BGA: Salary Cap Update 8.0

When I last did a salary cap update, the Jets were approximately $7.7m under the salary cap – or approximately $6m under once you account for the likely cost of signing their rookies.

Since that time, they have made a couple of transactions, but the cap situation is more or less unchanged. Full details after the jump:

Hayden Smith Details Confirmed

In the last update, I speculated how Hayden Smith could have a $355K per year contract for three years with $100K guaranteed (which is what was reported in USA Today, via comments made by his agent):

[That] doesn’t make much sense because the minimum salary is currently $390,000 with increases each season and also addtional increases based on how many credited seasons a player accrues. If he was on the team for three years and accrued two credited seasons in the first two years, he’d have to earn at least $1.44m, which is obviously more than $355,000 a year by some margin …

I think the most likely scenario is that the Jets guaranteed him a place on the practice squad in 2012. That would mean he’d receive between $90,000 and $115,000 depending on how many playoff games the Jets had. This might be where the $100,000 guaranteed comes from – or if it doesn’t, it can presumably be offset against this amount if he does end up on the practice squad. If Smith then made the team in years two and three, the average salary over the three years would be close to the $355,000 reported and any difference could be made of small signing or workout bonuses.

If he does land on the practice squad, the Jets should be able to benefit from treating him as an International Player. As a non-US citizen (Australian) whose principal residence is outside the US, you qualify as such, so I expect he’s been told to rent, not buy, at least until he makes the team. As an International Player the Jets benefit in three ways: (a) he doesn’t count towards the limit of eight practice squad members, (b) his practice squad salary does not count towards the cap and (c) unlike other practice squad members, you can’t be signed off the squad by another team.

Now that the details have been logged with the NFL, it looks like I was right and it’s a three year deal with minimum salaries in each year ($390K, $480K, $570K). I expect it’s been written into his contract that if he spends 2012 on the practice squad, then the amount of his 2013 salary will drop to a first year minimum salary ($405K) and the 2014 salary will drop to a second year minimum salary ($480K). There may be a similar provision to drop his 2014 salary to $420K if he spends two years on the practice squad. We don’t know for sure about the guarantees yet, but I think my above theory is likely to be correct.

Since we basically guessed this correctly, there’s no need to make an adjustment to the initial cap position.

Aaron Maybin Signing

We’ve been accounting for Aaron Maybin based on his RFA tender amount of $1.26m. However, in the end, he signed a conventional one year contract instead. This was only a $1.01m contract, so the Jets save approximately $250K of cap room. They did a similar thing with Drew Coleman in 2010.

You might be wondering why Maybin would sign a lower contract. By doing it this way, instead of getting 16 game checks starting in September, he gets an upfront bonus of over $300K. Perhaps he really needs the money, or maybe he thinks he can double his money by investing it wisely over the next eight months and end up better off. Considering he earned less than $500K in 2011, I’d imagine it’s the former. It’s also possible the contract includes potential incentives that mean he can earn that money back and it would count against next year’s cap instead. To work in this way, such incentives would have to be not likely to be earned, which would mean he didn’t achieve it last year. That could be something like playing in 16 games, recording eight sacks, making the Pro Bowl or making the playoffs.

This doesn’t affect the Jets’ ability to franchise him next season, but if he does have a good year, I’d expect them to try to lock him up long term before March.

DeAngelo Smith Signing, Taylor Boggs Release

DB DeAngelo Smith is set to earn a minimum level salary of $465K. In order to make room for him, the Jets released C Taylor Boggs, who was due to earn the same amount. There’s no guaranteed money involved, so I shouldn’t need to tell you that these moves have no net cap effect. The only slight difference would be if one was set to earn basic workout bonuses and the other wasn’t, but that’s less than $10,000 anyway, so not worth worrying about in the grand scheme of things.

Jay Richardson Signing

As a vested veteran, DE Jay Richardson’s minimum level salary is higher than Smith’s – $700K – but there doesn’t seem to be any guaranteed money involved other than the basic workout bonus. This would qualify for the cap reduction and count just $540K against the cap, but that’s only if he makes the team and I consider him to be a longshot. However, we do need to account for his salary in the top 51 for now, which uses up a small amount of cap space.

Other Small Changes

Two other small items:

The Jets now have more than 51 contracts at $465K or more (the minimum salary for a second year player). Therefore, we must tweak some of the calculations in the last update when we’ve removed or added a minimum salary to ensure that 51 salaries are included in our cap calculation. The net effect of this and the Richardson signing more or less cancels out the cap saving from the revision to Maybin’s deal.

Also, Jason from NYJetsCap.com has recalculated the likely net cost of signing the rookies and appears to have increased his estimate slightly to $2.2m.

Ulimately, this leaves the Jets with between $5.5m and $6m after accounting for the cost of the rookies, based on current information.

If you have any questions, corrections or conflicting reports, please share them in the comments and we will try and keep everything as up-to-date and accurate as possible. I am planning to do one more salary cap update prior to the draft, about the cap consequences of trading certain players.