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Old 07-05-2007, 02:38 PM   #1
tony hipchest
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Default shocking look at "dead money"

houston will be paying off $30,000,000 (28% of their cap) to players no longer on their team. and to think they just recently got out from under tony boselli's contract. detroit isnt looking that great either. i thought pittsburgh was bad with about $3.7 mil in dead money.

Coaching changes can drive up dead money

By Pat Kirwan Senior Analyst

(July 3, 2007) -- Drive past any of the 32 NFL facilities and you will see an empty parking lot.

Sure, there are some rookies working early in the morning with the strength coach, but for the most part the veterans are long gone and the coaches are right behind them as everyone tries to recharge their batteries and get ready for the upcoming season. Playbooks have finally been completed, the camp rosters are set -- give or take one player who might get signed to fill a camp need -- and head coaches are playing golf, catching fish, or just sleeping late.

Gary Walker, right, hasn't played since 2005, but will continue to take up space on Houston's payroll.
Well, there were a few things left behind that are reminders that the business season never ends.

"Dead money" is the common expression for players still on the salary-cap books who no longer play for the team. Today, we will look at some of the cap issues still lurking for teams around the league.

I took a look at the team salary charges as it relates to the salary cap, and there are a number of teams that really finished up their offseason with some significant dead money against their 2007 salary cap. There's no doubt that all the NFL teams are being run more efficiently than they were 10 years ago. Nonetheless, dead money is not going away when everyone gets back from vacation.

With the 2007 salary cap is $109 million per team, it really isn't bad for a team to be carrying under $10 million of old debt, but when a team crosses over that mark, it causes a strain on the team's ability to do new business.

Seven teams in the NFL are burdened to some degree with over $10 million of dead money each, and no one has a bigger number of player charges on the books for guys no longer with the team than the Houston Texans. Houston had a coaching change a year ago, and it switched defensive schemes from a 3-4 to a 4-3. Both are both driving forces behind the house cleaning that has gone on since the arrival of Gary Kubiak and his staff.

On the 2007 books at a charge of a little over $30 million (close to 30 percent of the entire salary cap) for the Texans but no longer playing for Kubiak are the following players as the franchise continues to revamp the roster.

Name Cap Charge Status
1. Gary Walker $5,500,001 Retired after 2005 season
2. Todd Wade $5,000,000 Joined Washington in 2006
3. Robaire Smith $4,175,002 Played for Tennessee in 2006; joined Cleveland in 2007
4. David Carr $4,000,000 Joined Carolina in 2007
5. Eric Moulds $3,750,000 Free agent
6. Zach Weigert $2,950,000 Free agent
7. Seth Payne $2,250,000 Free agent
8. Domanick Williams $1,300,000 Free agent
9. Kailee Wong $1,167,000 Retired after 2006 season
10. Vernand Morency $189,000 Joined Green Bay in 2006
11. Sam Cowart $135,000 Did not play in 2006
12. Eleven 2006 rookies $74,000
TOTAL 2007 DEAD MONEY: $30,490,003 (approx. 28 percent of cap)

This list is a great reminder to NFL players that if you don't win and your coach gets fired, it will not be long before the high-priced players will soon be shown the door. New head coaches typically rid themselves of players who were not part of the solution for the former regime. Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New Orleans and Oakland all have first- or second-year head coaches, and are all above the $10 million mark in dead money.

A quick look at the Detroit salary cap, and you quickly realize the Lions have used a lot of salary-cap space to figure out the position -- and they haven't even signed Calvin Johnson yet. On the 2007 books, there are 16 wide receivers using up cap space. Mike Williams, Charles Rogers, Corey Bradford are no longer on the team but will eat up $10,229,720 of space this season (close to 10 percent of the cap). When Johnson finally signs his contract, the Lions will have close to $28 million in wide receivers alone. Throw in the dead money Ross Verba, James Hall, Dre Bly, Josh McCown and Marcus Pollard represent (a combined $6.4 million), and you can see the cost of getting a roster corrected.

It's interesting to note the emotional state of the present Lions players -- remember Jon Kitna's 10-win prediction? -- is at an all time high. No one seems to miss any of the departed players.

As the 2007 season gets under way after this very short and well-deserved rest, the players with a head coach who appears on the hot seat better realize they are on a seat just as hot! Play this season like your professional life depends upon it -- because it does.
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