Some teams pick up extra cap space today

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At one point in the life of real (mostly) NFL free agency, June 2 was a big day.  Under labor deals finalized before 2006 (and, of course, after free agency began), teams could cut players on June 2 with reduced cap consequences.

It created a second wave of free agency, and a spike in NFL news and interest as the media chased down and/or speculated on who would be cut as of June 2, and where they would land.

As of 2006, teams received the ability to cut two players per franchise after the start of the league year in March, and to designate them as post-June 1 cuts.  This dynamic, coupled with the willingness of plenty of teams to absorb the full cap charge resulting from cutting a guy in the current year because plenty of teams have plenty of cap space, has turned the second wave of free agency into a puddle of Brownian motion (look it up, it’ll count as the one new thing you learn today).

This year, 10 teams took advantage of the ability to use the post-June 1 designation.  Via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, they are the Bills, Cardinals, Chargers, Cowboys, Dolphins, Falcons, Panthers, Raiders, Ravens, and Steelers.

The players who were cut with the post-June 1 designation are, based on the official PFT Commodore 64’s database of Brownian motion (aren’t you glad you looked it up?), former Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, former Cardinals guard Adam Snyder, former Chargers tackle Jared Gaither, former Cowboys linebacker Marcus Spears, former Dolphins linebackers Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby, former Falcons tackle Tyson Clabo, former Panthers linebacker James Anderson, former Raiders safety Michael Huff, former Steelers tackle Willie Colon, and former Ravens safety Bernard Pollard.

The Raiders did not cut Richard Seymour with the post-June 1 designation; they elected to void his contract in February.

Here’s how it all works.  Let’s assume a player signs a five-year deal with a $5 million signing bonus.  Ordinarily, $1 million would be charged to each of the five years of the deal to account for the signing bonus.  If, after two seasons, the team decides to move on, cutting the player before June 2 (and without the post-June 1 designation) would result in a $3 million cap charge.

Cutting him as of June 2 (or with the post-June 1 designation) freezes the current year’s dead money at $1 million, with the final $2 million hitting the cap in the next league year.

The June 2 cap bump comes from the team’s inability to process the transaction financially until June 2.  So if the player with the $5 million signing bonus on a five-year deal has a $5 million base salary, the team carries the $6 million cap charge until June 2, at which time the $5 million base salary disappears.

The player still counts for $1 million in the current year, with the remaining $2 million in signing bonus allocation hitting the cap in the next league year.

As a result, teams like the Falcons have picked up $4.5 million in cap space via the processing of the departure of Clabo.  This gives them more cap space to sign the aforementioned Seymour.  Which gives us a chance to close this out with G.M. Thomas Dimitroff’s recent appearance on PFT Live, during which he addressed the reports that Seymour could be a Falcon.

It also gives the Falcons more wiggle room to extend quarterback Matt Ryan’s deal.  Which, coincidentally, is one of the other topics addressed by Dimitroff below.

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24 responses to “Some teams pick up extra cap space today

  1. Steelers know what their doing. I see a few other teams took notes of our wisdom.

  2. Steelers are BROKE! They’ve been waiting for this day for what seems like forever.

  3. I could be reading this wrong, but it doesn’t appear to be “free money.”

    It seems like you’re just putting off payments due in the short term and spreading them over the long term — ensuring that you carry the burden over a longer period of time just to get some short term cap relief.

  4. I wish the Bills would have just taken the full hit this year. Why would anyone want all this cap room after June 2nd when there’s nothing but table scraps left to sign?

  5. Steelers aren’t “broke”. Their franchise is one of the most profitable in all of sports.
    And if you referring to the salary cap, whether they are 20 million under the cap or 1 million under they go about evaluating and signing players the same way, I kinda like that

  6. All of these teams are an embarrassment. And that’s why they were in a position to even have to make this position. None of these teams spent their money wisely.

  7. i don’t think there is a team who has done more , with less then reggie has accomplished with the raiders….the dead space is almost as much as the current salaries.

    C-wood was icing on the cake.

  8. There’s one team not on this list. In two years the NFL will say there was a miscommunication and fine all these teams and take away draft picks. Guaranteed! Mark it down.

  9. I guess I can’t thumb or down either (depending on the article of course). Amazing how they scrutinize anything that goes against their whacked selves. I can almost predict everything they’re going to do. (Like Steelers vs Seahawks). Yet no one says anything, are you all crazy?Love the posters, but my gosh is this insane or what?
    Florio? Who does this crack work for? Obama? Totally non journalistic. Don’t fall for it. These people are out there. Whoa!

  10. Finally, Steelers are going to get some money for having thrown Willie Colon out on the street. What a sad organization. Get hurt and you’re OUT!

  11. Hate to see James Anderson leave the Panthers; he did such a great job in ’11 when every other LB on the roster went on IR.

    But, Gettleman is doing an excellent job fixing our cap while keeping NFL-quality players on the roster at the same time. Sure is nice to have a GM instead of a sportswriter impersonating a GM.

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