NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The NFL off-season never sleeps.
Just as players prepare for the season during this time in the NFL calendar, general managers are also working.
The work heats up today as June 1st is an important date for roster-building and cap management. After June 1st, NFL teams can spread a player’s bonus money over two years instead of taking the hit in one year if they choose to trade or cut a player.
For example, if a player signs a five-year deal with a $15 million signing bonus, that bonus is prorated over the life of the contract. Meaning, each year of the contract, the signing bonus will count $3 million against that year’s salary cap (in addition to the player’s base salary and other bonuses). So if that player is then cut after two seasons, the team would have already accounted for $6 million of that signing bonus ($3 million in year 1 and $3 million in year 2) with $9 million remaining. If that player is cut before June 1st, the team will incur a $9 million dead cap hit. If he’s cut after June 1st, the team would only take on the original prorated amount of $3 million and the remaining $6 million would count towards next year’s cap. This is only for signing bonuses, other compensation remains the same under the cap.
This is the time of year we sometimes see surprise releases or blockbuster trades because teams who cut players after June 1st incur a much smaller cap hit than if they cut the same player before June 1st. Now, that doesn’t mean they don’t still owe the entire amount, it’s just spread across two years to lessen the cap hit for this year.
Teams can also designate up to two players as such before June 1st. A “post-June 1st designation.” Players including Kyle Rudolph, Alshon Jeffery and Malik Jackson were released by their team this off-season with a post-June 1st designation.
Now that it’s officially June 1st, multiple moves are expected to happen especially with the lowered cap in 2021. Teams are already strapped for cash this season and this is a great tool to save money. Big-name players like Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones could be potential June trade candidates.
This is a significant date for the two-toned blue for two reasons. First, the Titans are reportedly part of the Julio Jones sweepstakes. Because the Falcons are expected to trade Jones for salary cap reasons, he was likely not getting dealt before June 1st.
Second, if the Titans are in fact trying to trade for Jones, they don’t currently have the cap space to pay his $15.3 million base salary in 2021. There’s the option to restructure a current player, or release a player after June 1st and save some money in 2021. Here’s an example of a restructure, courtesy of Spotrac:
Here’s an example of a potential cut:
- G Rodger Saffold cap hit in 2021 — $12.3 million
- Cut before June 1st cap hit — $4.75 million ($7.566 million savings)
- Cut after June 1st cap hit — $2.375 million ($9.941 million savings)
Either way, Titans fans should keep their head on a swivel for potential moves when it officially becomes “post-June 1st” at 3 p.m. CT today.
Also, it’s officially 100 days until the 2021 NFL regular season kicks off.