We keep hearing that the Jacksonville Jaguars are in the hole concerning cap space going into 2019 and the franchise will lose all kinds of talent. Like most things, there is a grain of salt to it and a whole lot of BS.
It’s good to know that salary, dead money and cap space are three separate things. To keep this short, teams and players can work out varied ways in contracts to help a team stay within the suggested 2019 190M cap space.
When a player is released, traded or retired, some of his salary and cap can go with him, sometimes not because of the way they are structured. As of right now, going into the 2019 season, the Jags have to remove $7,098,827 in cap space. Sounds awful, right?
First off, Jacksonville will roll over their 11M surplus this year to cover next and that puts them with almost 4M to the good. In addition, the cap will go up, as it always does – right now it’s projected to be about 190M, up about 13. That’s almost 17M to work with.
I doubt they’re going to keep Donte Moncrief who cost 9.6M, or several others regardless of the money.
When you look at the contracts, you realize there are several players who are worth more gone, than on the team. Like Barry Church. It’s clear he’s not being kept, hence Ronnie Harrison starting instead of him.
No matter how you slice it, Blake Bortles, whether cut or someone trades for him (don’t laugh), will cost the Jags 16.5 in dead money; however, they can write off 4.5M in CAP. That would give them about 16.8M in dead money for next season. Tanner Lee and Don Carey make the other 299,669. That’s not great, but it could be worse.
While the dead money goes against what they can spend, freeing up cap space allows them to sign players they want, they only need to be creative with contracts. Since Jacksonville is one of the cheapest NFL cities to live in, that helps in negotiations.
Typically, QB’s and OL want and get big guaranteed money and they want it upfront. This front loaded money can be spread out over the life of the contract, as long as the second year is half or more of the first year. That’s the kicker. So, a two year contract has the money split in half because there’s no other way to make it add up.
On three years for a 70M contract, you could have 33, 16.5 and 20.5. Teams usually like to push the cap hit out because as we see, each year the cap limit goes up and money is worth less. Pay the cash up front, spread the cap accounting out.
Most big name players do this, especially ones on their third contract. They don’t care about the accounting, only that the money makes it to the bank. New England is a master of paying Brady*, but finding creative ways to keep spreading the hit out.
In addition, a player can restructure his contract, instead of taking a huge salary each week, take a big chunk up front in a signing bonus or whatever they want to call it. The player makes the same money, the only difference is how its paid out.
If you love Bortles, he could do the same. Restructure his contract, so the 16.5 in dead gets spread out and they keep him as a back-up and mentor for a draft pick. What’s he going to do, say no? What team out there will pay him more and take him to be their starter?
Right now, injured Andrew Norwell is the big money miss. If they cut him before June 1 2019, the hit is 9M and dead is 25, if traded, the dead is 12M and cap savings is 4M. If he’s traded post 1 June, the dead is 3M, cap save is 13M; however, if he’s healthy and playing well, why trade? If he’s not, no one will take him. He, not Bortles, is the oh, crap. If the Jags are smart, they get him to redo his contract, to lessen the hit if he’s injured again next season.
AJ Bouye is another player who should rework a contract. He gives the Jags 9.5M cap savings by cut/trade, with 6M in dead money if cut before 1 June.
Malik Jackson is among the top candidates of who’s most likely gone. Not only did he lose his starting gig this season and his production was low, the Jags will save 11M be removing him, dead money is 4M.
These three players will allow the Jacksonville to save 25M in cap space, but racks up 25.5 in dead money. Which basically equates to a loss of 1.5M of cap space, better than 7, but not the best way to get there.
Tons of dead money is a bad thing because it means the front office is picking bad players, or making bad contracts or have bad coaches. None of which is a good, but it’s easier to fix the bad contract part than the other two.
It now becomes about releasing players who get more than counterparts at their position group and keeping the dead money far less than cap savings.
Calais Cambell, who spent a lot of 2018 on the injury list, would save them 9.5M compared to the 5M in dead money. We want the Mayor, but this article is about cold hard numbers, not love in our hearts.
Marcel Darius is the must-cut player, though. His production was down and by removing him they save 10.585M with no dead. That’s a big un.
Tashaun Gibson would save them 7.45M, with 1.6M dead. Barry Church is a must cut. Besides his London behavior, he was benched and that’s because there’s no dead money and 6.250M cap savings.
If you add up Campbell, Darius and Church, that’s 20.835 in CAP with only 5M in dead. These three make sense. If they cut/trade the players from up above and add in these, that’s 15.335 in cap for 2019, which factors in the dead money.
Obviously, those six will need to be replaced (if gone), but 15, plus 13 (new cap #), plus 11 (carry over) minus the 7, gives them 20M cap space (this is with 12M deducted for rookies and accounts for the dead money) to play with on replacing 6 players.
How do you feel about the below players who spent almost every week on the injury report?:
Brandon Linder – 6M savings, no dead.
Jeremey Parnell – same
AJ Cann will be a FA.
Abry Jones would be 4M savings, no dead. That’s an additional 16M cap savings with no dead on players who they may or may not want back. The money is there to pay them.
There are several lesser players who could be released/traded for more savings, but they’re all in the hundred thousand ranges, not millions.
This draft will be crucial to some of the names in this article. If they can pick up some top talent, why pay Church if there’s another safety out there for way less? Or, even an ex-CB like Richard Sherman who will swap to S?
The defense and OL is top heavy and it’s where cuts need to be made. The Jaguars aren’t in serious money trouble, they’ll have enough to sign a vet QB even someone like Joe Flacco if he works with them on a contract, pay most everyone they want back, minus ones they shouldn’t, sign some FA’s and pay the draft class.
Flacco, if you want him, could take his “guaranteed” money as bonuses which can be spread out over the life of the contract, so they can give him a 44M bonus and spread that out over five years (even if it’s really only for two). It would require several players to restructure, but it can be done.
In case you didn’t know, teams have to spend their cap in a revolving four year window, it’s not as if you can escape spending it, it’s just a matter when.
Bottom line, the Jaguars are only screwed if they can’t bring in younger talent who costs less, which points to the front office. So far, they’ve done a fairly good job of being creative with the money, so don’t worry Jags fans.