Our season is over which means it's time to look toward next season. I'm going to do a brief cap and free agency break down to present our options. I know a little more about the cap than most run of the mill fans, but I am by no means an expert. I'm going to put out some basic projections and see what we're looking at. Here we go.
According to Over The Cap we will have a projected salary cap of $144,945,772. This number includes roll over money from the 2014 season. We currently have $123,577,537 in active contracts and $7,361,686 in dead money. This leaves us with $14,006,549 in cap space going into the offseason.
$14M isn't a bad start, but we can get that number a little better.
Charles Johnson carries a cap number of $20M with a $9.75M 2015 base salary and $14M in dead money. Obviously we're going to be keeping him, but we might be able to try signing him to an extension that moves some money around. He as 2 years and $35M left on his deal. We could trying offering him a 2 year extension adding $20M. If spread out evenly this would put his yearly average at $13.75M. Who knows how realistic this option is, but if done it could reduce his 2015 cap number by about $6M.
Potential savings of $6M with restructure.
DeAngelo Williams is a player many talk about for cap ramifications. He has a $6.3M cap number for 2015 with $1.8M base salary and $6.6M in dead money. A straight cut would put us as about even, but a June 1st cut would spread out some of the hit and could save us about $3M in 2015. I'm not so sure that I like this option as mush as others. After 2015 his cap number is only $2M per season which I think is very fair for a player of his experience and caliber. I see both sides of the argument for keeping him or cutting him. If he would restructure his deal it may help a lot. He seems to really want to stay in Carolina, but who knows how the business side may end out. the rest of his deal is worth $10.5M over 3 years. I wouldn't mind offering him a restructure that would spread out his contract evenly over the 3 years at $3.5M per year. Maybe we're lucky and get him to take a pay cut to make it $3M per.
Potential savings of $3M with either restructure or June 1st cut
Mike Tolbert is another name that comes up in these discussions and it's also a name that I want to keep. his 2015 cap number is $3.3M with a $2.3M base salary and $2M left in dead money. Outright cutting him would save $1.3M for 2015 or a June 1st cut would save $2.3M for 2015. Again I'd rather try to sign him to a small extension. Maybe add 1 year for 1.5M. his contract would then be 3 years worth about 8M. We could spread this out so that it equates to about $2.6M/year. this could save us about $0.7M for 2015. This doesn't make a big difference and I'm personally fine with keeping his contract as is.
Potential savings of $1.3M straight cut, $2.3M June 1st cut, or $0.7M restructure
Thomas DeCoud is a little more easy of a discussion. He has a cap figure of about $2.2M for 2015. with only $250,000 worth of dead money we could easily cut him and save close to $2M. Not to bash on the guy, but he offered us very little and this seams like a no brainer.
Potential savings of $2M with straight cut.
Roman Harper is another unpopular player that many want gone, but his contract does not offer much incentive for that. With a cap number of $1.8M and $1.2M in dead money, we only save $600,000, which wouldnt even pay for his replacement. We might as well keep him for another year. We have an opt out option after the 2015 season so we can wipe our hands clean after this year.
Potential savings of $600,000 with straight cut or $1.2M with June 1st cut.
Now to make this a little fun for everyone, I'm going to let you guys decide what to do with these option. Choose which cuts/restructure you want to make and decide how to use the money. I tried to be realistic with my restructure options (though some may be a little...optimistic). If you want to add your own restructures or cuts that's fine, just try to be realistic as well. To help with FA signing options, I'm going to include a list of FA contract projections estimated by Spotrac (http://www.spotrac.com/blog/contract-projections-for-upcoming-free-agents-extension-candidates/). Again, feel free to add your own, just try to be realistic.
DeMarco Murray (RB, DAL)
4 years, $30,994,090 ($14.3M guaranteed)
Average Salary: $7,748,522
Dez Bryant (WR, DAL)
5 years, $76,410,561 ($33.5M guaranteed)
Average Salary: $15,282,112
Demaryius Thomas (WR, DEN)
6 years, $100,224,068 ($48M guaranteed)
Average Salary: $16,704,011
T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)
5 years, $48,322,979 ($15M guaranteed)
Average Salary: $9,664,596
Randall Cobb (WR, GB)
5 years, $49,440,222 ($15M guaranteed)
Average Salary: $9,888,044
Jeremy Maclin (WR, PHI)
5 years, $49,364,249 ($15.8M guaranteed)
Average Salary: $9,872,850
Torrey Smith (WR, BAL)
4 years, $28,500,000 ($13M guaranteed)
Average Salary: $7,125,000
Mike Iupati (G, SF)
5 years, $31,000,000 ($13.5M guaranteed)
Average Salary: $6,200,000
Julius Thomas (TE, DEN)
5 years, $40,875,037 ($15.8M guaranteed)
Average Salary: $8,175,007
Jordan Cameron (TE, CLE)
5 years, $36,907,237 ($12.8M guaranteed)
Average Salary: $7,381,447
CJ Spiller (RB, BUF)
3 years,$12,262,595 ($2.9M guaranteed)
Average Salary: $4,087,532