Last updated on November 29, 2008 12:11 PM EDT


Miguel's Frequently Asked Questions Page

Q: What are the key dates of the 2009 offseason.
A:I got this answer from Jaguars.Com's Ask Vic Feature. February 9th is the first day that teams may cut players. The franchise and transition tags window is February 5th through the 19th. The scouting combine is February 18th through the 24th. Restricted free agent tenders must be made by Feburary 24th. Free agency and trading begins on February 27th. March 16th is the first day teams may begin offseason conditioning. April 17th is the deadline to sign a restricted free agent. The draft is April 25-26.

Q:How much do you think that it will cost to place the franchise tag on Matt Cassel in 2009????
A:$14,651,000 Based on reading the franchise player section of the CBA and seeing prior franchise tag numbers I looked for the quarterbacks with 5 adjusted cap numbers. By adjusted I mean that the franchise number calculation excludes offseason workout bonuses numbers and LTBE incentives. For the 2008 season they are

Average - $14,651,000. According to Peter King if Favre retires before the day that the franchise numbers are announced he will not count. If Favre does retire, Eli Manning ($11,416,666) would take Favre's place making the franchise tag number $14,530,000. Where did I get the above numbers??? From looking around the web and doing some legwork on my own.

Q: What are some of the CBA rules regarding the Patriots possibly placing the franchise tag on Matt Cassel??

  1. As soon as the Patriots place the franchise tag on Cassel, the amount of the franchise tag (I project it to be $14.651 million) will immediately count against the Patriots cap. That is, Cassel does NOT have to sign the tender in order for it to count against the cap.
  2. If the Pats tag Cassel and wish to reach a long-term deal with him, they and Cassel have to come to the long-term agreement by 4PM, July 15th.
  3. If the Patriots tag Cassel and wish to trade him after July 15th, Cassel has to sign the franchise tender before 4PM July 15th. I got this information from reading about the 49ers' tampering with Briggs in 2007.
  4. If Cassel were to sign a two-year deal with the Patriots, his 2010 salary can not be more than 130% of his 2009 salary. Example, if his 2009 salary is $1,000,000 then his 2010 salary can not be more than $1,300,000.
  5. If Cassel were to sign a two-year deal with the Patriots, any 2010 off-season roster bonus and any 2010 off-season reporting bonus would be treating as a signing bonus in 2009
  6. If 2010 is uncapped and Cassel had signed an one-year deal for the 2009 season, he would be an RFA in 2010.
  7. If Cassel is an RFA in 2010, the Patriots' tender offer has to be at least 110% of his 2009 salary. 110% of $14.651 million is $16,116,000.
  8. The first day that Cassel can be tagged is February 5th.
  9. The last day that Cassel can be tagged is February 19th.
  10. The first day that Cassel can be traded is February 27th
  11. As soon as Cassel signs the tender and if he plays under the tender his 2009 salary is guaranteed to be the amount of the tender even if he is injured or if there are far better quarterbacks on the Patriots roster.
  12. If Cassel plays the 2009 season under the franchise tender, the maximum his agent can charge him is 2%. If Cassel plays the 2009 season under any other deal, the maximum his agent can charge is 3%.
  13. If Cassel is tagged, he has to first sign his tender before he can be officially traded.
  14. If Cassel is tagged and if he has not signed the tender and if the Patriots rescind the tender after July 22nd, they will not get a compensatory pick for Cassel in 2010. Source - Corey Simon and the Eagles in 2006.

Q: How will 2010 being an uncapped year affect the salary cap in 2009??
A: This answer is a summary of an interesting and informative discussion fellow amateur capologists and I had in February/March 2006 about 2007 being potentially uncapped. By no means should this answer be taken as being entirely my work.

Q:Can you explain the NTLBE/LTBE Credit/Debit System????
A:The best explanation, IMO, was found on the Denver Broncos website. There was an interview with Coordinator of Football Administration Mike Bluem. Here's part of the interview.

"What is the cap for 2002?
The cap for 2002 is $71,101,000. But for us, it's actually a little bit more. We got a credit because we were charged more for incentives than were actually earned. When that happens, the league will net out the difference and credit the amount to the team for the next season. If a team spends more than it was charged then the league deducts that amount from the cap the next year. In our case, the Broncos were charged more in incentives than the players earned, so we got about a $3.3 million adjustment on our cap this year. Thus, our salary cap figure for this year is $74, 466,876, which is the second highest in the league only to Indianapolis.

Explain the credit and debit system against the cap?
Basically there are two types of incentives built into player contracts - likely to be earned and non-likely to be earned. Likely incentives are based upon whether or not a player accomplished a feat the previous year. If a player makes 50 catches one season and he has an incentive that requires him to make 49 receptions the next season, it is a likely incentive because he accomplished that the previous season. Likely incentives are charged against the cap immediately. Non-likely incentives are charged against the cap only if the player achieves them. If a guy had 50 catches last year and in his contract this year he has an incentive clause that kicks in if he makes 51 catches, it's a non-likely incentive because he didn't do it the previous year. At the end of the season you take the likelys that were actually earned and add to it the non-likelys that were earned. That figure is subtracted from what you were charged on the cap for the likely incentives. In our case, we were charged about $3.3 million more than what we actually had to pay the players and that's why we get a credit on the cap this year."

Q: What has been the salary cap limits?
2008 $116,729,000
2007 $109,134,000
2006 $102,000,000
2005 $85,500,000
2004 $80,582,000
2003 $75,007,000
2002 $71,100,000
2001 $67,400,000
2000 $62,172,000
1999 $58,353,000
1998 $52,388,000
1997 $41,450,000
1996 $40,777,000
1995 $37,100,000
1994 $34,600,000

Q: Why did your numbers differ so much from the Globe's January, 2006 offseason preview?
A: Because I believe that the Globe made a typographical error with Jarvis Green's cap number. They had it as $0.37 or $370,000 while I hade it as $3,651,720.

Q:Is there a date where the Pats can still use its available cap space for this year and have it count against this year's cap?
A: There are a couple of deadlines here.

  1. the Monday of the 10th week of the season - any salary increase for that season after that date is treated as a signing bonus for salary cap purposes and will be prorated over the new length of the contract. Example - Raise Wilfork's salary by 2 million dollars in Week 6. That salary increase hits only the 2008 cap. Raise Wilfork's 2008 salary in Week 13. That salary increase is prorated over 2 years (the life of the contract).
  2. the end of the regular season. Any deal done after then will not affect the 2008 cap year.
Q: What are the important free agency dates?
A: The best free agency calendar I have seen is on the the website

Q: What are the differences between a credited season and an accrued season?
A: A credited season determines the minimum salary of a player with X numbers of credited seasons. An accrued season determines when a player reaches free agency. If a player at the end of his contract has 3 accrued seasons, he will become a RFA. If he has 4 or more accrued seasons to his credit, he will become an UFA. A player need 6 games to get credit for an accrued season; 3 games to get credit for a credited season. Games on IR count in the accrued season calculation but do NOT count in the credited season calculation.

Q: Do you get paid for this??
A: No. I ask that if you have found my salary cap pages useful that if you are able to do so, please make a donation to the Bread of Life soup kitchen/food pantry. Their address is

Bread of Life
511 Main Street
Malden, MA 02148-3918
ATTN: Mea Quinn Mustone
Please mention this website with your donation.

Q:How does the salary cap system work??
A:The Falcons' website does an excellent job of explaining how the salary cap system - IMO, their salary cap explanation pages are A MUST READ for all those who want to expand their knowledge of the cap

Q: How much did it cost to sign the Patriots' 2006 draft class??
A: shows my latest estimate

Q:What is the rookie pool??
A:From ESPN.Com's Len Pasquarelli: "The rookie pool is, essentially, a cap within a salary cap. It represents the maximum in aggregate salary cap value that a team is permitted to invest in its draft choices and also the undrafted free agents it signs. It is included in, not exclusive of, the team's overall spending limit of $71.101 million for the 2002 campaign." .."Because of the so-called "rule of 51" -- which stipulates that only the 51 highest-paid players on a team's roster count against its salary cap during the offseason -- clubs will not have to carve out the entire difference between their available cap space and rookie pool allocation. For the most part, teams' middle- and low-round draft choices don't rate among the 51 highest-paid players on the roster and make no dent in the salary cap." This year the Patriots' rookie pool allocation is $2.9629 million.

Q: What is the Patriots' cap picture look like for the future??
A: See my estimate on my future years page

Q: Where do you get your information from??
A:From looking at the links listed on my salary cap information Page, various media reports, and researching the site.

Q: Can you explain how compensatory picks are determined??
A: Adamjt13 does an excellent job of explaining how compensatory picks are determined on the PatsFans.Com message board

Q: Can you explain how restructures/extensions work??
A:The Ickster provides the best explanation. You can see his explanation by following this link - Ickster's restructure explanation

Q:Can you provide some information on practice squads??
A: After noon EST on September 2nd, each club may establish a Practice Squad of no more than eight (8) players who are free agents.The practice squad shall consist of the following players, provided that they have not served more than two previous seasons on a Practice Squad: (i) players who do not have an Accrued Season of NFL experience; and (ii) free agent players who were on the Active List for fewer than nine regular season games during their only Accrued Season(s). An otherwise eligible player may be a practice squad player for a third season only if the Club by which he is employed that season has at least 53 players on its Active/Inactive List during the entire period of his employment. A player shall be deemed to have served on a Practice Squad in a season if he has passed the club’s physical and been a member of the club’s Practice Squad for at least three regular season or postseason games during his first two Practice Squad seasons, and for at least one regular season or postseason game during his third Practice Squad season. (A bye week counts as a game provided that the player is not terminated until after the regular season or postseason weekend in question.) and who did not dress for more than eight (8) regular season games during their only accrued (i.e., on the 53 man roster for at least 6 games) season. Minimum salary for a practice squad player shall be $4,700 per week for the 2006-07 League Years, $5,200 per week for the 2008-10 League Years and the 2011 League Year if it is an Uncapped Year, and $5,700 per week for the 2011 League Year if it is a Capped Year and the 2012 League Year, including postseason weeks in which his Club is in the playoffs. Aigher salary can be negotiated. In addition, a player under contract to a club as a Practice Squad player is completely free to sign a contract with another NFL club during the season in order to be on the second club's Active/Inactive (i.e., 53 man) list. A practice squad player may not sign an NFL Player Contract with his Club’s next opponent later than 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the sixth day preceding the game (except in bye weeks, when the prohibition commences on the tenth day preceding the game).If another club signs a Practice Squad player to its 53 man roster it does not have to provide any sort of compensation to the player's former club but it generally must keep the player on the 53 man roster for at least 3 weeks, thereby mandating that he earns in 2007 the minimum first year salary for said 3 week period ($285,000 prorated weekly). Also note that a team can add and release players from the practice squad as often as it desires and the eight (8) man limit does not have to be maintained. A player may be on the practice squad for two seasons; three weeks on the practice squad count as a season. An otherwise eligible player may be a practice squad player for a third season only if the Club by which he is employed that season has at least 53 players on its Active/Inactive List during the entire period of his employment. The League may elect to allow some or all Clubs to add to their practice squads one additional player, who shall not count against the limit above, whose citizenship and principal place of residence are outside the United States and its Territories (“International Player”). The League’s election in any one season shall not determine or affect its election in any subsequent season

Q:What is PUP??
A: My answer is based on a NFL.Com article on Curtis Martin being placed on PUP in 2006. A player who fails his club's pre-season physical at the start of training camp may be placed on the club's Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. A player on PUP is eligible to receive his salary, but is ineligible for games and practices; he is, however, allowed to attend team meetings. According to the article, "According to NFL rules, a player on the PUP list can't be cleared to practice until after Week 6. The Jets now have three weeks to decide whether to allow Martin to start practicing. Once he's cleared to practice, the team would have three weeks from that date to either place him on the active roster or put him on injured reserve and end his season." Note that there are two different types of PUP. Players that land on reserve-PUP are ineligible to play or practice for the first six weeks of the regular season. Players on active-PUP can be taken off the list at any point during training camp. Once a player is taken off active-PUP and returns to practice, he cannot be placed on reserve-PUP later. Please note that a player on PUP will count against the cap. I think but do not know for sure that players on active-PUP count against the 80-man roster limit and players on reserve-PUP do not.

Q: How does the waiver system work??
A: The following explanation was found in the 2005 NFL Record & Fact Book. As far as I can tell, it is still appropriate. "The waiver system is a procedure by which player contracts or NFL rights to players are made available by a club to other clubs in the league. During the procedure, the 30 other clubs either file claims to obtain the players or waive the opportunity to do so - thus the term "waiver." Claiming clubs are assigned players on a priority based on the inverse of won-and-lost standing. The claiming period is three business days from the beginning of the League Year through April 30, 10 days from May 1 through the last business day before July 4, and 24 hours after July 4 through the conclusion of the regular season. If a player passes through waivers unclaimed, he becomes a free agent. All waivers are no recall and no withdrawal. Under the CBA, from the beginning of the waiver system each year through the trading dealine (October 19 1999), any veteran who has acquired four years of pension credit is not subject to the waiver system if the club desires to release him. After the trading deadline, such players are subject to the waiver system."

Q: How does Brady's new deal compare to his old deal??
A: shows my comparison.

Q: Why do you consider Seymour a defensive end when he made the Pro Bowl as a defensive tackle??
A: Most, if not all, 3-4 DEs are classified as a DE. Gary Walker of the Texans who made the Top 10 DE list in 2004 plays the 3-4 end position. Seymour is currently listed as a DE on the NFLPA site. He has been designated as a DE 4 of the 5 years that I could find information for. Seymour's 2005 cap number was the 11th highest among defensive ends and was once used to determine the transistion tag number for defensive ends before the CBA extension. See the NFLPA press release. The CBA is clear on the position designation."one year NFL Player Contract for the average of the five largest Prior Year Salaries for players at the position at which the Franchise Player played the most games during the prior League Year, or 120% of his Prior Year Salary, whichever is greater. "No later than February 1 of each League Year during the term of this Agreement, the NFL shall compile and disclose to the NFLPA a list of each of the ten largest Prior Year Salaries for players at the following positions which shall be utilized for calculating the average Prior Year Salaries of players at the positions of Franchise Players and Transition Players: Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver, Tight End, Offensive Line, Defensive End, Interior Defensive Line, Linebacker, Cornerback, Safety, and Kicker/Punter." IMO, a 3-4 end do not play the interior defensive line position.

Q:What are the roster limits dates that all NFL teams must make cuts by?
A:Rosters must be cut to 75 by 4PM EST on August 29th and to 53 by 6PM EST on September 2nd. Players who are on the active PUP List must be moved from the list by the Patriots by either moving him to either the reserve PUP, moving him to the 53-man roster, waiving him, releasing him or by trading him. On noon September 3rd the Patriots can place players on the 8-man practice squad.

Q: How does Vrabel's new deal compare to his old deal??
A: shows my comparison.

Q: How much do players get paid during training camp??
A: Rookies make $775 a week. Veterans make $1,100 a week.

Q: When is the trading deadline??
A: 4PM EDT, October 18th.

The following questions were asked on an Internet message board and Adamjt13 answered them. Adamjt13 deserves all of the credit for his answers.

Q: A player signs a 3-year deal for base salaries of $1 mil. Year 1, $1.5 mil. in Year 2, and $2 mil. in Year 3. The base salaries for all three years are guaranteed. There is no signing bonus. Does the guaranteeing of the base salaries affect the salary cap distribution of the player's salaries?

A: Not unless the salaries are also paid in advance. Any guarantees paid in advance are prorated. If they're simply guaranteed, then they count as any other base salaries would.

Q:This question is extremely trivial. A player is signed to a three-year contract and receives a signing bonus of $1,000,000. Is the signing bonus pro-ration $333,333 for all three years? Then there'd be $1 unaccounted for. Is that correct or would there be a $333,334 pro-ration thrown in there?
A:The third-year proration would be $333,334.

Q:A player signs a 5-year deal with a $5 mil. signing bonus. The deal will void after three years if the player has hit certain incentives and if he's still on the roster on the last day of the Year 3 league year (Feb. 28). So three seasons pass and the player has hit those incentives. After the deal voids, the remaining $2 mil. in pro-rated signing bonus will count against the team's Year 4 cap. How will the cap hit of this $2 mil. be distributed if the team signs the player to a multi-year deal before Feb. 28? How will it be distributed if the team signs the player to a multi-year deal after Feb. 28?

A:If the contract is extended before it voids, the prorated amounts do not accelerate. His original proration of $1 million per year for the next two years remains in effect. Any new signing bonus prorations from the extension are added to it.

Q:A player is in the last year of his contract. The team signs him to a three-year extension. When is the deadline that the team can sign him to this extension and have the signing bonus pro-rated over four years rather than three?
A:Anytime before the last game of the season, as long as his salary for that season doesn't increase. If it's after the Monday of the 10th week of the season, any salary increase for that season is treated as a signing bonus for salary cap purposes and is prorated over the new length of the contract (he gets the money that season, though).

Q:A player signs a 3-year deal with a $3 mil. signing bonus. He has four or more credited seasons. In the middle of Year 2, after the trading deadline, the player is waived by the team. He is immediately claimed on waivers by another team. How is the pro-rated $1 mil. amount for Year 3 then distributed? Does it count on the Year 2 cap or the Year 3 cap?
A:The June 2 rule doesn't apply for players who are claimed on waivers. It counts on Year 2.

Q:A player signs a 3-year deal with a $3 mil. signing bonus and $1 mil. in base salary each year. After two years, the player is suspended for a season for violating the NFL substance abuse policy. After that season, he returns to the team to finish the final year of his contract. What are the player's cap hits for Year 3 (year player is suspended) and Year 4? Is it $1 mil. for each year (Year 3 - signing bonus pro-ration but no base salary, Year 4 - base salary but no signing bonus pro-ration)?
A:When a player is suspended, his prorated signing bonuses still count, but his base salary does not. It's $1 million for Year 3 and $1 million for the added Year 4. quote:

Q:A team finishes Year 1 with $3 mil. remaining in cap space. All the LTBE incentives in Year 1 were achieved. There were also $3 mil. in NLTBE incentives that were achieved in Year 1. Will the leftover $3 mil. in Year 1 cap space account for this $3 mil. in NTLBE incentives or are the $3 mil. in incentives automatically applied to the Year 2 cap?
A:All NLTBE incentives are applied to that season. Any overruns are applied to the following year's cap. (So, if there had been $4 million in NLTBE's, then the $3 million left over would be used up, and the other $1 million would count against the Year 2 cap.)

Q:A player with four or more credited seasons is on Team A's opening day roster. He is scheduled to earn $680,000 in base salary ($40,000/week). This base salary is guaranteed since he was on the opening day roster. He is waived by the team after Week 10. He has earned $400,000 of the $680,000 in base salary. Team A's cap hit will be $680,000 if he isn't signed by another team the rest of the season, but what if Team B claims the player on waivers and keeps him for the rest of the year? What is the cap hit for each team then? What if the player clears waivers and then is signed by Team B for the rest of the year at the same salary? What if the player clears waivers and then is signed by Team B for the rest of the year at a lower salary?
A:If the player is claimed on waivers, Team A is freed from the players base salary. If he's not claimed, they could be obligated to pay the rest of his salary as Termination Pay. That doesn't change even if he's later signed by another team. Team A is still charged for the full salary. The thing is, the player must request Termination Pay, and he can do it only once during his career. So if he has done it before or decides not to, Team A might not be on the hook for the rest of his salary.

Q:A player with four or more credited seasons is on a team's opening day roster and is cut during the season in Year 1. He doesn't sign with another team and collects his entire scheduled base salary as termination pay. What happens if the same thing happens in Year 2? I don't think he can collect his entire scheduled base salary as termination pay again, can he? Does the team in Year 2 only receive a cap hit for the weeks on which the player was on the roster or do they take a hit for his entire scheduled base salary?
A:You're correct. He can get Termination Pay only once. So if the team in Year 2 cuts him, they get charged only what they paid him. quote:

Q:What is the amount usually paid by a team for each individual injury settlement at end of preseason?
A:Injury settlements typically pay players for as long as they would have been out with the injury. For example, if a player has a sprained ankle that would have kept him out for two games, he'll usually accept two weeks' salary as an injury settlement. But he doesn't have to accept an injury settlement at all. Then the team can decide either to release him outright and see if he files a grievance (in which case half of his salary would count against the cap) or to put him on injured reserve. quote:

Q:What effect does spending the entire season on the non-football injury list have on a player's contract and salary cap number for that season? Is his situation similar to that of a suspended player?
A:I wrote an answer, then realized that it was almost as long and not quite as succinct as the part of the CBA that applies. So here that is --
"Section 3. Non-Football Injury: A player who is placed on a Non-Football Injury or Illness list (N-F/I) will not be entitled to any compensation under his contract while on such list but, except as provided below, his contract will continue to run while in such status. A player on N-F/I who is in the final year of his contract (including an option year) will have his contract tolled. However, if the player is physically able to perform his football services on or before the sixth regular season game, the club must pay the player his negotiated salary (pro rata) for the balance of the season in order to toll such player's contract. If such player is taken off N-F/I during the period when such action is allowed by League rules, his contract will not be tolled." I

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