When it comes to the business side of football, former Green Bay Packers executive Andrew Brandt is one of the must-reads from this perspective. His written work on the National Football Post website, and TV work on ESPN during the lockout, is/was appreciated.
The "cash over cap" part is a nice explanation of how the Patriots can pay Mankins more in cash, but actually reduce their salary cap charge.
"The Mankins contract shows how teams can spend significantly more in cash than in Cap. For cash purposes, Mankins is on the ledger for $21.5 million this year (even though there are deferred payments on the signing bonus)," Brandt writes.
"For Cap purposes, as discussed here, signing bonuses are prorated up to a maximum of five years. Thus, Mankins’ signing bonus will count $4 million each of the first five years of the contract – the sixth year is not prorated -- including this year. With the salary for 2011 added, this year’s Cap charge to the Patriots on Mankins is $5.5 million.
"Thus, Mankins’ cash charge is $16 million more than his Cap charge in 2011. This illustrates how teams can collectively meet the 99 percent of Cap cash spending requirement, yet allow individual teams to “free-ride” without any team spending minimum requirements this year (or next)."