Okay folks now that we have our 53 man roster done lets look at the future of our team. First and foremost is where did the 2011 salary cap is sitting at. With the NFL rules stating that only the top 51 salaries count towards the cap we are at $120,367,991 that puts us about 3 million left for this season. Now lets also consider that 3 million borrow which so we are pretty close to being even.
So what we have left to do is consider the future cap and where we stand at it. Right now from what I been reading it appears the cap number will be around 125 million. Now we currently have 104,596,359 on the books with 32 players signed up. That means we will need to put 21 million into only 20 players. That is very doable on the surface but after the jump I will show which players we currently have on the rooster that will be looking at free agency next year.
Drew Stanton- QB
Don Mulbach - LS
Now there was a post sometime in August that talked about salaries and what not regarding rookies and Free Agents. Of the 24 players listed above only 7 players were draft picks of ours the rest were either waiver claims or free agents that we grabbed.
For each of these players there is a 2nd caveat I should mention in regards to the salaries. If we were to give each of these players the base minimal we will be looking at 18,295,000 of course that is going to sign 56 players which means 3 more players will be cut from our IR and current rooster. I am sure that Jerome Harrison, Randy Phillips, and possible Chris Morris or another OL would be let go. That alone saves over a 1.5 in salary however we still have some issues.
The major issue I see us making payroll next year is going to be what it will take to sign our Defense. Of the players listed above almost all of them are starters for us on defense. Now Stanton could be had with the league minimal or UDFA for next year. As for the issue of RBs with Leshoure coming back next year we should only need AB and either MM or JH of course MM is a higher cost but is also a proven article. With SL being a RFA we should be able to get by with a league minimal offer on him as well. Although I would like to see another rookie come in a give us some more talent at this spot I just do not see a need at this point, give it a few years then grab another RB like Leshoure.
Next up is WRs. Right now we have our top 3 tied up for the future. So what we will need more than likely do next year is look at the youth again and see if anything sticks. Either way its way too early to see what will happen at WR for next year.
As for OL here is the hard thing to discuss. We have 3 signed OTs but a key backup and a starter are going to be FAs. Now I would like to see us tie up Backus for another 3 years without a signing bonus. However the league minimal is nearly a million and adding another million more than likely will not keep him here. Frankly that would be steal if we could tie him up with a 3 year 6 million contract. I think its going to cost at least 3 million per year. As for Hillard I think league minimal would work for him or even a slight bump above that. As for our interior I think it all depends on our tackle situation. If we stick with Backus I think we cut loose of our current interior OL and draft replacements. If we cut loose Backus I can see us drafting another LT to provide some competition.
Next up is our DL. This is rough one to look at IMHO. Avril deserves a big contract but I just don't see us willing to part with a lot of money. The only thing I can see us doing is starting him at double the league minimal and going big after 2013. That could be done but its a risky move on our part. As for SLH I think bump of above the league minimal should be sufficient. I just do not know with our current cost of our DL being 23% of the salary cap can we continue to dish out these big contracts. Personally I think the bosses will try to put some nice escalator clauses in these contracts until we can get Corey WIlliams and Vandenboches contracts off the books. I just do not think we will resign those two but rather draft replacement(s).
Our LB as mention above is a crazy point. Levy is a RFA so we can keep him tied up. Palmer is also a RFA so another he is tied up. Them along with Durant and Hogue is our LBs for next year. We should have an idea by the end of the season if Carpenter or Tulloch is worth keeping. Whoever is worth it should be kept. I do not see us keeping Isaiah at this point. That means another draftee will need to be looked at IMHO to fill out our LB corps for next year.
Lastly is our DBs. I know that keeping Wright is gonna be dependent on how he performs. He is an unknown agent at this point. He came to us at a higher cost over 3 times above league minimal but if our DL does their jobs he might come back at a lower rate. Needless to say we will have some thinking to do with him. Plus the aspect that we do have some options for that spot with our Nickel and dime backs plus a possible rookie that can be squeezed into this spot. As for safeties, we are stuck with our current 3 of Delmas, Speivey, and Wendling. Personally I would like to keep Coleman for another year just to provide a little veteran leadership for Delmas and Speivey.
Now some final thoughts, yes we have some options for free agents next year I think the principle item is going to be what happens this season. The major aspect of why its looking pretty bleak is we had to over spend for FAs and for having high draft picks. The draft picks are looking better now that there is a rookie wage scale in place. That will help out in the near and long term. The major issue facing us is the free agents we signed and keeping current high priced draft picks signed to us. The good thing is by 2014 we should be seeing an improved salary cap number similar to what we had pre lockout. The problem is we have a lot of contracts that will need to be looked at after next season.
I must say though it is much better to have money to spend on players versus being like the Steelers and have to cut players or salaries just to sign players. From what I read was they are over on the cap by 20 million for the 2012 season and they still need to fill out their rooster. So the future is looking okay in my books. What we could also do is sign KVB to an extension that would lower his cap hit next year the same for Williams. The major cost item for next year is Megatron. He is scheduled to be over 15 million next year so if we can do an extension that lowers his cap hit next year by say half we should be doing a lot better cap wise and be able to keep some of the FA's for few more years.
Okay I am done now for a few days. I think my hands are going to trying to kill myself for forcing them to type this much.