Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Dolphins Cap Win With Josh Rosen Trade

Newly minted Miami Dolphins Quarterback Josh Rosen highlights some of the clever work done behind the scenes in NFL front offices. After being selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the 10th pick of the 2018 NFL draft, Rosen has been shipped to the Dolphins on the bargain basement salary of just $2 million per season for the next 3 years with an option for a fourth season. How did this happen?

A Simple(ish) Cap Primer

The NFL has a salary cap that goes up each year, that teams are not allowed to exceed. This is different from some other US sports such as the NBA and MLB where salary caps are soft and when a team exceeds the cap they simply pay a luxury tax on the amount over the cap. In the NFL the cap is hard and can not be breached in any way.

This often leads to some accounting shenanigans to keep a teams cap number down while also paying players the going rate. You will often hear of players redoing their contracts. A process that basically means they convert some of their salary into a bonus, and reducing their base salary. Signing bonuses are spread over the length of the contract allowing a team to give a player a bunch of money up-front and spread the cost.

For example, in 2016 Ndomakung Suh reworked his contract with the Dolphins, converting $20m of his salary into a bonus. This created $16m in cap space for Miami, who could spread that bonus amount over the five remaining years of his contract. Seems clever doesn’t it?

The Cap Hits Keep on Coming

Well not so fast. This isn’t the smartest way you to manage your salary cap unless you are on the verge of a championship team and are looking to clear a little cap space to add the final piece of the puzzle. Whenever you begin reworking contracts you move money to later years of the contract. This backloading of a contract usually makes the player far too expensive in the latter years of his contract.

The second downside to this kind of move is if that player leaves the team the entire bonus counts against the salary cap at that time. There are exceptions for some players released after June 1st, where the bonus can be split over 2 seasons. But in general, the cap hit comes straight away.

The Josh Rosen Situation

When Josh Rosen was selected by the Cardinals he signed a standard 4-year $17.6m deal with $10.9m as a signing bonus. This signing bonus stays on the Arizona Cardinals salary cap, meaning the Miami Dolphins only have to pay the remainder of his contract which is just $6.2m over 3 seasons. This is an absolute steal for a player taken top 10 in the draft in 2018.

The flip side of this is the poor cap management by the Cardinals. After taking Kyler Murray number 1, they reduced the trade value of Josh Rosen dramatically, as predicted here. In fact, we predicted Josh Rosen would go to the Patriots at number 64, but he actually went 2 spots higher at 62 to the Dolphins.

The Cards Are Paying ex-QB Sam Bradford $5m in 2019 ©Arizona Republic-USA TODAY NETWORK
The Cards Are Paying ex-QB Sam Bradford $5m in 2019 ©Arizona Republic-USA TODAY NETWORK

This constant QB carousel since Carson Palmer retired has left the Cardinals in a version of the cap hell we described earlier in this article. Arizona actually has $16.2m of dead cap money taken up by three QB’s they have moved on from in very quick succession. That’s 8.34% of their total cap space. Put another way, the Cards are paying QB’s not on their roster $7m more than they are paying their current quarterbacks.

The Dolphins meanwhile have scored themselves a highly rated prospect in Josh Rosen, for the bargain-basement price of just $2m per season. None of this is a guarantee of success of course. The NFL is littered with failed former first-round quarterbacks. But if the Dolphins keep making these great decisions the future looks much brighter than it has in a while.

For more like this, you can visit our opinion section. Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter for news, views, competitions, and much more.

Similar Articles

Comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

SIMILAR

Dolphins extend Adam Shaheen with 2-year deal

With two touchdowns in his last two games TE Adam Shaheen he now has a new two...

Miami Dolphins Ease To Win Over The Struggling New York Jets

Well that was nice and simple. The Miami Dolphins eased to a 24-0 win over the New...

Tua Tagovailoa named the Dolphins starter. New era begins

After months of anticipation we can finally say Tua Tagovailoa named the Dolphins starter. At times it...

Dolphins thrash the Jets, put a bagel on Gase

It was seen as a potential banana skin, but Sunday saw the Dolphins thrash the Jets 24-0...

Opponent Profile – New York Jets

Head Coach – Adam GaseOffensive Playcaller – Adam GaseDefensive Playcaller – Gregg WilliamsOffensive Captains – Sam Darnold,...

New York Jets (H) – Our Predictions

The Miami Dolphins are betting favourites ahead of a game for the first time since Week 16...

Miami Dolphins Send Out Statement In 49ers Win

Well Well Well. That was more like it. The Miami Dolphins won their second game of the...

3 Up 3 Down Week 5: Is Jordan Howard done?

It's time for 3 Up 3 Down Week 5 as we look back on arguably the Dolphins...

Dolphins fast start leads to domination of 49ers

The Miami Dolphins fast start against the San Francisco 49ers propelled one of the most complete games...

Dolphins plays of the week : Week 4

It's that time of the week where we take a look back at the Dolphins plays of...