The NFL requires every team to spend 89% of the salary cap in cash over a four-year period from 2013-2016. The Raiders spend just $63.4 million in cash last season, leaving a $46.1 million deficit to makeup over the next three years.
This can be made up by giving large signing bonuses or roster bonuses to free agents in any of the next three seasons. However, signing bonuses are prorated and would create dead money if that player is released in the future.
The better way to do things is use the available funds to give large roster bonuses, which is exactly what the Raiders are doing. Instead of trying to make up the cash deficit in one year by giving out large signing bonuses, it makes more sense to chip away at it a little bit every year. General manager Reggie McKenzie has been described as a slow and methodical man, so this is likely the route he will go.
Below is a chart that included the current cash the Raiders have devoted to the roster through 2016 according to overthecap.com. These numbers can adjust downwards if a player is cut prior to the expiration of their deal. If that happens, the Raiders would have to make up for it with more spending.
What you will see here is also the minimum needed to spend 89% of each year. No team has to hit the minimum in any one year, but they will have to make it up in the other three if they don’t. Some teams spent a lot of cash in 2013, so they can spend less in 2014, 2015 and/or 2016 if they wish.
|Year||Cash Spending||Cap||%||Min to stay on schedule||Deficit|
The Raiders have some spending to do, but just how much spending is a little harder to determine. The salary cap is only a rough estimate, but if the Raiders don’t start spending cash over and above the cap (signing bonuses that are prorated over the life of the contract), they will have to spend nearly 99% of the salary cap in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to hit the 89% minimum. This is because they spent just 51.5% of the cap in cash in 2013.
Spending can be broken up into two parts. Rookie spending and spending on free agents or extensions. The Raiders don’t have many players that are currently deserving of extension and only the 2013 rookie class will be able to renegotiate their deals by 2016. An extension for linebacker Sio Moore would be possible.
Per overthecap.com’s 2014 rookie pool breakdown, I determined that roughly 75% of the total rookie value contracts will be paid in the next three years. Assuming similar structure going forward, there would be 50% of 2015’s rookie contracts and 25% of 2016 rookie contracts.
Taking what is necessary to spend, adding rookie contracts leaves a remainder of what must be spent to reach 89% each year. Add to that the $15.4 million each year to makeup for 2013’s deficit.
|Year||Rookie Cash Total||Rookie Cash 2013-2016||Current Cash Spend||Cap (Estimated 2015/2016)||FA Spending to Stay on Schedule||Deficit Catch-up From 2013||Total Cash For Free Agents|
Based on these rough estimates, the Raiders need to spend about $14.9 million more in 2014, $60.3 million in 2015 and $106.1 million in 2016. A three-year contract would obviously impact all three of those numbers. Hypothetically, a three-year contract worth $30 million would bring 2014’s number down to $4.9 million, 2015 down to $50.3 million and 2015 down to $96.1 million.