Salary Cap Planning 101 Part 1: Rookie Contracts

January 27th, 2013

The Browns front office has money to spend, and will hopefully do so wisely. (Photo via AP Photo/Mark Duncan) Staff Writer: Mike Tricarichi


  • Annual Cap Number = year’s base salary + pro-rated signing bonus + pro-rated roster bonus
  • Salary Cap Floor Reading
  • Don’t yell at the teacher

Hello class, this is Cap Planning 101. I’m Professor Mikey, if you’re not here for this class, I urge you to stick around anyway, you might learn something! I don’t give exams, homework, or dirty looks, only a classroom that promotes critical thinking and basic mathematics.

Lectures will cover the salary cap number that Peter King stated in his MMQB column on January 7th. I’m referring to his statement that the Cleveland Browns have $47 million worth of salary cap room available to spend this off season.  That is an absurd amount of money to even fathom to normal folk like us, but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t give Jimmy Haslam, Joe Banner, and Michael Lombardi the right to give blank checks to all the top tier free agents that are set to hit the market on March 12th at 4 pm New York time. (Take note of this calendar that the folks at put together.)

The $47 million needs to be earmarked for draft picks, players to be re-signed by the Browns whose contracts are expiring, extending contracts of players currently under contract, THEN we can talk open market free agents.

Today we’re going to cover with the easiest and most accurate to estimate, which is the cap money that will go towards the 2013 Cleveland Browns draft class. The NFL CBA states that rookie contract values increase the same percentage as the league salary cap does. The 2013 cap number is rumored to be close to $121m, up from $120.6m in 2012. That’s a 0.33% increase. Below you’ll find a chart of picks from 2012 of which the Browns hold in the 2013 draft along with their contract details:

In the spreadsheet I created I have the signing bonus and base salaries that were provided by which calculated the cap number for each player. If you would like a more detailed breakdown, leave a comment and I’ll provide what you’re looking for.

In the next chart, I use the picks the Browns have and add in the increase in contract value. I’m no Miss Cleo, so there is no way I’ll project any sort of trades.

So in conclusion, I just knocked $5.409m off the $47m that the Browns will have available to spend in the 2013 offseason.  I’m going to keep an additional chart at the bottom of every “lecture” to keep track of what we covered.

If you find this class and you’re interested in other teams, let me know in the comments below.

We’ll cover Browns FA’s to be and extensions next time. Class dismissed!

Tags: Cleveland Browns, Jimmy Haslam, Joe Banner, Kirk Cousins, Michael Lombardi, Morris Claiborne, NFL, Salary Cap Info, TJ Graham

7 Responses to “Salary Cap Planning 101 Part 1: Rookie Contracts”

  1. Jose Garibay says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for doing this, I know you work for the Browns organization, but could you help me in finding a similar analysis for the Cowboys? Or where can I find the numbers to put it all together? I’ve been hearing a lot about Cap troubles for them and would like to know the situation. Thank you for your time!

    Cheers from Mexico,

  2. Let me see what I can come up with.

    Without knowing exactly what picks Dallas will have, I have to estimate a little. Their amount needed to sign their draft picks will be close to $4 million. Keep an eye out to, they usually have an update with each team’s cap situation every couple months.

  3. JT says:

    Very informative! Don’t know if folks really understand all that makes up the cap system. Brown fans in my area (upstate NY) damn sure don’t. All I hear is with all of our cap money we should go on a signning pogrom.

  4. Mikey says:

    And that’s the purpose of this series, so show how much “red meat” is left to spend.

  5. Jay says:

    Not to pick, but you’ll need to do some editing on your sheets here. Morris Claiborne is a Dallas Cowboy, your sheet reflects his Rd 1, Pk 6 salary. The Cowboys traded their 1st and 2nd rd picks in 2012 to the Browns to move up and get Claiborne.

  6. Jay,

    The team and the trade has nothing to do with the salary cap/contract value a player receives. That’s the reason why I didn’t include the team the player was drafted by, because for cap calculations, it just doesn’t matter. It all has to do with the slot he’s taken. Claiborne was taking with the #6 pick in 2012, as of right now, the Browns have the #6 pick.

  7. Ryan says:

    Cowboys traded those picks to the Rams to move up and get Claiborne, not the Browns.

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