The concept of an empty year is to take the bonus at the signing of a player and spread it over two to four years, which is the limit, even if the player can only be part of the team for one year. For example, let`s say a player will earn $7 million to play football in 2013 and he still has 3 years left on his contract. To make the numbers easier, let`s just assume that its cap fee is also $7 million. To lower the cap fee to a more reasonable level, they will convert $6 million of his salary into a bonus and spread it prorated over the term of the contract. Its new cap is only $3 million, which comes from $1 million in base salary and $2 million in prorated money. Its cap fee will increase by $1 million each year over the next two years. What`s amazing is that it wasn`t one of those fake Adam Schefter Twitter accounts. It was actually the real Adam Schefter, but he reported contracts that were fundamentally wrong – at least on paper. The main reason why teams make questionable years is to distribute the salary cap without having to negotiate what the base salary would be if the player continued his career.
If the Steelers didn`t want to commit to paying Roethlisberger anything for 2022, but wanted to withdraw his current salary as a signing bonus, questionable years are a good option. You already know the “career years” and the “racing years,” but the NFL recently reintroduced the “questionable years” into sports jargon. Here`s how the cap fee for this contract works with a vacuum and without a vacuum. In a tweet about the Buccaneers` new contract with Tom Brady, Schefter wrote a convoluted sentence that stood out: “A four-year contract extension that translates into a one-year extension that locks him in until the 2022 season in Tampa.” With my head turned enough, I went to the dictionary and thought I must have forgotten the meaning of the word “empty.” But in fact, the first definition listed is “invalid or legally binding.” Isn`t the meaning of a contract valid, you know, valid and legally binding? Is the “questionable contract” an oxymoron like the “freezing brandy” or the “giant shrimp”? And how do the Saints save money accordingly? In return, the team wants you to sign a five-year contract. Except it`s not really a five-year contract. He becomes disabled after the first season, so it is actually a one-year contract disguised as a five-year contract. However, by signing a “five-year contract”, the team can spread the ceiling of this signing bonus over the duration of the contract. So instead of a $10 million cap in 2021, the team only has a $2 million cap. Wait, huh? The Chiefs haven`t used specifically questionable years like Tampa or New Orleans, but they essentially did the same thing this week by restructuring Patrick Mahomes` contract a bit. The Chiefs not only restructured Mahomes` contract, but also with tight end Travis Kelce and defensive lineman Chris Jones. Then they used the money they recovered — as well as the money they had earned by cutting the team`s two starting tackles — to give guard Joe Thuney a contract that is essentially guaranteed for three years and $48 million. All that black magic of accounting can be boring — OK, it`s certainly boring — but it`s also how the Chiefs could fix the offensive line patrick Mahomes dropped in the Super Bowl last month.
It is no coincidence that the two teams that just made it to the championship game are the ones at the forefront of this tactic. The Browns, or really any team, have to resist the temptation to put the credit card every year, or they`ll catch up. With the massive increase in the league`s revenues, the salary cap will skyrocket. It`s just a matter of when. This might not happen in 2022, but it could happen in 2023 and 2024. You can see that the ceiling reached for this contract was lowered from $8 million in Year 1 under the standard contract to $4 million in the questionable contract structure, partly due to the lower base salary and partly due to the distribution of signing bonuses over 4 years instead of 3rd. .