This is just a prediction. It is not based on any insider knowledge, merely my interpretation of a clump of facts that do not make much sense to me.
Facts (as far as I can tell, correct me if any of these are off):
- The Washington Post reported last week that Brunell and the team are negotiating a new contract that is more cap-friendly.
- Restructured contracts are always beneficial to the player, as they are simply cut a check for the guaranteed money as opposed to receiving that money piecemeal over the course of the season.
- The Redskins could "save" (translation: postpone cap hit on) over 3M by restructuring Brunell's 5.2M 2007 salary into the league minimum, which is about 800K for a 10+ year vet like Brunell. Mathlete time: 5.2M-800K=4.4M. With 4 years remaining on his contract, the remaining 4.4M is prorated to 1.1M a year. Thus, 1.1M+800K+1.5M (in original signing bonus)=3.4M which is, at most, 3.3M less than he would cost the team in 2007 without restructuring.
- Mark Brunell is one of the highest paid backup QBs in the league, and the Redskins are in cap trouble.
- With just over 4.5M in remaining guaranteed money for Brunell, the Redskins would either a) save 2.2M by cutting him immediately and would not have to pay him any money next year or ever again or b) if they cut him after June 1st (or at the beginning of March) the team will save 5.59M in 2007, but will owe an additional 3.375M in 2008 cap space.
- A new rule allows NFL teams to cut two players at the beginning of March but have their cap hits work against the team as a June 2nd cut.
This has some advantages. One way or another, Mark Brunell will be paid his 4.5M guaranteed money. If the cap hit is 1.1M this year and the remainder next year, then we're paying the lion's share of it in 2008, when the cap will be 7M higher than it is now (should go from 109M to 116M). It frees up a much larger sum in the near future which can then be used to pursue the players we want to keep in Washington.
Part of this is wishful thinking, as I've already argued that I don't see the utility in keeping Brunell around. He simply cannot earn the Starter's Money contract we offered him before he was supplanted on the depth chart. And (Hat Tip: Hog Heaven) oh yea, Brunell just had surgery that will keep him off the field for at least four months.
Reader(s), do I have something here? Is it plausible that Brunell and the team cannot reach an agreement because we plan on cutting him in March anyways? Are my facts, in fact, factual? Can some real mathlete check my (likely failed) number crunching?
I do not dislike or hold ill will towards Mark Brunell. I truly appreciate his professionalism and his contribution to the Washington Redskins. As unfortunate a fact as it may be, the NFL is a business. He is married to a contract and salary numbers that cannot possibly be earned as a backup, and thus is worth more to the team off the roster than on it.