Question: why does it cost the team money when a player retires? Aren't they choosing not to fulfill the remainder of their obligation? It's not they're being cut where the team makes the choice
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Because the money is already payed when the contact was signed. Had the contract been no signing bonus and no guaranteed base salary, there is no dead money when the player retires.
Look at it this way.
Player G, a veteran still playing at pro bowl level at a very important pass protection position want to play one more year only. His market value is $10M.
He signs a $10M one year contract. Cap hit is $10M. He tries after the year. No dead money.
If he instead signs a 5 year vet minimum non guaranteed contact with a $10M signing bonus. He get the $10M in the bank the first year, cap hit is roughly $2.5M ($10M spread on 5 years is $2M a year plus about $500K in salary). He retired after one year.
In both cases G has been payed $10M after one year. But in the second case, the cap his has only been $2.5M. So the remaining difference between money actually payed and cap hit observed hits the cap when the contract is broken (if the player retires or are cut/traded) so the teams cannot avoid cap hit with the second type of contacts.
Also one more thing I forget to point out. When your LB runs a 4.4 40 and is faster then all of your DBs you don't need to run a nickel package as much. This guy is a sideline to sideline player and would be an absolute steal at pick 28.
Even with the same straight line speed, it takes longer to change direction at 238 than at 198. This is just physics. So no, you cannot player nickel in this league, with the quick Welker type slot receiver being the latest fashion, at that size.
Hi Cam, welcome back from your vacation. I was going to call you and ask if you want to sign a four year extension averaging about $8M, so we can use $6-8M of the money you would otherwise get to keep our superstars Smith, LaFell and Ginn.
Instead I decided not to insult your intelligence.