Cap Class: Ladarius Green

Cap Class is a series where I break down the cap to find the amounts associated with the roster, dead money, or future cost of players. Dollar amounts and cap cost may not be exciting, but they can be interesting when you look inside the numbers. I will place explanations inside of {braces}, so if you know how those numbers are found, you can skip over them. So grab your pencils and calculators, and let’s do some math!

I remember when the Steelers grabbed Ladarius Green in free agency last year, the fan base was excited to add another weapon to their high flying arsenal. Green was a big and extremely fast tight end who was supposed to be a deep seam threat and expand the field to give Bell more room to run. Green signed a 4 year contract worth $20M. It broke down as a $4.75M signing bonus with salaries of $1.25M, $5M, $4.5M, & $4.5M for years 1 through 4.

The team was excited to get a “Lamborghini” on the field, but ended up with a lemon. Though Green did show some potential, a concussion ultimately sent this sports car, back to the garage for good. The Steelers and doctors realized the head traumas were too risky to keep Green and he was released.

Green would have dead money since he was cut, but I was concerned that the dead money would be counter productive to signing another TE that can provide an impact. Green’s dead money for this year is $3,562,500. {This is the amount of his remaining prorated signing bonus. You get this number by taking the signing bonus amount of $4,750,000 and dividing by 4, which is the number of years in the contract. The prorated signing bonus amount, per year, is $1,187,500. So if you subtract the prorated amount from his signing bonus, you are left with $3,562,500 that needs to be accounted for. Since he was already accounted for one year, and the balance was spread out over the next 3 years, the remaining 3 years of that prorated amount all go on the cap this year. You have to still be on a roster to carry the prorated bonus into future seasons.}

So Green’s salary of $1.25M and his prorated bonus amount of $1,187,500 was $2,437,500. This was his cap number last year. This year if Green was still on the roster and healthy, his cap number would have been $6,187,500. {That is his 2nd year salary amount of $5M plus his prorated bonus amount of $1,187,500.}

Since Green was cut, we’ve already worked out his dead money being $3,562,500, and now we subtract that number from Green’s projected cap number of $6,187,500 to get a cap savings of $2,625,000. {That $2.625M is saved, because they are not paying Green the 2nd year salary of his contract. The cap savings also increases the cap number for the team, by that amount.}

The Steelers traded for Vance McDonald and picked up a talented, fast NFL tight end with starting experience. The Steelers also picked up his contract and cap number of $2,615,625. Since McDonald’s cap number is less than the cap savings from Green’s contract, the Steelers actually saved $9.375 by getting a productive NFL tight end and releasing Ladarius Green. Great job by the Steelers front office to not only acquire talent but also to gain cap value in the trade. It was the best scenario that the Steelers could have hoped for, not knowing in advance that Green’s injury concerns would cut his career short.


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