Answer Bob #2 5-14

More answers to your questions.

Obscure Dave says — Bob, please clarify for us … my understanding is that when a player is traded, all prepaid bonuses that would be amortized over the life of their contract become an immediate hit to the salary cap. True? Does that also work similarly for any guaranteed money yet to be paid (if such a situation even ever happens)? Bottom line…once Brandon Albert signs a new long-term contract, he is effectively untradeable for several years due to cap ramifications. So the current negotiations could be slowed by the Chiefs just to be certain all trade options are exhausted before locking themselves in. Also, just curious, but do you dictate your columns via some speech-to-text software? Sometimes your sentences contain some pretty humorous homonym gaffes! Thanks.

Bob says – Dave, I do not doubt that there are times that readers wonder if I’ve gone loco when they stumble upon some gaffes, misspellings and the like. I certainly feel that way when I go back and read some stuff. No excuses for any of it and no one to blame but me – writer, researcher, editor and publisher. At least it sounds like some of the gaffes are entertaining. I don’t dictate a thing; it’s all the blood, sweat and tears of fingers on computer keys. As to the contract situation involving bonuses, let me see if I can explain this so I can understand, and hopefully you will too. Let’s say Joe Tackle signs a 4-year contract for $3.6 million. It’s a $1 million signing bonus, with yearly base salaries of $500K, $600K, $700K and $800K. The salary cap number for those seasons would be (base plus one-fourth of signing bonus): $700K, $850K, $950K and $1,050,000. Let’s say Joe Tackle plays the first year and then his team decides he no longer fits in the picture and they release him, or trade him if some other team wants him. The remaining $750K on the signing bonus that was going to count against the team’s cap over three seasons gets accelerated into one season. So that’s a $750K charge. But, if the player’s base salary wasn’t guaranteed at $600K, that’s not, counted against the team. So the uptick on the cap would be $150K.

Obviously, the acceleration becomes far more hurtful to a team’s cap situation the bigger the money. Let’s say Albert signs a four-year deal for $1.5 million per season in base salary, $1 million a season in a roster bonus and a signing bonus of $26 million. That’s a 4-year, $36 million deal. That’s probably a deal much closer to what Albert would get in dollars. Here’s how the cap would look:

Season

Base

Roster Bonus

Signing Bonus

Salary Cap number

Acceleration/Cap charge

1

$1.5m

$1m

$6.5m

$9 m

na

2

$1.5m

$1m

$6.5m

$9 m

$19.5 m – $1.5 m = minus $18 m

3

$1.5m

$1m

$6.5m

$9 m

$13 m – $1.5 m = minus $11.5 m

4

$1.5m

$1m

$6.5m

$9 m

$6.5 m – $1.5 m = minus $5 m

The team would attempt to lessen the signing bonus and dump more money into the base salary and say guarantee the first or second-year of the base salary. Let’s take the signing bonus down to $16 million and give Joe Tackle guaranteed base salaries in the first two years of $5 million. Here’s what it would look like:

Season

Base

Roster Bonus

Signing Bonus

Salary Cap number

Acceleration/Cap charge

1

$5m *

$1m

$4 m

$10 m

na

2

$5m*

$1m

$4 m

$10 m

$12 m + $5 m = minus $17 m

3

$1.5m

$1m

$4 m

$6.5 m

$8 m – $1.5 m = minus $6.5 m

4

$1.5m

$1m

$4 m

$6.5 m

$4 m – $1.5 m = minus $2.5 m

*-guaranteed

One caveat – if the team cut Joe Tackle after June 1 in that second season, they would have a cap hit of C$9 million, with the remaining two seasons of the pro-rated signing bonus would hit in the third season, in this case $8 million in dead money under the cap.

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Michael D says — First off, thanks Bob for all the great work put by you and bobgretz.com so far in the off season. I have a scheme comparison Q. Just how much different are the O and D playbooks and philosophy compared to last year? It is quite apparent that Andy Reid’s approach is successful and has proven to be a winning one, but how quickly and seamlessly can it installed, digested, and executed? The infusion of new talent to the team has been unprecedented, at least in my recent memory, so do you feel this could be helpful or detrimental to the process? And finally, is there any way we could see at least a .500 team this year? Signed, a desperate bleeder of red and gold.

Bob says – Thanks Michael for the kind words. The offense is really completely different in approach to what the Chiefs ran last year with Romeo Crennel and coordinator Brian Daboll. So the old playbook is out; no carryover. That’s not much of a problem, because based on production that offense wasn’t working anyway. Reid falls from the Holmgren Tree and the West Coast offense. Remember back to the days with the Chiefs of Paul Hackett in the 1990s. It’s an attack that will use short passes to tight ends and especially running backs as extended hand-offs. The advantage for installing the offense is QB Alex Smith – it’s a scheme he’s very familiar with and that should make the transition easier. Defensively, what Sutton is putting together is a little bit like the Crennel defense, with a healthy dose of the Rex Ryan Baltimore-Jets defense. The sense is that the defense will be far more aggressive this year, especially when going after the quarterback. I think we’ll see more blitzes from the secondary. The cornerbacks in the voluntary mini-camp and in the first OTA were playing man-to-man nearly 100 percent of the time. I can see the Chiefs going 8-8 this season, but to make that happen everything has to go right, no major injuries and all the new talent needs to perform at a high level. The chances of all that coming together in the first year isn’t good. But it will be better.

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Mr. Webb says – Do you see any early comparisons between the Reid/Dorsey regime and the Schottenheimer/Peterson regime? Specifically, how bad were the teams both of them inherited and can Reid/Dorsey recover quicker?

Bob says – The team that Marty/Carl inherited had made the playoffs 3 year earlier in 1986. The team Reid/Dorsey got made the playoffs 3 years earlier. The Chiefs in 1987-88 had a combined record of 8-22-1. The Chiefs in 2011-12 had a combined record of 9-23. The Chiefs teams in ’87-88 had five different players go to the Pro Bowl. The 2011-12 Chiefs had 6 different players in Hawaii. It’s actually stunning how similar the situations were. Marty/Carl had a winning record in their first season, a spot in the playoffs in their second season and a victory in the post-season in their third year. By the fifth year they were in the AFC Championship Game. That was a quite a rebuilding job. The one thing that Reid/Dorsey have going for them is unrestricted free agency. In 1989, the NFL had Plan B free agency, which allowed NFL teams to keep a handful of players under wraps, while exposing others on the roster. That’s how the Chiefs found Dan Saleaumua – he was not protected by Detroit. Reid/Dorsey don’t want to build with free agency, but it allows them more latitude and opportunities to fill holes in the roster.

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mjtrosh says – Bob, are you getting better access to management and players, and getting to see more of practice under this new regime?

Bob says – Yes there’s better access, but it’s not yet what it should be and probably never will be again. The approach so far that we’ve seen is more in line with what most NFL teams do today and that’s being cooperative, but keeping a lid on many things and providing the team website and broadcasting partners with an advantage. What’s different is there is not the paranoia that was so much part of Pioli’s world. The relationship is not adversarial – yet, and I do mean yet. Listen, they are 0-0 and everything is fine. What happens when they lose 2 or 3 games in a row? How tight will the sphincters become and how much will their demeanor change. All of the OTA sessions are open to the media, and that’s a change from past years when only a few were open. Plus, the entire practice is open. Now, if that change can continue into the regular season it would be fantastic. To this point, I’ve not been refused a request for an interview. Here’s the real difference – when John Dorsey talks, you know he’s not telling you everything, nor should he – that’s not his job. But he’s not trying to mislead people and paint a picture that has no sense of reality. Pioli loved to talk only off-the-record; but that only helps the media if the person is telling the truth.

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johnfromfairfax says – Bob, thanks for all of the extensive, thorough coverage and well-crafted features regarding all things Chiefs. Which draft pick or free agent do you see having the most impact this year with the Chiefs? Also, do you think the Chiefs brass view Alex Smith as a short term solution or more long term than many are projecting and do you have any thoughts on how the quarterback situation will shake out regarding Smith’s backup? As always keep up the great work.

Bob says – John, you are so kind; thanks for the nice words. Right now, I believe Reid and Dorsey view Smith as their quarterback in 2013, 2014, 2015 and maybe longer. I don’t think they are approaching him as a short-term deal. Certainly, there’s nobody else on the roster that has shown anything that would make one think they can compete for the starting job. I think they’ll draft a quarterback sometime in the next year or two, and probably fairly high, maybe second or third rounds. Right now, I think there’s no question that No. 2 will be Chase Daniel and No. 3 I think will be Tyler Bray. His physical package is better than Ricky Stanzi and with coaching he should be able to improve dramatically in the decision making side of the position.

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