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Chargers using cap room for early extensions

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Give just about any salary cap manager in the NFL an extra $100 of wiggle room and the money usually burns a hole in his pocket. Give him a nearly 20-percent increase in the spending limit, as the league did for this season, courtesy of the extension to the collective bargaining agreement, and he'll be using C-notes to light his cigars. OK, so maybe that's not quite the case. But since the CBA extension kicked in, setting the 2006 salary cap at a record high $102 million, some teams have come out smokin' in pursuit of long-term deals with younger veterans they consider "nucleus" or "core" players. The huge salary cap increase, the second-largest in league history on a percentage basis, coupled with improved cap management in general around the NFL, has resulted in some notable contracts that otherwise might have not been consummated.

    San Diego Chargers center Nick Hardwick, only two seasons into the three-year contract he signed as a third-round draft choice in 2004, last week signed a new, six-year contract through 2011.
    Given that Hardwick started 27 games in his first two years, and already has established himself in the view of some scouts as a top 10 snapper, the deal wasn't unusual. But the timing certainly was. Hardwick was due a 2006 base salary of $425,000, the minimum for a third-year veteran. Had the Chargers not touched the contract, Harwick would have been eligible for restricted free agency next spring, but San Diego almost certainly could have curtailed any potential suitors by making him the mid-level qualifying offer, which likely will be set at about $1.7 million. So, for a total outlay of a little over $2.1 million, the Chargers could have secured Hardwick for two more seasons.
    Instead, in those two seasons, San Diego will pay the former Purdue star $6.25 million in bonuses and salaries. Of course, under the old contract, and with just a qualifying offer to keep Hardwick around for the 2007 season, he might have departed as an unrestricted free agent in the spring of 2008. The new contract, which is worth $17 million in so-called "new money," and includes roster bonuses totaling $5 million this year ($2.8 million) and next spring ($2.2 million), keeps Hardwick around through 2011.
    And that, said agent Craig Domann, who provided the impetus for the extension, is the point.
    "From the team's standpoint, if it has a good player, and he continues to be an ascending player, the longer the club waits to sign him (to an extension), the more expensive he becomes," said Domann, who became proactive last December pitching a long-term deal to Chargers officials and who finally got their attention this spring. "From the player's standpoint, if I've got a good young veteran who has outplayed his contract, it's smart to make a move. Once a player establishes himself, and a team is convinced that he is a good player, it's more prudent to do (an extension) early, rather than wait. Because if you wait, and a guy gets closer to free agency, he's less likely to extend. And then you lose the player and end up spending even more money to replace him."
    When a team is sold on a player, and has sufficient cap room, why risk losing him? As Domann noted, for such players, it is usually a case of paying now or paying considerably more later, as he nears free agency and his price tag spirals upward exponentially.
    Before the Hardwick extension, it's believed the Chargers ranked last in the league in aggregate salary cap money invested in its offensive line. But general manager A.J. Smith has done an excellent job the last few years infusing good young players, such as guard Kris Dielman and tackle Shane Olivea, into the line, and those guys will have to be paid, too.
    Hardwick was the first one to the pay window and his deal is a win-win for both parties.
    Hardwick, 24, gains a degree of financial security he probably would not have achieved for another couple years. The Chargers, who had a boatload of cap room, get an ascending player -- Hardwick was the third alternate at center in the AFC Pro Bowl voting in 2005 -- and at a palatable price. For this season, Hardwick's salary cap charge is $3.486 million. But after this season, his cap charge does not rise above $3 million until 2011, the final year of the contract, when it peaks at $3.675 million. At that point, Hardwick will be only 30 years old, and should still have at least one more big contract in his career.
     
  2. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man New Member

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    Killer read ~~ :tup:
     
  3. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man New Member

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    This is not a good sign but A.J. is acting on it.

    My biggest beef has been with the offensive and defensive lines over the years.
     
  4. sdchrger

    sdchrger Well-Known Member

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    Then again, I bet it's something that changes quite often. I wouldn't be surprised if we extend Goff and Dielman and all of a sudden we are in the top ten.
     
  5. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Mine has been with the secondary and the lines shortly after that.
     
  6. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man New Member

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    :icon_mrgreen: - Not really. Everyone just got caught up the bazillion Drew Brees long game sucks *** threads and mother effing LIAR threads that it seems that way for me. :lol:
     
  7. sdchrger

    sdchrger Well-Known Member

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    What do you mean, Drew can't throw the long ball? I have never heard such a thing....
     
  8. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man New Member

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    Which we round robined to death but not here. :icon_mrgreen:

    Build the lines first or at least have some sort of professional caliber Top 10 line and then judge the secondary "overall". We have some quality dudes in the secondary with the exception Jerry Wilson who stood out like a sore thumb and he calls the secondary plays "robber barron" etc etc.

    Overall the secondary is not a bad unit or in need of a major overhaul it just needs tweaking.
     
  9. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man New Member

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    :lol: - That is why I made that forum bet with Concudan last year at SignOnSanDiego and that was to spot light my displeasure so that even posters who were lurkers or even active posters could witness the drama.

    Every game most posters knew Conc and I had it "going on" over the lack of long ball and every long ball thrown last year was subject to "did Brees throw it 50 yards and was it in stride?" and "who owes who that beer in the bet".

    Well we all saw the games and are still waiting for that deep post in stride - maybe this year ? :no:
     

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