Tavon Austin's Contract Is Almost Cap Neutral

Rob Demovsky confirmed that the Packers have signed Tavon Austin to the active roster.  Overthecap has provided the details of his deal, though in a form that seems confusing to me, but the numbers suggests that Austin signed a qualified contract.  Austin will be paid the minimum for a seven-year veteran ($1.05M) prorated for the remaining 5 games out of the 17-week season.  5/17ths of $1.05M is $308,823.  That is the amount of cash that Austin is scheduled to receive from the Packers for this season.  However, I care about cap, not cash.

Assuming it was a qualified contract, Tavon Austin would count for cap purposes the same amount as the minimum for a player with two credited seasons.  Players with two credited seasons earn $750,000, which when prorated for the remaining 5 weeks out of the 17-week season yields a cap number for Austin of $220,588.  

The signing of Austin caused the Packers to release Darrius Shepherd, so it seems fair to compare the contracts of those two players.  Shepherd was scheduled to earn $198,529 for the remaining weeks in the season.  Since Austin will make $308K, it cost the Packer about $110,294 in cash to replace Shepherd with Austin.

Since Austin will count as $220,588 against the cap and Shepherd would have had an additional cap hit of $198,529 had he finished the season with the Packers, replacing Shepherd with Austin cost just an additional $22,059 against the cap.          

Cost To Replace Shepherd With Austin
Cash $110,294
Cap Space $22,059

  

REMAINING SALARY CAP SPACE:

I have the Packers with just over $4.3 million in cap space and $3.45 million in effective space.  Ken Ingalls, who keeps a very close eye on the Packers cap, has the Packers with $4.18 million in cap space and $3.54 million in effective cap space.  You can look at Ken's numbers here.

Briefly, some of the big drivers between current cap space and effective cap space include not-likely-to-be-earned game active bonuses and incentives that players are on pace to actually earn.  For instance, Kirksey has $1M in game active bonuses ($62,500/game) and could be active for 11 games this year if he is active for the rest of the season.  He would earn a $687,500 bonus for being active, but he only was active for two games last year, so his cap number might increase by $562,500.  Linsley has a $250,000 incentive he earns if he is named to the Pro Bowl.  He was playing well enough to earn it so it should be in the budget.  Going on IR hurts his chances since the fan voting ends on the 12th, players vote on the 14th and the selections are announced on December 17, 2020. 

At any rate, the Packers can afford to sign low risk players like Austin since the cap consequences are minimal.  I just read an article suggesting that the Packers should sign Kenny Stills now that he has cleared waivers.  Stills played 10 games and caught just 11 passes on 19 targets for 144 yards with Houston this year.  Per Pro Football Reference, Stills dropped 3 passes.  He has battled a quadriceps injury and was ruled out for Houston's game a few days ago against Detroit and played just 12 snaps over the two games prior to that.  He does not sound like the answer to me, unless he is willing to sign for the practice squad.  Cap resources are getting low and it might be wiser to keep the powder dry.        

 

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Comments (22)

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 03, 2020 at 07:55 am

Okay, the photo is the one I wanted!

Packers have saved some on the cap by only once having a full complement of players ready for the game (53 on the active and 2 elevated from the PS). Probably saved the team $500K to $1M.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 03, 2020 at 06:06 pm

Thanks TGR. I didn't get why the Packers never had a full game day roster for most of this season. Gute vs Cap Man. Chapter three, the roster...

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Bure9620's picture

December 03, 2020 at 09:13 am

This is a shrewd move, very Wolfthompsonish....

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

December 03, 2020 at 10:24 am

Certainly agree with your suggestion of NOT signing Stills.

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optimisticfan's picture

December 03, 2020 at 10:32 am

TGR,
Thanks for breaking this all down. Regarding Kenny Stills with the right contract would it be more worthwhile? Such as:

possible for Stills:
Cash cost ~ $1 M (with 2/3 guaranteed but 1/3 dependent on games played?)
Add incentive for playing in a Super Bowl ($200,000?)
Cap slightly less than $1 M ?

I think with Stills it is less about his production this year. More important is how significant his quad injury is and his football IQ/ ability to learn the playbook and routes quickly. His value to stretch the field vertically AND make the intermediate routes may put him ahead of MVS come playoff time. Or at least he would be valuable backup in case of injuries. His respective value in depth pushing Malik Taylor back to the PS. Seems worth it to me (unless some good DL becomes a late waiver cut or something).

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Leatherhead's picture

December 03, 2020 at 10:43 am

Optimisticfan...why do we need Stills?

We have more passing TDs and a higher passer rating than any team in the league. We have the #1 scoring offense in the league. And we’ve done it without Stills, who would be older, smaller, and slower and less of a blocker than the guys we’d have....who are FINALLY all healthy at the same time.

Stand pat on this offense. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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optimisticfan's picture

December 03, 2020 at 12:11 pm

You make some good points and it is definitely debatable. I am more concerned about injuries to either Adams or Lazard down the stretch and not having enough quality depth for the playoffs. Stills’ value would be for the playoffs anyways since he wouldn’t play much before then anyways. For the right price Stills could help with keeping the offense dangerous at all levels and help unleash Aaron Jones full production even more instead of having good defenses try to lock down Adams and Jones (like they did when Lazard was out).

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 03, 2020 at 03:51 pm

Stills has 4.38 speed. He's fast.

My issue is his injury. There are 5 weeks of the regular season left. The guy has some talent but can he get in tune with AR in 5 weeks plus perhaps a playoff bye and some playoff games? Would he just aggravate his quad yet again (not his first go-round with quad injuries - he had one in a previous season.

I think his cost would be minimal. If he's healthy and wants a 5-week showcase with a good QB to enhance his stock for 2021 and thus is willing to play for two or three hundred thousand in cap space, like Austin, I'd consider that.

Austin and Ervin cover the jet sweep and return duties, and offer light WR help. Stills has been a deep threat and only MVS provides that so Stills would be the backup to MVS. Not sure that I think he needs to be better than ESB or MVS, just be the backup deep threat. IDK, his best year was his 2013 rookie season. PFF has him with fluctuating grades between 56 and 72 except for the 78.4 way back in 2013.

I'd rather spend $500K on a decent fat guy for the remaining season.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 05, 2020 at 12:56 pm

Delete

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Leatherhead's picture

December 05, 2020 at 12:55 pm

Stills HAD 4.3 speed. Not today. And I’d like a fat guy too.

I think it’s time to stand pat with this team. Let’s finish what we started six months ago.

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optimisticfan's picture

December 03, 2020 at 12:12 pm

Error duplicate

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optimisticfan's picture

December 03, 2020 at 12:13 pm

Error duplicate

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optimisticfan's picture

December 03, 2020 at 12:13 pm

Error duplicate

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stockholder's picture

December 03, 2020 at 11:48 am

I'm all for signing a KR. But lets not get carried away with the Jimmy Graham hype. Veterans are "released" because they just don't make a difference any more. Were in Cap hell now. If there isn't a void. Don't sign anyone. TT Rule #1. Play the hand your dealt!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 03, 2020 at 03:56 pm

Not hyping Austin. For $22K, he's an upgrade to Shepherd. He has to beat out Ervin, who is still limited in practice.

$22K in the NFL barely constitutes a negligible ante. It is less than one game of elevating two guys from the practice squad for a game instead of one.

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stockholder's picture

December 03, 2020 at 11:50 pm

Stills? I understand Austin. As I wrote he saved us a 2nd rd. pick. And the upgrade. But lets make sure of the upgrade. And the costs. Paying guys that have been bounced around. Doesn't work. They'll spend more time with the trainers. Or sit the bench.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 03, 2020 at 09:58 pm

Personally I want to move on from all things Ted. As Vince would say we are the Green Bay Packers. act accordingly, Passive approach gets you nowhere.

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stockholder's picture

December 04, 2020 at 12:05 am

Ted was cheap. Too cheap. Waste not ,want not.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 03, 2020 at 04:11 pm

The Packers had 51 on the 53-man roster. They activated Barnes to take one spot and will use the other spot on Dillon when he clears Covid protocol.

That means anyone they bring in would require them to release another player. Given that, it is likely that the cap would not be too greatly affected by the bulk of such possible moves, unless they swung a trade for an established player instead of a street free agent type of player.

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NitschkeFan's picture

December 03, 2020 at 04:47 pm

Wasn't there a "trade deadline"? Are you saying that trades can still take place?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 05, 2020 at 11:59 am

Yes, trades are still legal. Players have to go through waivers now but prior to the deadline they didn't, meaning prior to the trade deadline no team could throw a wrench in the works by making a waiver claiim to mess up a trade.

So, if GB trades for a player that player has to go through waivers. If a claim is made, the trade doesn't happen. That means that only a small set of players can be traded after the deadline. No one wants him, player has a big cap hit than he's worth to most teams, something unusual.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

December 04, 2020 at 02:57 pm

I really like this pick-up with Austin. I have felt all along they need a quick twitch WR kind of like the Chief's Hill.

Depending on his health and conditioning his size/speed might really work well interspersed with the Pack's bigger WR's. The lack of speed on the outside hurts the team. I was discouraged though in reading his route running is not sharp....if true that is unfortunate! Speed kills!

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