i'm too lazy to look it up and my brain hasn't engaged yet, but at when can williams contract be dumped without penalty?
Unlike other major sports, trades are uncommon in the NFL. The reason for that is simple: the league’s salary cap system makes is very difficult to trade players until they’re near the end of their contracts.
NFL contracts generally aren’t guaranteed. Instead players sign for a number of years and get a signing bonus. For salary cap purposes, the signing bonus is pro-rated over the life of the contract. DeAmgelo Williams
signed a five-year, $43 million deal last season, including a $16 million signing bonus. Williams carries a $8.45 million cap figure this season — $5.25 in salary plus a $3.2 million portion (one-fifth) of the signing bonus. Trading a player is treated the same as cutting a player for salary cap purposes: All the remaining signing bonus money ($9.6 million in Williams’ case) comes forward as an immediate or nearly-immediate cap hit. That’s $7 million currently. Williams’ cap figure for next season is $7.95 million or a $9.6 million cap hit to release him or trade him. Those are huge numbers for a team with limited
salary cap space.
: The same problem exists with all those big contracts Marty Hurney handed out recently. Cutting Jon Beason
, for example, during the off season would net out to a $4.75 million cap hit ($8.6 million cap value if he’s on the roster, $13.3 million cap figure if he’s cut).