In light of the Chris Johnson holdout, and the repeated calls for "pay da man" issued from the fan base, I thought it might be worthwhile to take a look at where the Titans actually stand in regards to the 2011 salary cap. If you want to pay CJ, shouldn't you know if it's possible?
I gathered most of the data from rotoworld.com. There you can find the most up-to-date contract info for all NFL clubs. There are a number of players, all recent free agent signings, for which the actual contract numbers aren't available, so the numbers are subject to change. Also, a number of low round draft picks don't have actual numbers, but they are guaranteed to all be real close and small.
I made a big nasty spreadsheet with everyone, but it is rather pointless given that a lot of the guys listed are not going to make the team. So, let me just list our Top 20 cap eaters:
- Figures are in millions of cap dollars for 2011, so they include prorated signing bonuses, etc
- Percentages are percent of 2011 cap, based on a $120m hard cap.
1 Roos,M $6.83 5.69%
2 Hope, C $6.50 5.42%
3 Stewart, D $6.50 4.58%
4 Hasselbeck, M $5.00 4.17%
5 Washington, N $4.80 4.00%
6 Scott, J $4.70 3.92%
7 Haye, J $4.25 3.54%
8 Witherspoon, W $4.17 3.47%
9 Amano, E $4.13 3.44%
10 Ruud, B $4.00 3.33%
11 Finnegan, C $3.79 3.16%
12 Bironas, R $3.65 3.04%
13 Gage, J $3.50 2.92%
14 Griffin, M $3.31 2.76%
15 Smith, S $3.25 2.71%
16 Locker, J $3.15 2.62%
17 Graham, D $2.83 2.36%
18 Morgan, D $2.61 2.17%
19 Fuller, V $2.06 1.72%
20 Britt, K $1.88 1.57%
TOP 20 TOTAL $67.38 56.15%
EVERYONE ELSE $43.90 36.58%
TOTAL APPROX $111.28 92.73%
From this you can see who our top-paid players are, and how much cap they take up relative to the total team salary cap. The number is approximate since:
- Some contract details might not be exactly right.
- I don't know if we take a hit for releasing VY.
- A lot of the guys that are bundled up in "everyone else" won't be on the team, and their cap #'s will be irrelevant. This includes CJ. Given a new deal, his current cap number ($1.04 @ 0.86%) won't matter.
- While Roos has the highest cap number, this is due to a large signing bonus being prorated over his contract. His base salary is only $5m.
- Chris Hope is the highest paid player on the Titans, by over $1m dollars. His 2011 base salary is $6m and is cap amount is larger due to a roster bonus. For nothing more than inflammatory tendencies, that amounts to over 8 times CJs currently contracted salary. ;)
- There are a number of Top 20 cap eaters that may in fact not make the team. These include fan favorites such as: Chris Hope, Jovan Haye, and Justin Gage. Those 3 alone account for over %12 of the total team cap amounts.
- A large number of players are entering the last year of their contracts. For example: Griffin, Scott, Finnegan, Fuller, and Stevens (there are more)
- And last but not least, there is plenty of cap space available to give CJ a large contract, especially if heavily front loaded in bonus, and back-loaded in salary. Of course availability of large upfront money is dependant on the Titans's bank account, and I don't know it's status. This doesn't mean I necessarily support giving CJ everything possible, just that "cap considerations" aren't really a good excuse to avoiding doing a deal with CJ.
If you think numbers are boring, sorry. If not, I hope this shed at least a little light on the whole "wher be our moneyz!!?!"