posted at 3/31/2013 8:57 AM EDT
In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:
In response to Muzwell's comment:
ALERT: SALARY CAP MISINFORMATION ABOUNDS!
$3 mil for draft picks, $6 mil for draft picks, say what? Where do you people get your information?
The allocation for draft picks really has very little to do with the salary cap. What they need to "allocate" at the draft is the rookie minimum salary times 5 draft picks, which is roughly $2 mil. plus what the rookie wage scale calls for in bonus money, which will be another $1 mil or so. So about $3 mil.
But here's the deal, none of those rookie salaries count against the salary cap! Not now anyway. Only the top 51 contracts are counted against the cap until the season starts. By definition, rookie minimum salaries will not be counted because they won't crack the top 51.
The only part that will count against the current cap is the first year bonus amortization allocated by the NFL, which in the Patriots case will be more or less $1 mil.
So the draft has almost no bearing whatsoever on their current salary cap. They can spend every dime (except for $1 mil) on free agents if they choose to. However, when the season rolls around all salaries and bonus amortizations of rostered players, plus dead money count. That's when the full $3 mil of the draft picks will count (if they all make the team).
This is close, but not exactly correct Muz, at least as I read the CBA.
When players are drafted but before they've signed, they count at the rookie minimum salary. However, because of the "top-51" rule that applies in the offseason, these rookie minimum salaries won't impact the offseason cap.
Once the drafted player signs, however, his salary and prorated bonus will count against the cap just like any other's player would. If the rookie is a high draft pick, he may very well be in the top 51 and therefore will have an impact on the offseason cap.
Once the regular season starts, all player salaries and prorated bonuses count against the cap, including those for rookies.
When drafting rookies, teams have to consider the fact that their top draft picks are likely to count against the offseason top-51 cap once they sign. This generally means they have to leave some room in their offseason cap to accommodate their higher round draft picks.
prolate, I don't think you said anything different than I did? I understand that long term, all rostered players will count and I said as much. All I was addressing is the continued misconception that they will have to set aside or "allocate" $3 mil (or more) at the time of the draft, so their $13 or $14 mil in available cap space is reduced by that amount. And that is simply untrue.
Between the draft and the season, there will be lots of maneuvering, particularly after June 1. Lots of moving parts.
Also, per the rookie wage scale, ALL rookies from the number one pick through Mr. Irrelevant get the rookie minimum salary (last year was $390K, not sure this year) in their first year. Andrew Luck got the same salary as the 29th pick, Harrison Smith and Nate Ebner got. FYI, Smith's cap hit was $1.3 mil last year, about $900K was his prorated bonus which is what the Vikings were required to have available at the draft for him.
All rookies are allocated a gross amount by the NFL which includes the rookie minimum plus their bonus, there's no wiggle room, no negotiation on those things, they're set in stone. Higher picks are allocated more only because they get a bigger bonus.