This morning I took part in a quick discussion concerning possible moves that the Houston Texans could make concerning the 2015 salary cap. Once the discussion was finished, I started looking at other small moves that could be made and the changes made the 2015 salary cap situation.
For this experiment we are going to assume the 2015 team salary cap is set at $142,000,000; and we will be using the Top 51 contract rule. The team has approximately $130.2 million committed to the Top 51 rule as of today including $600,000 in dead money; resulting in $13.7 million in space. The information listed next to the players name is their 2015 cap charge and PFF grade for 2014.
Jonathan Joseph ($12.25 million / 5.0)
Joseph has (reportedly) told the team he might be willing to help out the team. I definitely want to keep Joseph on the team for 2015. I would ask Joseph to take a reduction in salary of $2.5 million; moving him base salary down to $8 million. Joseph’s current salary for 2015 would rank him third among cornerbacks; this reduction moves him down to 13th.
Result: $2.5 million savings towards the salary cap.
Andre Johnson ($16.14 million / 1.3)
Johnson showed signs of life in Week 17 against the Jaguars totaling his first 100+ yard game for the first time in 2014. Johnson will end up with a 85/936/3 line; and those numbers do not justify a $16 million cap charge. Johnson is on contract through the 2016 season; and has already stated he wants to play three more seasons and finish with Houston. The team should look at adding one year to his contract, reducing his salary for all three years, while guaranteeing some of the reduced salary.
- 2015 reduce his salary from $10.5 million to $5 million; fully guarantee the $5 million.
- 2016 reduce his salary from $11 million to $6 million; fully guarantee $2.5 million and/or guarantee the full $5 million for injury only.
- 2017 offer a $7 million salary.
Result: $5.5 million savings towards the salary cap in 2015.
Chris Meyers ($8 million / 2.3)
A few tough decisions are made each year by NFL teams, and I believe that tough decision for 2015 will be the release of Chris Meyers. The team has his replacements available in Ben Jones & James Ferentz. Meyers is arguably a team leader, he stays healthy, and he only missed 8 snaps in all of 2014. But when you have younger (and lower pay) players available and able to provide similar level of production; you have to consider the move. I would recommend the team release Meyers; while leaving a resign option should he not find something on the market.
Result: $6 million savings towards the salary cap in 2015; including a penalty of $2 million in dead money.
Tyson Clabo ($1.32 million / 1.4)
Clabo provided the needed depth at the tackle position in 2014. The team does have Will Yeatmann coming off injured reserve. The team will likely put the resigning of Derek Newton as one of the top priorities. The team also has Jeff Adams and Matt Feiler available to compete for the position.
Result: $1.22 million savings towards the salary cap in 2015; including a penalty of $100,000 in dead money.
Thadeus Lewis ($745,000 / Not Available)
The team is likely to tender a minimum deal to Case Keenum, and attempt to sign Ryan Mallett to a new deal. Keeping Lewis would mean 5 QB’s in training camp.
If the Texans front office were to make the moves prescribed above, the team salary cap would increase from $13.7 million to $29.67 million; a $15.97 million net positive result. This would provide the team available money to spend towards the resigning of Kareem Jackson, Derek Newton, Kendrick Lewis, and possibly Brooks Reed. These moves also make room for pursuing Ryan Mallett; and looking into some other mid-level free agents.