How do FA salaries work?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from Caliberink. Show Caliberink's posts

    How do FA salaries work?

    I don't understand how salaries work for player picked up in Free Agency.  If a team picks up an undrafted FA or even a drafted FA and they work out with the team and play in the preseason and get cut, how is their pay established. If they get cut, do they still get paid? Does it work against the salary cap? How does a team go from having 90 players down to 52 with the $ situation?  Any info. on this would be great.

  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from USMCM1A1. Show USMCM1A1's posts

    Re: How do FA salaries work?

    Free Agency doesn't directly affect player salaries.  Any player, whether drafted or acquired as a free agent, signs a contract, and every contract varies:

    • Any money paid up-front as a signing bonus is guaranteed. 
    • If a contract has a "skill" guarantee and the player is cut for performance, they get paid their salary, creating "dead cap space."  I think this is pretty rare.
    • If a player is injured in a career ending way during the regular season, under the new CBA they kepp their bonus, their first year salary, up to $1 mil. of year 2 and up to $500k of year three.
    • Vested veterans have a once in a lifetime "termination right" to recoup the full value of that year's salary, if they are on the roster for week 1 of the season.  So let's say my base salary for the year is $3 mil. and I'm on the roster for week 1, but in week 2 I suck so bad I get cut.  I can invoke my termination right, collect my salary for the full year over the remaining 15 game checks, but still sign with another team.
    N.B. Players who are traded take their contract with them, and unless they agree to restructure, the new team must honor the old contract.
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from shenanigan. Show shenanigan's posts

    Re: How do FA salaries work?

    Only the top 51 salaries count against the salary cap.  Signing Bonus' are spread over the life of the contract.  That gives teams the flexibility to manage when the salary is counted against the cap.  For a 40mil contract with a 20mil sign bonus (lets say 25mil guaranteed) over 4 years, 5mil per year goes to the cap plus salary.  The salary could be

    Salary          Cap hit          What the player actually gets paid  
    1- 1mil          6mil                 21mil (all of sign bonus)
    2- 3mil          8mil                 8mil
    3- 6mil          11mil               6mil
    4- 10mil        15mil               10mil

    Backloading a contract like this is considered cap friendly because the cap goes up every year.  A player will agree to this if the guaranteed money is high.  The team can cut the player after year two and only took a 14mil hit on 29mil paid.  The player essentially got paid for 3 years of work while doing 2.  The team can then redo the contract and start all over again.

    Conversely teams looking to have high cap hits without paying much out can do the opposite to reach the cap floor.

    Whenever you hear about a player taking a paycut for the good of the team it is BS.  All they do is flip some money into a Bonus so they reduce their cap hit.  The player often makes more money for this act of kindness, it just doesn't count until a later date.
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: How do FA salaries work?

    My understanding is that during the preseason players make a per diem ($850 per week for rookies, $1600 per week for veterans), plus have their expenses covered.  Their contracts actually pay them only during the regular season, I believe.  I think if they're cut before the regular season they don't get paid, but could I imagine keep a signing bonus if their contract was written to provide that bonus at the time of signing with no contingency for their making the team.
    If you're really interested in learning the details, the CBA is available here: