The least controversial measure of inefficient salary cap use would probably be the amount of dead cap hits, since dead cap hits are paid for on players who are necessarily no longer part of the franchise and thus incapable of contributing anything to the team. In essence they are always less valuable than the money being spent on them, since their value to the team is zero and the amount spent on them is some amount more than zero, sometimes amounts hundreds of thousands, millions, higher.
And we haven't been so efficient at avoiding dead cap hits, per Jason La Canfora:
The reason the above question was raised about VP of football administration Eric Schaffer's degree of blame (or praise?) for the Redskins financial situation is because Your Washington Redskins aren't the only team that wants to employ him:
Schaffer has been called our cap guru (perhaps ironically, I'm not sure) and was promoted within this organization at least as recently as 2005. And now he is being sought out by the Saints to interview for their own depleted football administration department.
So the question becomes: For a franchise that is so frequently criticized (by the likes of me) for its questionable cap strategies, excessive dead cap space, annual concerns over cap management, and frequent questionably large contracts to players that don't pan out, why is it that we have a guy who is wanted not only within the organization but elsewhere? It's one thing for the franchise itself to say "We have a high opinion of Eric Schaffer" but quite another for some other team to go out on a line and seek an interview with him. Are the Saints that dumb? Or is Eric Schaffer just lucky?
Or perhaps there's just something to be said for a guy who tends to a cap that media commenters and bloggers almost perennially challenge as untenable yet remains, year after year, tenable. How do the Redskins make a big splash in free agency, except this year of course, without facing the consequences of the cap? I don't know, I'm not smart enough to answer that question, but there are reasons to believe that Eric Schaffer is, reasons the Saints find compelling.
PPS: I don't care how much obviously smarter Eric Schaffer is than I am, I'm still against the current strategy of constantly restructuring contracts from unguaranteed base salaries to guaranteed but prorated bonuses. I will continue to beat that drum until the day I die, regardless of empirical evidence supporting the strategy. I'm simply too committed at this point to retreat now. My mantra is: If you must be wrong about something, it's best to do so spectacularly.