The Salary Cap, Minus the Lettuce
Understanding the salary cap
Understanding the salary cap

Posted Jan 11, 2003


The salary cap; One term that is detrimental to each and every team in the league, when they hear that term, they cringe, and then it is time to make moves, they cut a few players that they really do not want to cut, while some players for the benefit of the team will restructure their contracts so that the team will have money.

You first have to understand the mathematics’ of the salary cap to figure out what this team needs to get below it. This year’s projected Cap figure is 74 million; right now the San Diego Chargers are 2.3 million over. To reach the figure they need to be at to upgrade this team, they need to do some wiggling and jiggling to get it there.

The salary cap is based on Income that the teams earn during a league year. A percentage of that income termed Define Gross Revenues (DGR) is allocated for player expenditures. The DGR is based on ticket sales, merchandise sales, and broadcast sales divided among all 32 teams. CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) percentages were agreed on in 1998 and the 2001 extensions to the CBA starting this year are as follows:

2003-64.25%

2004-64.75%

2005-65.5%

2006-64.5%

2007- Uncapped


To figure out the salary cap you have to take the DGR and Multiply that by the CBA percentage which equals the player share of the DGR. Then you take Players share minus Projected league wide benefits (PLWB) = Amount available for players salaries (AAFPS). Then you take the AAFPS divided by Number of teams= Unadjustable salary cap per team. WHEW!! Did you get all that? Now I am not mathematician so I could not begin to equate those numbers but that is how it works.

The top 17 players for the Chargers each has a cap figure above 2 million, which accounts for 62 million dollars or 84% of the Cap. The top 10 players account for 44.5 Million or 64% of the cap, Wow, that is not including the 1 million in Bonuses that Drew Brees received or the 500,000 thousand that LaDainian Tomlinson received for going to the Pro Bowl, or any other bonuses or incentives that players have or might receive.

Marcellus Wiley has the highest cap figure which is 7.33 million. The chargers need to renegotiate with Wiley, which most experts think will not happen. Wiley is 5.75 million in income and is unlikely he would renegotiate and even more unlikely that the team would cut him due to the tremendous hit they would take. Doug Flutie restructured his deal in 2002 to give the Chargers an extra million under the cap, and reduced his salary from 4.3 million to 3 million, getting the balance of that money guaranteed. It is unlikely the Chargers will keep Flutie and will structure a buy out of his contract that would take a little bite off of just letting him go and leave them a little more room under the Cap.

Lets just say the top 10 Players do restructure their contracts; they would give the Chargers a considerable amount of money to work with in the off-season. We already know what Wiley and Flutie’s contracts are the two highest hits on the cap equaling 12.59 million against the cap. The other 8 Players, Junior Seau, Rodney Harrison, Curtis Conway, Vaughn Parker, Ray Lee Johnson, Ryan McNeil, Sammy Williams, and Stephen Alexander, equal another $32 Million against the cap.

The team can release players like Harrison and Conway and Parker, to give them some Cap relief or even restructure their contracts along with Flutie (Who most likely will be let go). They can even trade Players but that is a whole different can of worms you open up there, I don’t even want to get into those ramifications. As I said before, I am no Mathematician and the headaches I would get would hit 5 on the Richter scale.

The Chargers are only 2 Million over the Cap, a lot lower then Oakland’s 53 million over, and a lot more then Arizona who is comfortably under the cap. San Diego needs help in several Areas on Defense and another good receiver. They are going to have to do something to get under the cap, the question is what? Are they going to release a Veteran like Harrison who has played his whole career here and is a pro bowl caliber Safety? Will we release Conway, and hope to pick up a new Number 1 in Free Agency? Do they restructure the contracts of Wiley, Flutie or others?

I don’t know but what ever they do they need to decide soon. Free agency is declared in just a few short weeks, and there will be some quality players available that the Chargers can use, but you cannot be in the game unless you play the game, and the Game after the Season is the Salary Cap game.

Boltaholic can be reached at: Boltaholic


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