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Silverstein on contract situation

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by JBlood, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

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    Not sure if this was posted previously. 200 million for just Rogers and Matthews will be a challenge, regardless of how the contracts are structured:



    Green Bay Packers: Tough decisions ahead, thanks to salary cap

    By Tom Silverstein
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
    Posted: 01/24/2013 12:01:00 AM CST
    Updated: 01/24/2013 07:33:57 AM CST



    GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It doesn't matter if you're the best team in the NFL or the worst, there is going to be turnover on your roster.
    For some teams like the Green Bay Packers, it's a function of building almost exclusively through the draft and favoring younger players over older ones. Some of the players who won't be back next season might not even know it until late April, when the Packers replace them with draft picks.
    Still, every off-season tough decisions are made based on salary, and the Packers are not exempt this year from having to make them.
    Through prudent salary cap management over the past decade they have never had to completely strip down a team and start over due to bloated veteran contracts.
    This year, through a mechanism negotiated in the last labor agreement and available to all NFL teams, the Packers have been able to carry over to 2013 all $7,010,832 of cap room they had leftover in 2012.
    If they weren't allowed to carry over that money, they would be tight to a 2013 salary cap that is expected to be about the same as last season's $120.6 million limit. They have roughly $120.7 million dedicated to the highest-paid 51 players -- the number the NFL counts in the off-season -- through existing contracts.
    So, with the '12 cap room carried over, the Packers have about $7 million of cap space a month and a half before the start of the new NFL year. Some of that will be shaved off through restricted free agent tenders and contract
    escalators before free agency starts, but they will still be comfortably under the cap.
    Following their 45-31 divisional playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Packers general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy have the task of determining how they can get better.
    At the same time, they have to think about addressing the contracts of future free agents like linebacker Clay Matthews (2014), nose tackle B.J. Raji (2014), quarterback Aaron Rodgers (2015), cornerback Sam Shields (2013, restricted) and tight end Jermichael Finley (2014).
    In order to lock up even two or three of those players it's going to take a lot of cash and salary cap space.
    After making $42.7 million in profit last fiscal year, the cash shouldn't be a problem. President Mark Murphy made it clear last summer that the Packers were able to compete with other franchises when it comes to large signing bonuses, a common tool for keeping salary cap numbers manageable.
    "There's no question there's flexibility," Murphy said of having so much cash around, "but with the salary cap there's limits on what you can do. But I look at it as we can remain competitive."
    The cap factor is something different altogether and it is something that Thompson and vice president of player finance Russ Ball are going to have to manage to get some of those players signed. Anticipating a need for cap room is a big reason the Packers did not offer receiver Greg Jennings a contract extension and are prepared to let him leave in free agency.
    In all likelihood, it's going to require some unsavory trims to get the desired amount of salary cap room to sign players as valuable as Rodgers, Matthews and the others. The Packers could wait out the future free agents and try to sign them after this season, but they would only have a two-month window to get something done before all but Rodgers become free agents.
    So, where can the Packers get the money?
    Here are some potential sources through contract terminations with the cap money the Packers would gain:
    Safety Charles Woodson, $10 million
    Tight end Finley, $8.25 million
    Linebacker A.J. Hawk, $2.25 million
    Center Jeff Saturday, $2.2 million
    Fullback John Kuhn, $2.6 million
    It's a given that Saturday won't be back, and if the Packers really want the cap flexibility to offer contract extensions they're going to have to either release Woodson or get him to take a major pay cut. Assuming the Packers have $5 million of cap room (after the restricted tenders are offered), they could increase that total to $17.2 million by cutting ties with Woodson and Saturday.
    Given they have no other fullbacks on the roster, releasing Kuhn would be a risk, especially when his salary isn't extraordinary. But it's not out of the question.
    Finley and Hawk are other subjects all together.
    McCarthy sure made it seem like Finley would be back when he talked to reporters in his season-ending news conference.
    "I feel very good about the way he finished the year," McCarthy said. "He did some good things (against the 49ers). There was a change in that young man. But we obviously have to look at the first half (of the season), too, and make sure that's part of the evaluation because we're all judged on 17 games."
    Shearing off $8.25 million certainly has to be attractive to Thompson and Ball, but with Jennings leaving they can't afford to just let receiving targets walk.
    Letting Hawk go would be a gamble given Desmond Bishop is coming off a torn hamstring, D.J. Smith tore up his knee during the season, Brad Jones is a free agent and Terrell Manning couldn't get on the field. On the other hand, Thompson may try to find in the draft a bigger, more physical linebacker to play inside and could chance that Bishop, Smith and Manning are a strong enough core.
    Because Hawk has two years left on his contract with $3.2 million of prorated signing bonus to absorb, the net gain is only $2.25 million. If the Packers waited until after June 1 to cut him, they could push the $3.2 million to 2014 and get the full relief of Hawk's $5.45 million salary.
    The roster doesn't have many other players who are candidates for cap relief. Most of the highest-paid players are ones Thompson recently signed to extensions.
    There also aren't a lot of players he needs to re-sign as unrestricted free agents. The group includes receiver Donald Driver, linebacker Erik Walden, running back Cedric Benson and Jones. It's very possible none of them will be back.
    The bottom line is the cost to sign Matthews long-term could be more than $70 million on a five- or six-year deal. Raji's deal shouldn't be too far behind. Rodgers' deal would probably be for six or seven years and worth well more than $100 million.
    There are ways to structure the contracts so the immediate cap hits aren't great, but that would put future years in jeopardy. Thompson and Ball would like to dump as much money from those contracts into the 2013 season, thus making them less burdensome in the future.
    To do that, it means creating as much space as possible this year. And that means roster changes.
    "Change is constant, and I think everybody understands that," McCarthy said. "I don't exactly know what the statistics are, but I know it has been around 20% for us, the way your roster changes every year. That will probably hold true this year."
     
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  2. The Drew

    The Drew #packergang

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    Going to be a scary off-season... I hope TT makes the right moves... In Ted we trust!
     
  3. ivo610

    ivo610 Cheesehead

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    I think we need to group all the contract stuff in 1 thread. Too many duplicates
     
  4. 7thFloorRA

    7thFloorRA Cheesehead

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    You can cut everyone of those guys mentioned above as possible cuts and I would be fine with it. And the hell with giving raji that kind of money.
     
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  5. Shawnsta3

    Shawnsta3 Cheesehead

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    Yeah everybody has Raji getting all this money, because he plays an important decision, but where's the production?
     
  6. BorderRivals.com

    BorderRivals.com Cheesehead

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    I don't get the Kuhn love affair. He's a fullback that's making $2.6M. That's patently absurd. He has a few running plays that are so damn obvious to defenses. And despite being named to Pro Bowls, he's not that great of a true fullback. There's simply no reason to keep him on board for that cost when you can replace him with some late-round pick or UFA. He is replaceable by a much cheaper option.
     
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  7. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

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    Raji has his moments, but too often disappears. We'll see what he gets..... his size is not that unique anymore.
     
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  8. adambr2

    adambr2 Cheesehead

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    I agree. Close to 5 years and $60-$70M for BJ Raji? Umm, no?

    Also agree about Kuhn. We are tying up nearly $6M of salary in a fullback and a kicker. I love TT, but we need to be more efficient than that. These are guys who can be replaced on minimum salary rookies.

    I know it's unpopular to hear with some because Raji and Kuhn are some fan favorites. But I've never seen anything from Raji that makes me think of him as more than serviceable, yet some perceive him to be elite. I really don't know why. He shows flashes at times and gets dominated at other times. If his agent is looking for top DT dollar, it isn't even worth negotiating.
     
  9. DevilDon

    DevilDon Inclement Weather Fan

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    Outside of his important decisions, where do you want him to produce? He occupies blockers, that's his job, there are no stats for that. If you're watching the games you'd see that. Give the man his money, he deserves it.
     
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  10. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    While some of the others mentioned in that article can wait, It's obviously time to make a decision on Finley because with the cap remaining flat and with the upcoming contracts for Rodgers, Matthews (and perhaps Raji) it would be tough to pay Finley $8.25M for another "trial" year. As the article says, dumping as much in bonuses in 2013 lessens the impact of huge contracts in later years.

    Things in Finley's favor: With Jennings likely gone Finley would provide a down field threat and he continued to draw some double teams. According to McGinn, he was much more professional after the first five games and his production improved significantly. He also met weekly with Rodgers which seemed to help his focus. He's still young and is physically gifted. If he comes close to his potential he could consistently stretch Ds and cause more matchup problems for Ds that free other receivers, a great asset for a passing offense at TE.

    Negatives: Obviously his attitude and immaturity over the course of his career. While he is physically gifted it seems to me he lost almost half a step or so with his 2010 injury. He's not great after the catch and according to McGinn he regressed as a run blocker.

    The Packers have to make a decision on him next month. They'll have some idea but won't really know Quarless' status by then. I don’t think another TE on the roster stretches Ds like Finley but a completely healthy Quarless probably comes the closest. If they like a couple of TEs in the draft they'll have no idea if they'll be available where they'd be willing to take them. If Finley would accept less for another trial year it would be an easy decision but that's extremely unlikely. If they decide to extend him, they'd benefit from cap savings (vs. $8M+ in '13) in '13 and perhaps even in '14. But how would the deal impact Rodgers’ and Clay’s deals?

    From the way some post here, If they waive him and he goes on to a great career Thompson will have been ‘brain dead’ for letting him go. If they extend him and he never fully matures, Thompson will have been an idiot for wasting all that money and cap space. Unlike all of us, Thompson and his staff don’t have the benefit of hindsight: They’ve got to decide before the bonus is due in March with not much more information than they have today.
     
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  11. ivo610

    ivo610 Cheesehead

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    Good write up.

    I support cutting him loose. In 5 seasons he hasn't put it together. While on target for 1 or 2 games a year he seems to disappear from more. I think it's time to look elsewhere for a TE.
     
  12. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    I agree about him disappearing at times but I really don't know how often he's drawing double teams in those games - obviously the Packers have that info and I'm sure it'll play a big part in their decision. My number one worry with extending him is his motivation after cashing in. If he reverts back to causing off field distractions and not giving 100%... To be worth the extension he'll have to want to be great and I don't know if that's in him.

    If they don't extend him, I'd guess WR or a TE who excels in the passing game becomes an even bigger need in the draft. And with Thompson & staff's record drafting WRs that would be a cheaper alternative.
     
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  13. BorderRivals.com

    BorderRivals.com Cheesehead

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    I think another thing working in Finley's favor is the fact that we are losing both Jennings and DD (which was basically felt last year too I guess). Losing Finley, Jennings, and Driver is a lot of talent to lose in off-season. And we really don't have known commodities to replace them. We don't know who can step up to fill the 4WR role consistently. And there is no talent like Finley with Quarless' injury. I really don't get the impression the defenses stress over Jordy, JJ, and Cobb like they did a couple years ago when we had the 5-wide and Finley going. As a result, we are close to being forced to keep Finley - even at that hefty price.
     
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  14. 13 Times Champs

    13 Times Champs Cheesehead

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    Getting rid of Finley means you have to look to a Tight End high in the draft. Finley isn't the greatest TE in the game but he did seem to have it together down the stretch for the most part. I'd be more comfortable with a LB, DT, or OL taken high.
     
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  15. BorderRivals.com

    BorderRivals.com Cheesehead

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    Agreed. But that's the trickle-down effect of cutting Finley. If he's gone too, the Packers will have to address WR and/or TE in the draft or FA. And consequently, you lose resources to devote to the defense. Of course, the counter is you're wasting $8M in resources keeping Finley. But, TT is unlikely to make a huge splash in FA. And I would bet TT considered this when making the deal, knowing full well he had to resign Rodgers, Clay, and Raji. In my mind, it'd be hard to let Finley leave because he is still enough of a threat to force defenses to account for him and occasionally double him.

    One thing we can probably agree on - TT has some tough decisions this off-season. Hopefully he reads our expert analysis before making those decisions! ;)
     
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  16. BorderRivals.com

    BorderRivals.com Cheesehead

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    Good take here by Tyler Dunne on this topic:

    It's funny. In Vegas, a shirtless Rob Gronkowski is dancing and body-slamming friends with a broken forearm. Yet many times, those antics are chalked up as "Gronk being Gronk." Point being, noise surrounding Finley is often overblown. Fans irritated over an emphatic first-down celebration should sit down and relax. This is a game.
    Here's thinking the decision on Finley boils down to football and finances.
    At what price is it worth giving Finley another season? Speaking to Finley on Thursday, this truly does sound like a "50/50" situation. He's not sure what to expect.
    Right now, we're speculating. But in the end, it'd be smart for the Packers to ride out the back end of his two-year deal. He's still young and he still makes this offense much more dynamic. When the criticism reached a fever pitch last year, Finley kept a low profile and produced. The late-season report of his eventual exit was met with a calm sense of maturity in the locker room. McCarthy wasn't blowing smoke at his season-ending presser.
    Green Bay is already likely to lose Greg Jennings. Losing Finley could be a major blow. Teams across the league search for weapons like Finley annually. The need to hang onto him may overcome any short-term financial constraints. Time will tell.

     
  17. rodell330

    rodell330 Cheesehead

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    Bye Raji...maybe tag him but he's not worth that type of money no way. He's solid..but not that type of impact player and you can use that to bring in some help. Finley is the biggest question mark imo, has all the tools to be the best but where is his head sometimes? I think that if he didn't play for a team with as many solid wr's his production would be alot higher. When you share snaps with Jennings, Jones, Nelson, and Cobb balls are going to be scarce.
     
  18. adambr2

    adambr2 Cheesehead

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    I watched the 49ers games and he most definitely did not too that. In fact, the 49ers were quite comfortable not even doubling Raji the entire game.

    Any big fat nose tackle can occupy blockers. We have a salary cap to manage with many higher priorities coming up. Giving Raji a huge deal because he "occupies blockers" would be a really foolish use of resources.
     
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  19. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    Starting 34 NT in the league:
    ARI: Dan Williams
    BAL: Maake Kemoeatu
    BUF: Kyle Williams
    CLE: TBA, likely Ahtyba Rubin
    DAL: Jay Ratliff
    GB: BJ Raji
    HOU: Shaun Cody
    IND: Antonio Johnson
    KC: Dontari Poe
    NE: Vince Wilfork
    NYJ: Sione Pouha
    MIA: Paul Solai
    NO: TBA, Likely Akiem Hicks
    PHI: TBA, Likely Antonio Dixon (More Likely Draft Pick)
    PIT: Casey Hampton/Steve McLendon (Hampton LTBR)
    SD: Cam Thomas/Antonio Garay
    SF: Isaac Sopoaga
    WAS: Barry Cofield

    Now I don't know about you guys, but I don't see many names on that list I would take over Raji. I also don't think he'll command a huge salary, especially if we decrease his snap count.
     
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  20. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    I think it will be (1) an extension with a much lower average than the current two year deal or (2) he will be released.

    I've been less critical of Finley's performance and behavior than most, but even in the best light (see: relative silence and good productivity after the bye), his 2012 - 2013 pay is excessive. The TE unrestricted franchise tag for 2013 is estimated at about $6 mil to give some indication. It looks like releasing him would incur a minimal $500k dead cap hit.

    And does it make sense to spend impact player money to a guy who is not central to the offense, as he was in parts of earlier seasons? When we were getting stymied by cover 2's this past season, it should have been Finley's time working the middle. Whether that was Finley's problem or a game plan problem is somewhat irrelevant...we were not featuring him. Finley may not be the highest paid TE in the league under the current deal, but I think it is safe to say he was paid the most per target this past season.

    Now, would Finley accept an extension (wiping out 2013) for a sharply reduced average? Say, 4 years / $17.5 mil, in line with how we use him and past performance? Probably not.

    The sole argument for letting the 2013 deal stand is the fact there is nobody on the bench behind him with decent receiver skills. Still, swapping him for a less costly, run/pass balanced vet FA, if not a draft pick, probably would make more sense, so I find it doubtful he'll see the contracted money.
     
  21. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

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    Does anyone else besides me remember that we went on a roll and won the Super Bowl with Finley watching it all in street clothes?
    Dude is waaay way overpaid, and you can't have that.
     
  22. weeds

    weeds Cheesehead

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    It is going to be an interesting off season in the Packers business office....and, the end result of this "interesting off season" is going to make for a very unsettled feeling in this guy come September.

    I'm happy that I'm not the guy that has to make those calls...but...I'll be watching with interest.
     
  23. VolvoD

    VolvoD Cheesehead

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    now THAT would be scarey. ..theres been some really dumb suggestions!lol.
     
  24. 13 Times Champs

    13 Times Champs Cheesehead

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    Yes I agree he hasn't performed at a level that would justify an $8 million paycheck. I think he should be willing to sit down and have a do over of his contract. Now I know that's probably a dream. :(
     
  25. Shawnsta3

    Shawnsta3 Cheesehead

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    Really? This is the same excuse given to A.J Hawk all the time. "Oh well, he takes up blockers so other guys like CM3 can get free" I don't buy that for one minute. That's just an excuse given to a player who can't make plays.

    What NT in a 3-4 doesn't get double teamed? Like someone above said he also wasn't even double teamed on some plays in the SF game, which is pitiful.

    I've watched every single game since Raji's been here. Most more than once. I think he is a top 10 DT and a top 5 NT but by no means elite. I don't think it's a coincidence that when Raji and the center of this defense play has dropped off (most notably last year) so has the defense as a whole.
     
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