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Salary Cap Question for Trades

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It has been mentioned that some of our contracts are difficult, if not impossible to trade. At this point, I am all for blowing this franchise up, and starting over. This is unfortunately another wasted year. 

Before I ask my question, I want to say that I have always supported MR & JJ. Love them both, and I think they are VASTLY underrated by a large portion of this franchise's fan base. Probably the 2 greatest players in our long history. They both are good people, represent the team well, are warriors who play hurt, and they compete. Sadly I think it is time for them to go.

Here is my question for the salary cap gurus:

Can the Falcons make a deal with MR, JJ, or another player to restructure their contracts, add money, years, etc. to lesson the salary cap burden in order to make a trade possible/more palatable?

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I found this when searching the same question


There’s more than one way for NFL teams to improve and these three trades would get a big-name player’s albatross contract off the books.

Despite all of the excitement that surrounds NFL free agency, there is a large price to pay for franchises who overspend on the wrong player. When expensive, long-term deals are given out to disappointing players, the team is hamstrung by the contract and unable to back out of the deal in most cases.

Given how these underwhelming players’ contracts are front-loaded, cutting them often costs more than retaining them, preventing the front office from creating cap space and improving the roster.

However, teams have figured out a way to rid themselves of bad deals without taking an unreasonable dead cap hit in the process: they can trade the player. While the original team will still lose cap space equal to whatever signing bonus was not already allocated against the current cap, the guaranteed salary for the remaining years is transferred to the other team; it becomes the new team’s responsibility to pay that player his guaranteed salary.

In order to entice the trade partner into absorbing the deal, the trading team sends a draft pick as an incentive. This way, the team with cap room is compensated with a draft choice for taking on an albatross of a contract, while the team parting with the draft capital frees up space to do with what they please.

For a more in-depth explanation for how dead cap is treated regarding trades, Spotrac lays out a perfect example here.

The most notable example of this occurred in 2015. After backup Brock Osweiler went 5-2 in Peyton Manning‘s stead during the Denver Broncos’ Super Bowl run, he became a hot commodity during the free agency period. Despite only starting seven games, Osweiler was highly sought-after by the Broncos and the Houston Texans.

Houston ultimately outbid Denver, agreeing to a four-year, $72 million ($37 million guaranteed) deal with Osweiler before head coach Bill O’Brein even had time to meet with his new franchise quarterback.

Osweiler performed miserably in his first year in Houston, completing 59 percent of his passes for approximately 3,000 yards, 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He averaged an abysmal 5.8 yards per attempt and mustered a quarterback rating of 72.2. Houston had seen enough and wanted to move on. Given his exorbitant dead cap hit, the only way to get him off the roster and clear cap space was to trade him.

With the Cleveland Browns having the most cap space in the league at that time and being in their ever-rebuilding state, they acquired Osweiler, a 2017 sixth-round pick and a 2018 second-round pick in return for a 2017 fourth-round pick. Houston was able to save $10 million in cap space and $16 million in cash for that season by trading Osweiler.

The Osweiler deal was one of the first trades of its kind in the NFL and set a precedent for how to get rid of a cap-eating contract. The Browns’ sole intent of the trade was to acquire a second-round pick, while the Texans’ sole intent was to clear a bad contract off of its books; nobody actually wanted Osweiler.

While these types of deals are not consummated often, they are growing in popularity. 


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