Salary Cap The Impact of “Black Monday” 2011

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Last week, with all of the uncertainty about just how the new Salary Cap rules would work, I finished my column with “Stay tuned……….”.

Boy, I didn’t see this coming.

This evening, multiple media outlets are reporting that the Ravens have informed TE Todd Heap, WR Derrick Mason, RB Willis McGahee and NT Kelly Gregg that they will be released later this week. 

While McGahee’s and Gregg’s releases were somewhat predictable, the releases of Heap and Mason do come as a surprise, although the $9.1M in Cap savings certainly goes a long way toward explaining the releases of the aging veterans.

As the chart below shows, the releases of McGahee and Gregg could be accounted for in two different ways:

Player

Contract

Expires

After

2011

Base

Salary

2011

Cap

Number

Pre-June 1

Release

Savings

2011

Dead

Money

Post-June 1

Release

Savings

2011

Dead

Money

2012

Dead

Money

Heap

2011

$4.6M

$5.168M

$4.6M

$568K

same

same

0

Mason

2011

$4.5M

$5.5M

$4.5M

$1.0M

same

same

0

Gregg

2012

$3.5M

$4.289M

$2.711M

$1.578M

$3.4M

$789K

$789K

McGahee

2013

$6.0M

$8.5M

$2.25M

$6.25M

$6M

$2.5M

$3.75M

TOTAL

$18.6M

$14.06M

$18.5M

$4.539M

The big variable is how the new CBA will treat the release of a player, since there now cannot be any “pre-June 1” releases.  As the above chart shows, under the old CBA rules, there is a substantial difference in how the “pre-June 1” release and the “post-June 1” were applied to the Cap. 

At this point, it’s still unclear which way the releases are going to be calculated because some reports say the Ravens saved $18.6M in “payroll”, others have said $18.5M in “Cap space” and still others seem to use those terms and corresponding numbers interchangeably.      

From the Ravens’ perspective – even though it’s never wise to push “dead money” into future years – the hope would be that all 2011 releases would be treated as “post-June 1” releases. 

In such case, the Ravens would have created $18.5M in Cap space with the release of these 4 veterans.

 

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Brian McFarland

About Brian McFarland

Known on Ravens Message Boards as "B-more Ravor", Brian is a life-long Baltimorean and an avid fan of the Ravens and all Baltimore sports.  A PSL holder since 1998, Brian has garnered a reputation as a cap-guru because of his strange (actually warped) desire to wade through the intricacies of the NFL's salary cap and actually make sense of it for those of us who view it as inviting as IRS Tax Code.      Brian, who hails from Catonsville, MD and still resides there, is married and has two children. More from Brian McFarland

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