Saints' Salary Cap scramble is darned near biblical ! : The Whims and Foibles of Sports...
Let us hear from you
Win helps Saints avoid the dreaded 0-5 start! 

Don't forget to check out our inside pages:
Stay Fit: A regular exercise plan can keep you fit
Event Calendar: See where our little roadshow is headed next.
Professional Services Let us write your next Speech for you.

(c) 2015 JWMiller All Rights Reserved
Who would you pick as 2015 Athlete of the Year?American Pharoah
Jordan Spieth
Serena Williams
Leonard Fournette
Tom Brady

Saints' Salary Cap scramble is darned near biblical !

by J.W. Miller on 03/03/13

     In the beginning, there was the Cap, and it was good. NFL owners of diverse means but common interest gazed upon this foundling and were sorely amazed. At last, they had discovered deliverance for their fortunes which were beset by the plagues of sinful reprobates such as players, agents and head coaches. This newborn called the Cap promised a new day of redemption as the clouds cleared and the light of eternal profit was manifest throughout the land.

     But into this joyful and peaceful kingdom came a calamity that beset their world and left this gift in spoil and ruin. It was the darkened cloud of renegotiation, conceived by agents and embraced by compliant club executives who wished to preserve both their oxen and their ass. And behold there was great joy among the players, for protection now was afforded their first born, along with the last born and all the middle born in between. And all it took was a little massaging of the Cap. But there arose a great cry from the owners, whose wailing and gnashing of teeth portended overspending and great sorrow. At least until the least of them saw that renegotiation worked for the best of them.

     Teams reduced their Cap by reworking contracts and pushing more money into future years. And, lo, a great trumpet blast was heard throughout the land. Head coaches now were joyful they could hold onto players longer. Fans sent tidings of great joy because their teams won and they bought more tickets. Upon such an epiphany, the owners, who were forced to drink from this poisoned cup, also rejoiced and told all with ears to hear: "We could have stretched forth our hands and stricken you and your people with termination, and you would have been effaced from the earth. Nevertheless, we have spared you for this purpose: in order to show you our power and in order that our fame may resound throughout the world."

     And that is how the Salary Cap went from a greedy device to control payrolls and spending to a benevolent act that allows a team to spend as much money as it can by delaying the pain until another day. And now, I present the modern translation:

     In the year the Salary Cap took effect, I had a conversation with Saints owner Tom Benson about the benefits of reworking contracts to create more cap room. Benson was not in favor of the practice since creating more cap room simply was a method for a club to spend more money. As a rookie capologist, I had to let that one sink in. We had a veteran team by then with a top-ten payroll, and the Salary Cap put us in the squeeze. I suggested we do what other teams, such as the 49ers were doing, and convert base salaries, which count 100% in the contract year, to bonuses, which were pro-rated over the term of the contract.

     For example, take a player who had a $2 million base salary in the second year of a four-year contract. Converting $1,500,000 of that to a bonus pushes two-thirds of the amount into future Cap years, creating $1 million in Cap room today. To Benson's point, that transaction did not "save" money, it only created room to spend $1 million more this year. We merely pushed $1 million of our obligation further down the road.

     Needless to say, we were discouraged from reworking contracts in those years. So forgive me if I recall that conversation in the context of stories that the current Saints are $20 million or so over the Cap and are frantically reworking contracts to push a large amount of it into future years. The NFL has come around to the thinking that you do what you need to do to keep a team together as long as possible. That is the message I received years ago when I asked former 49er GM Carmen Policy about reworking contracts. "Didn't you know you were pushing large amounts of money into the future and well beyond some players' useful life?" 

     Policy's response was measured, but accurate. "Of course we knew that," he said. "But when you are winning and have a chance to go all the way when do you pull the plug?" I guess that is what a Super Bowl victory will do for you.

Comments (0)

Leave a comment

E-mail us at:
Jim Miller's columns also can be found 
at Bayou Buzz, giving you the best in Louisiana news, politics and sports.
Special pricing!
The inside story of a college athletic department's struggle to survive!
Click HERE to order it now!
Priests and Poltroons
The Heroes and Villains in Sport

Bosox, fans protest Orsillo ouster

Red Sox players saluted broadcaster Don Orsillo after the team's final game Sunday. Boston's play-by-play man since 2005, Orsillo's contract was not renewed by NESN. Fans started an online petition to bring back the announcer who will replace the retiring Dick Enberg in San Diego after the 2016 MLB season.

Will recruit sex story snag Pitino?

The charges that a University of Louisville coaching aide procured women for recruits has critics calling for the heads of Coach Rick Pitino and AD Tom Jurich. Others say the charges, which came in a book by the alleged madam, is another fiction like the Duke lacrosse or Rolling Stone UVA false rape stories.

NFL Week Four Results
Saints' win fuels comeback!

W-Take Saints over Cowboys +4
W-Take Falcons over Texans +6.5
W-Take Panthers over Bucs +3
W-Take Giants +3 at Bills
L-Take Cardinals over Rams +7

Last week's results - 4-1
Season Scoreboard - 10-10

C.J. Spiller eludes the Cowboys' Barry Church on his way to the game-winning touchdown in overtime as the Saints win their first game, 26-20.