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SPECIAL EDITION: The Salary Cap

By greyghost1225
9/08/2019 5:28 pm
I am not going to add my view on this, because we have two long, great established owners to give you the in's and Out's. This special edition is being to done at this time to help owners get ready for the new season. There will be another added today or tomorrow in regards to trade philosophies. So here we go with our esteemed League Administrator Beercloud and an owner that has added previously and is just a great overall person Meatmen. Now there is mucho information here, so take your time and refer to this frequently.

From Beercloud

This is a wide open topic for discussion with different strategies abound, but in the end it's a much simpler task than it appears on the face. Here we will get into the basics of how myself and others approach things that should make it fairly easy for you to keep your franchise under the cap, not only in the season your currently in, but in future seasons as well. After all that is the key to keep your franchises finances in order. It's all about that cap space for next season. So here we go.


How easy is it to stay under the cap? In two weeks I will have been in MFN for 4 years. In those for years I have never gotten a team into "Cap Hell" as they call it. Many GM's here can say the same. It's not hard to do if you follow some basic stuff.

1. When re-signing your own players, pay the least amount of bonus possible. I'll show you how to do this later in this tutorial.
2. Free agency is expensive. Before you start throwing bids out there for a player that is your next Barry Sanders, take a good look at your cap space for next year, not this years. You want to stay ahead of the game.
3. Dead Cap or not to Dead Cap. Some GM's try to stay away from dead cap and some like to use it. I like to use dead space.(but not too much) More on that later.
4. High draft picks. Everyone wants high draft picks right? Well at least til they bust. I think that is more suited for Jouameng's upcoming segment on Wheelin n Dealin. Cap wise, high picks are expensive but not as expensive as free agency can be. Another thing about high draft picks is, that players salary not only start out high, but it only goes higher from their. You have to balance the risk(possible bust) vs reward. Remember, always look at your cap for next year.
5. Rebuilding and Cap Management. Rebuilding a team is an art. If you keep a team long enough sooner or later you will have to rebuild. And there are several different ways to go about it. No right or wrong way, just different ways. The only wrong way is to start cutting everybody right off the bat without any plan and then start throwing money into free agency. That can get you into cap hell quicker than the devil looking for a cold drink. You must think it through or you can get your team into a mess an wonder how did I get here?


1. Re-signing players
The best way to re-sign a player is to use this process I'll show you below. There's use to be a spreadsheet tool made by I can't remember who. Very sorry about that cause he put work into it for the community. kudos to him. But here are the steps to follow to get your player for the cheapest contract possible.
A) If you have a player that is worth resigning in your opinion, he will be seeking a bonus. There is a minimum amount that he will accept. Once you find that out then you can figure out not only his minimum bonus but the least amount of base pay as well. This can save you millions in cap if you follow this process on each and every player you re-sign.

1. Go to your team page and in the drop down box on the upper right side of the roster sheet, choose player contracts. This will show you the players name, main position, experience in yrs, current cap cost, saved if released now, years of the contract remaining, and current and future overall rating.
2. Click on the player you want to re-sign. His player card will popup.
3. On his player card there are 3 red buttons under his name and to the right. Click on the Contract button which should be in the middle.
4. Renegotiate Contract popup window should appear. Information contained is:
a) Current Contracts: This years total base contracts.
b) Current Bonuses: This years total bonuses.
c) Pending Contracts: The total amount of contract offers that you have out there.
d) Dead Cap: The total amount of dead cap that you have in the current year.
e) Min for Remaining Players
g) Remaining Cap Room: the remaining cap room for the current year.
h) First Year Base + Bonus slider
i) Bonus %
j) Total Bonus window
k) Contract offer breakdown which shows the yr - base salary - % of increase from one yr to the next - bonus - total contract amount for each year - Diff = difference the offer has against the cap. inc means your increasing the cap used and save means your saving that much cap space.

Here are the steps of renegotiating a contract to get him signed at the minimum.

1. First Year Base + Bonus = move slider all the way to the left or its lowest amount.
2. Years = in the drop down window set it to 2 yrs
3. Bonus = move the slider all the way left so it shows $0 bonus
4. Click Submit Offer button at the bottom right.
5. A window will popup showing = "This player will not renegotiate for a bonus less than xxx. There now you know what his minimum bonus demand is. He will NOT sign for less than this. Write that number down and Click OK and lets get him signed.
6. Leave the First Year Base + Bonus slider all the way to the left.
7. Choose the years of desired contract length. For me I almost always set it to the max 6 yrs. This is where I potentially use the dead cap in my favor. The longer the years the less cap space it uses each yr. Example: a guy you offered 10m for 2 yrs is going to eat up more cap space per year than a 10m contract over 6 yrs. The player will not play for less than a xxx bonus no matter. So why not spread it out over more years and save your cap space. If he does get traded, released or retires before the contract is up you do pay the rest of the bonus as dead cap but you do not owe the future base salary. This is how I work the dead cap to open up cap space. I do this for older players even when Im pretty sure they will retire before the contract is up. I only resign players that I want long term anyways. I try not to resign players just to fill out a roster. I will hunt for diamonds in the rough for that. Now if you trade a lot playing the dead cap game might not be for you. You really gotta know what your doing to keep things in check. But if your a light to moderate trader this will work for you.
8. Bonus slider = slide all the way to the right or 75%
9. First Year Base + Bonus = Now move this slider slowly to the right til the amount of the players request bonus(or a lil over) shows up in the Total Bonus window. It's usually a lil over.
10. Total Bonus = Now you highlight the amount in the Total Bonus window and type in the amount that you wrote down which is the amount that the player asked for. Click anywhere on the page so the program knows your done and now you have the lowest contract offer that you can sign him for. Look at the contract details at the bottom and see if your saving or increasing the cap amount and by how much. Decide if you want to continue and either click the Submit Offer button on the bottom right or if you dont like the deal and want out, click on the X on the upper right side of the window.
As a side note: I try to wait until they are in their last year of the current contract before I renegotiate a new one. But occasionally it can be beneficial to renegotiate with 2 yrs remaining.

2. Free Agency

As mentioned above free agency can be a two sided sword. Very expensive for a player that the last team didn't want and prolly knows how he plays better than you. Unless you've watched some game film on him. Remember that all players don't always play to their ratings. Keep that in mind. But there are times where a player is out there maybe cause his old team had to get rid of for cap reasons or rebuild reasons and just couldn't find a deal to trade him. And you want this guy bad. Then you have to look at your situation and make a choice. Can I afford him? Or is he going to strap me? Maybe this cat will send you over the top. That's what we all hope when we dive in. And plus the bidding wars are a heck of a lot of fun. Just be smart about it. Now what I use free agency mostly for is for "Fillers". Those diamonds in the rough or special teams guys. You can look deep into the pages and find these guys on the cheap. I always offer players 2 year contracts on these types of players. I like to be in control of my rosters. If I sign them to a 1 yr contract I lose the rights to re-sign them if I want to. So out comes the 2 years contracts. I usually can pick these guys up for the league min bonus which you can find out using the method above. Now don't use that minimum bonus method on free agents that have or you think will have competition bids on. Players like bonuses and you will most likely lose out on that player. Anyways, those backups come in handy when the season starts and the injuries pile up. They can get through some games on occasion with some decent backups. And one game can make the difference between an early off-season or a chance at you league championship. Seen it on many occasions.

In free agency players like guaranteed money. On some occasions a player chooses a team by what we don't know. But for the most part they like bonus money. This is where you have to be smart with your strategy. I have had on more than one occasion lost a player I thought I was gonna get because another GM offered the player a shorter term contract with less bonus money overall but more bonus money per year. And vice versa. Dont get lost in a bidding war so much to wear you lose sight of your cap space for next year. Most of the top GM's try to keep their cap space for the next year above 40m. You start getting below 25-30m and you start strapping yourself to make moves easily. This is with a league cap of around 200m. You can use that as a guide. The higher the league cap the more $$ you want in reserve. Look around your own league at the top teams and see where they are at. That will give you a clue on where you want to be.

3. Dead Cap


I already covered for the most part but here is more detail on how it works. Dead Cap is money being paid to a player not on the roster and counts against your teams cap. Example: When you sign a player with a bonus, that is exactly what it says. A bonus to persuade him to sign with your team and not this other team. You owe that to him up front. That money is gone, you just spent it. The league allows you to spread that bonus out over the length of that contract for cap reasons. But if you trade or release him before his contract is up, the remaining balance of the cap is owed, known as dead cap. In RL there are some variables like a team can recoup bonus' etc... But here our dots like things simple and they do like their bonus money. So they can buy their female dots, dot things like dot cars and dot jewelry and other dot stuff.

4. High Draft Picks

This is usually the best way to keep your cap in order. But if you relied on the draft alone, you'd prolly have a hard time filling a full roster. Just keep in mind that high draft picks come at a cost and a risk. And those costs will go up come renegotiation time. Just keep that in mind and have a plan. Oh ya, as fun as free agency is, so is the draft. A completely different animal and a lot of fun none the less.

5. Rebuilding and Cap Management

Many veteran GM's of MFN have rebuilt a team or two in their day. There are multiple different ways to rebuild them and I've seen quite a few different ones bring home a title. But one thing that these GM's all have in common when rebuilding? They always keep this years and mostly next years cap in the corner of their eye when making their moves. When you have one of these guru's in any of your leagues, keep an eye on them. Watch the moves they make. Watch their cap when they make these moves. It's an art and fun to watch how they maneuver their rosters around. Truth be told, even after watching and maybe understand what they are doing, you will prolly still do it a lil differently which is prolly the funnest part of this game. There are a lot of different ways to win the battle.

Managing your cap is easy as long as you don't recklessly throw money around. When you trade or release a player you are still eating that bonus. Keep that in mind. Also this prolly falls into a different article but it does affect team finances so I'll bring it up here too. I see countless rookie GM's throw money at players with high overall ratings. Do not fall into this trap. Overall ratings for the most part mean squat. Most seasoned GM's don't even look at them. To get a good idea read greyghost1225's guide series on what to look for in players and follow it as close as you can. Of course there are trade offs in this game. There are a lot of em which makes this game challenging and fun. We'd all love to have that player with a 100 in every category. Good luck with that. A famous Rolling Stones song comes to mind. These lyrics are perfect for this game, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need". Spend you money wisely. The less you are roster shuffling of high priced players on your roster because of mistakes the cheaper it will be for you in the long run.

Closing:
This covers the basics and hope it helps some. Winning and losing in this game is about Game Planning, Roster Building and Cap Management. Use that renegotiating method religiously and just dont feel like you have to spend all your money today. This is not a Madden type game where you can play a whole season in a day. This game requires a lil planning a patients and most importantly strategy.

Good luck and have fun.

From the Meatmen:

Once again, I will qualify myself as a non expert and point out that there are many ways to go about cap and salary. One thing I will stress is that, by far “bad contracts” will most likely lead to “cap hell” and this issue is the hardest to fix. Unless you want to blow all your hard work and time spent finding the perfect mix of players. You need to be good at this. Wherever you find your players you have to be smart about signing them. Remember this is only my opinion, it has worked for me.

NEVER, EVER, EVER use the renegotiation wizard to sign players! Since my first year, I have used a tool that was made by a former GM (jsid). jsids contract extension wizard has been great. It'll save you around 20% when negotiating a contract during the regular season! It's ok to use it during the FA periods but if you get into a biding war you will more than likely lose. More on that later.

jsids contract extension wizard:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/18yvPQ2qB-icvbvfJ0wwTgi4yEc6KydyNZWWeS66RAG8/edit#gid=1815952060
I will post a few examples after the article.

If I am signing players out of the FA pool, Most often than not, I will to offer a two year contract for the league minimum. This is simple logic, if he works out I can offer another contract later. If not, It doesn't cost a fortune to throw him back. Unless you find a hidden gem and your feeling all Jerry Sandusky for him, DON'T sign these players to anything more than 2 until you determine if they will work in your system. Many will, some won't. Be aware these players (especially lower rated players) will have of not have the degree of success and longevity. Watch there progress on their players page. I have had 50 rated players that had two or three great years and then crapped out. I've had others that never get off the ground. and still others that were competent for 6-7 years.Keep the salary and bonuses to a minimum. It will help your cap big time!

Renegotiation of contracts for your current players is pretty straightforward. I try to sign the players I feel will worth keeping to longer contracts and stretch the bonus $$ over longer periods of time. I will share a few of my rules that can help you from getting caught up in common issues. Remember these are my rules and others may not agree.

1. DON'T give long term contracts to older players. Players like (RB's & WR's) lose there valuable attributes and decline in production sharply around their 9th season in most cases. There days as starters and every play players will be severely limited. They are DONE! Most will retire and take their bonus money leaving you screwed. If you must sign these players do it after the FA period.
My cutoffs are: 9 seasons for RB's,WR,'s,CB's SS's / (9-10 for TE's, FB's, LB's & FS's
Most offensive linemen are done at 10 and will retire. I'm not sure why but DL seem to have real good longevity. I've had good production from some up to 13-14 years. I don't give them long term deals. QB's are usually long lived as well Older guys will make a good BU if he has retained the desirable atts.

2. Don't get into a biding war in the free agency period over a mediocre player. I don't need an 7-8 year old line backer that I'm going to pay 70-80-90 million. It will burn you in the end. Some GM's will 'front load' the contracts so they don't get stuck with the bonus $. I usually don't, you can find players in the FA pool that will be just as good, it's your choice.

3. Giving a bigger contract to a player that is unhappy will not fix the issue in almost all cases. He is most likely “unhappy” because he feels he should be playing more. Some FA pool guys will do this. I don't screw with them, I cut them and find someone else. Too many fish in the sea.

Always be aware of your cap and number of active players you have. The absolute last thing you want is for the AI to take over and “reset” your roster because you have too many or too few players or your over your cap! I m's totally lose all their effort and time spent on a team over this point! This is the WORST case scenario! The AI is not looking out for your best interests it is only bringing you back in line with the league requirements.

I could write another page and give examples on this subject as I feel it's one of the biggest contributors to newer GM's frustration and the sole reason why guys like beercloud and Greyghost have to spend several seasons rebuilding teams with screwed up caps and contracts. BE smart, ASK questions, and ENJOY this great game! If you need or want some help there are many smarter and successful GM's in the two leagues. Most of which are glad to help. If that doesn't work well I'm here too.....LOL! I'll will be glad to lend a hand..Thanks beercloud & greyghost for letting me put my two cents in....................................MM


So there you have a great example of the details involved in your team building process. Both of these owners have offered a large amount of great insight inside the inner workings of their team building process in regards to salary caps.