saints $511,345
89 Shareece Wright Chargers $511,035
90 Curtis Marsh Eagles $510,880
91 Akeem Dent Falcons $510,725
92 Joseph Barksdale Raiders $509,950
93 Chris Conte Bears $508,400
94 Kenrick Ellis Jets $500,000
95 Curtis Brown Steelers $505,300
96 Alex Green Packers $503,750
97 Slone Fua Panthers $501,504


98 Brandon Hogan Panthers $499,257
99 K.J. Wright Seahawks $496,500
100 Da'Norris Searcy Bills $496,106
101 Clint Boling Bengals $495,362
102 Jordan Cameron Browns $494,350
103 Sam Acho Cardinals $493,607
104 Luke Stocker Buccaneers $493,172
105 Roy Helu Redskins $492,563
106 Christian Ballard Vikings $476,888
107 Kris Durham Seahawks $491,065
108 Quinton Carter Broncos $488,750
109 Colin McCarthy Titans $488,850
110 David Arkin Cowboys $488,400
111 Edmond Gates Dolphins $488,287
112 Greg Salas Rams $487,788  ($487,725 allocation)
113 Chimdi Chekwa Raiders $486,300
114 Cecil Shorts Jaguars $485,845
115 Kendall Hunter 49ers $484,805  ($484,805 allocation)
116 Casey Matthews Eagles $483,716
117 James Brewer Giants $483,023
118 Jalil Brown Chiefs $482,325
119 Delone Carter Colts $481,301
120 Alex Henery Eagles $480,027
121 Chris Prosinski Jaguars $480,027
122 Chris Hairston Bills $478,977
123 Tandon Doss Ravens $478,140
124 Owen Marecic Browns $477,000
125 Taiwan Jones Raiders $476,250
126 Bilal Powell Jets $475,125
127 Rashad Carmichael Texans $474,272
128 Cortez Allen Steelers $472,875
129 Julius Thomas Broncos $471,000
130 Jamie Harper Titans $450,145
131 Davon House Packers $450,145


132 Kealoha Pilares Panthers $428,878
133 Johnny White Bills $428,400
134 Robert Sands Bengals $428,000
135 Ricky Stanzi Chiefs $427,763
136 Anthony Sherman Cardinals $426,725
137 Buster Skrine Browns $425,500
138 Marcus Cannon Patriots $425,125
139 Brandon Burton Vikings $417,250
140 Gabe Miller Chiefs $424,625
141 D.J. Williams Packers $424,500
142 Karl Klug Titans $423,613
143 Josh Thomas Cowboys $423,200
144 Shiloh Keo Texans $423,000
145 Jacquizz Rodgers Falcons $422,750
146 Dejon Gomes Redskins $422,825
147 Rod Isaac Jaguars $422,790
148 Denarius Moore Raiders $422,513
149 Dion Lewis Eagles $422,220
150 Jason Pinkston Browns $422,000
151 Ahmad Black Buccaneers $421,685
152 T.J. Yates Texans $421,250
153 Jeremy Kerley Jets $421,062
154 Richard Sherman Seahawks $420,606
155 Niles Paul Redskins $420,413
156 Mark Legree Seahawks $419,633
157 Doug Hogue Lions $419,527
158 Jermale Hines Rams $419,167  ($419,125 allocation)
159 Lee Smith Patriots $417,870
160 Nathan Enderle Bears $417,215
161 Julian Vandervele Eagles $416,200
162 Chris Carter Steelers $415,700
163 Daniel Kilgore 49ers $415,075  ($415,075 allocation)
164 Chykie Brown Ravens $411,140
165 Pernell McPhee Ravens $411,140


166 Lawrence Wilson Panthers $407,205
167 Ryan Whelan Bengals $406,278
168 Demarcus Love Vikings $400,775
169 Chris White Bills $405,150
170 Mistral Raymond Vikings $399,483
171 Quan Sturdivant Cardinals $403,947
172 Brandon Fusco Vikings $398,556
173 Byron Maxwell Seahawks $403,363
174 Charles Clay Dolphins $403,000
175 Byron Stingily Titans $402,625
176 Dwayne Harris Cowboys $402,515
177 Evan Royster Redskins $401,918
178 Aldrick Robinson Redskins $401,550
179 Caleb Schlauderaff Packers $401,450
180 Tyrod Taylor Ravens $401,327
181 Richard Gordon Raiders $401,213
182 Ronald Johnson 49ers $401,055  ($401,055 allocation)
183 Jordan Todman Chargers $401,018
184 David Carter Cardinals $400,966
185 Greg Jones Giants $400,947
186 D.J. Smith Packers $400,788
187 Allen Bradford Buccaneers $399,525
188 Chris Rucker Colts $400,418
189 Mike Mohamed Broncos $400,000
190 Colin Jones 49ers $399,723  ($399,724 allocation)
191 Jason Kelce Eagles $399,358
192 Matt Bosher Falcons $398,950
193 Brian Rolle Eagles $399,150
194 Markell Carter Patriots $398,513
195 James Thomas Bears $398,129
196 Keith Williams Steelers $397,750
197 Ricky Elmore Packers $397,059
198 Tyler Sash Giants $394,670
199 Jerrell Powe Chiefs $394,670
200 Ross Homan Vikings $391,420
201 Stephen Schilling Chargers $394,670
202 Jacquian Williams Giants $394,670
203 Zach Williams Panthers $394,670


204 Virgil Green Broncos $392,250
205 Lazarius Levingston Seahawks $392,225
206 Justin Rogers Bills $391,875
207 Korey Lindsey Bengals $391,741
208 Greg McElroy Jets $391,288
209 Johnny Culbreath Lions $390,933
210 Andrew Jackson Falcons $390,375
211 Bruce Miller 49ers $390,612  ($390,613 allocation)
212 Zach Clayton Titans $390,563
213 Brandyn Thompson Redskins $390,151
214 Derek Newton Texans $390,064
215 D'Aundre Reed Vikings $387,563
216 Mikail Baker Rams $389,873  ($389,856 allocation)
217 Maurice Hurt Redskins $389,850
218 Ryan Taylor Packers $389,794
219 Malcolm Williams Patriots $389,462
220 Shaun Chapas Cowboys $389,213
221 Da'Rel Scott Giants $388,988
222 Anthony Gaitor Buccaneers $388,404
223 Shane Bannon Chiefs $387,848
224 Markus White Redskins $387,721
225 Anthony Allen Ravens $387,589
226 Greg Romeus Saints $387,456
227 Scotty McKnight Jets $387,250
228 Jabara Williams Rams $387,273  ($387,250 allocation)
229 Jonathan Nelson Rams $387,273  ($387,150 allocation)
230 Cliff Matthews Falcons $386,750
231 Frank Kearse Dolphins $386,787
232 Baron Batch Steelers $386,628
233 Lawrence Guy Packers $386,475
234 Andrew Gachkar Chargers $386,475
235 Jimmy Wilson Dolphins $386,475
236 Stephen Burton Vikings $383,975
237 Greg Lloyd Eagles $382,475
238 Daniel Hardy Buccaneers $386,475
239 Michael Person 49ers $386,475  ($386,475 allocation)
240 Stanley Havili Eagles $385,475
241 David Ausberry Raiders $386,475
242 Malcolm Smith Seahawks $386,475
243 Nate Bussey Saints $386,475
244 Lee Ziemba Panthers $386,475
245 Michael Jasper Bills $386,475
246 Jay Finlay Bengals $386,473
247 Jeremy Beal Broncos $384,650
248 Eric Hagg Browns $385,100
249 Demarco Sampson Cardinals $386,475
250 Curtis Holcomb 49ers $386,475  ($386,475 allocation)
251 Tommie Campbell Titans $386,474
252 Bill Nagy Cowboys $386,475
253 Chris Neild Redskins $386,475
254 Cheta Ozougwu Texans $386,475