View Full Version : June 1 could be a important day in the NFL again, trades

06-08-2006, 01:54 PM
by Pat Kirwan

(June 8, 2006) -- The other day, I wrote an article (http://www.nfl.com/news/story/9482175) about why trading players will take the place of June 1 cuts. I still believe trades are on the upswing and will continue that way for the next few years because of the growth in the salary cap, but I made a mistake in referencing the old Collective Bargaining Agreement rules about accelerating signing bonuses when trades are made today.

For years, when a player was traded, the team trading the player had to pay off the cap charges for an amortized signing bonus at the time of the trade. But the new rule under the CBA extension agreed upon in March says if a trade occurs after June 1, the assigning club's signing bonus acceleration is postponed until the first day of the 2007 league year. That means the Saints don't get charged the $2.5 million on the back end of Johnathan Sullivan (http://www.nfl.com/players/playerpage/396178)'s contract (traded to New England) until next year. As in the past, the club would continue to bear the cap charge for the current year's prorated signing bonus plus any amounts that have been earned under the 2006 contract.


I was glad to see Ross Verba (http://www.nfl.com/players/playerpage/4605), the former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman, get back in the NFL. He sat out last season and recently signed with the Detroit Lions (http://www.nfl.com/teams/story/DET/9472352). He can play left tackle, guard and right tackle if need be and that gives the Lions all kind of options going forward. The year off could be looked at as a time for the eight-year veteran to rest his body and get himself ready for the final phase of his career.

His contract calls for a $2.2 million signing bonus and a $1.8 million salary, which is a nice one-year payday of $4 million. Then there's an option bonus of $2.5 million due next spring which would extend the deal to 2010. Verba was the best overall lineman still available on the open market, and with very few teams, if any, willing to consider trading an offensive tackle, this deal makes great sense for the Lions. But it may have a ripple effect around the league.

I wonder what Ty Law (http://www.nfl.com/players/playerpage/3820) thinks of a deal that a guy out of football all of last year received while he was intercepting 10 passes. Or what a quarterback like Kerry Collins (http://www.nfl.com/players/playerpage/1013) thinks when he was throwing for 3,759 yards, 20 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. As one personnel man in the league said, "The Verba deal could affect the ability to sign other veteran players around the league."


With all the extra salary cap space floating around the NFL right now, it is an excellent time for teams to identify their best young players and get them to sign contract extensions.

The popular opinion around the NFL is to keep your own players whenever possible. The average team in the NFL has close to $9 million in salary cap space right now and there are 14 teams with over $10 million in space. Players realize they face a 16-game schedule and the risk of injury could tempt a percentage of them to accept a contract extension. Others will look at the rise in next year's salary cap and consider waiting because the salaries may be even bigger in a year.

The feeling I get these days is that if a team wants to put a deal together that pays a player money close to franchise (the average of the five highest paid players at his position) or transition (average of the top 10 at his position) amounts, there's a good chance the elite players might be interested. If the deal is below that, it could be slow going for the clubs.

Players like Roy Williams (http://www.nfl.com/players/playerpage/302238), Jason Witten (http://www.nfl.com/players/playerpage/396134) and Steve Smith (http://www.nfl.com/players/playerpage/235157) are in very good positions to get offers that make sense to them, but the teams might become hesitant to work at those numbers. As one contract negotiator said, "In the end, it may be a lot easier to sign your second-tier players this spring than it will be to get the elite guys done."


There's a notion out there that teams wait until after minicamps to sign their top draft picks. The truth is most teams realize that getting first-round picks signed early is frustrating and fruitless. They may have a few preliminary discussions about the parameters of the deal, but most club negotiators know agents are going to wait until the market takes shape.

The pre-draft signing of Mario Williams (http://www.nfl.com/players/playerpage/427356) would usually indicate that the market is set at the top, but the new CBA has injected more money into the cap and some club executives think there will be more holdouts this year. Personally, I think signings will come in as usual.
Here's a breakdown by month of the class of 2004 in the first round:

May: 0 signings
June: 1 signing
July (1-15): 0 signing
July (16-31): 18 signings
August (1-15): 11 signings
August (16-31): 2 signings

I asked one vice president if there were any other reasons the signings happen after the minicamps and Offseason Team Activities, and he said tongue and cheek, "I worry enough about the young guys when they don't have any money in their pockets yet. I'd just as soon pay them their signing bonus the day camp starts rather than let them float around for a month or two with money to burn."

06-08-2006, 02:04 PM
Why hasn't Carl signed Tamba Hali yet? GODDAMMIT!!!

06-08-2006, 02:06 PM
Why hasn't Carl signed Tamba Hali yet? GODDAMMIT!!!

He's waiting to corner him in the basement, swear at him, and insult his mother for not immigrating yet.

06-08-2006, 02:15 PM
He's waiting to corner him in the basement, swear at him, and insult his mother for not immigrating yet.