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Monday, May 07, 2007

Football 101

Just back from Winter Park, where Vikings coach Brad Childress presided over a chalk-talk session this evening for a group of media members.

Specific information was for background purposes only, but it was interesting stuff nonetheless.

Vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman started with an explanation of how the team rates players and some real-life examples of how those point-value charts clubs use played out in some draft-day trades.

Vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski followed with a brief history of the salary cap, a look at where the Vikings and other teams currently stand and an example of how restructuring a contract can create additional cap space.

Childress opened with a statistical look at some of the key areas where the Vikings need to improve over last season and how they correlate to scoring and winning, followed by some of the different coverages used in the Cover 2 defense.

He closed with a highlight-reel look at No. 1 draft choice Adrian Peterson and four other rookies: wide receiver Sidney Rice, defensive end Brian Robison, wide receiver Chandler Williams and undrafted free-agent tight end Braden Jones.


Blogger Andrew E. said...

Rob Brzezinski has been ahead of the curve with cap management. I find it frustrating when talent deficient hacks (Mr. Pasquarelli, how are you sir?) make the NFL's cap seem hard to understand. It's actually simple. Like a corporate tax return, one can play with the year when the dollars will count, but every dollar that is actually paid to a player will eventually count.

Rob has consistently used the roster bonus, which accrues immediately, as opposed to the signing bonus, which is amortized over the length of the deal. As a result, even though we sign a fair set of free agents, we always have cap room every year.

As he has done in the past, and assuming that he isn't hamstrung by the Wilfs, I hope that Rob takes advantage of the remaining cap space by either resigning key vets, or accelerating the cap hits on existing Ks.

Sean, did 'coach' Childress happen to hold forth on why he's got lineman who are born to man block mired in a zone blocking scheme?

10:21 PM  
Blogger Tom C said...

Actually, I wouldn't give too much credit to Rob Brz. Half of the Vikings extra cap space comes from cap credits.

Every year, the NFL looks over contracts and decides which incentives are likely to be earned (LTBE). If the NFL office decides that a certain incentive is LTBE, than it is charged against that year's cap. Now if a player under-performs and doesn't earn that incentive, that means the cap will have been charged for money that wasn't paid. Since thats not fair, the NFL gives cap credit for the next season, totaling the difference between the cap costs and actual pay to a player.

If theres one thing that Vikings players do, it's under perform. Thats why the Vikings consistently have the most cap credits every season. This year the Vikings led the league with over $12 million in cap credits. Thats means that a lot of players on the Vikings didn't play up to their contract.

10:43 PM  
Blogger Andrew E. said...


I appreciate your point, but do you think that the LTBEs are there by happenstance?

Part of NFL K negotiation is a dog and pony show. Exhibit A might the absurd K that Culpepper agreed to, which was nominally for $100 million but really paid out less than 20% of that sum. That K included incentives if Culpepper played 75% of special teams plays. This kind of thing happens all the time. Now, those were deemed LTBE, but shouldn't Rob get credit for making the Ks incentive based?

I don't have copies of the Ks to back-up my points, so in a way we are both tilting at windmills, but I'm fairly certain that Winfield's K included $10.5 mil in a roster bonus, not a signing bonus, and that Smoot's was similar. In doing the K this way, the big cap hit is immediate.

In either case, Rob's the one drafting the Ks, and I don't think it's unreasonable to credit him for the way that they play out.

6:53 PM  
Blogger Tom C said...

LTBEs are not in the contract. The NFL look at the contract and decides which incentives are likely to be earned based on past performance and future potential. The Vikings and Brz don't get to choose which incentives are LTBE.

The only control Rob Brz in the matter of LTBE incentives is that all incentives in contracts signed after the season starts are LTBE for that season. That means you can have ridiculous incentives which won't be met but count against the cap, and therefore get extra space the next year.

I agree on the roster bonuses. Thats a smart move if you have money to burn in a particular season.

If it weren't for cap credits, the Vikings would only have $12 million in cap space. Thats nothing impressive at all. I like Rob and think he's creative with the contracts, but I don't think he deserves credit for players not meeting the standards of their contract. Thats more the fault of the coaches.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Andrew E. said...

I agree that the league determines which incentives are LTBE, and which aren't (such as Culpepper's special teams snaps).

My point is that better to include incentives in Ks, so that if the team does take the pipe and everyone's production is down, the team has more cap room to fix some of the problems the following year.

I agree that the coaching staff was abysmal last year.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Tom C said...

Oh, I'm with you on incentives over guaranteed money, but that doesn't mean they can't come back to bite you in the butt too.

If the team over-performs their contracts, then you can end up having less money the next year.

I do think Brz is one of the best capologists in the business but I don't want to give him too much credit.

8:23 PM  

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