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Former Green Bay exec Andrew Brandt: "The salary cap is just accounting"


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Every situation is different but there may be some truth to this. Didn't Beane say over and over the Bills weren't going to be major players in FA and then he went out and spent like a drunken sailor.

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Every dollar paid to any player in any form eventually gets applied to the cap.  Teams push money into the future to take advantage of the annual growth of league revenue.  Owners with money can afford to make the necessary escrow deposits for bonuses and salary guarantees.  This all works as long as revenues continue grow, teams don't spend faster than the cap grows, and teams don't pay problem players (like Dareus) that lead to major dead money issues.

 

When players like Hill and AJ Brown are not retained by their teams, it is likely because their new contracts would have caused the team to spend at a rate that exceeded their forecast of available future cap money.  Good organizations operate within a structured salary plan.  You will see them deviate for short periods if they think that they are very close to winning a championship ( Tamp Bay, and Rams).  Eventually, their rate of spending has to be brought back on a sustainable trajectory or they release good players and end up in a "rebuild".  Beane has shown great ability to manage the team spending and pull the trigger on the Miller deal when the opportunity was there. 

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35 minutes ago, BuffaloRebound said:

I think with a new majority public financed stadium and NFL franchise valuations skyrocketing, the Pegulas have no excuses in terms of paying players.  I bet their $1.4b investment is worth at least $3b today with a new stadium on horizon and Broncos selling for $4.5b.  

All relies on cash on hand though. Investment value doesnt translate to immediate cash flow - they'd have to sell the investment for that to happen unless they want to leverage against it. I have no idea their cash flow but my guess is most of it is tied up in other things, hence the challenge for smaller market teams to do what the rams do.

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2 hours ago, Canadian Bills Fan said:

So..... We'll be able to sign Knox then?

Yes!....clearly...the best candidates are your core players who will be around for many years....I expect/hope to see Knox signed to a long term deal during the season.

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10 minutes ago, Ethan in Portland said:

All good points.  It does however make Beane's argument that he had to clean up the cap situation when he got here a bit nonsensical.  

 

It was a useful narrative for a new regime buying themselves time. But it was a bit of a sales job and I said so at the time. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, GunnerBill said:

I have been saying it for years, but I think Andrew Brandt, who was the salary cap guru in Green Bay for a time jointed the Pat McAfee show yesterday to talk salary cap, specifically with the Rams moves and I think this is before the Kupp deal dropped. He does a really excellent job of explaining how so long as you have cash rich owners willing to spend up front the NFL salary cap is not the restriction people think. It's an accounting cap that should not stop good and smart teams from signing players so long as revenues continue to increase.

 

 

 

Remember folks - the salary cap is just accounting. 

 

 

So is accounting accounting. And if you do it wrong, they arrest you and throw you in jail.

 

"Accounting" does not mean "magic." It's a method of keeping track of money. There's still stuff you can do, and stuff you can't do. You keep two sets of books, you get arrested. The IRA fines you. You can spend time in jail. Now the salary cap won't put you in jail, but yes it will cause you problems and tighter situations down the line. 

 

Gunner, you are saying two things here and acting as if they are one.

 

Yes, good and smart teams won't be stopped from singing players. 

 

But no, even good and smart teams will absolutely, factually and without question, not be able to sign everyone they want. All you have to do is ask Beane if there are some guys he'd like to sign if there were no cap. Or any other GM.

 

I factually could buy a Lamborghini now and put it on the credit card. It would cause havoc for me a year or two down the line. Same in any form of accounting, including the cap. 

 

Yes, it's flexible. But it's this simple, you spend more this year, you're borrowing from future years. Yeah, that's accounting. But actions have consequences.

 

And what Brandt is saying is nothing new or interesting. He's saying you can borrow from future years by using signing bonuses, which allow you to pay cash now and have that hit the cap later. Yeah. Exactly the same as you can buy something on your credit card now and put off paying it till later. We all know this. But you DO HAVE TO PAY IT LATER!!! And the money will hit the cap later.

 

 

 

Edited by Thurman#1
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21 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

 

It was a useful narrative for a new regime buying themselves time. But it was a bit of a sales job and I said so at the time. 

Agreed; it’s easier to say the cap needs to be cleaned up than to say we need to cut the malcontents and dead wood. 

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31 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

 

It was a useful narrative for a new regime buying themselves time. But it was a bit of a sales job and I said so at the time. 

I mean if the previous regime used these tricks for players you don't want/need on your roster you kind of do have to clean up a cap situation I think?

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19 minutes ago, WotAGuy said:

Agreed; it’s easier to say the cap needs to be cleaned up than to say we need to cut the malcontents and dead wood. 

Yes, and I'm sure most fans understood that.

 

Beane & McDermott wanted to build their own team as they saw fit, and they just happened to clear up a lot of cap space while doing it.

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9 minutes ago, Warcodered said:

I mean if the previous regime used these tricks for players you don't want/need on your roster you kind of do have to clean up a cap situation I think?

 

Yea the reality was they inherited a .500 football team but were saying we don't think we can win with these guys and we are going to tear it down. So in order to do that they had to create dead cap and then clean that up. But the cap situation they inherited was not a mess the way they portrayed it. They just inherited a squad of players they didn't see as "their guys".

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, ScottLaw said:

Doesn’t matter… @Thurman#1 will be here next March telling us about how quiet an off-season it’s going to be because we don’t have cap space and need to be smart. 

 

 

Yup. I'll be there talking sense.

 

No, I won't be saying anything about "quiet." Quiet isn't a money term. Beane has never been quiet and I don't expect him to start. He does a lot. He just does it in a way that's smart.

 

You can borrow a bit on your card. You just can't borrow without paying it back. Every penny of cash paid out will hit the cap now or down the road. That's fact. Borrow too much and it will cause you pain in the future.

 

The Rams are spending over 30% in cash more than the cap this year. A lot of the reason they can do that is because they have not spent much over the cap the past three years. When you're conservative for a while you can spend a wad of cash. Particularly when you're expecting a significant raise the next year. A really good franchise QB like Stafford is generally a damn smart thing to borrow some money for.

Edited by Thurman#1
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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

 

Yea the reality was they inherited a .500 football team but were saying we don't think we can win with these guys and we are going to tear it down. So in order to do that they had to create dead cap and then clean that up. But the cap situation they inherited was not a mess the way they portrayed it. They just inherited a squad of players they didn't see as "their guys".

 

 

It absolutely was a mess, Bill, it just was.

 

They were paying a .500 football team like it was in a championship window. That's a mess.

 

Were they in cap jail? No. Were they absolutely forced to drop all those guys? No. Were they in bad cap shape for that roster? Yeah.

 

You're dead right that they didn't see that squad as their guys, of course. And that they were not forced to take on all that dead cap. It was a tactical choice. Get rid of those guys and get an absolute ton of cap flexibility in 2020, or keep those cap hits spread out and have very limited cap flexibility for the next couple of years due to the poor contracts Whaley had signed for guys like Dareus, Charles Clay, Tyrod and McCoy. 

 

Not to mention guys who are out of the league like Cordy Glenn, Incognito (a damn good player when his head was on straight, but it wasn't). Eric Wood was a good player with damn bad luck, they had to take the pain there, but didn't have to make him a pre-June 1 designation. They wanted to take all the EWood pain early, to get the cap in much better shape by 2019.

 

 

Edited by Thurman#1
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I love Andrew Brandt.  He had a spot on Ross Tucker’s morning show once a week on NFLR when Ross was still there and would go through this stuff all the time.

 

Bottom line as of June 2nd, 2022, the Pegulas net worth is $5.7 bil. Tiring for 11th in the NFL.  Unlike Jerrah, his wealth is largely tied up in that stadium whereas Terry and Kim are liquid.

 

They can afford if they want whatever they want for cash over cap based on their assessments.  The buck stops with them on the cap.

 

Theyll listen to the boys, but they will make the final call on these extensions.  The cap is exploding especially starting in 2024.  It will go up and up with the new contracts and now Amazon on the mix as they are a Giant.

 

If the Pegulas want Knox and Edmunds in 2023, they can do it.  If they want Davis and Oliver in 2024 (based on 5th year option for Oliver and Davis’s rookie contract being up) they can do it.

 

They can also afford a $20 mil. Extension for Poyer for 2023/24 if they want with $15 mil. guaranteed.  If they want, but he may want more.   It’s not that they can’t do it, it’s do they want to do it as they have to have the cash on hand and they do.

 

Singletary is a goner.  He’s a good guy, but now that we have Cook for a change up outside. We’ll draft another inside explosive power back who will be cheap labor when he’s done.  I don’t see them ever extending him.  They will use RB’s until their rookie contract is up and always keep a draft position for the next one.  It sucks for these guys, but it’s a business.

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1 hour ago, GunnerBill said:

 

It was a useful narrative for a new regime buying themselves time. But it was a bit of a sales job and I said so at the time. 

I agree, kinda. 
 

Because it’s not just selling to the fans, it’s selling to the owners. It’s all dependent on cash rich owners willing to spend, and they are likely much more willing to spend for winners. If Beane went full on cap forward starting with 17, and we were winning 8-9 games with no QB, ownership will tighten the purse. 
 

Now? Beane has a blank check and he knows it.

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3 hours ago, Royale with Cheese said:

 

Isn't as constricting doesn't mean open money spending.  There are salary cap cuts every year.

 

You can't tell me KC didn't think Tyreek Hill wasn't worth the money or AJ Brown wasn't worth the money in TN.  

I don't think that Tennessee thought AJ Brown was worth the money.  If they did, they would have kept him.  Mike Vrabel is a contrarian.  He believes in tough defense, running the football, and throwing play action off of the running game.  The Titans never play in any type of spread, throw the ball all over the field type of offense.  Their offense doesn't value paying Wideouts huge money.    

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This has been going on in one form or another for 30 years or more.  When the Bills were in the Super Bowl, Dallas was making money hand over fist, and Jerry Jones used that cash to restructure contracts so the Cowboys could afford a lot more in terms of payroll.  Polian and Butler were as smart as they come, but Ralph Wilson and his bean counter (whose name I have finally forgotten, thankfully, so please don't remind me, but you know who I'm talking about) would not play the game the way Jones did.  So in the end the Bills couldn't quite keep up in terms of personnel.  They lost some primo FAs during their glory years that would have helped a lot in their last two SBs.  

16 minutes ago, Paup 1995MVP said:

I don't think that Tennessee thought AJ Brown was worth the money.  If they did, they would have kept him.  Mike Vrabel is a contrarian.  He believes in tough defense, running the football, and throwing play action off of the running game.  The Titans never play in any type of spread, throw the ball all over the field type of offense.  Their offense doesn't value paying Wideouts huge money.    

The Titans have figured out that in a pass-heavy league, a team that can run the ball really well will be a team that other defenses aren't prepared to stop.  The Titans and Colts were the two teams that could go heavy and really give the Bills a tough time last year.  This strategy lets teams win a lot of games in the regular season, but then struggle in the playoffs.  The Titans are just sticking with their philosophy, and not paying a lot for talent that doesn't fit in.  If the Titans had a great QB they'd have held onto Brown, but they see what Tannahill can and can't do, and they're making reasonable decisions based on his limitations.

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2 hours ago, Ethan in Portland said:

All good points.  It does however make Beane's argument that he had to clean up the cap situation when he got here a bit nonsensical.  

They were cleaning up but they were like $50 million under the cash minimum spending from 2018-2020. Today they’re about $100 million over the cash minimum.

 

I didn’t check numbers just going off of memory. So I’m probably a little off. But yes they were extremely low spending their 1st few years. All the spending they’ve done the last couple years is basically evening everything out. You have spend a certain minimum in cash over 4 years I believe.

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Posted (edited)

It is true that with restructuring of contracts, the salary cap allows a team to kick the can down the road.  Eventually, it does catch up to a team.  I think the idea is that if you have a mediocre or bad team, it doesn't make sense to overspend and kick the can down the road.  Clean up the mess and get your financial situation in check while you also get your roster in decent shape with younger, cheaper guys on the rise.  That's what the Bills did when McDermott and Beane came aboard and it's essentially what the Sabres are doing now.  Once your roster is such that you can be a serious contender, you then start adding pieces to (hopefully) push your team over top and get a championship, even if that means creating additional expense and restrictions in future years.  The Bills, with Allen in place and a very strong roster, are doing this now.  They can and should continue to do this for the next 5-10 years.  Perhaps when Allen is on the decline (a long ways away) is when they deal with the consequences of kicking the can down the road, strip down the roster, clear the cap, and start over.

Edited by msw2112
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