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Old 12-03-2004   #1
Dime
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AJ, Do you have our Cap situtation going into next year?

Last edited by Dime; 12-03-2004 at 02:47 PM. Reason: Advised another might be bettersuited for question
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Old 12-03-2004   #2
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AJ is the man to ask this question.
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Old 12-04-2004   #3
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I'm in the process of updating my worksheet and don't have the exact numbers but in mid-July, ESPN was reporting a figure around 3.3 million under. That was back when they were only counting the top 51 salaries.

This is a bit of guesswork mixed in with real numbers but since then, they have added salary 52 and 53 to the cap number in addition to 6 guys on IR (Anderson, Bell x 2, Joppru, Symons, Walker) and 8 practice squad players. And on the positive side there was the Coleman restructure. And this doesn't factor in any higher priced guys who didn't make the final cutdowns in late August who were replaced by lower priced guys.

The IR guys cap hits are around 2.51 million by my calculations. so if you figure salary 52 and 53 were rookie minimums (230k each), and the practice squad total is about 570k, then you have an additional 3.54 million burden on the cap. Factor in the Coleman restructure which saved about 500k and they are probably just barely under the cap now - probably between 250k and a half-mill.

Around the end of February the TV gross revenues will be annnounced and the current cap number of $80,582,000 will go up by 4 or 5 mill giving everyone a little breathing room.

But then, all of the veteran contracts will continue to excalate and eat away at next year's cap room. Plus, the Texans have some challenges next year. Carr has a big option due next March; Payne, Bradford (he's a goner - that's a $2.2 mil savings), DeLoach, Sears (probably will keep only 1 of those two) and a bunch of others are either RFAs or UFAs.

The days of double digit cap room are over and they won't spend in free agency like they did last year because they won't have the room. In other words, expect them to make a run at a guys like Lamont Jordan instead of guys like Shaun Alexander and Edgerrin James. This team will be pretty much built after the 2005 draft and FA period. What they will augment with next year will be more young players to fill in depth on what will be veteran units on both sides of the ball.

The "we're still a young team" excuse is no longer valid entering next season. I could argue that's the case already for our defense but I'll cut them a little (very little) slack because of three rookie starters and three others in new positions or new systems. A lot of teams do very well with young players and players in new systems so that's often an overused excuse for bad play. Got off on a tangent there - that's an entirely different theme - but it's a natural sidebar on any cap discussion.

Last edited by aj.; 12-04-2004 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 12-04-2004   #4
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Thank you for the information and analysis. I look forward to seeing the updated worksheet.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
... expect them to make a run at a guys like Lamont Jordan instead of guys like Shaun Alexander and Edgerrin James...
I believe they have always had their eye on Lamont Jordan. My guess is they like his style, character and work ethic, although I don't know much about Jordan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
The "we're still a young team" excuse is no longer valid entering next season...
I generally disagree with this sentiment.

- How many QBs had their best year in their 3rd year? (going into his 6th year, everyone was saying Peyton Manning couldn't win a playoff game, even with Harrison and James)
- How many WRs had their best year iin their 2nd year? (Harrison won his first playoff game in his 8th yr.)
- How many RBs had their best year in their 2nd year?

Wand, Babin, Robinson, Earl all playing for the first time.
Pitts, Wong, Coleman playing new positions.
3 out of 5 new to O-line.

I don't think the Texans are as young as they were ... and they are playing better.

After next year's draft they will have finally had a full four year cycle (some drafted players with 3 yrs experience, 2 yrs exp., 1 yr exp., 0 yrs exp). Every other team has had a full four year cycle.

I think that teams generally have less quality depth and stability than in years gone by, because of the salary cap. I also think that the Texans feel less young because of their stability (probably by design) - same GM, Head Coach, Coordinators, starting QB - not many teams have that kind of stability (Pats, Colts, etc.)
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Old 12-04-2004   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
I'm in the process of updating my worksheet and don't have the exact numbers but in mid-July, ESPN was reporting a figure around 3.3 million under. That was back when they were only counting the top 51 salaries.

This is a bit of guesswork mixed in with real numbers but since then, they have added salary 52 and 53 to the cap number in addition to 6 guys on IR (Anderson, Bell x 2, Joppru, Symons, Walker) and 8 practice squad players. And on the positive side there was the Coleman restructure. And this doesn't factor in any higher priced guys who didn't make the final cutdowns in late August who were replaced by lower priced guys.

The IR guys cap hits are around 2.51 million by my calculations. so if you figure salary 52 and 53 were rookie minimums (230k each), and the practice squad total is about 570k, then you have an additional 3.54 million burden on the cap. Factor in the Coleman restructure which saved about 500k and they are probably just barely under the cap now - probably between 250k and a half-mill.

Around the end of February the TV gross revenues will be annnounced and the current cap number of $80,582,000 will go up by 4 or 5 mill giving everyone a little breathing room.

But then, all of the veteran contracts will continue to excalate and eat away at next year's cap room. Plus, the Texans have some challenges next year. Carr has a big option due next March; Payne, Bradford (he's a goner - that's a $2.2 mil savings), DeLoach, Sears (probably will keep only 1 of those two) and a bunch of others are either RFAs or UFAs.

The days of double digit cap room are over and they won't spend in free agency like they did last year because they won't have the room. In other words, expect them to make a run at a guys like Lamont Jordan instead of guys like Shaun Alexander and Edgerrin James. This team will be pretty much built after the 2005 draft and FA period. What they will augment with next year will be more young players to fill in depth on what will be veteran units on both sides of the ball.

The "we're still a young team" excuse is no longer valid entering next season. I could argue that's the case already for our defense but I'll cut them a little (very little) slack because of three rookie starters and three others in new positions or new systems. A lot of teams do very well with young players and players in new systems so that's often an overused excuse for bad play. Got off on a tangent there - that's an entirely different theme - but it's a natural sidebar on any cap discussion.


Great post AJ. I guess we won't be able to afford some stud dl or ol in free agency assuming one is available. I agree Bradford is a goner. Walker should never have been signed through 2009. He will be 32 in February. I never understood why teams sign older players to big long term contracts. Walker will never be worth what the Texans are paying him.
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Old 12-04-2004   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bckey
Walker should never have been signed through 2009. He will be 32 in February. I never understood why teams sign older players to big long term contracts. Walker will never be worth what the Texans are paying him.
Had we known we were going to sigh R.Smith and that Seth Payne would recover from his knee injury, we may not have resigned Walker, atleast not at the price we agreed to. But I think we were desparate for down lineman
at the time, and consequently paid a hefty premium for Walker.
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Old 12-04-2004   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
The "we're still a young team" excuse is no longer valid entering next season...

Mistril: I generally disagree with this sentiment.
I'll take it one step further. Our defense is getting pretty damm old. I'd venture the guess that we have one of the more veteran units in the league. Time in position for guys like Wong and Coleman is nothing but an excuse. I'll cut Robaire a little slack this year but not next. A lot of teams start rookies. We start three. Big deal. Produce. With all the vets around them, they are in a great environment to succeed. All three of them are doing pretty good already if you ask me. Earl took Eric Brown's job away from him in two starts.

Entering 2005:

Glenn 12th season
Walker 11th season
Coleman 10th season
Payne 9th season
Sharper 9th season
Wong 8th season
Foreman - if he's still here - 7th season
Smith 6th season

That's 8 of 11 defensive starters with 6 or more years of exp and 5 of those with 9 or more. Seven of the defensive starters have been here since the start. It's pretty easy to see that the core of this group doesn't have much time left together.

The offense is obviously younger than the defense. There is actually a nice mix of young and old on the offense. We are young at WR and RB and LT but again, I will be relentless in my debate against the "we are still a young team" excuse after the Cleveland game on January 2. Carr, Pitts, and Gaffney are all entering their primes next year (4th year starters) and then there's veterans like McKinney (8 yrs), Wiegert (11 yrs), Bruener (11 yrs), Wade (6 yrs), Norris (5 yrs). Yes, it takes an OL more time to gel than almost any unit on the field so I think we can expect improvement in that area next year.

Drew Brees has as many NFL starts as David Carr. He might be headed to a Pro Bowl if he keeps it up (sure, we don't have a LT but they don't have an AJ either). It's time to take off the baby booties and stop coddling these guys as if we're going to be an expansion team forever. Four or five years is a career for a lot of guys and we're entering our 4th year next year. The new Browns made it to the playoffs in 4 years so that's the benchmark as far as I'm concerned.

Look at New England's offensive front entering next year:

Graham 4th year
Ashworth 4th year
Neal 4th year
Koppen 3rd year
Hochstein 5th year
Light 5th year.

They are a younger unit than the Texans if you look at total experience. I'm sure they aren't using the "well we're still young" excuse up there today much less next year.

Last edited by aj.; 12-04-2004 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 12-04-2004   #8
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On HPF early this year, I went through a fairly lengthy post stating that the problem with the Texans defense is that the team has few players who still can get better. In other words, we have what we have on defense, while all the youth and at least replacable parts are on offense.

At the time i thought the defense is a year or two away from being old. Anyway, this off season the team has to get some youth in the DL, ILB and another young Cb. the reserves on defense are just that either should be reserves (Sears, deloach, McCree) or guys who are special team players (evans, bell, etc)
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Old 12-04-2004   #9
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Quote:
At the time i thought the defense is a year or two away from being old.
I see a guy with 10 years in the league and I see a guy who's near the end of his career. In two years, more than half of our defensive starters will have 9-13 years of experience and if the salary cap hasn't gotten us by then, wear and tear will.
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Old 12-04-2004   #10
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aj, when do you expect the salary cap to take an issue with the team? With the huge signing contracts of Walker, Smith, and Wade on top of Carr, Johnson's, Glenn's and others...it looks like someone major will need to be cut before the 06' season.
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Old 12-04-2004   #11
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great thread so far.

now lets compare this to the rest of our division.

titans : mcnair is considering retirement and their going to be in a reconstructive mode for a year or 2. as i understand it their cap situation is not good.

on the positive side theyve always been good at evaluating talent (i'm not so much thinking of superstars as i am blue colar players who get the job done at a reasonable price). in addition to that i view fisher as one of the best coaches in the nfl.

colts : cap trouble around the corner. although i think mannning will restructure his contract in an effort to keep harrision and james, they wont have much left and will have to continue building their defense with the draft (wich can be a **** shoot). james and harrision are past the prime of their carrers and one would expect their performances to level off (one might hope). furthermore, i think the colts will eventually fall victim to their success. winning means higher contracts and a musical chair coaching situation (one might hope).

jags : quality young qb. and the core of the defense is also young. the running back situation has been more solidified in the event of more taylor injuries. theyve added playmakers on offense who should only get better.

SO HERES MY QUESTION : whats their cap situation like? they have quality players and they're young. are they going to be able to spend more then us in free agency?

its probably not fair of me to ask a.j. about an entirely diffrent teams cap situation ,but it will have a direct impact on us. a.j. if you can be of some assitance i'd appreciate it. and if someone else has any clue, please share.
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Old 12-04-2004   #12
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Quote:
aj, when do you expect the salary cap to take an issue with the team? With the huge signing contracts of Walker, Smith, and Wade on top of Carr, Johnson's, Glenn's and others
There will be more and more issues from this point forward. Carr has a big option bonus due in March. Walker, Wade, and Smith's contracts run through '09. How many years do you think Walker has left? If the Texans prorated their bonuses equally over the life of the contracts, they have a lot of signing bonus (30 million just for those three guys) prorated out to future years so it will be important for those guys to fulfill as many years of their contracts as they can.

Walker, Wade, and Smith's cap numbers in '06 will be in the 5-6 million range as will Aaron Glenn's. McKinney's cap hit is almost 4 million next year. You think he's worth that? Wiegert will be around 5 million in '06. Eric Brown has a big jump in '06. He's probably already a candidate for release if Glenn Earl continues to improve and Ramon Walker returns. Jay Foreman's number doesn't get totally unwieldy (over 3 mill) until '06. Sharper and Wong become UFAs after '05.

Not trying to be an alarmist...they are not going to cap hell anytime soon. And it's ok to have a few guys with big cap numbers. That's normal. It's just that the free cap ride is over with this team and cap management is going to become far more challenging, especially after '05.

Last edited by aj.; 12-04-2004 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 12-04-2004   #13
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Another excellent post. Thank you for the effort!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
A lot of teams start rookies. We start three. Big deal. Produce...
I'd be curious how many winning teams (which is what we want to be) have a unit (offense or defense - and not because of injuries (I don't think Earl is starting because of injuries)) starting 3 rookies, like we do on defense (only one unit is on the field at a time). I'd be surprised if it's "Lots."

Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
I'll take it one step further. Our defense is getting pretty damm old...
I agree, but in fairness I think the Texans have generally really only had 1 draft for defense (and 2 for offense). After next year's draft (4 first day picks), you might feel they have a better balance of young and old on defense.

I would also add that some of the players the Texans brought in (generally on defense) in 2002, by expansion draft, or FA, are on the lea side of their careers. I'm not critical of this however, because they weren't too old when they were originally brought in and a developing team needs some veterans so that the younger players develop. It is true, however, that their careers may twilight as the Texans become a consistent contender.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
The offense is obviously younger than the defense. There is actually a nice mix of young and old on the offense... Look at New England's offensive front entering next year:

Graham 4th year
Ashworth 4th year
Neal 4th year
Koppen 3rd year
Hochstein 5th year
Light 5th year.

...
Having 3, 4 and 5 year players is different than, 2 yr (Johnson, Davis, Wand) and 3 yr (Carr Gaffney, Pitts) players, particularly at QB and particularly when part of the QBs development was with 'part of a team' (Drew Brees had LT from day 1).

I don't really disagree with a lot of what you suggest. I suspect that part of the difference is that I'm speaking about the current Texans and you clearly were talking about the Texans next year. My bad I suppose ...

I guess I would say that after the fourth draft (and the introduction of 4 first day players), the Texans will be pretty much a normal team (in terms of numbers of starters with 4 or less years experience), although they will have a lot of young players, in key positions - QB, 'star' WR, CB, LT, etc. without ANY playoff experience. But every young, less experienced player has to play his first playoff game sometime.

They certainly will not be like a first year expansion team.
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Old 12-04-2004   #14
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Quote:
Graham 4th year
Ashworth 4th year
Neal 4th year
Koppen 3rd year
Hochstein 5th year
Light 5th year.

...

Having 3, 4 and 5 year players is different than, 2 yr (Johnson, Davis, Wand) and 3 yr (Carr Gaffney, Pitts) players, particularly at QB and particularly when part of the QBs development was with 'part of a team' (Drew Brees had LT from day 1).
Those are next year's service numbers for New England. This year they are in their 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, 4th and 4th years.
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Old 12-04-2004   #15
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AJ

Please enlighten me, I dont know this.

If we trade a player to another team. We eat the bonus right, but the rest is passed to the other team? right?
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Old 12-04-2004   #16
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Quote:
I'd be surprised if it's "Lots."
What I said was a lot of teams start rookies - I didn't say a "lot" of teams start 3 rookies. I'm sure not many (if any) do. That still doesn't make us a young team. It's a veteran unit with three rookie starters (two until the Denver game). If a rookie outplays the vet - as is the case with Earl over Brown - I think that says more about the lack of talent we've had over the first three years.

I know the Vikings start 2 rooks on defense -- Thomas and Udeze.

The Jets start two on defense - Vilma and Eric Coleman.

Last edited by aj.; 12-04-2004 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 12-04-2004   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dime
AJ

Please enlighten me, I dont know this.

If we trade a player to another team. We eat the bonus right, but the rest is passed to the other team? right?
Any prorated signing bonus accelerates to the trading teams cap for that year. The new team picks up the rest of the contract - base salary only and none of the prorated signing bonus. There still may be roster bonuses, workout bonuses, etc, in the contract that the new team has to pay.
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Old 12-04-2004   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
Those are next year's service numbers for New England. This year they are in their 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, 4th and 4th years.
Yeah, I get that I messed things up by talking about this year while you were talking next.

Let me clarify (this year ie Carr is in his 3rd yr) ...

Pats drafted players. . - 1 with 2 yrs; 3 with 3 yrs and 2 with 4 yrs
Texans drafted player - 3 with 2 yrs; 3 with 3 yrs and 0 with 4 yrs

I would say we are somewhat younger and that having your QB younger is somewhat of a factor. Clearly, however, I agree that while we will have somewhat less experienced guys (the Pats young guys have playoff experience, while some of our guys were on a truly expansion team in 2002), we are arriving.
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Old 12-04-2004   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
What I said was a lot of teams start rookies - I didn't say a "lot" of teams start 3 rookies. I'm sure that not many do. I know the Vikings start 2 rooks on defense -- Thomas and Udeze.
Clearly. I didn't mean to imply you said lots of teams start 3 rookies. I was just pointing out that it's different 'starting rookies' and 'starting 3 rookies on 1 unit,' which is what we have to do to develop.

Hey, next year (which is what I think you are generally talking about), I wouldn't expect we will be starting 3 rookies on 1 side of the ball either.
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Old 12-04-2004   #20
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appreciate all the help
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