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Old 01-30-2012   #1
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Default TexansChick talking salary cap with Andrew Brandt of National Football Post

Talking Texans salary cap with Andrew Brandt of National Football Post

Today’s blog guest is Andrew Brandt, president of National Football Post and NFL business analyst for ESPN. You can find his NFP columns here, and his Twitter is @adbrandt.

Just asked him a few questions about the Texans salary cap situation to just get another voice in the mix:

Difficult for many to get an accurate view of different team’s salary cap situations based on public information. What is the Texans current situation?

We still do not know where the Cap will land for 2012 and the amount of space teams will have. At last check the Texans had about 5M of room assuming a flat Cap of around 120M, although that was with 47 players under contract. It appears they will be snug against the Cap depending on what they do with other high-priced players.

The Texans have publicly stated they want their free agents back. So far, the players have expressed the intention of wanting to be with the team and have acted in ways consistent with that. Even if the team thinks this is possible, what are the logistically possible ways if any of structuring things so that actually happens? What are the downsides to these approaches if any.

There is always the balance for teams of playing for the present and for the future. Without dealing with the Texans specifically, if teams are only worried about the short term, it is always possible for teams to spend what they wish and push out ramifications. That philosophy usually leads to long-term issues of releasing players and “dead money” cluttering their Cap.

I have always been a believer in a “pay as you go” strategy, not building up large charges for the future that will affect the product down the road.

At a minimum, fans want obtain fair value for Mario Williams if he leave the Texans. How would that best be structured, and what would be fair value for him?

Not exactly sure what you mean here. If a player is a UFA, the team receives no “value” for him if he leaves other than a potential compensatory draft pick in 2013 somewhere in the mid-to-late rounds. If the team wants to sign him, that is a negotiation based on comparable players and contracts. If the team wants to place the Franchise Tag on him, that will require a substantial one-year tender that will count on the Cap and allow him to sign the contract immediately and have it become guaranteed.

Read different publicly reported cap numbers for Mario Williams. The one that seems to be right is the number 120% of his 13.8 million salary, which would be $16.56 million. So this number is too high to franchise for purpose of trade?

Sounds high to just be a placeholder to trade, especially with Cap concerns.

Other teams have more salary cap space than the Texans. In a National Football Post article, you explained how the Texans could try to keep Arian Foster: The risks of a restricted tender, and the more certain approach of franchising him. What sort of multi-year deal would be realistic for him given the Texans current salary cap situation?

If the two sides do enter negotiations, there will be the usual parry about what are the appropriate parameters, certainly with discussion of contracts such as Chris Johnson, DeAngelo Williams, Stephen Jackson, Maurice Jone-Drew and others. It will be interesting to see what goes on with similar situations in Baltimore (Rice) and Chicago (Forte).

Thanks to Andrew for his time.

Thanks to Andrew for confirming things you probably already know…that the Texans are going to have great challenges re-signing their free agents. I specifically talked about Williams and Foster, but there’s players like center Chris Myers, and some other contracts coming down the road that may be issues.

I think that given their preferences, Mario Williams and Arian Foster would prefer to stay with this team and this staff. But I also think that Vonta Leach would have preferred to stay a Texan too, but more money could be found elsewhere at another competitive team.

Fortunately, this year is a more normal year than last. That the draft comes after when free agent decisions are made.

Given cap considerations, this may be one of those years where the best free agent acquisitions are keeping the players you can keep at sane numbers, and then filling your needs with drafted players. Never like the uncertainty of this time of year.

http://blog.chron.com/texanschick/20...football-post/
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Old 01-30-2012   #2
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Default Re: TexansChick talking salary cap with Andrew Brandt of National Football Post

I posted a comment on there, but it doesn't show up

I just want to know if Brandt's quote of "At last check the Texans had about 5M of room assuming a flat Cap of around 120M" includes the 2011 expiring contracts. I don't see how the Texans drop 15 million off the books for Mario and only have 5 million to work with.
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Old 01-30-2012   #3
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Default Re: TexansChick talking salary cap with Andrew Brandt of National Football Post

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I posted a comment on there, but it doesn't show up
It's up. Comments have to be manually approved.
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Old 01-30-2012   #4
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Default Re: TexansChick talking salary cap with Andrew Brandt of National Football Post

And this is why I was howling mad ready to trade MW this past offseason. The Texans have a lose-lose situation now.
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Old 01-30-2012   #5
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And this is why I was howling mad ready to trade MW this past offseason. The Texans have a lose-lose situation now.
Did nobody else watch this defense play the final three months of the season? What is everyone concerned about? Mario soaked up 12-15% of the entire 2011 cap (while hanging out in street clothes) and yet the Texans had a very good offense and the best defense in the NFL over those three months. Getting Mario's cap number off the books is a winning situation. Heck, even if they screw up and sign him to a long term deal, his cap number the next couple seasons will be significantly less than this season and we will have Mario and some room to add something in FA this off-season without losing anyone significant.
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Old 01-30-2012   #6
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Default Re: TexansChick talking salary cap with Andrew Brandt of National Football Post

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Did nobody else watch this defense play the final three months of the season? What is everyone concerned about? Mario soaked up 12-15% of the entire 2011 cap (while hanging out in street clothes) and yet the Texans had a very good offense and the best defense in the NFL over those three months. Getting Mario's cap number off the books is a winning situation. Heck, even if they screw up and sign him to a long term deal, his cap number the next couple seasons will be significantly less than this season and we will have Mario and some room to add something in FA this off-season without losing anyone significant.
I watched every single snap of it. My only question with MW is depth if/when we lose him and I hope and pray he signs somewhere other than the AFC South. Jax has tons of cap space and is a WHOLE lot closer to his home.
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Old 01-30-2012   #7
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I watched every single snap of it. My only question with MW is depth if/when we lose him and I hope and pray he signs somewhere other than the AFC South. Jax has tons of cap space and is a WHOLE lot closer to his home.
Depth is the reason to let him go. This isn't a debate between Mario and Braman. The Texans need to cut Mario loose so they can add talent at WR, CB, and also replace his spot with a quality OLB, while still being able to sign Foster, Myers, Brisiel, Dreessen and being in position to handle the 2013 off-season, which will be a MONSTER!

Let me repeat, I'm not okay going into the season with our OLB depth chart looking like this:

Barwin
Reed
Braman
Nading.

I'm proposing we cut Mario loose and use that cap room to do something like the following in free agency: Robert Meachem, Matt Roth (OLB), and Richard Marshall.
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Old 01-30-2012   #8
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Default Re: TexansChick talking salary cap with Andrew Brandt of National Football Post

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Depth is the reason to let him go. This isn't a debate between Mario and Braman. The Texans need to cut Mario loose so they can add talent at WR, CB, and also replace his spot with a quality OLB, while still being able to sign Foster, Myers, Brisiel, Dreessen and being in position to handle the 2013 off-season, which will be a MONSTER!

Let me repeat, I'm not okay going into the season with our OLB depth chart looking like this:

Barwin
Reed
Braman
Nading.

I'm proposing we cut Mario loose and use that cap room to do something like the following in free agency: Robert Meachem, Matt Roth (OLB), and Richard Marshall.
Meachem is garb.
Marshall is OK, but we get to stunt the growth of CBs when we can draft depth?
Roth I'd be cool with.

I've heard FAR too many Texans fans ask about Meachem. Sorry ass can't even start over Henderson. Too many drops and not that great a route runner.
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Old 01-30-2012   #9
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Meachem is garb.
Marshall is OK, but we get to stunt the growth of CBs when we can draft depth?
Roth I'd be cool with.

I've heard FAR too many Texans fans ask about Meachem. Sorry ass can't even start over Henderson. Too many drops and not that great a route runner.
I have to disagree with you on Meachem. This team needs a playmaker at WR. Meachem has that ability and elite speed. Also, he is a very good blocker. Ask Mario. Any #2 WR the Texans grab in FA will have flaws. Meachem is a guy that can be signed for something reasonable: 5 yrs. and $20 or so. I think he complements the team well and is a very good backup for AJ. Meachem's presence forces the bracketed coverage in the secondary that we don't have when AJ is injured.

Regarding Marshall, remember that Jason Allen is a FA. I sure would hate to go into the season with Jackson lining up opposite Joseph and have only the unproven group of: McManis, Harris, and Carmichael behind them (with McCain in the slot). One injury to Joseph and the defense would be in serious trouble!
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Old 01-31-2012   #10
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Default Re: TexansChick talking salary cap with Andrew Brandt of National Football Post

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I have to disagree with you on Meachem. This team needs a playmaker at WR. Meachem has that ability and elite speed. Also, he is a very good blocker. Ask Mario. Any #2 WR the Texans grab in FA will have flaws. Meachem is a guy that can be signed for something reasonable: 5 yrs. and $20 or so. I think he complements the team well and is a very good backup for AJ. Meachem's presence forces the bracketed coverage in the secondary that we don't have when AJ is injured.

Regarding Marshall, remember that Jason Allen is a FA. I sure would hate to go into the season with Jackson lining up opposite Joseph and have only the unproven group of: McManis, Harris, and Carmichael behind them (with McCain in the slot). One injury to Joseph and the defense would be in serious trouble!
I'm in! Hell, I'll cover that with my lunch money.
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Old 01-31-2012   #11
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Default Re: TexansChick talking salary cap with Andrew Brandt of National Football Post

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I have to disagree with you on Meachem. This team needs a playmaker at WR. Meachem has that ability and elite speed. Also, he is a very good blocker. Ask Mario. Any #2 WR the Texans grab in FA will have flaws. Meachem is a guy that can be signed for something reasonable: 5 yrs. and $20 or so. I think he complements the team well and is a very good backup for AJ. Meachem's presence forces the bracketed coverage in the secondary that we don't have when AJ is injured.

Regarding Marshall, remember that Jason Allen is a FA. I sure would hate to go into the season with Jackson lining up opposite Joseph and have only the unproven group of: McManis, Harris, and Carmichael behind them (with McCain in the slot). One injury to Joseph and the defense would be in serious trouble!
I suppose you don't watch the saints much if you're calling meacham a #2 option. Truth be told, the texans don't need a #2 wr, they need a #2 who can be a #1. That guy isn't meacham at all. That guy the texans are looking for is either in the draft(floyd or jefferey) or via free agency (wayne,v jackson,colston) not meacham. In case you don't know or don't care or both, they're plenty of ways to sign the neccessay people without exposing you're best defensive player. You don't let williams go to sign meacham.
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Old 01-31-2012   #12
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I suppose you don't watch the saints much if you're calling meacham a #2 option. Truth be told, the texans don't need a #2 wr, they need a #2 who can be a #1. That guy isn't meacham at all. That guy the texans are looking for is either in the draft(floyd or jefferey) or via free agency (wayne,v jackson,colston) not meacham. In case you don't know or don't care or both, they're plenty of ways to sign the neccessay people without exposing you're best defensive player. You don't let williams go to sign meacham.
A few things:

1. Mario isn't our best defensive player... Cushing or Joseph is. After that, we can have an argument (J.J.Watt, Antonio Smith, Mario Williams, Connor Barwin). Being the first pick in the draft doesn't make him the best player on the team.

2. Mario is exposed. He is a unrestricted free agent. His franchise number is prohibitive and the Texans are up against the cap. If they sign Mario to a big deal this off-season, they won't do anything significant in free agency and then they will lose some key players next off-season.

3. The team lets Mario walk to remain cap healthy, not to sign Robert Meachem.

4. Meachem has averaged about 16 yards per catch in his career and has proven very capable of making big plays. He has elite speed can stretch the defense. I'm not opposed to drafting a WR, but I am suggesting the Texans need to add a veteran WR with attributes like Meachem's. I'll trust the Texans' pro scouts to determine exactly who they like for that role.

5. I don't see the Texans spending the money it would take to sign Wayne or Jackson, particularly Wayne, given his age. I'm assuming the Saints will keep Colston or Meachem and I assume it would be Colston. Also, Colston doesn't have the speed I think the Texans need to add at WR.
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Old 01-31-2012   #13
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Default Re: TexansChick talking salary cap with Andrew Brandt of National Football Post

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A few things:

1. Mario isn't our best defensive player... Cushing or Joseph is. After that, we can have an argument (J.J.Watt, Antonio Smith, Mario Williams, Connor Barwin). Being the first pick in the draft doesn't make him the best player on the team.
Ridiculous. Is there any metric, other than your eyes (because mine tell me he's easily our best defensive player, and Cincinatti's would agree as they didn't even resign Joseph), that would back that up? Mario has more all-pro selections (good metric), more pro bowls (bad metric). He's 25th on the active career sack list (only Tamba Hali is as young higher on the list and only by half a sack), and will command a significantly higher salary than Joseph. Cushings great, but not as good as either of them.

Quote:
2. Mario is exposed. He is a unrestricted free agent. His franchise number is prohibitive and the Texans are up against the cap. If they sign Mario to a big deal this off-season, they won't do anything significant in free agency and then they will lose some key players next off-season.
If they sign Mario, it will be to a deal lower than last years deal. And that's without any creative stuff that might delay some money to the bigger TV deal years 2014 plus.
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Old 01-31-2012   #14
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Meachem is garb.
Marshall is OK, but we get to stunt the growth of CBs when we can draft depth?
Roth I'd be cool with.

I've heard FAR too many Texans fans ask about Meachem. Sorry ass can't even start over Henderson. Too many drops and not that great a route runner.
Me being indifferent towards the signing of a guy who had never made a probowl is sig worthy? lol... There were much better quotes than mine in that thread.
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Old 01-31-2012   #15
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Ridiculous. Is there any metric, other than your eyes (because mine tell me he's easily our best defensive player, and Cincinatti's would agree as they didn't even resign Joseph), that would back that up?

I'm not going to argue that a subjective statement is objective. But, how about this for a metric:

with Mario, the defense has never performed as well as it did in the last 14 games without him (but with Cushing and Joseph).

Would you really feel better about Mario being on the field but the team missing Cushing or Joseph? (pretty good metric)
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Old 01-31-2012   #16
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Meachem would be a viable replacement for Jacoby, nothing more. My expectation is that he will be looking for WR2 time and money. He ain't finding that here.
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Old 01-31-2012   #17
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Meachem would be a viable replacement for Jacoby, nothing more. My expectation is that he will be looking for WR2 time and money. He ain't finding that here.
I'm surprised at the reaction on this board to Meachem. I think he's a heck of a player. Still, I trust our scouts, coaches, and Rick to make the call. But, I'd say Meachem is certainly a significant upgrade over Jacoby... perhaps that's what you mean by "viable replacement". Meachem has made big plays in the passing game every year he's been in the league. One year, he had 9 TDs. Clearly, that's production Jacoby hasn't approached matching.

The main point is that we need a threat at WR and those guys are available in FA.
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Old 01-31-2012   #18
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Default Re: TexansChick talking salary cap with Andrew Brandt of National Football Post

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I'm surprised at the reaction on this board to Meachem. I think he's a heck of a player. Still, I trust our scouts, coaches, and Rick to make the call. But, I'd say Meachem is certainly a significant upgrade over Jacoby... perhaps that's what you mean by "viable replacement". Meachem has made big plays in the passing game every year he's been in the league. One year, he had 9 TDs. Clearly, that's production Jacoby hasn't approached matching.

The main point is that we need a threat at WR and those guys are available in FA.
I do not trust our scouts and Smith given our WR acquisitions and retention. So I can see your trust in them.
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Old 01-31-2012   #19
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Default Re: TexansChick talking salary cap with Andrew Brandt of National Football Post

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Me being indifferent towards the signing of a guy who had never made a probowl is sig worthy? lol... There were much better quotes than mine in that thread.
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Old 01-31-2012   #20
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Default Re: TexansChick talking salary cap with Andrew Brandt of National Football Post

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I'm not going to argue that a subjective statement is objective. But, how about this for a metric:

with Mario, the defense has never performed as well as it did in the last 14 games without him (but with Cushing and Joseph).

Would you really feel better about Mario being on the field but the team missing Cushing or Joseph? (pretty good metric)
It also never had Wade Phillips, Watt, Joseph, non-rookie healthy Barwin, Manning, or a 2nd legitimate starting saftey.

If you're just comparing to 2010, add in a healthier Ryans and a Cushing that knew what he was doing.

I'm pretty sure all that stuff is worth more than Mario.

As to your hypothetical, it depends what's behind them. CB is still a weakness. Certainly the drop off between 1st and 2nd CB is bigger than the dropoff between 1st and 2nd LB. But that just means that Cushing, Ryans, and Barwin are better than Kareem Jackson. That doesn't mean Joseph is better than Mario.

The NFL is going to value Mario much more than Joseph. A number of good, but not all-pro, pass rushers got deals bigger than Joseph's last year. To me that's the most objective metric.
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