Wednesday, August 05, 2009

InClement Weather: Salary Crunch

Props to Armin on the fantastic work on the SWOT analysis. Be sure to check that out ASAP. His latest was the AFC North. Tweet tweet.

I'll poke my head in, if only for a moment, to talk NFL salaries. Why? Eli Manning's mega-deal (6 years at a reported $97-million, with $35-million guaranteed) has a lot of people talking.

No, I am not here to analyze that contract. Feel free to check that out elsewhere.

What I am here to discuss is a few interesting notes related to team salaries in 2008 and individual salaries in 2009.

Which team had the highest total payroll in 2008? I'll give you three clues:
A) They had the #1 overall pick in 1997.
B) They won a total of 5 games last season.
C) They beat Brett Favre last season.

Which team had the lowest total payroll in 2008? I'll give you three clues:
A) Their star RB likes to spit alcohol on women.
B) They're in the same division as the team listed above (highest payroll).
C) They are no longer in last place, thanks in large part to a newly acquired quarterback.

As for the rest of 2008, there were a few "team-related" surprises:
A) New England was last. Wow.
B) Washington was in the middle of the pack. Wow.
C) Cleveland and New Orleans went #4 and #5 overall.
D) Despite Peyton Manning's insane contract, Indianapolis was in the bottom four.

As for the players, in 2008, the contracts were (of course) MASSIVE for the elite stars.

This man's smiling face was the NFL's highest paid defender last season. Not this year, thanks in large part to the tricky stipulations of NFL contracts.

Now it's important to note four things when viewing NFL player salaries, especially on a year by year basis:
1) No contract is guaranteed for every dollar on the penny. Eli signed for $97-million, but was guaranteed $35-million. I won't say only. You don't say only when $35-million is being discussed.
1) Base salary is often tiny compared to how much they make.
2) Signing bonuses often vault players you'd never expect in certain years. A 5-year/$50-million deal will almost never pay a guy $10-million exactly each season. Not a chance.
3) Cap value can be massaged quite a bit, especially with loaded contracts (whether front or back-loaded)
--> This means that a player might see 75% of his contract in a 2-3 year span, even if it's a 6 or 7-year deal. You'll see what I mean below.

For example, this guy's contract, which earned him over $27-million last season, broke down as such:
Base Salary = $ 2.5 million
Signing Bonus = $25.2 million
Other Bonus = $1,920
Cap Value = $7.9 million

That quarterback happened to win THIS.

But let's compare, for comparison's sake, him to the second highest paid quarterback, who made nearly $17-million last season, with his contract broken down as such:
Base Salary = $370,000
Signing Bonus = $0
Other Bonus = $16.5 million
Cap Value = $4.8 million

That quarterback had a QB rating of 77.2 in his second season as a quarterback, his first as the established full-time starter. Question is: will he have a third?

As for 2009, well that's not official just yet. Why? A few rookies have held out, a quarterback or two is still on the market (*cough* Favre), and the lingering CBA-crisis of 2010 has affected a few potential contract extensions (*cough* Leon Washington).

Nevertheless, Eli vaulted into the 3rd slot in 2009. Who is he behind?

Player #1: Carolina is paying this man more than $1-million a game. A GAME!!! The 1-year franchise tender made him the highest paid defensive player, if only for 1-year, E-V-E-R.

Player #2: Extending for 6-years (some semantics have it at 9-years total) at potentially $118.75-million is nothing to balk at. Especially when you've never won a playoff game. Check that. Never finished the one playoff game you were in. Okay, maybe that wasn't his fault. Nevertheless, the Bungles are paying A LOT of money for a quarterback for a perennial loser.

Right behind Eli? One name you might not know, but SHOULD and one contract you definitely know, but COULD'VE been even richer.

Leave it to the Raiders to hand out an "unprecedented contract". Fortunately, for once, the money was extremely well spent on the top cornerback in the league, Nnamdi Asomugha. Even better for the talented corner, he signed for only 3 years in a whopping $45.3 million. Of course, this is also the same team who gave their offensive MVP - punter Shane Lechler - a 4 year deal worth an insane $16-million. Yes, for a PUNTER!!!

Nobody was surprised when the Skins broke the bank for Haynesworth. Nobody.

Albert Haynesworth, who rumors say turned down an even richer deal from Tampa Bay, broke the free agent bank biggest this offseason with a 7-year, $100-million dollar deal. That's an average of $14-million (plus) a year for the defensive tackle. Not too shabby and not too surprising considering Snyder and Cerato were involved.

If you want some outside perspective, here you terms of total value:
1) A-Rod netted 10 years at $275-million from the Yanks, surpassing his previous record for a sport's contract.
2) The Yankees have handed out four of the five richest contracts ever (A-Rod, Jeter, Teixeira, and Sabathia). Surprise surprise, right?
3) Mike Vick used to have a contaract, at the time the richest in NFL history, for 10 years and $130-million. Now that's a distant memory, of course.
4) Kobe Bryant is the NBA's highest-paid player ever, pre Summer of 2010 Free Agent class though.
5) Bary Zito, Vernon Wells, and Rashard Lewis both have contracts at $126-million. Which surprises you most???

There's plenty to talk about with contracts - especially when guaranteed money is involved or not - and I plan on returning to the issue.

Of course on my teacher's salary, I'll need a good cry or two first. Tweet tweet.

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