15 weekly editions of Burning Questions, starting in the preseason.
81 questions asked and answered.
3,372 complaints about injuries
One still unreturned Hawaiian shirt.
14 deadlines missed.
It’s been a long season. Honestly, I’m not even sure what questions to ask any more. All I know is I need a nap and a shower. And by that I mean whiskey. But because I am a true professional, I am going to push through and deliver the best Burning Questions I can.
Hold on, I just got a text about Jeff Fisher. Lemme read this quick.
YESSSSSSSSSS!!!! The Rams are bringing back Fisher and Les Snead? In the same week Christine Michael, who was released by a team whose two leading rushers, Alfred Morris and Matt Jones, are averaging 3.5 and 3.4 YPC respectively, was re-signed by Seattle?
My prayers have been answered! My fire has been reignited. Now all I need is a good excuse to talk about Quick and Ingram. (That’s 19 each.)
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I’m new to salary cap leagues and your occasional advice has been better than if when you were a kid your Nintendo took the coins you collected in Super Mario Bros. 3 and printed out their value in hundred dollar bills. Do you have any tips on deciding if I should cut a player to get rid of his bad contract?
If your league doesn’t have 100% guaranteed contracts, you should be looking to trim fat before the season ends. That can be easier said than done, especially if you are new to the format. Here is a general rule to follow that should help you along the way: If you can cut a player, pay the cap penalty, then re-sign him for a total (cap penalty + cost to re-sign) of less than you were paying him, it’s time to for that dude to hit the bricks.
An example: Your league has a cap penalty of 20% of a player’s yearly salary times the years left on his contract. You own Brian Quick for $16 for two years for a total of $32. ($16*2)*.2=$6.40, which rounds down to a cap penalty of $6. If you think you can get Quick back for less than $10, keeping your total investment under the $16 you had been paying, you should consider cutting him.
If your league spreads cap penalties out over the duration of a player’s contract, it is even easier to make cuts. Back to the Quick example: $6.40/2=$3.20 which rounds down to a $3 penalty per year. Now you could re-sign him for up to $12 ($12+$3=15, which is $1 less than you were paying) and still have it be positive for your salary cap.
When this little trick becomes especially beneficial is when you are not only paying too much, but are also paying it for too long. If you listened to a misguided DLF scribe and fell in love with Quick, signing him to a four year contract this past off-season, you could send him to waivers, pay the penalty, re-sign him at a savings and give out an easier to digest two year deal. The math for such an excursion looks like this: ($16*4)*.2=$12.80, which rounds to $13. If all of that penalty occurs up front, you could even spend a bit more, perhaps $5-6 per season for two years. You are paying $18-19 ($13 penalty plus a $5-6 salary) in 2015, which is almost over, but save two years in the process, which is way more than worth it.
If the penalty is spread over all four years, you are taking a $3 hit per. Again, we can re-sign Quick for anything under $13, save money and cut years off the end if we so choose.
There are some considerations before you go through with this strategy. If you don’t want to risk a bidding war that would price you out of re-signing a player you like, you may consider riding out their bad contract so you don’t lose him. And, of course, this only covers players you’d like to keep around, just not at their current cost.
When explaining this to a friend recently, he expressed concern over pushing money into subsequent seasons. That isn’t the right way to look at things, though. If you are overpaying a player over multiple years to the point where you could cut then re-sign them at a savings, you are pushing dead money into the future by not releasing them.
When it comes to cutting players you don’t like/don’t want to pay, math matters less. I kicked Percy Harvin to the curb, paying a 50% penalty up front on three years at $20 per. I had to make an extra $10 in cap space this season to eat the $30 penalty, but it was well worth not having to own him and his awful contract.
Salary cap leagues are about correct cap management and manipulation more than anything else. If you can break out a calculator or spreadsheet to make that easier, why wouldn’t you?
I am planning/already writing a series on cap leagues to be released this off-season. Much of what I covered above will be addressed again, but in more depth than I have room for here. If you have questions about this or anything cap related, please ask in the comments below, or find me on Twitter (@FFJeffM). Your questions/input will help shape the upcoming series.
Which is funnier, Christine Michael being back in Seattle or the time Comedy Central’s @Midnight talked about Pervert Dave’s dog, Sad Jeff?
I watch a lot of funny things. I read a lot of funny things. I (try to) write a lot of funny things. But perhaps the hardest I ever laughed was at poor Pervert Dave’s expense. That is, until Seattle brought back Michael.
Nobody will admit to it, but in homes across America, dynasty owners are once again lighting candles for Christine. Nothing since the birth of my child pleases me more than the false hope his owners are feeling right now.
Do you really revel in other’s despair?
Seriously? Have you ever read anything I’ve written? Of course I do. It’s all I do, really.
Can you give your honest opinion on Jeff Fisher returning to St. Louis?
If you own Todd Gurley, you will be fine. For one, Fisher loves to pound the rock more than Eric Dickens likes to remind me of the time I turned down his offer of my second for his Devonta Freeman. For two, Gurley is going to be good no matter what.
If you own any other Ram, save for maybe Tavon Austin, you should go bury your head in the sand for 12 months. Hopefully when you come back topside, the misery will be over.
Fisher and GM Les Snead’s inability to build any kind of offense is awesome. I’m not using “awesome” as in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ vernacular. I’m saying it is truly awe-inspiring how awful two guys can be at their jobs without getting fired. If you or I were as bad at our gigs as they are at theirs, we’d be panhandling outside a Denny’s on the other side of the tracks (which is actually where all Denny’s are located, now that I think about it).
Going back to Austin for a moment, I am of the mind he is succeeding in spite of the Rams franchise. I know we’ve said this over and over for years about players like C.J. Spiller and our old friend Cordarrelle Patterson, but if you could get Austin in the right offense with the right coach, I can’t even imagine how fantastic it would be. Imagine him in New England playing in a hybrid Julian Edelman/Dion Lewis role. Or think of what Chan Gailey might do with him. I could see Austin being effective in San Diego, Philly, Green Bay, Atlanta and Carolina, among others.
Tavon isn’t the player the Rams probably hoped they were getting when they took him way too high in the draft, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be useful both in the NFL and to fantasy owners. If you can still get him at a WR5 price, there are way worse gambles to be made.
Cliff notes: I hope Jeff Fisher comes to the same realization the rest of us have, that football coaching isn’t the right career path for him.
Will you be here next week, or are you taking off for the holiday?
Of course I’ll be here! And I have a very special surprise in store. It will probably be terrible and disappointing, but if you are being honest with yourself, you’d probably prefer it that way.
Jeff can be found on Twitter at @FFJeffM
Be sure to also check out Jeff's eBay video game store!
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