As many of you already know, I like numbers and X’s and O’s a lot more than I do spelling correctly and using proper grammar. The NFL salary cap and contract structure has always fascinated me and when tracking those two things, it’s always easy to get tripped up by Mr. Displacement.
Starting this coming Tuesday, the “Rule of 51” kicks in as far as the salary cap goes. That rule states that the top 51 salaries of all players under contract along with any prorated bonus money for that year and dead money on the books must add up to less than $133 million. From that point forward, it’s important to keep Mr. Displacement in mind as players are signed or released.
So how does salary cap displacement work with the salary cap and how can it trip you up?
Every time a player is signed, that players’ salary might displace another player’s salary at the bottom of top 51. For example, let’s say the Pittsburgh Steelers were to re-sign defensive lineman Al Woods to a one-year, $1 million contract. Being as his $1 million salary would then qualify to be in the top 51, he would knock the lowest base salaried player off of the list. With the Steelers currently having seven players in their top 51 earning $420,000 without any prorated bonus money attached, you would drop one of those players in order to add Woods and the team cap number would increase by only $580,000, which is the difference between $1 million and $420,000. Get the picture?
Displacement is also important to keep in mind whenever a player in the top 51 is released as that player must be replaced by the top salaried player outside of your top 51. In addition, if the player released has any dead money associated with him, don’t forget to add that to Rule of 51 total.
Hopefully this helps clarify things for you as to how the Steelers salary cap works at this very important time of year and Mr. Displacement thanks you for your time.