Chris Johnson and the 2014 Salary Cap: Corrections and Clarifications

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

I recently posted an article on Chris Johnson in relation to the 2014 salary cap that had some misinformation in it. Here are the corrections.

The point of this series of articles is to better enlighten the fans on the real effect a player's contract has accounting wise against the team's salary cap. Not further confuse the situation. There's always a lot of numbers thrown around that are conflicting and this was meant as a way to clear the muddy waters. Unfortunately, I used wrong information which further perpetuated the confusion.

Apparently Overthecap.com and Spotrac.com have conflicting information on the total amount of dead money still left on CJ's contract. I had used Overthecap.com for this article as they have proven to be the most up to date and reliable in the past. After having some astute readers point out the misinformation, I looked back up his original contract information and realized there was a mistake. Spotrac has it right this time.

I had stated in this article that Chris Johnson was due $6M ($2M per year) in prorated bonus or guaranteed money that would be counted against the cap regardless. If cut this year, he would count $6M against the Titans' cap and then be off the books. Apparently, according to Spotrac, the final $2M is a roster bonus for his final year and not guaranteed and therefor would not accelerate into the cap number this year if cut.

So the final conclusion is everything changes by that $2M. You either cut CJ now and he counts $4M against the cap this year, or he plays for $10M this year and is still "owed" $2M next year.

Secondly, you'll notice I just put the word "owed " in quotation marks. The article was written in terms of the salary cap effect to the team. The only view the team cares about is the effect on their books, not "sunk costs". Yes, Chris Johnson has already received his guaranteed money. It's long been in the bank. So technically the out of pocket expense has been paid. But no one in the front office cares about this and the fans shouldn't either. No one cares about CJ's bank account in this situation. This is solely being looked at from a cap perspective and what the team can and cannot spend.

In the previous article I had stated that if the Titans cut CJ, they would "pay him" not to play. While it's true that CJ already has that money, the effect is the same form a cap spending perspective. Consider it poorly worded. It should read "he will cost the team $6M against the cap to not play", I assumed too much on that not being a hang up on semantics.

Overall, the $2M difference in guaranteed money left on the contract makes even less of a case for CJ staying around. That's more cap space if cut now, but I will admit, it's also less damaging to hold on for one more year if necessary. I still think they hold on to him until they see what happens during the draft, unless the desperately need the cap space for a big free agent signing. Right now, there's no rush on the decision.

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