Tuesday, March 19, 2013

3/19/13 salary cap thoughts


  • JSOnline is reporting the Packers have ~$19.8m in available 2013 salary cap.  
  • I cannot account for ~$145k of the ~$19.8m & that amount inflates by $500k in Roster Bonus for Aaron Rodgers...JSOnline does not, but I do.  
  • AJ Hawk gives back to the team's salary cap!  His salary cap is now comparable to Desmond Bishop's but Bishop's base salary and bonus other than PR$B is higher.
  • Compensatory Picks have been announced but total rookie cap has not been disclosed ATT.
  • Russ Ball has his work cut-out WRT getting enough core players extended.
  • Aaron Rodgers is under contract through the 2014 season (i.e., he's UFA in 2015).
  • Aaron Rodgers could sign a life-time contract extension (7-10 yrs) for cap flexibility.
  • CM3 could receive a top-5/10 ave for top paid defensive players (base/salary cap)
  • Raji has the same agent as the above two...
  • Not counting CM3 or Raji, the Packers will have 17 U/RFAs going into 2014.
  • Probably need to consider extending James Jones and/or Jermichael Finley in 2013 ('14 ufa).
  • Morgan Burnett and Sam Shields are pending 2014 UFAs.
  • FAs in 2015 include TW, Bishop, Jordy, Cobb, and Bulaga + several RFAs (e.g., Barclay).
  • The Draft is always interesting; lots of intriguing prospects that I like (e.g., Vacarro, Eddie Lacy, Margus Hunt, J. Hankins, Datone Jones, Eric Reid, etc.)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Some thoughts on 2013 Packers' Salary Cap & Team Needs

Lots of opinions out there on what the team needs to do in the draft, free agency, and salary cap WRT player extensions or terminations. I definitely believe the salary cap drives what teams can do. NFL cap managers know their job better than I do.

2013 Salary Cap:

Recent media reports indicate the 2013 NFL Salary Cap baseline will be $123.9 million plus the Packers were able to carry forward another $7,010,832 for their adjusted 2013 NFL Salary Cap of $130,910,832. Another media report indicates Salary Cap baseline will be $123 million.

For salary cap purposes during the off-season, only the top 51 "P5" salaries, LTBE bonus money, and "dead cap" count. Based on that, my spreadsheet calculation on 3/16 says the Packers are allocating $113,610,849 and have $17,299,983 available cap space for 2013. Note: my number is ~$500k lower than some media reports because I believe Aaron Rodgers' cap number for 2013 is $10.25m ($9.25m base, $500k roster bonus, and $500k work-out bonus) and that Jeff Saturday counts $825k towards dead cap.

Tenders (offers to RFAs) are pending but reporting indicates the following will apply:
  • first-round tender of $2.88 million 
  • second-round tender of $2.02 million (Shields)
  • original-round tender of $1.32 million (EDS)
Speculation on how the Packers plan to use the tender system with their pending RFAs varies. NFL teams must submit qualifying offers to their restricted free agents by 4p.m. ET March 12 to retain the right of first refusal and compensation.  [update: only Shields & EDS received tenders]

Speculation on contract extensions to key players, or contract termination in some cases, also varies.  I believe it's a good bet the Packers extend CM3 at some point in 2013 and that his cap number/percentage will increase. They could wait longer to extend ARod because his contract does not expire until after the 2014 season. Do they have enough available cap space?...it depends on how you want to slant it.  O/A March 12, 2013 the JSOline reported the Pack had ~$17.75m available. 

Player value compared to cap value: I think AJ Hawk's 2013 cap number is disproportional as is Finley's...but will also add-in Tramon Williams, Ryan Pickett, John Kuhn and Mason Crosby.  Lots of different variables involved.  [Update 3/16, AJ takes pay cut but details not released]  

Although it's a passing league, the thing that I believe hurt the Packers the most in 2012 was the run game (offensive and defensive); lots of different variables involved on why.  If you believe in player development, it's possible the run game on both sides improves.  

What are the team needs from a positional perspective?...it depends on how you want to slant it but it obviously involves the draft, player development, FA retention, and FA additions (when possible/necessary).

Offensive Line:  Sitton is a pro-bowl RG and I believe TJ Lang is an above average LG that will get better.  I also like EDS at center and would role the dice with extending him vice just doing the RFA tender.  At OT, I believe Bulaga returns to form from injury but then the questions begin...will Newhouse improve and become a reliable LT?  What about Sherrod?  Could Barclay be the answer at RT to enable Bulaga to move to LT and would Bulaga even be a reliable LT?  #8/9/10, is very questionable.  Datko?, Van Rotten?...draft (probably) but how early (or often)?

Defensive Line (7):  Raji and Pickett are the top two players and paid for it (both are entering their final seasons under contract).  It will be interesting to see if Johnny Jolly can contribute; $715k (non-guaranteed) could be a bargain.  I'm still intrigued by (4) Mike Neal but I'm more intrigued by (5) Mike Daniels.  (6) CJ Wilson is a decent size body.  (7) Worthy could land on PUP. TT may draft one or more DL and I would prefer a 5-technique with length.  BL: they keep seven.

Linebacker (9/10): I'm happy Hawk will remain in GB for 2013; haven't seen the pay cut/salary cap numbers yet but expect they'll be favorable for the Packers.  The need to extend CM3 remains but I also expect it'll be resolved by end-of-training camp.  Desmond Bishop's return is a huge need...as is Nick Perry.  Reserve LB situation appears to be OK but there's certainly unknowns.  Guys under contract include: Robert Francois, J.Latimore, T.Manning, DJ Smith (ACL), (5) Dezmon Moses.  They could draft LB draft.

Defensive Backs (9/10):  Young group overall with TW being the oldest.  They don't necessarily have a "superstar" in the group but I think they still have lots of upside.  I think they have to keep 9-10 total for the final 53.  Obvious keepers IMO: Shields, Burnett, Casey, TW, House, and McMillian.  I also think DocJennings should be kept.  Players 8-10 will vary.  Currently it's J.Bush, Richardson (neck?), and ? which leads me believe the ? is a draft pick...but who knows...  Is TT still browsing?...some say not, but I think yes.  Former Oakland Raider S/CB

WR(5)/TE(5)/RB(5):  They have a young but experienced and dynamic WR trio plus Finley at TE.  RB is the 5th offensive skill position need and that's where it gets interesting.  Personally, and it's just a gut feeling, I like DuJuan Harris' upside; he's exciting with the ball and quite explosive with his cuts.  The other RB options under low-cost contract are Alex Green and James Starks.  Kuhn holds the most expensive cap value @~$2.5m (I think his cap # is too much).  I'm in Ahman Green's camp WRT believing we'll be more than OK at RB production in 2013. Reserves: (wr) Boykin and Ross; (te) DJ Williams, Quarless, and Taylor (plus a 5th guy); the 5th RB is really a toss-up between a draft pick and somebody not currently under contract.  Wild card: draft a WR with 4th round or higher and end-up keeping six.

Aaron Rodgers means everything to the team and they cannot win without him; I think the team means almost everything to him.  I believe him when he says he wants to finish his career with GB...and I believe a life-time contract (i.e., 7 or more years) will facilitate that process.  It'll be most likely up to him when the deal is finalized and I won't be shocked if he waits until after 2013...he's smart and understands the cap.

Friday ended another day (4th?) of FA.  Documentd Packers' FA losses: G.Jennings, Crabtree, and Walden.  It's interesting that Jake Long left St.Louis without a contract.  I'm intrigued with some of the remaining UFA safeties.  

Saturday, March 9, 2013

2013 season predraft thoughts - 9 Mar

Have not posted in a long time.  Trying to post this using an ipad (2-finger typing) is challenging because I don't text via cell phone (lack experience).  I've seen various reports on available cap numbers and the most recent IIRC was by LaCanfora.  I can't remember the amount but think it was around $20+M.  Not sure if that counts J.Jolly @$2.5 (approx) but thought JSOnline reported he is supposed to BUT maybe he doesn't and counts this Tuesday @start of 2013season instead.

Draft & FA period is just beginning.  Will be interesting to see when ARod is extended as well as CM3.  I think they can wait on Raji but they all have same agent.

How far apart in contract & cap $ are they?  NFI...  All 3 should be under contract going into 2014 or beyond.  Other players (e.g., AJ, etc.) could be restructured.  Maybe TT signs a 2nd tier FA @favorable rate for GB.  Maybe it's Canty or a safety...or maybe Cullen returns.

Drafting Lacy in 1st has popped into my head a few times but a 6'5" or more length @DE is something I also think about (think Margus Hunt).  It'll be fun to watch TT draft, he's the best.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

2 wins & 3 losses...I didn't see that coming...

I didn't envision 2 wins & 3 losses...I just didn't see that coming...players aren't making clutch plays and there's plenty of blame to go around.  All three phases -- offense, defense & ST contributed to the loss.  It's unfortunate for Mason Crosby to be the final goat on final play.

My younger brother almost always defense wins championships...I think the Packers' 2012 defense is too inconsistent as is the offense...but I'm not a coach...just a stockholder and fan.  I'm not sure what percentages to attach towards players/coaching/officiating.

Officiating:  It is what it is...they're human and make mistakes.  Tough judgement call against Nick Perry hurt.

Great first half vs Indy!...less than mediocre second half.  It starts with ARodg but he needs to be more decisive too.  Too many dropped passes has been a continuous problem and they're very inconsistent versus press coverage.  The most inconsistent has been JMike but Jordy certainly needs to clean-up his drops too (plus I'm counting on him in ffl).  There have been some positives so far...like Cobb, James Jones, and Benson.  Even without Benson, M3 cannot give-up on the run and neither should ARodg.  I do not expect the Packers to score 35 points per game but they MUST become more consistent offensively and I believe they're too talented not to.

1 and 8 - GB 811:1112-A. Luck pass to 83-D. Allen for 8 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
4-A. Vinatieri extra point is GOOD.
GB 21    IND 10    Plays: 5    Possession: 2:13
4 and 10 - GB 327:454-A. Vinatieri 50 yard field goal is GOOD. PENALTY on Green Bay, Defensive Offside (declined).
GB 21    IND 13    Plays: 7    Possession: 2:23

3 and 3 - GB 30:2312-A. Luck rush for 3 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
2pt Conversion FAILS.
GB 21    IND 19    Plays: 6    Possession: 2:54

4 and 9 - GB 108:084-A. Vinatieri 28 yard field goal is GOOD.
GB 21    IND 22    Plays: 7    Possession: 3:19

1 and 4 - GB 40:3912-A. Luck pass to 87-R. Wayne for 4 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
2pt conversion SUCCEEDS.
GB 27    IND 30    Plays: 13    Possession: 3:51


That was a brutal second half for the defense.  I have a new respect for Reggie Wayne...he was outstanding but also was targeted 20 freakin' times.  89 total plays by Indy is ridiculous.

Will the Packers get their act together as a team and start winning games is the great unknown.

If it starts with defense, then they need to become more consistent in getting off the field and they also need to capitalize on turn-over opportunities.  Need to eliminate those costly defensive penalties regardless of a perception several have been bad calls involving Sam Shields.

Offense with six consecutive second half drive ending in zero points was pathetic!...when compared to their first half performance.  Even if ARodg eliminates the sacks he's accountable for the blocking scheme still needs to improve.  I also think they need to grind it out more with shorter passes and continue with the run.  They can still run the rock without Benson...just have to stick with it and give it a  chance to develop.  I hope M3 gives Alex Green & James Starks the ~20 touches per game and maybe more.

They also need to increase Randall Cobb's offensive touches.  JMike is on my $#!+ list.  James Jones is not and has become very reliable in 2012.  Jordy should be the most targeted, and has been but his catch rate % of ~63% is 4th place behind Cobb, JJones, & Finley.

 If they don't win ten games it'll be a huge disappointment...obviously...11 games still to go!

Go Pack Go!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

2012 Cap Space & future extensions


Team-by-team cap space as of June 22

Packers:  $11.25 million.

That's a nice chunk of $$ Ted can use to reinvest in players.  Greg Jennings & TJ Lang are the key pending 2013 UFAs.  I would focus on resigning Lang first because he'll be cheaper and they have better depth at WR than OL.  Worst case with Jennings is they use the franchise tag on him.  The rest of the pending 2013 UFA/RFAs are not high priority guys in my book. ..the exception is Sam Shields.  Next focus group would be guys like CM3, Aaron Rodgers or some other core guys with contracts expiring after 2013-14 seasons.  

How much does Ted want to spend on Greg Jennings?...Some people speculate in the $55m range over five-years.  That speculation is plausible but affects James Jones and possibly JMike's future $$.

TJ Lang will likely be paid less that what Josh Sitton got but it'll be a nice financial package.  Lang is the Packers most versatile OL and IMO could also play center if need be.  

CM3,  BJ Raji & JMike contracts end after 2013 & Aaron Rodgers is 2014.  Aaron Rodgers will be paid big $$, no doubt about it.  CM3 is the next key player!...and will be paid.  I would extend CM3 before Greg Jennings & Raji.  Raji should be cheaper to keep than Jennings.  I would choose Raji over Greg Jennings, if necessary.

My bottom line:  Extend CM3 first...my target cap # for him is ~$6m in 2013 that includes a $12.5m SB over 5-yrs + other bonus $$ each year.  I'd target TJ Lang @ ~$3m cap in 2013 and a SB of ~$4m.  Those two extensions in 2012 would take ~$5.75m of the $11.25m.  The remaining ~$5.5m could remain untouched until needed (used in 2012 or carried forward into 2013).  In this scenario, I think they'll wait until 2013 to extend Aaron Rodgers...and Greg Jennings.    

Pre-training camp positional predictions

Brian Cariveau compiled his thoughts WRT a 2-deep depth chart.

I'm not going to do a two-deep prediction and will focus on positional numbers.

My BL for offense is they keep 26 players + the K, P & LS = 29

QB keep three.
RB/FB (4):  They will only keep FOUR RBs to include John Kuhn.  Starks, Green, & Saine sounds good to me...key is health & I have a gut feeling Starks will be healthy this year as will Green.  These two could provide some excitement at RB if provided opportunities BUT their #1 responsibility is being able to pass protect 1st then become a check-down option.  Saine is the only one they could replace with one of the UDFAs.

WR/TE (10):  Greg Jennings & Jordy Nelson are the studs; Cobb could turn into an offensive stud but they still need him to remain the return guy stud.  I've seen at least one trade rumor WRT James Jones...he's my 4th WR ahead of DD @ #5 and #6 (and final) is Tori Gurley.  Four TEs (Quarless PUP) are the same as 2011 but JMike is obviously unique...a WR/TE hybrid.  DJ Williams will be interesting to watch...especially if his blocking improves.  Crabtree is arguably their best in-line blocker (I think Quarless is) and Ryan Taylor should improve too.  I keep Gurley over Borel because of size...if I need PR/KR I have to keep Borel.

OL (9): It's possible Ted only keeps eight if he needs/wants to split the roster numbers evenly between offense/defense.  Sherrod & Datko fill-out the OTs, Ray Dominguez is my #8 & swing-guard.  Unless Ted accepts taking risk @ back-up center, #9 has to be able to play center (Detrich-Smith, Genus & Tommie Draheim)...

24 for defense


DL (5): After Raji, Pickett & Worthy, it's a total crap-shoot in my book so I commend Brian for giving it a shot.  I concur they start season with only five.  I think they're seriously considering holding Mike Daniels out of practice starting TC...he needs to be 100% healthy to contribute so maybe PUP is an option...if not, he's one of the 5 DL.  I've always liked CJ Wilson but maybe Lawrence Guy (6'4) or Phillip Merling (6'5) stay as the 5th...  Ted has kept six DL since Dom's arrival.  Mike Neal will be the 6th DL when he returns from suspension...so they'll have to drop a LB, DB, or OL for that roster spot.

LB (9): Obviously CM3, Perry, & Des Bishop are the 3 main LBs...AJ is 4th but won't be an every down LB. DJ  Smith is the top back-up IILB...6-9 in no particular order: So'oto, T. Manning, Dezman Moses, and I hope Jamari Lattimore.


NICKLE defense (5-DB) is IMO their main defense and WRT 3-DL being on-field is ~<20% maybe even as low as 10%...DIME (6-DB) defense could be 30-40% of the time with 7 maybe 8 DBs interchangeable for the DIME.  The Packers have ten NFL quality starters/back-up DBs on their pre-season roster.  ...and my #10 is Charlie Peprah...and I know he can play in the NFL!  
DB (10): Who are the six best DBs?...obviously it starts with CW, then TW, Burnett, and then it's debatable for #4...do you go with a safety type of guy or a CB type or a hybrid guy like J.Bush?...mainly on 1st downs?  I'm a big believer in Sam Shields as a boundry man-to-man defender.  Worst case Shields is #5 DB...but I think he's the 4th best DB because of his coverage ability and his speed is such an asset...I just feel he's just too physically talented for him not to be on-field 80% of the time...TW will obviously play #1 CB on the boundry.  CW will obviously be playing the DB in the box during NICKLE and DIME.  Top 5 DBs: CW, TW, Burnett, Shields, Casey Hampton,..J.Bush and House.  If it's a pure safety they want then probably MD Jennings.  Draft pick Jerron McMillian will make the final 53,  I think his biggest contribution will be via ST...otherwise he'll be inactive. Overall, I'm very optimistic about the Packers young DBs teaming with CW, TW & Barnett.  ...and I won't forget about J.Bush either...dude can tackle and has made at least one key take-away in his career...he's definitely a keeper and a guy that can play multiple DB positions...but I'm sold on Shields.  Peprah makes 10.

It's too bad the NFL did not increase the roster size from 53...


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Random thoughts...defense


  • I read an interesting article on Tramon Williams and believe his assessment that 2011 was a defensive anomaly.  Hopefully, TW's play in 2012 will be on-par with his 2010 play.  I believe It'll be better than 2011.
  • In general, the defensive backfield must play better...and I believe they will.  However, I have NFI who the 4th starting DB will be.  It's possible Dom could go with three CBs plus Burnett.  
  • Who's the 3rd CB?...there are options and I'll start with Sam Shields and Casey Hampton.  I'm still a big believer in Sam Shields and there's no doubt in my mind he's got upside.  His speed is what makes him special and he has good ball awareness.  Casey Hampton will likely be given many opportunities early to prepare him for the regular season...they need him to be a contributor in nickle/dime.  
  • Bush will be on stand-by and has proven his reserve quality at DB and stand-out ST skills.  Maybe Devon House steps-up in year two...maybe somebody else does (MD Jennings?).  
  • I continue to believe they'll only keep 24 defensive players.  IIRC, they've played nickle over 70% the past two years.  Nickle usually means two DL...so maybe they only keep five going into the season and then add Neal and/or Hargrove after suspension.  I keep thinking they're going to keep 10 DBs...because they have a bunch worth keeping/developing and they play so much nickle (and potentially dime).  I'm now assuming Peprah is the 10th DB (CW, TW, Burnett, Shields, Hampton, 6-9) Bush, MD Jennings, House, & McMillian [...Richardson's size is very intriguing...I think they'll keep two DBs on the PS]
  • Could keep 9 LBs...CM3, Perry, & Bishop are obvious starters & AJ will likely be the 4th.  AJ is a plugger and I believe has pass rush ability and is key to the ILB cross-blitz.  So'oto, DJ Smith, & rookie Terrell Manning are safe bets in my book but the 8/9 spots are up for grabs and highly contested.  My favorite for one of the 8/9 spots is Lattimore because of his speed.
  • I have never predicted the final 53 correctly...but I keep trying.