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Agent’s Take: Bears top NFL’s largest dead money salary cap charges of 2022

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Separate amounts of dead money were covered a couple of weeks ago. Now the focus is on the NFL teams with the most dead money.

Dead money is an addition to the salary cap of a player who is no longer on the team. Too much dead money can put a team at a disadvantage. The salary cap room was supposed to be active in free agency or renewing the contracts of important players on teams. Although the NFL sets a salary cap annually, each team’s adjusted salary cap differs because unused salary cap space can be carried over from one year to the next. Carryover can help offset the effects of excessive dead money.

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Dead money exists because of the way pay cap accounting rules work. Subscription bonuses, additional bonuses and certain lineup bonuses are distributed pro rata or evenly over the term of the contract, up to a maximum of five years. When a player is sacked, traded, or fired, the remaining proportion of these wage components is immediately increased to his team’s current wage cap.

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There are two main exceptions to this general rule for expedited bonus distribution. Only the proportion of the current year that players are released, traded, or retired after June 1st is taken into account when calculating the cap. The distribution of bonuses in future contract years is deferred until the next league year, which typically starts in early to mid-March.

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A team can also release two players in each league until June 2 (known as the post-June 1 designation) who will be treated as restricted as if they were released after June 1. For appointments after June 1, a team is required. to keep the player’s full number until June 2, even if he is no longer in the roster. During this time, the player’s salary is not taken into account if it is not guaranteed.

This means that dead money is usually a sunk cost where no money is owed to the player. The payout is related to dead money when there are wage guarantees at the time of graduation or departure when the player has already started receiving part of his compensation in that particular league year.

Three NFL teams (the Bears, Falcons and Texans) are currently easily ahead of other clubs with over $70 million in dead money. There is a correlation between this level of dead money and the team’s performance this season. The three teams leading in dead money have a combined record of 9-22-1. The Falcons are still in contention for the playoffs at 5-6 because the NFC South is the NFL’s weakest division this season.

Here’s a look at how these three teams accumulated dead money. For players in the top 20 with dead money, their respective ranking is noted.

Potential dead money that is the subject of a complaint is not included in the calculation. As well as the potential costs associated with severance pay, as a player must apply within a short period of time immediately after the end of the regular season in order to receive it. The $295 daily NFL Collective Bargain for participating in a team’s voluntary off-season training program is also included in dead money when applicable.

Chicago Bears

  • Dead money: $85.81 million
  • Adjusted salary cap: $210,762,719
  • Dead Money Percentage: 40.72%

The biggest fees

  • Khalil Mak (EDGE): $24 million (third)
  • Robert Quinn (EDGE): $11,594,537 (11th)
  • Rokuan Smith (LB): $9,168,850
  • Nick Falls (QB): $7,666,668

New general manager Ryan Poles, sending Mack to the Chargers for a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 sixth-round pick, was the first sign of recovery from a 6-11 record in 2021. not a quarterback in NFL history.

The roster cut was accelerated by two mid-season moves as the November trade deadline approached. Quinn, who was rumored to be traded during the off-season, was traded to the Eagles for a 2023 fourth-round pick. The Bears pre-converted $7,137,778 of Quinn’s remaining $7,822,222 base salary into a signing bonus to facilitate the deal.

Significance was the catalyst for the Poles to send Smith to the Ravens for a 2023 second and fifth round pick. Linebacker AJ Klein was the throw-in that the Bears released. The Bears and Smith, who doesn’t have an agent, were in such heated contract renewal negotiations that the All-Pro, who played twice for the second team, ended up asking for a trade during training camp.

Allegedly, Smith wanted to become the highest paid linebacker in the league, which the Bears didn’t want to do. This award is currently held by Shaquille Leonard. He received a five-year, $98.5 million extension averaging $19.7 million with $52.5 million guaranteed by the Colts during the 2021 preseason. The pre-trade wage conversion also happened to Smith, so the Ravens are only liable for $575,000 of his $9.735 million fifth-year option.

The Bears have more than twice as much dead money for quarterbacks ($12,666,668) than their 53-man passer ceiling ($6,292,960). At the time of his release in May, Foles had a guaranteed $5 million salary in 2022. $10 million one-year contract worth up to $13 million with incentives signed by Andy Dalton in 2021 to serve as bridge quarterback until 2021’s 11th overall pick Justin Fields ($4,298,250 in 2022) took the reins of the board, had a 2022 Cancellation/Dummy and a 2023 Contract. This year, the Bears set a cap fee of $5 million for Dalton because his $7.5 million signing bonus was prorated over three years. Trevor Simian, Fields’ stunt double, was signed to a two-year, $4 million contract.

The Bears should not be among the leaders of dead money next year, because the purge of the Polish roster is almost complete. The cap situation next year looks great. The Bears easily have the fewest NFL commitments for 2023 at $111.163 million with 32 players under contract, while there is $11.92 million of unused 2022 space that can be rolled over. Once the 51 players needed to account for the offseason are up, the Bears should have about $110 million in their 2023 salary cap.

Atlanta Falcons

  • Dead money: $78.62 million
  • Adjusted salary cap: $208,988,661
  • Dead Money Percentage: 37.62%

The biggest fees

  • Matt Ryan (QB): $40.525 million (first)
  • Julio Jones (WR): $15.5 million (fifth)
  • Deion Jones (LB): $11,357,451 (15th)

The Falcons didn’t leave in the offseason with the intention of being among the leaders in dead money. A failed bid to acquire quarterback Deshawn Watson through a trade prompted Ryan to decide it was best to start over with a clean slate after the Falcons attempted to replace him.

More than half of Atlanta’s dead money comes from trading Ryan to the Colts for a 2022 third-round pick in March. Ryan has had the highest-grossing contract in the NFL thanks to four contract restructurings for cap purposes since becoming the first NFL player to make $30 million a year in 2018 after a five-year, $150 million extension. Quarterback Carson Wentz last year with $33,820,611 was beaten when Ryan was dealt.

The Falcons got $8,137,500 out of the blue for 2022 by moving Ryan. His 2023 cap of $43,612,500 also disappeared from the Atlanta books after the deal.

The Falcons’ extremely tight 2021 salary cap has delayed the trade of Julio Jones with a 2023 sixth-round pick to the Titans for a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick until June 9. After waiting until June 1 to trade a two-time, All-Pro first-team wide receiver, the Falcons received $15.3 million due to the Titans taking on his 2021 base salary in the deal.

Deion Jones didn’t really fit into the linebacker role in the setup defensive coordinator Dean Peace brought to the Falcons last season. The paycheck and off-season shoulder surgery initially thwarted Atlanta’s attempts to trade Jones. The third contract restructuring since Jones signed a four-year extension, averaging $14.25 million a year in 2019, has made Jones more attractive to sell as $8.5 million of Jones’ fully guaranteed base salary at 9. $64 million in 2022 was converted to signing bonus on dummy/cancellation from 2024 to 2026. years were added right before the start of the regular season. The loss of linebacker Anthony Walker for the rest of the season to a torn quad in Week 3 was the catalyst for the Browns to acquire Jones and a 2024 seventh-round pick for a 2024 sixth-round pick in early October. The deal will leave the Falcons with $12,140,785 in dead money in 2023.

Houston Texans

  • Dead money: $73.124 million
  • Adjusted salary cap: $214,829,442
  • Dead Money Percentage: 34.04%

The biggest fees

  • Deshawn Watson (QB): $16.2 million (fourth)
  • Zach Cunningham (LB): $12,832,500 (sixth)
  • Whitney Mercilus (EDGE): $7 million

Watson’s divorce from the Texans this year was inevitable. He demanded a trade from the Texans early in the 2021 off-season despite signing a four-year, $156 million extension that had signed a $27 million bonus a few months earlier. The multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct that Watson faced made a deal in 2021 all but impossible. By mutual agreement, Watson was kept on the Texans’ roster of 53 in 2021, where he was paid a full salary, although he was not in uniform for the games and did not train with the team.

The Texans traded the Browns to Watson and a 2024 sixth-round pick for the 2022, 2023, and 2024 first-round picks, a 2022 fourth-round pick, a 2023 third-round pick, and a 2024 fourth-round pick in March, although he was still facing charges. The deal gave Texans $24.2 million from the ceiling for 2022. Watson is currently serving an 11-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

Disciplinary issues led to Cunningham’s release last December. The Titans have taken…


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