Friday, June 13, 2014

Arizona Cardinals 2015 Salary Cap Projections

Larry Fitzgerald
The Cardinals are in the worst shape of all the NFC West teams, primarily because of Larry Fitzgerald’s ridiculous $23,600,000 cap figure. At $5,032,732 OVER the $140 million dollar 2015 salary cap, the Cardinals will have to cut somebody or restructure some contracts just to get under the cap. Simply cutting Fitzgerald would result in a $9,200,000 cap savings, and would get them at least $5 million under the cap (give or take). The Cardinals have 7 players over the magic $6 million dollar cap number for 2015. They are:
Larry Fitzgerald - $23,600,000
Calais Campbell - $14,750,000
Carson Palmer - $12,000,000
Patrick Peterson - $10,081,000
Darnell Dockett - $9,800,000
Jared Veldheer - $7,750,000
Daryl Washington - $6,500,000

Of this group, Fitzgerald, Palmer and Washington are obviously overpaid. One, two ore all 3 probably should go, but Palmer will likely survive simply because the Cardinals don’t have anyone else at the QB position. With Peterson’s base salary fully guaranteed, it’s hard to see any motivation on the Cardinals part to extend him. At 33, Dockett will have continue to play at a very high level to justify his $9.8 million dollar cap hit.

Overall, the Cardinals could dump Fitz, Palmer and Dockett and find themselves $21 million under the cap for 2015, as opposed to $5 million OVER it. Unless they want to restructure and invest large sums of cap space in players over 30, 2015 looks like a transitional year in Arizona.

St. Louis Rams 2015 Salary Cap Projections

Rams defensive back Janoris Jenkins in action.

Like the Seahawks, the Rams are in a very good cap situation for 2015. They stand $22.5 million dollars UNDER the estimated $140 million dollar salary cap. The difference is the Rams have a far less talented roster, and will probably have to use that space to improve it. Fortunately they can. The Rams have only 7 players over the magic $6 million dollar cap figure for 2015. They are:

Sam Bradford - $16,580,000
Chris Long - $11,500,000
Jake Long - $10,500,000
Rodger Saffold - $8,000,000
Jared Cook - $8,000,000
Kendall Langford - $7,000,000
Robert Quinn - $6,969,000

Of this group, only Quinn and maybe Chris Long are justifiable as $6 million dollar-plus players. Sam Bradford has failed to live up to his contract or his #1 overall draft status. This is a make or break year for him, one would think. 2015 is his last year under his rookie deal and the Rams could save $12,985,000 by cutting him. If Bradford is kept at his ridiculous cap figure for 2015 I would expect the Rams to draft a QB high in next year’s draft.  Likewise, Chris Long is a good player, but he is way overvalued at a cap figure of $11.5 million. His cap number for 2016 isn’t much better, so he would be a candidate for an extension to spread his cap hit over a longer period if the Rams choose to keep him. Jake Long, Roger Saffold, Jared Cook and Kendall Langford are just average starters earning Pro Bowl level salaries. They could all be cut for big cap savings if the Rams choose to go that way. Cutting Bradford, both Long’s and Langford after this season would clear another $35.5 million in cap space, giving the Rams over $50 million in 2015 cap room to go after better players.

Overall, the Rams are an under-talented team with serious questions at quarterback, offensive line, and several other positions. They could theoretically use the cap space they have to upgrade a weak roster. They do not face a serious cap problem in the next few years. The question is if the Jeff Fisher regime is the right one to spend that money.


Sunday, June 08, 2014

Seattle Seahawks 2015 Salary Cap Projections

Seahawks Super Bowl Winning QB Russell Wilson.
Compared to the 49ers, the Seahawks conversely are in a much better salary cap situation for 2015. As of now they are $23,191,723 UNDER the projected $140 million dollar salary cap, with really only Russell Wilson, Cliff Avril, KJ Wright and Byron Maxwell out of contract as far as starters go. $23 million might actually be enough to keep them all, as Wilson’s cap hit will at worst be in the $8-9 million dollar range. The only player who would count as a cap hit as opposed to a cap savings if cut would be Earl Thomas, who would count as a $5,700,000 cap hit if they cut him, but we all know they aren’t doing that. Even cutting Percy Harvin would save $5,700,000 under the cap after the huge deal they gave him.

Here are the Seahawks “Over $6 million Club” members for 2015:

Percy Harvin - $12,900,000
Richard Sherman - $12,200,000
Marshawn Lynch - $9,000,000
Michael Bennett - $8,000,000
Earl Thomas - $7,400,000
Russell Okung - $7,280,000

Obviously, Wilson will go straight to the top of this list when he signs his new deal.

The only real question mark in here is Lynch. But it’s not a question of do we HAVE to cut this guy to save money under the cap? They won’t. It will be more of a question of do they want to pay $9 million under the cap to a 29 year old back? Lynch could choose to take a moderate pay cut or a simple restructuring to stay with the team. $9 million is a lot to pay a running back these days, even if he has a unique skill set and should be a Future hall of Famer, as I believe Lynch is. The key thing to watch is how many carries Christine Michael gets and if he can handle the load and the pounding. If he does or if Lynch declines or gets hurt for the first time in his career, he’s probably gone. But if he still performs at a Marshawn Lynch level and stays healthy, I’d expect he might be back in 2015. We’ll see.

Other than that, the Seahawks really are facing no cap issues in 2015. It looks like they can keep all their starters if they want to, and redo or extend some guys in future years if they want to sign outside players.

San Francisco 49ers 2015 Salary Cap Projections

49ers star receiver Michael Crabtree.
Having finished my new book, I was bored and decided to go over some salary cap stuff for the teams in the NFC West. I started with 49ers because their situation is a bit more interesting, frankly. According to, because of Colin Kaepernick’s new deal, the 49ers are $5,289,517 OVER the estimated salary cap of $140 million for 2015. Now, a lot of people think the cap will actually grow to be much more than that, around $145 million by the time they get done calculating, so that would leave the 49ers only about $300K over the cap. This assumes they let Frank Gore walk. Michael "medicore" Crabtree is not included because he will be a free agent unless he signs an in-season extension. Where it gets really interesting is in looking at the highest paid players on the roster. Generally, the magic number for your star players is considered to be a $6 million dollar cap hit, and as of now the 49ers have 11 players at or around that magic number for 2015.

They are:
QB Colin Kaepernick   - $17,265,600
DE Aldon Smith - $9,754,000
LB Patrick Willis - $8,736,750
LB NaVorro Bowman - $8,404,000
LB Ahmad Brooks - $8,350,000
TE Vernon Davis - $7,017,920
WR Anquan Boldin - $6,909,000
OT Anthony Davis - $6,716,670
DT Justin Smith - $6,436,668
WR Steve Johnson - $6,025,000
DE Ray McDonald - $5,946,985

That totals out to $91,562,593, or about 65% of the 49ers cap is tied up in these 11 players. Of these, Justin Smith, Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis, Ahmad Brooks and Ray McDonald are over 30, with Patrick Willis fast approaching 30.

But it gets more interesting when you look at the cap charge gains/losses. The fact is if the 49ers want to do extensions or sign new players next year, they’ll have to do some cutting out of this group. Simple restructurings could help, but that just passes the bucks into later years. However, the 49ers have over $41 million in space in 2016, so that is an option.

In looking at this group, there are a couple players who are obviously safe. Kaepernick just signed his deal, and will have at least 2 years to prove he’s worth it, I would think. He can be cut at any time for a huge cape savings ($7,403,200 if they cut him after this year), and it goes up every year of his deal. Cutting Anthony Davis would only save $350,000, and Bowman only $388,000, so unless they go Aaron Hernandez on somebody they are safe.

The biggest cap savings with no dead money ($9,754,000) could be had by cutting DE Aldon Smith. Based on this, I would expect he is on a very short leash and if he fucks up one more time, I’d bet he’s out the door right after the season ends. Then you have to look at the older players. Anquan Boldin will be 34 after the season ends, and the 49ers could save $3,273,000 under the cap by letting him go. Justin Smith will be 35 this year, and releasing him after the season ends would save $4,250,000, Those 2 moves alone would get the 49ers under the cap but not with a lot of wiggle room.

The 2nd biggest savings after cutting Smith would be releasing Patrick Willis. Cutting him would free up almost $8 million ($7,893,250) in cap space all by itself. Likewise, letting Ahmad Brooks go would save a cool $5,350,000, but I doubt they would do that. An even bigger chunk would be saved by cutting Stevie Johnson. With no dead money ramifications, they would save his full $6,025,000 salary against the cap. It’s safe to say Johnson is on a 1-year make it or break it deal.

So to sum it up, cutting Justin Smith, Boldin and Johnson would get the 49ers about 13.5 million in cap savings, making them about $8.25 million under the cap in the worst case scenario, more than enough to keep Crabtree and get a few new players. Obviously, letting Aldon smith go would create even more breathing room and rid the team of a headache that’s not likely to go way. I would have to say that at 30 years old, Patrick Willis and Ray McDonald are on the bubble too, but overall, the team is pretty good shape. Except for McDonald, most of your big cap money is in your core players, but you’ll probably need to do some trimming after this year.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Dave Bara's 2nd Round Mock Draft

2nd Round Mock

Pick/Team          Player                                   Pos.       School                  Comments
33. Texans -        Derek Carr                        QB          Fresno St.            Obvious need, obvious choice  
34. Redskins -    Cyrus Kouandjio               OT          Alabama              Need pick           
35. Browns -       Marquise Lee                   WR         USC                        Johnny Football gets a target     
36. Raiders -       Bishop Sankey                  RB           Washington        Raiders get a 3-down back          
37. Falcons -       Demarcus Lawrence       DE           Boise St.               Falcons need an edge rusher     
38. Bucs -             Timmy Jernigan               DT           Florida St.            Defense, defense
39. Jags -              Xavier Sua'filo                  OG         UCLA                     Gotta protect their investment
40. Hawks -         A. Sefarian-Jenkins          TE           Washington        Big target is too big to resist
41. Bills -             Stephon Tuitt                    DT           Notre Dame       Two words; Marcel Darius
42. Titans -          AJ McCarron                     QB          Alabama              Hedging their QB bets                   
43. Giants -         Jimmy Garapollo              QB          N. Illinois              Ditto                     
44. Rams -           S. Jean-Baptiste               CB           Nebraska             Rams get a big corner                    
45. Lions -            Phillip Gaines                   CB           Rice                        Deep need at corner
46. Steelers -      Carlos Hyde                       RB           Ohio St.                Big          back needed for balance
47. Cowboys -    Kyle Van Noy                     LB           BYU                        Need an edge rusher    
48. Ravens -        Cody Latimer                    WR         Indiana                 Offense needs help too               
49. Jets -              Jace Amaro                       TE           Texas Tech          Offense needs any help at all    
50. Fins -              Lamarcus Joyner             DB          Florida St.            Corner help. Short corner
51. Bearz -           Rashede Hageman          DT           Minnesota          Fills a need on the DL    
52. Cards -           Davonte Adams               WR         Fresno St.            Help for Larry Fitzgerald
53. Packers -       DaQuan Jones                   DT           Penn St.               Big body fills a need
54. Eagles -          Marcus Martin                 C             USC                       Value too good to pass on
55. Bengals -       Allen Robinson                 WR         Penn St.               Again, value pick
56. 49ers -           Tom Savage                      QB          Pitt                        Raepernick creep insurance
57. Chargers -    Scott Crichton                   DE           Oregon St.          Edge rusher is a need in AFCW
58. Saints -          Terrance Brooks              FS           Florida St.            Keep feeding Rob Ryan
59. Colts -            Kony Ealy                          DE           Mizzou                 Defense needs help
60. Panthers -    Marcus Roberson            CB           Florida                  2nd need met
61. 49ers -           Joel Bitonio                      OG         Nevada                  Iupati insurance
62. Patriots -       Tre Mason                        RB           Auburn                 Need to balance the offense
63. Broncos -      Jordan Matthews            WR         Vanderbilt           Big WR to face big corners
64. Hawks -         Tiny Richardson               OT          Tennessee          Swing OT is a big need