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The Titans and the Salary Cap - A Guesstimation

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:

  1. Some contract details might not be exactly right.
  2. I don't know if we take a hit for releasing VY.
  3. 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.

Interesting tidbits:

  • 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!!?!"

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