Monday, July 9, 2012
Updating AFC East salary caps
By James Walker
Training camp begins in a couple weeks. Therefore, most of the signings are done for the year.
However, there will be injuries this summer and subsequent late additions made around the league. Does your team have the flexibility to sign free-agent help?
Via Mike Lombardi of the NFL Network, here are the updated salary-cap numbers in the AFC East:
Cap room remaining: $7.38 million
Analysis: The Bills entered the offseason with tons of cap room and promised they would use it. To the surprise of many, they certainly did by going out to get prized free agent and stud defensive end Mario Williams. The price tag was a hearty $100 million, which was a price tag other teams couldn’t or wasn’t willing to pay. Buffalo also signed former Patriots defensive end Mark Anderson and took care of its own players by giving receiver Steve Johnson and running back Fred Jackson contract extensions. Add in a solid draft -- headlined by cornerback Stephon Gilmore and left tackle Cordy Glenn -- and the Bills had one of the best offseasons in the NFL. The Bills still have about $7 million left on the cap, which is a good number. It allows them the flexibility to make a quality signing if needed. For example, if things don’t work out at wide receiver this summer, Buffalo can still go out and get a veteran like Braylon Edwards.
Cap room remaining: $4.46 million
Analysis: The Dolphins had an interesting offseason. They have a lot of “dead money” on the cap thanks to bad investments and bonuses paid to unproductive players or players who are no longer on the team. So Miami didn’t do much to sign outside free agents and had to get rid of some high salaries like Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall and safety and leading tackle Yeremiah Bell. They were replaced by low-budget options like receiver Chad Ochocinco, who signed for the league minimum. Now, the Dolphins are in a decent place. More than $4 million isn’t bad. But I don’t expect Miami to make anymore signings unless there’s a huge injury and the team absolutely has to.
New England Patriots
Cap room remaining: $10.9 million
Analysis: The Patriots did a stellar job this offseason of plugging holes and remaining well under the cap. They signed speedy receiver Brandon Lloyd at an affordable rate to add a much-needed deep threat. The Patriots also added a bevy of pass-rushers and offensive linemen for depth purposes, as well as worked out an extension with Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski, all while still having nearly $11 million under the cap. New England has good depth all around and probably won’t need to use the cap. The only issue now is whether this space will be used to hand out extensions to receiver Wes Welker and/or tight end Aaron Hernandez. The Patriots have the ability to do so if they choose.
New York Jets
Cap room remaining: $6.04 million
Analysis: The Jets did a lot of restructuring to get to this stage. New York pushed back money with several key veterans, in addition to working out an extension with starting quarterback Mark Sanchez, which provided immediate cap relief. The Jets didn’t do much in free agency. They signed risky injury risks, such as safety LaRon Landry and receiver Chaz Schilens, because they are talented but affordable players. Other than that, New York relied on the draft to improve its roster. The elephant in the room is that Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis wants a bigger contract. The Jets have held firm that they won’t do it this year and Revis is undecided about a holdout. If the Jets are forced to re-up, they may have to weaken the team and release a quality player or two.