We’ve been using this space to share the insights of former Redskins cap guru J.I. Halsell, who’s worked for the league as well as for one of the biggest agencies in the business, Priority Sports, as a contract advisor. I think he does a good job of making the cap understandable for the layman (like me). You must agree, because his posts have been pretty popular.
Here are a couple more questions and answers from J.I.
Former Jets GM John Idzik was criticized by some and hailed by others for creating several million dollars in cap space, then sitting on it during the final year he ran the team, contending that there weren’t quality players available and that he’d rather spend the money the next year. In general, is this a wise strategy?
In personal finance, it is normally ill-advised to spend money just because you have it. However, if there is need in your household that must be addressed, then spending the money is most likely prudent. Some would argue that the Jets under Idzik had many needs in their proverbial household; Idzik obviously differed in his opinion. Clubs like the Packers eschew veteran free agency and instead prefer to build through the draft and reward those home-grown players with cap dollars on their second contracts. In my opinion, given the various uncertainties (scheme, comfort, et al) with signing a pricey veteran free agent, the most prudent use of cap dollars is on your own because you know what you’re getting. The key to this philosophy, however, is that you have to draft and develop players. If you unsuccessfully develop players, then you have to go into the uncertainty that is free agency to address your needs.
For a healthy team that enjoys success over the long run, what does the team’s cap picture look like? Where is the money spent? What percent of the cap is usually bundled up in how many players? Is most of the cap space devoted to defense or offense? On average, how much of a team’s cap space is devoted to the starting QB?
Sustained organizational success in the league is often correlated to the presence of an established franchise QB. Accordingly, a club’s biggest cap allocation is (usually) at the QB position, where the average allocation per player is 3.1%, compared to an average of 1.3%-1.8% for all other positions per player. The split between offense and defense in terms of cap allocation is fairly even at 44.8% and 42.9%, with the balance of cap allocations consisting of specialists and players no longer on the roster.
As always, don’t forget to follow J.I. on Twitter, and if you’re serious about finding a niche in the game that few people pursue, give serious consideration to joining his site, NFL Contract Metrics.