The Salary Cap Myth

The NFL salary cap is no more real, or impactful than the National deficit. In theory it’s real, but not in actual practice.

The Steelers made room for Ben, and if they’d like, the Saints will make room for Brees and whoever else…

The Trey Flowers contract was a mistake, not in the amount, but in the maximum potential return on the investment. Based solely on his pedigree, athleticism scores, and prior production sample (fairly large) there was no way to believe he’d be a 12-15 sack a year guy who might steal a Defendibe Player of the Year award.

Same with Big V… worse. Guys like Conklin could be worth 10M per year plus contracts. Glasgow’s ask was a bit rich, but had we extended him in 2019 when he asked, we likely could have gotten 4 years and 36-40M plus the one cheap year he had left. He would have been a decent bargain.

Golladay and Okwara are entering their prime years (yes Golladay is 27, but he will be 30 entering year 4 of a 5 year contract. Bigger receivers often take an extra year or two. He entered the league at 23. If he’s healthy, he has top 10-13 overall WR potential the next 3 years (the years with dead cap money tied to them if we sign him). Same with Okwara, he and his Bro could very well combine for 14-15 sacks if they are scheme fits. Between them we’d be paying 13M per year tops.


Bottom line there is ALWAYS cap space if the money spent is reasonable for the expected production. I would never, ever spent 4-5M a year for a guy like J James, C Daniel, or D Ammendola.


A few other head scratchers I can real off were J McKinnon, M Glennon, Brock Osweiler, A Humphries, J Crowder, Dee Ford, A Hooper

Also any trades that involved spending 10M per year plus on a guy and giving up 1 or more top picks.

A Cooper, Jamal Adams, Matt Stafford, B Cooks, etc…

Imagine if the Cowboys had 1 more first round CB from last year, and 18M more cap space to sign a guy like L Williams or Yannick, and then drafting Waddle or Smith at #10

Top 3 round draft picks are how you get pro bowlers that cost 900k to 7M per year vs having to pay 15M plus.

The salary cap trap is paying average players from other teams a second contract above 3-4M per year.

I’d take stars and role players learning and working out next to stars any day


I have said this for many years. When you really dial into the numbers for the modern cap, its not the few star players that kill it. Its the damn middle contract players that add up in a hurry.


Cap space is more magic beans than draft picks.

The Saints kicked the can for a decade and as bad as it is now they would still be kicking it if Drew Brees could still play


Let’s use the Pistons as an example here…

The Pistons drafted Stanley Johnson with the likes of Devin Booker, Myles Turner, and Kelly Oubre on the board… 2015

Then they drafted Henry Ellison with Malik Beasley,
Pascal Siakam, and Carl’s Lavert in 2016

2017 was the worst when they drafted Luke Kennard with Donovan Mitchell, J Jackson,
J Collins, Bam Abedajo, and a host of others drafted right after…

We must have given up on drafting as we had no pick on 2018 and then took Sekou in 2019…

Or 2020 when we took Killian Hayes with Tyrese Halliburton on the board, and mocked ahead of Hayes on almost every draft site

M Turner
B Abedejo

We’d be a playoff team just by drafting the guys take. 1-2 picks after us. Lol


Let’s keep an eye on this. I think this is where Holmes intends to shop.

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Hayes has looked so bad. The other draft picks have been great though so I’ll give Weaver the benefit of doubt

I’m not sure why…

Guys like JPP, AB, Fournette, E Griffin, sure…

Guys like Nick Williams, Ammendola, C Jones, K Wiggins, please no!

Paying guys who were 4th thru UDFA, and then won a starting job or partial starting job for 1-2 years of their rookie deal seem to be our “go to!”

Sure that was under Quinn, but I hope that pattern ends now.

The Ravens paid Wagner 650k per year… then we paid him 9.5MM per year… then the Pack gave him 1 year 5M…

I don’t mind 1 year 3-4M deals for 30/31 starters

I think when you take a close look at the receiver market, someone like Danny Amendola is exactly the kind of guy you want to sign. Its even better if you can land a Golden Tate, but that doesn’t happen very often. Avoiding guys like John Brown (WR Bills) is important.

I think another thing teams have to do is resist the temptation to resign guys like Graham Glasgow (for the price it takes). Sure we want him back, but at $10M+ per year that’s just stupid. I said it before we let him go. If he wants something like $6M a year he’s the kind of guy that I would go ahead and bring back. But if he wants $8M+ he can kick rocks. And sure enough…

If there’s someone they want to sign, I think we’re going to see both Justin Coleman and Jesse James designated as post-June 1 cuts.

Coleman–Post June 1–$9M in cap savings for 2021 vs $4,942,000 before
J James–Post June 1–$5M in cap savings for 2021 vs $2,142,000 before

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I don’t see what we have to gain by cutting Jesse James. I think he’s more valuable on the field than as a cut. Its not a position that’s replaceable with a rookie.

The cap is not a myth. Each team has to spend their cap dollars per the CBA.

The truth is that how it appears to be spent is a lot of smoke a mirrors. The money is very fluid and is constantly moved around where needed.

Think of it like your monthly budget. You make a $1000 a week. Your budget says you have to spend a certain amount on your car, food, lodging, etc … at the end of the month you’ve paid all your bills but you moved the money around from week to week where it was needed the most at the time but you still spent it. Even though it wasn’t as originally planned.

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I think trying to apply salary cap logic to personal home budgets is where people get their misunderstanding of how it all works and how it all comes together. You hear people talk about certain transaction types as “putting it on a credit card,” but that’s not accurate to how it works.

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I get your point … but there’s no credit in your budget either though. You still have to pay for it. Like the cap your just pushing the money down the road.

Give us a better analogy if you have one.

The credit card is not my analogy, its one that’s used by other people. But pushing money into a future year of a transaction is not like putting something on a credit card. Also, a home is not a competitive environment where you are trying to “win” vs other homes.

I think the Federal Deficit is the best one.

That isn’t like the NFL salary cap either.

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I agree but both are concepts the masses use to justify resource allocation for things they don’t totally understand

I’m no capologist, but I’ve said this before… past-prime WR are often a good moneyball play. That’s where there’s value to be had. It can be the same with RB, too.

This only makes sense if you don’t then turn around and spend that same money on a lesser player like V.


The 2 transactions are independent of eachother. It would have been silly to pay that much for Glasgow, but Quinn managed to do something dumber.

I can’t think of anything to compare it to.

Maybe instead of calling it double-entry accounting, it’s best to say it’s triple-entry.
Debit | Credit | Cap Hit
They’re all going to match. The limit in spending is very real, but the distribution of that 3rd entry is over time, so it’s not all felt when the check is written.