FanPost

St. Louis Rams 2013 Cap Space Misconceptions

Yesterday I posted an article/post regarding our off season. A section of the post dealt with cap space implications for the coming season and what we should do with the cap space. .http://www.turfshowtimes.com/2013/1/18/3885858/putting-the-horse-before-the-cart-cap-space-contract-restructuring

Tevin Broner posted an article yesterday that outlined questions for the off season. The cap space question appeared in many comments throughout the thread. Many of the figures used in the comments were just plain wrong.

Two misconceptions were prevalent in the comments: that the Rams had 10 million dollars in cap space going into the off season and that by releasing a player you could save their entire cap hit for 2013. Both of these assertions are incorrect.

The Rams do not have 10 million dollars in cap space going into the off season. I did an analysis of the contracts and came up with around 2 million dollars in cap space. Both ESPN and Spotrac (the contract gurus site) back this assertion. Jim Thomas of the Dispatch also confirmed this figure, as did Howard Balzer. Why is 10 million being bandied about?? Likely because it didn't take into account the re-signing of the 8 practice squad players on December 31 nor the "dead money" that is still on the books for 2013. The two combined are approximately 8 million dollars. If you take out that 8 million you are left with the true cap space figure of 2 million.

The second misconception is in regard to releasing a player and the cap implications of doing so. Let's use Steven Jackson as an example. His contract for 2013 calls for 7 million in salary and not quite 2 million in bonuses. 9 million in total. If we release him many think the cap saving is 9 million dollars. Not true. The cap saving is 7 million dollars. The remaining 2 million becomes "dead money" and is still a cap hit for 2013. At any rate, his bonus was moved back in December to the 2012 contract year. This does not affect 2013 cap space, due to the carry forward rules. Even though he is no longer a Ram, Jason Smith still will account for over 3 million dollars as a cap hit in 2013 because of the bonuses that could not be removed from the books.

There are actually more misconceptions regarding cap space that I have seen. One is that restructuring a contract can be done easily and save lots of money. This is not necessarily true. Restructuring a contract is quite complex. The biggest problem with doing it is the potential cap space issues it can create in future years. So the next time someone suggests that Bradford restructure his whopping contract to create cap space please be aware of the potential consequences of doing so.

The final misconception is that our 19 current free agents of all types (UFA, RFA, EFA) count against the cap for 2013. This is incorrect. They are free agents, meaning they would not count against the cap unless they were re-signed.

Your comments and suggestions are welcome as always.

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