It’s one of those moments where EYE beam with pride over one of our fan-post legends. The Great JB99 is a former Division 1 player whose favorite pro team happens to be the Philadelphia Eagles. Along with GK Brizer and Leo Pizzini and ~BROZ and many other wonderful contributors, TGJB99 was a voice of reason in the galleries at PE.com and here over the past 20 years. With his player’s knowledge and his industry connections, TGJB99 often schooled us by eliminating the BS from what we thought we knew about pro football, and especially the way things really work in the NFL.
So the issue of recent days was whether the salary cap limitations on the 2021 Eagles were possibly insurmountable.
The NFL has made it official with the 2021 salary cap: the limit is $182.5 million, a decrease from last season’s limit of $198.2 million. That 8 percent decrease is significant and, apparently, temporary. The cap had increased every year since 2011, but the loss of in-stadium attendance and revenue caused the decrease for 2021.
The cap is expected to rise – and perhaps skyrocket – in the years to come as the league finalizes negotiations on its television deals, so teams are planning with that in mind. In the case of the Eagles, they’ve released veterans (wide receiver DeSean Jackson, safety Blake Countess, defensive tackle Treyvon Hester, to date) and they’ve restructured some contracts, pushing cap hits into the future. The impact of the reported trade of quarterback Carson Wentz wouldn’t help the Eagles this season, but it would in the years to come. So, the point is that the Eagles are working hard to get to the $182.5 million limit prior to the start of the business year on March 17, and there is more work to do. At least the Eagles have a hard number with which to work.
But TGJB99 taught us to take it all in proper stride.
In a beautifully folksy post he made at BGN this past week, TGJB99 debunked the difficulty of the salary cap situation, while so many other media reporters and panicky fans were lamenting what he implied was a made-up crisis:
“Welp, I should start by saying that I am an accounting genius. Probably a bit better than Howard the Wizard who is the best in the NFL. My grandmother, mother and three of my sisters are all accountants…. which basically makes me an accountant. Let’s get that out of the way first.
“Then….. as the trendsetter on this site, I looked into the cap situation about halfway through last season. I spent about an hour or two on it and realized that not only would it be easy to get under but it would be easy to have a few million for draft picks and free agents and a ton of cash available in ’22.
“Then I started to dive into how smart teams were beating the cap and signing good players to high dollar contracts without cap space to spend. I started to see contracts like the one the Bucs just gave David where they simply spread the deal over several years and then as the cap grows you don’t even really notice it…. even when you have 5 contracts adding up like that 3 years down the road. Hence why I have always said smart teams borrow from the future.
“So…. months ago I was saying the cap wasn’t a problem and I still stand by the statement that we will even be signing a 8-10 mill a year free agent if we want. Meanwhile…. 90% of the site was calling me deranged. But you can’t really argue with people who don’t know what they are talking about. 90% of this [BGN] site’s readers are imbecile WIP weirdos that can only scream “cap hell” without actually sitting down and looking at it.
“The bad news was the pandemic and loss of cap space. We chose a bad time to put out Super Bowl caliber teams because when we started kicking the can down the road as the Bucs are doing today, we could not know that the cap was going to be 25 mill behind what we expected in ’22. And it’s not just us, as most all teams are scrambling. So instead of having the 100 mill we thought, we will only have 70. Then with the kicked cans probably “only” 50 mill.
“Then I started to realize something that no one ever talks about. Everyone always looks at the cap as a yearly thing. But it really isn’t. The cap is connected year by year. The ’21 cap is also the ’22 cap and also the ’23 cap. Some years you roll over… other years you borrow from the future. But it can always be worked out in your favor if you have a guy like Howard the Wizard.”
Boom. Reality check served. And the Eagles will be under the cap limit in 2021. End of imaginary crisis….