Doing the math

Let’s play, “Guess the salary cap ramifications for Corey Simon’s release!”.

As of yet, no one has released these numbers, in large part because if there was a secret settlement between Simon and the club, it might affect things. By most accounts, Simon signed a 5 year 30 million dollar contract 2 seasons ago. He has been paid 14 million of that with another 1.9 million being withheld by the club for missing last season. It has also been reported that he was slated to make about 4 million this season, and 5 each of the next two: So, does that math work?

14 Million (paid)+ 1.9 (withheld)+3.95+5+5=roughly 30 million. So that breakdown seems to work.

Now remember, the 14 million the Colts paid him HAS to be absorbed by the salary cap over a total of four seasons. What? you say. Four seasons? Yes and here’s why…

Year One (2005) obviously counts as Simon played. That year, the Colts were responsible for his base salary of about 545,000 plus 600K (one fifth of his original signing bonus, 3 Million). So that year the Colts would have taken a salary cap number of about 1.1 million. That jives with what USA today reported http://asp.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/salaries/playerdetail.aspx?player=2078

Year two (2006) obviously counts as well. The Colts had a roster-converted-to-a-signing bonus of 10 million given to Simon. This number get prorated over 4 years (what was left on the original 5 year deal). They also paid him about 600K of a base salary of 2.5 million. That gives us about 14 million paid and 1.9 million withheld. Those are the numbers that you’ve been reading about in the paper. Simon’s cap number for 2006 should have been:
600K (the paid portion of the base)+ 2.5 million (10 million roster bonus divided by 4 remaining years), +600 K (the portion of the original year one bonus) =roughly 3.7 Million which works again with the USA Today number

Now, here’s where it gets tricky. In the NFL, when you cut someone after June 1st, you can divide the rest of the salary cap hit you take for cutting them (remember, the hit is only the guaranteed money you’ve already paid them), over two years instead of one (assuming they have at least 2 years left on their contract). Soooooo, by our rough numbers the Colts have paid out 14 million to Simon, 13 million of that was guaranteed money that has been divided up. Of that 13 million, the Colts have taken care of about 3.7 million of it, with 9.3 million left to split over 2 years. That leaves a cap hit of around 4.65 million dollars this year AND next year. This is the so called ‘dead money’. It’s already paid, and it’s on the books. So what, if anything do the Colts save this year?

Well if they HADN’T cut Simon, his cap number this year would have been:
3.95 million (base) + 2.5 million (portion of the 10 million roster bonus) + 600K (the year 3 chunk of the original signing bonus)=7.05 Million. Simon will cost the Colts about 4.65 million dollars this year, so that’s a cap savings of about 2.4 million. I have no idea of how losing a grievance over the 1.9 million withheld would affect things. I have a feeling the Colts would lose that money right away, which would mean a cap savings of only about 500K for this year.

I’m doing the best I can without exact numbers, but I think this is right. Someone help me if they know something I don’t. Bear in mind, that the issues surrounding the withheld money and possible settlements with Simon might change these numbers some. I’m working with possibly faulty data, but I’m pretty sure I have the system correct. I’m not sure if the Colts can accelerate the cap hit on Simon by taking more of the hit this year; I sort of doubt it, but it would be a wise move if possible. I’d rather see them free up more money for next year, since this year is already taken care of.

Here’s a chart to help things make sense:

UPDATE: Let me first say once again, that Mike Chappell and Phil Wilson of the Star are great assets to any Colts fan. I wrote both of them for the opinions on this breakdown. Phil thought my numbers were close, but admitted he’s not a capologist (not that I am either). Mike had a slightly different set of numbers:

“it is tricky and i’m only so-so confident i’ve got it right. or close to right. whatever i’ve got doesn’t take into account the $1.9 million the colts withheld from simon. anyway, simon signed a 5-year, $30 million contract prior to ’05. it included a $5 million signing bonus and an $8 million option bonus in ’06. he got both. he has three years left on the deal in terms of accounting for signing/option bonus. that’s 3/5ths of $5 million — $3 million. and 3/4ths of $8 million — $6 million. that’s a total of $9 million that has yet to be applied to the cap. the team can absorb all of that at once, which the colts won’t do, or split it up — $3 million this year in dead money and $6 million in ’08 as dead money. looks like they’ll save about $4 million against this year’s cap after cutting Simon — he was due to count $7.055 million. again, i think that’s pretty close” –Mike Chappell, Indy Star beat writer. Mike has a great Q and A column that you can access here:
http://blogs.indystar.com/coltsinsider/



Mike’s numbers differ from the USA today numbers slightly. USA Today had a 3 Million bonus, followed by a 10 million bonus. Mike has that at 5 and 8. Mike’s numbers help the Colts slightly more, because they would have written slightly more. He has the Colts at 9 million dead $s, and my numbers are at 9.3 Million. So we are pretty close. What’s interesting is that he says the Colts can chose how to allocate the dead money; he’s saying 3 now, 6 later. I just split the two in half. So assuming he’s correct, and I most certainly do, it’s a little better for this year, and a little worse for next. Remember, though, no one has any idea what to do with the missing 1.9 million the club may or may not owe Simon for last year’s base. I hope this is as clear as mud.

Once again, read the Indy Star.
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=SPORTS03
The Colts coverage is always solid, and the reporters are real stand up guys.

UPDATE 2: Chappell says he’s never gotten complaints on the numbers from an agent or anything, and he’s been using them for some time. So I have no doubt that he’s correct. I’d always trust the local guy over the national one anyway. He also says that he thinks the Colts have 2 choices when it comes to Simon’s cap hit. 1. They can absorb the whole 9 million now, or 2. They can take this year’s hit as normal (which would be 3 million by his numbers or 3.15 by mine), and then eat the rest next year (the other 6 or so). That would be the rule for splitting up the hit. Again, much thanks to Mike Chappell for his expertise.

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