SidÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s estimate of the VikingsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ salary cap situation is accurate. The Vikings have about $19 million in space even after signing four free agents, including WR Bernard Berrian and S Madieu Williams. Some of that will go toward signing their future draft class, but there is not enough talent on the free agent market to use up the entire allotment.
What that means is the Vikings will once again be able to push at least $15 million in this unused cap space into 2009, provided they take advantage of the annual loophole that allows them to write absurd incentives into contracts for cap purposes.
The $15 million figure is probably a little high.
With $19 million left, we have to allocate about $4.5-5 million on draft picks, as was mentioned.
That alone puts us below the $15 million mark.
We also might sign additional free agents (Derrick Pope and Nathan Jones are apparently the most recent visits).
Just about anybody you bring in is going to cost you about $1 million/year against the cap, and a defensive end might be 2 or 3 times that.
Then you add in a safety net you like to keep for the entire season of around $2-4 million to sign a replacement in the event of injury, and I think $10 million is a more likely figure to carry forward into next year.
Who I'd like to extend to get that $10 million, I don't know.
Sharper is a candidate because he's in the last year of his contract, but his age may mean he's not part of the plans.
I think Udeze is in the last year of his contract, and I don't believe he will be a restricted free agent, but his health and future in football is a question mark.
What may be an interesting subplot with this whole incentives deal is what happens to teams with massive amounts of cap room left.
For example the Bucs had about $43 million of cap space as of March 10 (link
What happens when they don't come close to the minimum salary cap number (around $99 million, or about $17 million less than the cap)?
It's one thing to use this little trick to open up cap space, but it's kind of another thing to use it to get around paying the players their bargained for percentage of the revenues.
Players/the union could be a little upset.