SALARY CAP BASICS- You see in the NFL there is this thing called the salary cap. You can think of it as the budget the general manager has for the season. Regardless of how rich an owner is, the salary cap is the maximum budget for the year. While the MLB allows teams to spend over the cap with a harsh penalty, NFL teams can do no such thing.
SALARY CAP ADJUSTMENTS- Although the NFL has a salary cap for each season, teams technically have different salary caps. These are called adjusted caps. These adjusted caps include any rollover money (unspent salary cap) from the year before. How much you can rollover sometimes matters and sometimes doesn't depending on the year.
DEAD MONEY- That's money that you have paid someone from this year's salary cap even though they are no longer on your team. This could be guaranteed salary, but it is frequently some bonus money which was pushed out to make some cap space in an earlier season.
BRADY GYMNASTICS- For close to 20 years Belichick and Brady worked the bonus structure of his contract to make the money work for both sides. Brady got the cash immediately and it went against future cap space. Yes he was a team player and was always willing to restructure his deal instead of going to free agency and getting "paid". This year we came to a point where this couldn't happen again. It wasn't Brady. It wasn't Belichick. It wasn't Kraft. It was numbers and trying to have a decent team both this year and in the immediate future.
RANDOM SALARY CAP INFORMATION-
- The 49ers, Ravens, Chiefs, and Steelers are both in worse cap space trouble than the Patriots
- Including Brady's dead cap hit, the Patriots currently have a dead cap hit of just over $21 million
- Last year the Patriots had a dead cap hit of $25.7 million and an injured reserve hit of $12 million
- The Patriots currently have the least amount of money allocated to the quarterback position with $1.7 million
- The Colts rolled over just under $42 million from last season
- The Chiefs rolled over $21 million to this year, yet still need to move some salaries to get under the cap
- The Colts currently have over $52 million wrapped up in the quarterback position (Rivers, Brissett, Hoyer, and Kelly)
POSTSCRIPT- If you want to complain about the Red Sox going cheap on players, I generally will not argue.