18 Questions with Coltscap.net

One of my favorite sites is coltscap.net.  It’s a handy little site that stores all the contract information and cap numbers for the Colts.  It’s a great page to check out whenever you are wondering what the contract status of a Colts player is.  Here’s an interview with the mysterious author of coltscap.net, B.A.V.

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1.  Explain to our readers in a nutshell,  what is the
goal of Coltscap.net?

The Goal of ColtsCap is really two fold.  It originally started as a spreadsheet on my
laptop where I first attempted to put together the team’s salary
information.  That was back in late 2005
or 2006, I believe.  The problem that I
quickly noticed was that I always had my numbers, but there was no way to
communicate them to others except by simply posting them on a forum.  This is clearly quite limited in its scope
and overwhelming on my end as I found myself consistently answering
questions.  To that end, the creation of a
single resource to point online to was both out of ease for everyone else, as
well as self-preservation.

As I am certainly not a web-designer by
trade, the site started as a single exported graphic on my (then) Indiana
University-hosted student web page. 
Through the generous contributions of time and effort of others more
knowledgeable than I, it’s grown to what it is now.

2.

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What inspired you to start the site?

My interest in the type of information contained in
the site was really a blend of my interests in the team and the interest in the
Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). 
The best way to understand the CBA was for me to not just read it, but
to observe how it was applied and interpreted to real-life situations.  Thus, tracking the salaries of my favorite
team was an interesting and appropriate place to begin.  From there, it just grew.

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3.3.  How long have you been a Colts fan?

I was born in 1981 and I’ve never been a fan of any
other team, so as far back as I can remember.

4.  Tell us a little about yourself.  What do
you do for a living, ect?

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Currently I am an attorney in northern Indiana.  I am a graduate of Indiana University School
of Law in Bloomington.

5. 

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How often do you update Coltscap.net?

Not as often as I should.  Between not having much free time to work on
the site and not having the technical knowledge to make updating it as easy as
possible, the site doesn’t keep up with the daily/weekly changes as best it
could.  I try and update it at important
times, such as the start of the new league year, upon the signing of players
who may impact the cap more than minimally, at the start of the season after
final cuts, and any other time I can make the time to.  I’m trying to put some things in the works to
make it easier, but it’s a slow process for me.


6. 

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How many hits does your site generate?

I have no clue.

7. 

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What are your main sources for information on
contracts?

I try as best I can to track sources that have
historically been accurate.  The NFLPA
maintains a salary database that is 100% accurate, but is limited in that
there’s no other bonus information on there. 
USA Today maintains an online database that is typically fairly accurate,
but is limited in that there is no tracking of future salaries.  One of the best resources I’ve found is
talking to people in the know to see what information I can get. 

Mike Chappell (the IndyStar Colts beat writer) has
been tremendously helpful in many regards in that his position puts him in
contact with team officials and agents that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able
to get in contact with.  We’ve
continuously carried on conversations relating to the CBA and the salary cap
since the 2006 season.  While I certainly
contribute my interpretations of the CBA, it would be an error to consider it a
mutually beneficial relationship.  The
information he can dig up for me is far more valuable than the information I can
send his way.  I’m 100% sure of that.

The rest of the information I find is the same online
reports everyone else reads.  That’s part
of the leg work in this type of data mining; often the information is there,
but it’s not broken up into useful figures. 
You need to take both the general information you can find and apply
what you know of the CBA to truly understand not just what is happening, but
also why.

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8.  What is the most challenging part about running
a cap site?

Not knowing what I’m doing.  I’m a lawyer with a background in Psychology,
Philosophy, and Biology.  I’m learning as
I go along.

9. 

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What do you consider to be the most complicated
aspect of understanding the cap?

The sheer bulk of rules and regulations within the CBA
is what is probably the most complicated. 
There’s not one particular rule that’s the most difficult; you either
understand it or you don’t.  What’s
overwhelming is that the CBA is a 200+ page document and it’s easy to lose
track of minuscule variations and loopholes. 
Toss in the fact that it changes every 4-6 years, and if you’re trying
to rebuild previous contract years under previous rules, you’ve got a lot of
paper to sift through.

10. 

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What do you foresee as the future of the cap now
that CBA has almost run out?

The ball with that is really in the NFLPA’s
court.  I’ve heard people say that once
the salary cap is gone, it’s gone.  I’m
not really sure I agree with that.  For a
sport that only has 20 weeks of contests and only one contest per-team
per-week, there’s considerably less income generated than in a NBA or MLB
season.  As such, for the league to be
successful, it will need to continue its success in being the most popular sport in
the country.  I think a large part of the
success has arisen from the parity in the league, which I’m of the opinion has
arisen primarily because of the salary cap. 
Even if there’s an uncapped year or two, I think both sides will
ultimately realize that the success of the league (and thus BOTH sides) will
require the enforcement of some level of parity, and I think the salary cap
(especially a hard cap like in the NFL) is an effective means to that end.

11.

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Have you ever considered selling Colts Caps?
 That way if the NFL loses the salary cap, you don’t have to change
URLs!

Ha!  My fashion
design skills are worse than my web design skills.  It would never work.  Then again, those ‘Ugly Dolls’ sell don’t
they?  You may be onto something.

12. 

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How do you foresee the Colts surviving in an
uncapped NFL?

Poorly.  While
it’s true that they still would be able to draft players as well as they have,
once those players hit free agency they would be gone.  It’s simply the reality of a small market
team.  That means right now, there would
be no Manning, Harrison, Wayne, Clark, Sanders, Freeney, Lilja, and many others.  Even if the team retains the ability to
franchise two players every year, pick two of the above players and tell me how
competitive we’d be.  Then, as the team’s
performance declined, so would attendance and other revenue streams for the
team, meaning fewer players would be able to be resigned.  It could potentially be a vicious cycle.

13. 

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Which Colt do you think has the most club
friendly contract?

Of the non-rookies, it has to be Reggie Wayne.  He’s both got a pretty flat salary curve 
and considering he’s making less than players like Bernard Berrian on a
per-year average yet outplaying them, it’s a great case of production exceeding
cost.  Mathis is a close second.

14. 

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Is there any hope of restructuring Manning’s
deal to lower his 09 cap number?

Likely not.  The
problem is that in the past, Manning has restructured by converting a roster
bonus to a signing bonus.  There’s no
more roster bonuses left.  Thus, for him
to restructure he’d have to convert a bulk of his base salary to a signing
bonus and have that prorated.  However,
being in an uncapped year, there’s rules covering the yearly incremental
increases in salaries in that they may not increase more than 30% from the last
cap year.  In other words, Manning could
take a paycut, but it would only be able to lower his salary such a minimal
amount because his 2010 salary is so high that it would make little difference.

15. 

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If the Colts were to give Bob Sanders an
incentive bonus of say, 20 lbs of human brains for 5 sacks, would that be
classified as likely to be met or unlikely to be met and what would be the
ramifications for the cap?


Typically, whether or not an incentive bonus for a
non-rookie counts in a given year is dependent upon the player’s production
during the prior year.  If, during the
previous season he had recorded 5+ sacks, then the redemption value of the
brains at the start of the season would be included in the salary cap calculation.  If at the end of the year he didn’t record 5
sacks, that amount the team carried all year would be given back to the team as
a credit for the next year.

Similarly, if during the previous season he hadn’t
recorded five sacks, then that amount would not be included during the season,
with a debit of that amount if at the end of the year he recorded 5+ sacks.

Final capped year note: the incentive bonus accounting
structure above will not be in effect for 2009. 
Instead, bonuses are accounted for/removed the moment the incentive is
met.  Thus, if the amount hadn’t been
carried because he had fewer than 5 sacks in the previous year, the moment he
gets his 5th sack in 2009, the full amount of the bonus hits the
2009 cap, rather than being subtracted from the 2010 cap (since there isn’t
one).

16.  We all know the Colts are unlikely to sign
anyone in free agency.  Can you envision any possible way to sneak
Albert Haynesworth onto the roster?

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Sure!  Start
cutting players like Manning, Harrison, Wayne,
etc. and you’d eventually get there.

Realistically, I don’t expect him to sign for less
than $10mil per year.  I’ve seen Adam
Schefter predict between $11-12mil per year. 
Pair that with both the shortening of bonus prorations from 6 years to 5
years as well as the 30% rule that I mentioned earlier, and you’re taking a
massive hit even in year 1.  In the past
you could have backloaded it a bit, but being the last capped year those
options aren’t available.  If we carry
Hayden on a franchise tender, we’re going to be strapped as it is just to sign
our rookies, yet that’s just a single year. 
Imagine having to carry that every year for 5-6 years; we’d be strapped
every year just like we are now and eventually it all would come all tumbling
down.  You might be able to fit him in
for 2009, but that’s just a short-sighted goal. 
There’s no realistic way to sign him, given his expected demands
.

17. 

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If you could give Bill Polian one piece of cap
advice what would it be?

Ha!  I’ll take
your presumption that I would be in a position to do that as a compliment.  It’s certainly not a presumption that I’d
share.

I would be hesitant to make such a comment.  I’ve typically agreed with his decisions in
hindsight, if not at the time they were made. 
It’s easy as fans to sit back and question some of the ‘highest paid
_______’ contracts given out, but the players who have received them are all
players that many of the same fans would have been up in arms about had they
left.  Can giving him retroactive advice
not to sign Josh Williams and Corey Simon to big contracts count?

18. 

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Can you believe I had the gall to ask you to do
an interview, and then hit you with 18 questions?  What kind of an a-hole
am I?

I just won’t answer this one so it’s only 17 questions.

 

Wait a minute…






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