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Portis and the Cap 101

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Old 03-02-2004, 12:30 AM   #1
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Portis and the Cap 101

Portis and the Cap 101

I've seen a lot of posts about Portis and the cap implications. I've been following the Skins cap situation closely and I figured it might be a good idea to analyze Portis' contract from a cap perspective to see what it really means. These numbers are pure speculation but I figure I'm at least in the ballpark.

Based on other long-term contracts handed out by Snyder (ie Arrington, Coles) here's what I expect the Portis deal to look like from a cap perspective (in 000s):

(sorry for the layout)

Year 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

Salary $455 $1,500 $1,500 $3,000 $4,000 $7,000 $8,000 $8,000
S.Bonus $2,167 $2,167 $2,167 $2,167 $2,167 $2,167 $- $-
R.Bonus $800 $800 $800 $800 $800 (starts in 2007)

Cap Hit $2,622 $3,667 $3,667 $5,967 $6,967 $9,967 $8,800 $8,800

Let's take a closer look.

- The signing bonus is said to be $17M tiered. Similar to Lav and Lavar, I expect around $13M up front and another $4M roster bonus in 2007. The $13M is split over the first 6 years (max for'04). The $4M would kick in in 2007 and be split over the final 5 years of the contract.

- The salaries add up to $33.5M. The signing bonus is $13M up front and $4M
later on, for a grand total of $50.5M as announced.

- The cap hit stays under $4M for the first 3 years, which would seem like
a very fair number assuming Portis is really Portis.

- In 2007 the Skins will face a decision when the $4M roster bonus kicks
in. Portis will be a $6M cap hit in 2007 and $7M in 2008. If he is still a
top RB the Skins will probably make a 2 year commitment to him and keep him
for those 2 years. If not they would trade him or cut him prior to 2007 and
take a $6.5M cap hit***.

- In 2009 Portis' cap hit jumps to $10M and the Skins will almost surely
not keep him. They will trade him or release him and take a cap hit of
$4.5M*** prior to 2009.

***: The cap hit when a player is released can be spread over 2 years if he
is cut/traded after June 1st.

- In 2007 or 2009 it is possible the 2 sides would renegotiate to extend
the contract and/or make it more cap friendly.

So what is this contract really worth?

From the Skins' cap perspective:

- It is basically a 3 year $10M contract, with a $6.5M cap hit*** buyout
clause in 2007...or...it is a 5 year $23M contract, with a $4.5M cap hit***
buyout clause in 2009.

From Portis' perspective:

- He'll almost surely be here for 3 years, during which time he will have
earned his $13M SB plus $3.5M in salary, for a total of 3 years $16.5M.

- If the Skins keep him for 2007 and 2008 he will earn an additional $4M
roster bonus and another $7M in salary, for a total of 2 years $11M. This
would bring the total contract to 5 years $27.5M, which ironically is about
the same as Arrington's "real" contract.

Summary

- Even though the numbers are best estimates, I think they give us a pretty good view of what this guy is really costing us. IMO, this is a good contract for the Redskins from a cap perspective, but that's not the point. The point is to give us all a better understanding of what we're arguing about in the first place.

Sorry for the long post!

GO SKINS

Last edited by CrazyCanuck; 03-02-2004 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 03-02-2004, 12:44 AM   #2
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Excellent analysis and prediction. It's probably pretty close to reality.
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Old 03-02-2004, 12:46 AM   #3
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If your assumptions are correct, it would appear that Portis' contract won't become a problem until 2009 or beyond, at which point it can be restructured. Sounds good, I hope you're right. Thanks for doing the leg work, Canuck. I have no skills when it comes to math.
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Old 03-02-2004, 12:54 AM   #4
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Cannuck.. Your math amazes me. You have a lot more patience than I do!
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Old 03-02-2004, 01:42 AM   #5
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Wow Canuck, what a post. And I thought all you canadians did was watch hockey and ice-fish!

I am very curious to see how all these cap numbers line up. I figure they are trying to build a three year team, with options on the 4th and 5th, maybe. Then we chop it all down and start again.

Everyone keeps crowing about the pats FA philosophy and dumping on the skins, but it may be that in the era of caps and FA, you CAN buy a good team on short notice, if you lay out the fat bonuses, and back-load the contracts. Then if you have a good coaching staff, you should be able to win. I just don't buy the claim that a less talented bunch of atheletes is necessarily better because they cost less! I am no Yankee fan, but they do win penants.

Are we really headed for cap hell? Or is this the beginning of the dreaded Dan Snyder era, where you can buy a championship, if you buy champions?
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Old 03-02-2004, 01:54 AM   #6
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The problem with the Yankees analogy is that they outspend their opponents by a 10-1 margin in many instances - the Redskins cannot. Additionally, football is a sport that requires much more personnel continuity than baseball. Continuity and stability are key to developing a "team character and identity." You need a solid core of veterans to bring the newbies along; you can't just throw a bunch of potential pro-bowlers together and hope they gel.


We have been in the top 10 for the past five years in terms of talent, but we consistently underachieve. Why? Because we have no stability. Players come and go, coaches come and go, but our inability to reach the playoffs remains. We have two and three year plans, but we never reach the phase of actually succeeding, we are constantly "rebuilding."

The idea of putting together a bunch of stars, "winning it all," and then rebuilding is tempting, but it just doesn't work in the salary cap era. Perhaps Dan Snyder will eventually prove me, and all his detractors wrong, but until then I point to 2000, 2002, and 2003 as examples of how that philosophy doesn't work. I will also look at the Eagles and Patriots and show you consistently good teams that have good cap situations.

The only great team that was built up only to be destroyed were the 2000 Ravens. No other team has duplicated that.
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Old 03-02-2004, 03:39 AM   #7
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Canuck...you should be hired by an NLF team as it's cap specialist!!!
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Old 03-02-2004, 09:21 AM   #8
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Nice job!

I think The Warpath has found it's resident capologist!
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Old 03-02-2004, 10:17 AM   #9
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The knowledge on this board continues to amase me....great work.
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Old 03-02-2004, 12:46 PM   #10
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Great work Canuck!....now convert the cap numbers using the canadian loon
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Old 03-02-2004, 10:21 PM   #11
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Thanks to all for the positive feedback.

As for baseball, I've been an Expos fan for 25 years, so don't even get me started.

The main reason I got interested in the NFL cap is because I think it is an AMAZING system and can only dream of the same being implemented in baseball someday. I'm not holding my breath though. MLB is a disaster.
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