Dollars and Sense: Current Players and Free Agency (UPDATED)

The Coffers are full. Let's go shopping!

See UPDATE at bottom of story

I previously predicted that there would be "special" rules for Free Agency in 2011 so as to limit the chaos in this already bass-ackward offseason.  My prediction was that 5-years accrued service would be required for URFA status.  Now there are certain writers (like Florio) predicting that URFA status will be granted with as little as 4 years accrued.  His reasoning is based on the owner's proposal in March that was famously "left on the table."  That offer also significantly requires that the Salary Floor for all teams would be 90% of the Salary Cap.  His conclusion is that many teams will be dropping big $$ in Free Agency

If this provision makes it into the final deal, it means that teams on the low side of the spending equation (and several were millions below what the cap floor would have been in 2010) will have to spend a lot of money in 2011.

That money could be spent via pursuing free agents, and there will be plenty of free agents available if, as expected, the minimum threshold moves from six year back to four.  Or it could be spent on young players already on the roster who merit extensions.

Even Pat Y. thinks the Panthers will have to spend, as stated in this article, "NFC South 2011 salary cap figures," in which he guess-timates "the new salary cap will be somewhere around $140 million or $150 million."  Let's take a look at the Panthers given these assumptions, and what's the most sensible approach for our FO to take. 

First, IMO it is important to resign CJ, Anderson, TD, and D-Will, and to give new deals to Kalil and Beast.  Decisions have to be made about King and Rosario who are FAs this year; also, Connor and Godfrey become FAs for 2012.  As I presented in a previous article, the Panthers currently have $73 million in committed payments against the cap, less than any team besides the Bucs ($59.7 million).

 Here are the 2010 average salaries by position (emphasis mine):

•Quarterback - $1,970,982
•Defensive End - $1,583,784
Offensive Line - $1,267,402
Defensive Tackle - $1,223,925
Cornerback - $1,193,666
Linebacker - $1,175,788
Wide Receiver - $1,054,437
•Running Back - $957,360
Safety - $947,847
•Punter / Kicker - $868,005 - $1,051,131
•Tight End - $863,414

Contrast these numbers to the Franchise Tender (avg of top 10 by position) shown here (emphasis mine):

These are the franchise/transition tag tender amounts at each position for the 2010 season, plus the highest-paid player at each spot:
  • QB: $16.4 million/$14.6 million (Peyton Manning, $21.2M)
  • DE: $12.4 million/$10.2 million (Julius Peppers, $16.7M)
  • OL: $10.7 million/$9.1 million (Joe Staley, $13.5M)
  • LB: $9.7 million/$8.4 million (DeMarcus Ware, $11.4M)
  • CB: $9.6 million/$8.1 million (Champ Bailey, $13.2M)
  • WR: $9.5 million/$8.7 million (Larry Fitzgerald, $10.9M)
  • RB: $8.2 million/$7.2 million (Reggie Bush, $10.6M)
  • DT: $7 million/$6.4 million (Tommie Harris, $8.6M)
  • S: $6.5 million/$6 million (Adrian Wilson, $7M)
  • TE: $5.9 million/$5.2 million (Dallas Clark, $6.8M)
  • P/K: $2.8 million/$2.6 million (Shane Lechler, $3.1M)

    Now comes the fun part - speculating what we'll need to spend to keep our core group.  Feel free to argue,  I mean talk amongst yourselves about these proposed deals, because I'm admittedly pulling numbers from where the sun don't shine.  So awaaaaaay we go!


    Current Salary

    My Estimated
    "New Deal"

    Net New Against Cap

    Thomas Davis


    5 years/ $25 million

    $5 million

    James Anderson


    5 years/ $20 million

    $4 million



    5 years/ $45 million

    $8 million (net)

    Charles Johnson *


    5 years/ $35 million

    $7 million



    4 years/ $16 million

    $4 million

    Kalil **


    5 years/ $40 million

    $8 million


    Total Net New

    $36 million

     * This is Johnson's 2009 salary cap number, which was the best I could find.
    ** Franchise Tag for 2011 would pay $10.7 million (now that's a raise)!

    We have to add the Projected Rookie Cap at around $35 million $15 million which would total $71  $51 million in new commitments. When added to the $73 in existing commitments, the Panthers would be at (whoops) ...
      $124 million.  If we don't bring back Smitty ($7.5m) and Brayton ($3.5m), we're still around $131 $113 million.

    Where did I go wrong?  HELP!! 

    UPDATE: ppalm showed me the error in my ways in the comments (hence the strike-throughs and corrected figures above.  All Hail ppalm for saving us $20 million.   I'm still leaving my full chest picture though.)


    Lame excuse to post a picture, I know. 

    Actually, if the cap comes in at $150 million, we'll be $37 million under.  I'm certain that Hurney can structure deals to give us even more money to spendHe was originally hired as a Salary Cap Specialist, after all.

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