Salary cap ramifications of Jon Beason's trade

Streeter Lecka

The Carolina Panthers will take a hit, but it was expected.

Jon Beason could become a member of the New York Giants as early as this morning, with the middle linebacker scheduled to take a physical. There has been a lot of confusion regarding the salary cap ramifications of a trade, but moving Beason does nothing to change the 2014 cap outlook.

Beason's contract was re-structured on 7/26. The move freed up money in 2013, reducing his cap figure in exchange for voiding the final three years of a six-year contract signed in 2011. His motivation for restructuring was two-fold: Firstly it would allow Beason to hit free agency while still young enough to make an impact, perhaps finding a team with a void at middle linebacker while putting escalators into his 2013 season that could allow him to recoup the money lost in restructuring.

The former All Pro has been injured this season, making the performance escalators impossible.

Carolina gave Beason a $20-million bonus, amortized over five years of the contract at $4-million per season. When a player is released or traded the remaining signing bonus amortization is accelerated, forcing a team to take a cap hit on the remaining money immediately. Beason's cap figure was inflated by $4-million a year for each of the next two years.

This means the Panthers were always going to take an $8-million bath on his contract in 2014. There was no avoiding it. They worked the re-structure to void his deal and the remaining signing bonus with the collateral damage they needed to take. The hit does represent an overall cap saving, however. Beason's base salary in 2014 was slated at $6.5-million, for a total cap hit of $10.5. The team has essentially saved $2.5-million off the cap by taking the two year amortization rather than pay Beason one year, plus his scheduled salary.

The trade is simply trying to get something out of nothing. It was clear Beason couldn't contribute in 2013 the way the team had hoped and his release was around the corner. It's a sad day, but the move makes a lot of sense.

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