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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Re: Cap update

Yesterday, I suggested that Carolina is, depending on who you ask,
somewhere between $7 and $11 million over the cap. Discrepancies
between the Charlotte Observer and espn.com's Pat Yasinskas had two
different transactions in doubt.

So it's good, but not clarifying, news to know that the cap has
actually gone up.

Teams have a total of $122 million to spend for 2013 now, which puts
Carolina anywhere from $5.5 million (if Kalil saves $3.45 million
instead of $2.2, an Observer discrepancy) to 9.5 (if Kalil does save
only $2.2 million and Carolina didn't move around $3 million from the
2012 cap, which Yasinkskas reported and then potentially forgot about).

So the median amount, the hedging of those two bets, suggests the team
is at $6.7 million. The expected (and in my opinion, very unfortunate)
release of Chris Gamble would save $7.9 million, which clears enough
space, but they may cut the below first:

*Ron Edwards, $2.4 million
*Haruki Nakamura, $966,000
*Garry Williams, $1 million

for a full savings of $4.3 million or so (which, again, is about what
rookies will cost to sign in July/August).

They also would likely restructure Jordan Gross' deal in one of those
"last contract" forms that would give him an extra year or two. At
almost 33, and signed through '14, they'd add maybe two years at most
(that's 35, 36 to retire). Taking his $8.7 million salary, and moving
$7 million over four years as a bonus, means $5.25 million in new space,
in what would only add $1.7 million to the cap in future years. His
salary, and bonus proration, both go down in '14 anyway (he takes a $2
mil dip in salary, has a $1 mil roster bonus next year that would count,
but then his $1 mil proration from year 1-5 don't make it out to '14
that offsets the roster bonus).

I'd prefer a similar deal for the younger Gamble as well, but all signs
point to Gross getting to stay, and Gamble going. Since that shouldn't
likely happen, $7.9 million for his cut, plus the above three
roleplayers being cut, and Gross' eventual restructure all add up to
$17.45 million. Minus the current deficit (my own estimate at $6.7 mil,
navingating the press screwups), and $4.3 million for rookies, that's
$6.45 million to use on a couple of needed starters*. Anything more
would come with greater sacrifice.

*2 deals that would look something like this:
$2 million first year salary, and a $1.25 million per year bonus
proration (i.e., a 5 year deal would mean a $6 million signing bonus).
Salary can escalate from $2 mil to $4-5 mil by 2016-17 for, let's say, a
5 year, $20 million deal. That type deal gets you a James Anderson
level player, which, at somewhere like safety and corner, might make
more of a difference than what is currently at LB, where Anderson can be
very productive but is also the team's 4th best player if all is
healthy.

Really, what you should be able to buy there is someone who's better
than a roleplayer, but not a star. Someone who you should be able to
plug in and forget about for a few years. We could definitely use two
from this group - G, CB, DT, S. That'd help draft prep a ton (it would
move those two spots as depth needs, not starter needs) and let you grab
the best player at 14, not the biggest need. The team could also pick up
a bunch of roleplayers (6 players that would make $1 mil apiece) or any
combo between that group, but I doubt they'd pick any one player that
would make more than the modest contract I outlined above. That's about
what they could offer a Kenny Phillips or Chris Canty, at most.

So that's where things sit, a few expected moves over the next week or
so, and what they might be able to do with it. Let's see what happens.
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