Navigating The Salary Cap Storm

In the last post I suggested that after resigning Hunter, Kendricks, Barr, Diggs in the offseason we would be in a salary cap storm that would leave us with the following cap before resigning any of our expired free agents including every one of our 3 QBs not including Kyle Sloter.

to fill the roster to 53 players I added "filler contracts" at $1M per person.
[2017: 11M under cap]
2018: 14.5M under the cap
2019: 17.5M under the cap
2020: 18M under the cap

We typically use flatter contract structures which should give us a discount in theory since most people determine that money now is worth more than money later. Additionally, guaranteeing a higher percentage of the contract may also give us some relief at a cost if we choose to try to squeeze some more cap room. And backloading the final year with another bonus against the cap would give us a lower effective rate since the player would likely never see the full salary. It is also possible I am over estimating the market value for one or more players but if I am then it is a bonus.

Just for the sake of showing you what it might look like if we tried to squeeze as much talent/resigning out of that cap as possible this is what it may look like...

The value and contract Teddy gets is one of the hardest things to guess. I'll say He'll still get paid like a franchise QB but with substantially less guarenteed money as a percentage of the deal and much of that will be in roster bonuses which allows us flexibility to move on if we have to.

We could use 11M in 2017 for the extension and create a contract with the following structure and still fit Teddy under the cap if we decide he is our franchise QB.
2017: add 11M onto contract
2018: 15.5M against cap
2019: 16.5M against cap
2020: 17M against cap
2021: 25M against cap
2022: 35M against cap (no penalty to release/trade)
Extention worth an average of 24M per year but the last year he probably will be extended or traded or cut and 2020 and 2021 you can probably cut him things don't turn out as planned without too much penalty.

Now that may be a little high but it would be a very cap friendly deal and 35M of that would never be paid which makes it closer to a 21.25M deal and take away 2021 as there probably wouldn't be too much penalty if a early restructure release occurred and it's a 20M/yr deal. Now this is assuming Teddy answers every question he needs to about being a franchise QB post injury and that the market demand is there too. Perhaps we could get him at a slight discount, or perhaps we could give Drew Brees a similar offer instead if he hits the market with one fewer years and more backloaded onto 2021 and a higher percentage guaranteed because we would have to in order to sign him

Either way, that only leaves us with
2017: zero cap room
2018: zero cap room
2019: 2M under cap
2020: 2M under cap

Someone suggested only the top 51 counted against the cap. If that's the case you can add 2M in cap room to everything I do for every year I show you.

If we don't opt to trade any players we need cap room badly... so we cut the following players then add replace them with 1M per player to add filler contracts for now
Jarius Wright 3.14M
Kyle Rudolph 6.375M
Latavius Murray 5.15M
Brian Robison 3.50M

14M under cap 2018
15M under cap 2019
2M under cap 2020

Because of our 2020 situation now we basically have to resign players to 2 year deals or 1 yr deals).
Since each resigning will replace the 1M filler contracts we sign them for $1M less against the cap.

Players to resign:
Wright - cap casulty
Robison - cap casulty
Murray - cap casulty
Terence Newman - retires?
Joe Berger retires?
Sharrif Floyd - retires? (health)
Sam Bradford - dont resign
Case Keenum - can't afford
McKinnon - can't afford
Emmanuel Lamur -can't afford
Michael Floyd -can't afford
Bishop Sankey -release

Tom Johnson -resign 3M
Nick Easton - resign 3M
Marcus Sherels resign 3M
Shamar Stephen resign 3M
Tramaine Brock -resign 2.5M
Kai Forbath - resign 1M
Jeremiah Sirles - resign 2M
Rudolph - resign 4M (if he'll take the reduced contract)

2018 - 0.5M under cap
2019 - 1.5M under cap
2020 - 2M under cap

The biggest problem here is the Trae Waynes 5th year option is not included onto 2019 yet but we can cross that bridge when we come to it I suppose?

We replaced 8 of 14 "filler contracts" but added 3 more so we have 9 actual players to fill in 2018.
I'm not worried about 2019 yet but let's just say we will have to have a few UDFA+ rookie minimum contracts each year
Given our contract situation let's see if we add 9 players for 600k saving 400k*9=3.6M

2018 - 4.1M
2019 - 1.5M under cap (for now, likely at least 3.6M more since the 600k rookies will likely replace the filler contracts an S we would also have more players to potentially find at a discount by then)
2020 - 2M under cap

But first round picks are probably around $5M the first year and 2nd round picks are around 1.3M so in order to do this we can't exactly draft 1st round and 2nd round picks. I'm not sure how the rookie contracts work out but based upon our salary cap situation the next 3 years we may be better off trading down early and then trading a few of those picks for future picks that we continue to trade down and convert a portion of value into the future... or else just trying to Roster lot of late round picks on the practice squad and draft knowing you may have to cut a few draft picks and still trading down quite a bit

We can still technically keep a lot of our team together plus promote developing young players and fill behind with some value rookies in the late and mid and even 3rd and 4th rounds.
After 2020 I believe our cap room should open up a little bit...
But at some point some player will have to go.

For instance, trading Trae Waynes before his 5th year option year becomes guarenteed or at least before the trade deadline in 2018 may be a necessary move for the long term given these decisions.

Alternatively there are other scenarios that i might like a little more depending on compsensation that include a little bit of rebuilding.

We can push some of these problems into the future with backloading more aggressively, but for how long before we have to lose talent? For instance, not extending Barr, Kendricks, Hunter AND DIGGS (and perhaps only extending 3 of the 4) until near year end and then with a more back loaded contract and higher per year cap number and that way we still have the option to trade them or sign them for less if they get injured or regress... but due to cap inflation we'll probably have to pay them even more the following year plus without utilizing the 2018 cap space the cap hit per year will be much higher eventually.

So there aren't too many options. We have to seriously ask ourselves if the Vikings can still compete and if the Vikings still have a bright future with this squad, no room for draft picks and seriously cap strapped team?

Trading for a QB is only an option because of slight financial gain. The $20M per year cost to the team that has their QB will still have $5M of it they have to still cover even if they trade him and we'll only have to be on the hook for about $15M that particular year plus with no obligations guarenteed (roster bonuses we pay at the beginning of the league year or cut the player) so we have the ability to totally restructure the contract if we wish. Such a restructure could look like reducing the salary in 2018 and 2019 and adding on extended years and guarenteed money in 2020 and beyond and moving the cost into the future without that future cost necessarily being substantially more than a younger franchise/potential franchise QB.

The compelling thing about trading for a QB is it allows us to remain competitive now, allows the future and current cap scenario to be slightly improved and we don't have to pay the 1st round pick... Of course it also cost us a first round pick and possibly then some but given our depthh, youth and development we can still do alright. In total you'd save $5M or so for the first rounder and maybe $5M on the QB contract vs what he'd average per year. Even though in 2018 and 2019 the pay rise might get sixteen or seventeen million against the cap you can rework the deal to make significantly less if you add in guarenteed money and an extension.

I think we may need to consider trading one of the 4 players OR just backloading and doing the whole "YOLO" thing and going for it. I will examine the strategy of trading one or more core players next to make more resignings.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.