System favors older players after Week 1

August, 31, 2008
8/31/08
3:35
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Some have wondered why Seattle and other teams needing receivers haven't jumped on veterans such as Joe Horn. Beyond the obvious -- perhaps those teams simply aren't interested -- we should not overlook the financial ramifications of carrying veterans on opening-day rosters.

The thought occurred to me when the Patriots released veteran safety John Lynch today. Coach Bill Belichick issued a statement strongly hinting that Lynch might be back later in the season. Lych released a statement praising the Patriots while saying he remains excited about what the future might bring.

Sometimes you'll see teams steer clear of older, higher-priced veterans early in the season. This is because veterans' salaries become guaranteed if the veteran opens the regular season on the roster. Teams can sign or re-sign these veterans after Week 1, at which point the salaries are not guaranteed.

So, if Veteran Player A is set to earn $1.7 million in base salary this season, the team could protect itself by signing him after Week 1. Such a move turns $1.7 million in guaranteed money into a deal worth $100,000 for each of the 17 weeks that player is on the roster. Just something to consider when you think about why teams behave the way they do.

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