After seeing the uproar out of some of the Pittsburgh Steelers about Le’veon Bell’s absence yesterday, I wanted to take a look a look at the disparity between the rosters of the NFL Teams. I turned to overthecap.com, and am basing this little project on their accuracy. I divided the salaries into subsets $20M+, $15M+, $10M+, $5M+ $1M+ and sub $1M. Using the site page for each team, I charted the players based on their 2018 cap hit. Players who are either suspended, on IR, PUP, were not included, and neither was dead money for players no longer on each team.
The two things that jump out at me the most is the Broncos, have the most 10M+ players in the AFC, and are tied for the most in the NFL with 6 and the fact that the Patriots have the second most players in the NFL (34) making $1M. I guess that is a perk of #fytb’s contract, but hey not everyone has a side business (cough Balco part 2 cough) located onsite at the teams facility or a supermodel wife that brings in more money. Jacksonville leads the NFL with 3 players over $15M, and with a reported $19M of cap space according to the NFLPA, and a $10M cap hit on their mediocre, on a good day, QB Bortles, I’m sure they would have jumped at the chance of upgrading the position had a player like Aaron Rodgers been a free agent. The Colts and their billionaire buffoon owner Jim Irsay have the fewest players (33) making less than $1M dollars in 2018. #SuckwithLuck is hitting its prime. Good job Jimmy. Staying in the South, the Titans of Tennessee have the most players (35) making $1M+ for the 2018 season which is 66% of their roster, and they only have three making more than $10M. Buffalo has one lone player with a ’18 cap hit north of $10M and that is DE Jerry Hughes.
Surprisingly, the Dallas Cowboys have the fewest players making $1M. That kinda goes against the stereotype, and with Prescott and Elliott still on rookie deals, it’s a bit more mind boggling. Another thing that jumps out is the Los Angeles Rams, with all of their signings, and maneuvering, they don’t have a player commanding a $15M+ salary, but they are tied with the Bears for the most in the NFL making $5M. The Bears are also a bit of a surprise having that many at $5M+. The Bears also have the most players (32) making $1M+ this season, which again is a bit surprising, but their highest paid player, Khalil Mack ($13.8M), hello Oakland, is the lowest “highest paid player on a team”, in the NFC. So it seems they have their money spread out the best. It should be noted that both the Rams and the Bears have this luxury due to having a star QB on his rookie deal. The Rams have done better than the Bears so far, but the Bears seem to be headed in the right direction. Green Bay and Minnesota top the NFC with the most players making $10M+ with six each. Seattle has the fewest players earning $5M+ and hopefully that equates to missing some talent on the field starting this Sunday when the Legion of B (only one of them left) comes calling in Denver.
The AFC East has the most players making $1M this years, and the NFC West has the fewest. The NFC North and the AFC West have the most $20M+ players, but when the split shifts to $15M+, it’s the AFC North and the NFC East who have the most players on the field.
When it comes to #’s, I’m not a fan of coincidences or oddities. I found it odd that each Conference had the same # of players with a $1M+ salary cap figure and below. I double checked it. It’s just one of those weird occurrences. The NFC has more players at the $20M, $15M and $10M dollar level but the AFC has more making $5M+.
10/16 teams in the AFC have 50%+ when it comes to players making $1M or more this year. In the NFC the # is 11/16 giving the NFL 21/32 which is 65.6%. There has always been a celebration of $1,000,000. The league minimum for 2018 is $480,000 for a rookie and jumps to $1,015,000 if a 10 year vet is on a league minimum contract. A quick looks shows that 28 of the Broncos on the 53 man roster have base salaries based on the league minimum, with Adam Jones the only 10 year vet. That’s just the base salary portion of the contract, many have some bonuses that add to it, and some have prorated bonus dollars that push their cap # into the various categories. Rookies, Bradley Chubb and Courtland Sutton each earn the league minimum for their base salaries, but each have are in the $1M category based on the addition of the prorated signing bonus and Chubb nearly missed the $5M mark with his cap # coming in at $4,958,407.
There are plenty of ways to build a team. You can try to stock the talent evenly on both sides of the ball, you can put more of an effort into dominating one over the other. For the past couple of years, from a cap and an on field perspective the Broncos have been more invested in the defense. Adding Case Keenum at QB has given a bit more to the offense. It’s a bit comical that Derek Carr ($25M ) is the highest paid player in the AFC this year, and Khalil Mack ($13.8M) has the lowest, “highest paid player” label in the NFC, with Gruden saying the Raiders couldn’t afford him. According to the NFLPA, it says the Raiders have $19M in cap space, but couldn’t find a way to structure a contract to keep their best player in Alameda County. Good for them /sarcasm, though that is good for the Broncos.