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Off Season Plan v4.0 - WWSD

First I want to congratulate everyone who has been posting their own plans. I think it has been great reading the different perspectives on which direction the team should take. I believe this type of conversation helps all of us to see what players others like and why. I think it broadens all of our horizons (whatever that means). I am going to take a different approach once again as is my wont.

Jeff Gross

This is my WWSD (What Would Spielman Do) plan.

I have been reading stories about teams that have found themselves in cap trouble.

In other words, teams are now actually robbing Peter to pay Paul, with “Peter” being a guy who once was “Paul,” and “Paul” being a guy who may eventually be “Peter.” The process will further highlight the gap between a small handful of star players who will have enormous payouts and cap numbers and the collection of players who actually play in games but who get far less money.

Albert Breer of NFL Network points out that 10 players account for $110 million under the Jets’ salary cap in 2013. Per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, three men count for $38.3 million: quarterback Mark Sanchez, receiver Santonio Holmes, and linebacker David Harris.

The fact that the Jets can chop players or squeeze them into taking less underscores the fact that, in the NFL, long-term big-money deals may end up being neither. But with Sanchez and Holmes each having guaranteed contracts for 2013, the Jets’ overall flexibility is limited.

Last year, they cut James Farrior, Hines Ward, Aaron Smith and Chris Kemoeatu, and they all retired. This year, they have $100 million worth of a projected $121 salary cap invested in 10 players, which could make for some tough decisions.

Linebacker James Harrison’s already put out word he’s not taking a pay cut. And while safety Troy Polamalu might have more good football left in him, he didn’t play last season to a level worth a $10 million number.

These are just some examples of teams that have star players who take up a majority of their cap space which prohibits them from building solid depth IMO. Sure they can try and add throught the draft but that is no sure thing. Take the Steelers drafting one of my personal favorites last year in Alameda Ta'amu in the 4th round. He got into trouble, was released, and then resigned to their practice squad. I still think he will be good because I am stubborn and his story is not done. Their 5th round pick Chris Gainey got into trouble and was released as well. They traded their 6th round pick to move up to get Ta'amu and their 7th round pick was released and is on the Jaguars practice squad now. Those late round picks may not matter but if you cannot add any free agents then you need those picks. The Steelers may resort to bargain bin signings in free agency as they try and find good draft picks that can either start or be decent depth.

Looking at the current Vikings salary cap situation it is now believed that they have about 10.7 mil in cap space according to this article ...

If the cap falls at exactly $122 million, the Vikings would be about $13.2 million under their adjusted cap as of Wednesday night. An unamortized incentive payment to cornerback Antoine Winfield pegs their actual cap space closer to $10.7 million. They stand to gain another $3.25 million in cap space by releasing veteran receiver Michael Jenkins, who is due a $2.425 million roster bonus on March 16. That would give them nearly $14 million in cap space.

... I do not believe that this counts the cap carryover that they had from last year. This article here states the Vikings have about 9.6 mil in carryover ...

So as far as cap space the Vikings could have the 14 mil after the Winfield adjustment plus Jenkins release and the 9.6 mil carryover giving them a total of 23.6 to use if they want.

A last minute addendum ...

Now the Vikings will have 15 mil plus the 9.6 mil carry over (or so).

So they can choose to leave Allen and Winfield alone and let them play for what their deals state. They could ask KWill to restructure. I think a deal similar to what Sione Pouha signed for would be fair ...

Sione Pouha 6'3" 325 (33 years old - 2/3/1979)
3/12/2012: Signed a three-year, $15 million contract. The deal contains $9.5 million guaranteed, including a $3.5 million signing bonus. An annual $100,000 workout bonus is available throughout the life of the deal. 2013: $4.9 million (guaranteed for injury only), 2014: $900,000 (+ $2 million roster bonus on seventh day of league year and $2.5 million 53-man roster bonus), 2015: Free Agent

... so let's put KWill down for 3 years and 15 mil. They could structure however they want but guaranteeing about 10 would allow them to release him after two more years with no cap hit. Doing this deal would free up another 2 mil in cap space too.

So then we are looking at these top salaries and cap hits for next year we see ...

Player -- 2013/2014 -- SIGNING BONUS -- MISC BONUS -- 2013 CAP HIT
Jared Allen -- 14,280,612.00 -- 2,583,344.00 -- 1,000,000.00 -- 17,863,956.00
Adrian Peterson -- 11,250,000.00 -- 2,400,000.00 -- 250,000.00 -- 13,900,000.00
Chad Greenway -- 6,900,000.00 -- 1,700,000.00 -- 100,000.00 -- 8,700,000.00
Antoine Winfield -- 7,200,000.00 -- 0.00 -- 0.00 -- 7,200,000.00
Brian Robison -- 4,000,000.00 -- 2,166,667.00 -- 100,000.00 -- 6,666,667.00
Kevin Williams -- 5,000,000.00 -- 0.00 -- 0.00 -- 5,000,000.00 * estimate
Matt Kalil -- 1,288,663.00 -- 3,204,655.00 -- 0.00 -- 4,493,318.00
John Carlson -- 2,900,000.00 -- 1,250,000.00 -- 100,000.00 -- 4,250,000.00
John Sullivan -- 3,150,000.00 -- 1,000,000.00 -- 100,000.00 -- 4,250,000.00
Charlie Johnson -- 2,950,000.00 -- 600,000.00 -- 550,000.00 -- 4,100,000.00
Letroy Guion -- 2,450,000.00 -- 500,000.00 -- 50,000.00 -- 3,000,000.00

This is 11 players that count 79,423,941.00 towards the 122,000,000 guestimated cap.
That leaves 42,576,059 for 42 other players.

These are the other players making decent money ...

Christian Ponder -- 1,298,518.00 -- 1,472,036.00 -- 0.00 -- 2,770,554.00
Harrison Smith -- 714,479.00 -- 907,918.00 -- 0.00 -- 1,622,397.00
Fred Evans -- 1,450,000.00 -- 50,000.00 -- 0.00 -- 1,500,000.00
Chris Kluwe -- 1,400,000.00 -- 50,000.00 -- 0.00 -- 1,450,000.00
Chris Cook -- 575,000.00 -- 575,000.00 -- 0.00 -- 1,150,000.00
Cullen Loeffler -- 915,000.00 -- 125,000.00 -- 10,000.00 -- 1,050,000.00
Kyle Rudolph -- 555,000.00 -- 466,791.00 -- 0.00 -- 1,021,791.00
Toby Gerhart -- 575,000.00 -- 371,000.00 -- 25,000.00 -- 971,000.00
Everson Griffen -- 575,000.00 -- 135,000.00 -- 0.00 -- 710,000.00

This is 9 players that count 12,245,742.00.
Now we have 20 players that count 91,669,683 towards the cap.
That leave 30,330,317 for 31 other players.

Let us assume they sign Percy to a deal that is close to Vincent Jackson. Let's say 5 year 52 mil.
Also, let us assume Loadholt gets a 5 year 35 mil deal at least.

That could take 10 mil off the cap leaving about 20 mil for 29 other players.

This is OK I guess but the depth is not going to be good and will consist of rookies and bargain bin free agents.

But going forward what will the team do? Let us say they are OK with this set up.
Let us assume they will sign a bargain bin WR free agent like Jerome Simpson.

They could have 41.5 mil in cap space after next year just by not offering Allen, Winfield, Carlson, Johnson, Guion, Evans, Kluwe, Gerhart, and Webb new deals.

That would be a lot of cap space and hopefully they have some draft picks ready to step up. But with the floor of the cap being 89% they would have to get to about 108 mil. So who would they pay if they let all these players go?

Cook, Griffen, and Robison all will be due new deals. Ponder and Rudolph could be given new deals early which would not be how the team does things but may be necessary. Maybe they give Allen another new deal averaging 10 mil? I am not sure I would do that for a 32 year old DE. In fact I wouldn't.

And when you look at the possible 2014 free agents, it does not look good at all.
There wont be a Jennings, Bowe, or Wallace available.
There wont be a Levitre or Vasquez.
There wont be a Sean Smith, Keenan Lewis, Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, or Aqib Talib available.
There wont be a William Moore, Glover Quin, Dashon Goldson, Laron Landry, Kenny Phillips, or Louis Delmas available.

I mean there are some free agents coming up but it would seem unlikely that their teams would not at least try to resign them. You have Nate Allen, Jon Asamoah, Geno Atkins, Morgan Burnett, Brian Cushing, Eric Decker, Jimmy Graham, Lamarr Houston, Alex Mack, Jeremy Maclin, Clay Matthews, Darren McFadden, Eugene Monroe, Marshall Newhouse, Hakeem Nicks, Michael Oher, Brian Orakpo, Rodger Saffold, Charles Tillman, Jared Veldheer, Mike Williams, and Eric Wood to name a few. It is hard to imagine many of these players making it to free agency.

The questions I am wondering are if the team stands pat with pretty much the same roster, will we be better now and in the long run.

I think the salary distribution is too top heavy.

When you have 11 players taking up almost 80 mil of your cap then the rest of your team is going to be paid low.

I think all the plans that are being offered are pretty good. I also think that they should include some thought towards 2014 and beyond. You have to look at current Vikings players who most likely will get new deals and potential free agents that may be available in 2014 and beyond.

So now that I have sure to bored you with all of this prelude salary crap stuff, I can get to the plan.

I am not going to make any trades on this plan. I think it is short sighted and based in fear.

I think Spielman is serious about continuing his Kmart shopping in free agency.
I have a fear he will bring back Simpson.
I think they will only ask KWill to restructure.
I think they leave Allen's deal as is.
I think they will not give Percy a new deal until he shows he is ready to play.
It probably will happen in September.

That would give the Vikings a WR group consisting of Percy, Simpson, Wright, and Burton. I think they will add a draft pick or two to round out the group. Maybe if they cannot get Simpson back they will take a look at a Kevin Ogletree or Louis Murphy.

I think that if Schwartz leaves they will sign Berger back and go with Love and Kropog. They also may add a draft pick.

I do not see them adding any defensive tackles besides via the draft and maybe even not then.

They could add a LB in free agency if they cannot resign Brinkley and Henderson. If they do sign those two then there will be no free agents. They may draft a LB though.

I do not see any corners being added except via the draft. Same with safety even if they lose Sanford.

No, I think in this plan I am going to mimic what Spielman is planning to do which is basically nothing.

I only see draft picks being added and then some no names that may or may not even make the team.

How that is going to help the team get better is a mystery. I only can hope the first two draft picks can make a difference. Otherwise I see more of the same next year. Yeah the team went 10-6 but doing that again is going to be harder.

In the draft I see Spielman doing the predictable ...

23. *Robert Woods WR Southern California Jr 6-1 190
52. Khaseem Greene OLB Rutgers rSr 6-1 236
83. Terron Armstead OT Arkansas-Pine Bluff Sr 6-5 306
99. Landry Jones QB Oklahoma rSr 6-4 221
117. D.J. Swearinger FS South Carolina Sr 5-11 210
148. *Dion Sims TE Michigan State rJr 6-5 285
179. Quinton Dial DT Alabama Sr 6-5 318
197. Marcus Davis WR Virginia Tech rSr 6-3 230
213. D.J. Hayden CB Houston Sr 6-0 190

I have no clue what he would do for un-drafted free agents so I am not even going to bother.

Yes, I expect Spielman will do a whole lot of nothing and then try and get some players on the cheap. We know how that worked out last year. I suppose nothing is wrong with this plan but the team can really be competitive just with a few higher priced free agent signings and a decent draft.

In the end though ... You get what you pay for.