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You Asked...Former Redskins Cap Analyst J.I. Halsell Answered

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You Asked...Former Redskins Cap Analyst J.I. Halsell Answered

Before we get to the Q & A, Mr. Halsell has requested we mention a foundation he is closely involved with.

"I'm a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and the Alexandria-Fairfax Alumni chapter has the Kappa Scholarship Endowment Fund (Alexndria-Fairfax Foundation) KSEF is a 501(C)3 that helps underserved yet worthy African-American students (both currently in college or getting ready to attend college) by providing them financial assistance. KSEF is holding their annual fundraising golf tournament on August 9, 2010 at Westfield's Golf Club in Northern Virginia. For more information on the tournament and to register, please visit:
Alexandria - Fairfax Foundation. "


State of the NFL

With the current conditions between the owners and the players if the salary cap goes away and the players strike (or the owners lock them out), what will be the chances that a salary cap gets re-instated?

When a new CBA get negotiated, whether that's before or after a lockout, I believe there will be a salary cap. Both the players & teams value that in any given year a team can make a run to the playoffs, and that parity can be attributed to a salary cap that keeps on a level playing field from a compensation perspective.

What changes need to happen for the players to accept the contract?

In the 2006 labor deal, the players received a larger piece of the revenue pie, and acceptance of a new deal, from the players perspective, would entail them retaining that large piece of the revenue pie.


Can you explain how the NFL owners benefit financially from the salary cap structure that's been in place for the last several years? How about for the players? And why would it be in their best interest to retain a salary cap environment? Or do you think the NFL is better off without a salary cap.

Owners benefit from a cap in that it places a fixed control on player compensation, that levels the playing field for large & small revenue generating teams alike. That said, teams in recent years have found ways to roll large amounts of money to increase their respective caps, but by in large, the cap creates parity. Parity is beneficial to both players & owners because, as I mentioned earlier, it creates an environment where any team can win on a given Sunday or make a run in any given season.

How do you think the competitive landscape of the league would be affected in a permanently uncapped environment? Will we see teams dropping spending drastically, or other big market teams spending like the Yankees once quality free agent classes become available?

You would definitely see a more significant disparity between the haves and have-nots.


Let's assume we finish the 2010 season in an uncapped environment, but then a new CBA is struck before a possible 2011 work stoppage. If that new CBA were to retain a salary cap as we know it today, how would signing bonuses paid to players in 2010 (the uncapped year) be handled/allocated under a 2011 capped environment?

Despite the absence of a salary cap in 2010, salary cap accounting of contracts continues. Therefore, if a cap comes back in 2011, then the accounting numbers are already in place to be counted against a cap.


Hypothetically, assuming a salary cap existed this year, if Albert Haynesworth paid back his $21 million signing bonus in exchange for his release from the team, how would that get recognized against the cap books? Would the 'Skins see a credit to their cap ledger in 2010 of $21 million? Or would they simply wipe away the portion of the bonus allocated to the seasons from now up until the contract expiration date?

Because of how they structured that deal, Haynesworth's full $21M is accounted for in 2010. If he were to pay it back in order to become a free agent after 2010, the Redskins would receive a cap credit.

Do the Skins have any recourse to get some of the signing bonus back? For instance if AH finally says screw you and retires, what would happen? Related to that, can you explain the "Barry Sanders Rule"

The signing bonus forfeiture language of the CBA and the language in player contracts stipulates that if the player retires then a prorated amount of the signing bonus received can be recovered by the team at their discretion. For most teams in the NFL, in recent years what has been the bigger constraint to spending on player salaries: the salary cap ceiling or cash (either due to the owner's willingness to spend cash, or the availability of cash).

Cash has definitely been the biggest constraint and has caused teams to be creative in how they structure the cash flows of contracts.


If the new CBA doesn't have a salary cap (and thus no floor), will some NFL teams be like some MLB teams and not have any star players?

That's a distinct possibility.


How would the NBA type cap work (teams can exceed the cap by a certain percentage to keep their 'franchise' players) in the NFL?


I'm an NFL guy and not really familiar with the nuances of the NBA's cap to really make that comparison.


How would you modify the franchise/transition tags in the upcoming CBA to still protect the team's interest but make it less restrictive on the players?


The rarely used transition tag is a bit of a happy medium between a club retaining a UFA's rights, while still allowing the UFA to entertain offers, but because the club does not receive any compensation when they lose a player who has the transition tag, clubs tend to not like the transition tag. But perhaps, by just having the transition tag and eliminating the franchise tag, this would be a less restrictive structure.


Do you expect the salary pay structure for rookies to be changed to prevent another JaMarcus Russell from occurring? How would you set up a rookie pay scale?

It seems almost certain that a rookie slotting scale will be part of the next CBA deal. If I were setting up the rookie scale I would have it calculated similar to how the NFL calculates each team's rookie pool. Instead of calculating the amount of money teams can spend on picks based upon the number of picks they and where these picks reside in the draft, the NFL would instead calculate the value of each pick in the draft.

From Your Time with The Redskins

How involved were the major public figures (Snyder, Cerrato, Zorn, Gibbs) in contract negotiations, specifically in terms of "managing the budget"

I worked with VP of Football Administration Eric Schaffer on the management of our salary cap and the negotiating of all of our player contracts. I provided salary cap and contract information to Vinny frequently and occassionally to Dan.

What role does the Salary Cap Analyst play in the free agency process? How early in the process are you involved?

Over the course of the season we would conduct studies to better under how rosters were constructed across the league and to understand the player market from a compensation perspective. The results of our studies would then guide us as we entered the offseason's negotiations.

In hindsight, what ended up being the smartest contract you were involved with?

Chris Cooley's extension in 2007. We were able to come to an agreement that Cooley liked from a compensation standpoint, while at the same time not overpaying him relative to the elite tight end market.

What was the single biggest deadcap charge you've ever seen?

T.O. had nearly a $10M dead money cap number last season on the Cowboys' cap. In Washington, Brandon Lloyd stands out to me. We split his dead money over 2 years; $1.8M in 2008 and $5.3M in 2009. The fact that Brandon last played for us in 2007 and still was counting $5.3M in 2009 against our cap definitely stands out.

Other than yourself, what teams' salary cap teams around the league have impressed you the most?

The teams that have historically done a great job managing the cap have been Minnesota, Philadelphia, and, during the Bruce Allen years, Tampa Bay. Bruce Allen and Eric Schaffer are recognized across the league as being two of the top cap guys in the business, so the Redskins are in great hands from that perspective. Cap management has never been a problem in Washington; talent evaluation has. Those top teams I listed are good because they manage the cap well and do a great job in talent evaluation.

And we always like to ask the following, crucial question...

What's your favorite type of pie?

Apple.
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Old 07-17-2010, 04:02 PM   #2
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Re: You Asked...Former Redskins Cap Analyst J.I. Halsell Answered

Great stuff! Thanks SS for putting this together, and thanks to J.I. for taking the time!
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Old 07-17-2010, 05:22 PM   #3
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Re: You Asked...Former Redskins Cap Analyst J.I. Halsell Answered

Thankyou SS & Halsell.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:31 PM   #4
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Re: You Asked...Former Redskins Cap Analyst J.I. Halsell Answered

He had some nice insight for us. Thank you SS and Hasell for getting us some answers to some very good questions. I liked all the inside info and he really gave us some real insight.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:37 PM   #5
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Re: You Asked...Former Redskins Cap Analyst J.I. Halsell Answered

Very interesting. Thank you Mr. Halsell and SS.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:44 PM   #6
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Re: You Asked...Former Redskins Cap Analyst J.I. Halsell Answered

Great stuff. Thank you gentlemen!
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Old 07-18-2010, 01:37 AM   #7
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Re: You Asked...Former Redskins Cap Analyst J.I. Halsell Answered

That's the best Q&A we've had. Just because it is the type of info that isn't out there already in the media world too much. Good work SS.
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Old 07-18-2010, 02:55 AM   #8
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Re: You Asked...Former Redskins Cap Analyst J.I. Halsell Answered

Excellent.
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:52 AM   #9
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Re: You Asked...Former Redskins Cap Analyst J.I. Halsell Answered

That makes SO much sense. Apple.

Great reporting Smack, great article.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:38 AM   #10
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Re: You Asked...Former Redskins Cap Analyst J.I. Halsell Answered

Quote:
Cap management has never been a problem in Washington; talent evaluation has.
So true.
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Old 07-19-2010, 10:58 AM   #11
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Re: You Asked...Former Redskins Cap Analyst J.I. Halsell Answered

I haven't heard if the Redskins have done anything to change their scouting department? I know right after Shanny came in the scouts were the same. I was kind of hoping we would upgrade that along with everything else we have been working on to get better.
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:23 PM   #12
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Re: You Asked...Former Redskins Cap Analyst J.I. Halsell Answered

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattyk View Post
So true.
That has really been the main telling factor for us recently. And maybe not so much just talent, but fit for scheme. We've honestly had the "Madden factor" for awhile. Somebody is really good at said position however that doesn't translate to how that position is used in our schemes.
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