Some people are wondering how the cap-strapped Vikings can make a move to try to sign Randy Moss when the team doesn't have the money to go after free agents. While it's a legitimate question, it's an introduction to capology 101.
Because Moss is due $3.5 million this season -- $1 million in salary and $2.5 million in bonuses for making the Pro Bowl -- he has a cap number that is the same. If, however, he was to sign a contract such as the Vikings are proposing -- eight years, $70 million with $14 million of that up front, his cap number could actually be the same or smaller this year.
While Moss would get his $14 million check when signing the contract, it would spread over the life of the contract, meaning that $1.75 million of the bonus would apply to the first year of the contract. If his base salary was the same, it would come out to $3.5 million this season. However, because of collective bargaining rules, it would have to jump to about $6 million in salary next season.
However, that won't be as bad as it seems, because right now, the Vikings are paying more than $11 million in salary cap money to people no longer with the team, ranging from Robert Smith to John Randle to Todd Steussie to Randall Cunningham among others. The Vikings will recoup much of that money next year and won't be as hard-pressed against the cap and able to afford not only the early stages of Moss' contract, but begin preparation for signing Daunte Culpepper. While the two of them will be expensive to keep, especially as the contracts get farther along, it's not unreasonable to understand why the Vikings can afford to keep them both and not be killed completely by the salary cap.
How Vikes Could Afford Moss
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