Thread: Speculation: The defense for next year.
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02-28-2012, 02:17 AM
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Originally Posted by SolidSnakeUS View Post
Then how the hell does the bonus work? What causes the bonus cushion? Why isn't it against the cap anymore? Sorry, just confused...

The ELCs (rookie max and rookie minimum) contracts were established to protect organizations from overpaying rookie players that don't pan out. You know that whole nonsensical problem the NFL has with overpaying first overall draft picks ungodly sums of money for them to turn into busts? Well the ELC system protects organizations.

Meanwhile, the players that don't bust believed it was unfair for their paychecks to be strangled by the mere potential that they don't earn their large rookie contracts.

Thus the bonus cushion system was born.

In essence players get a number of bonuses attached to their performance. Let's say a rookie of Couturier's draft year signs a max ELC, which is 0.93m/year for 3 years for the year he signed.

Now on top of that he signs a number of bonuses that come with his ELC that can range from winning ROY, winning the Conn Smythe, scoring a certain number of goals, leading the team in points, etc.

Those bonuses get tacked onto the contract as potential sums of money that the player on the ELC can earn. I believe when Schenn signed his contract he got the max ELC (0.90m that year) and significant bonuses which brought his theoretical cap hit to 3.11m.

In order for his 3.11m to count against the salary cap for that season though, he has to meet all of his bonuses. If he doesn't meet them all, the team is not in danger of paying the full 3.11m against the cap.

One of his bonuses this season involved playing all 82 games. Since he was kept off of the roster for the first game, he could not meet that bonus, and his potential cap hit was made smaller. That kept the Flyers from going over the cap.

The only reason why the Flyers could potentially go over the cap is because this summer the CBA expires.

Alright, so you understand that bonuses exist. The Bonus Cushion however makes life easier for GMs. It allows you to pay players their base ELC (which is 0.90m for Schenn, Bob, Read, and some others, and 0.93m for Couturier based on when the contract was signed) and have only their base ELC count against the cap that season. Basically, why have player's bonuses count against the cap when potentially they're not going to be obtained. That's unfair.

So the system is in place where teams can roll over those cap-effecting bonuses to the next season. In fact, I believe JVR and Bob both reached some bonuses last season which then was applied to our salary cap ceiling this year. Basically we couldn't spend to the full 64.30m salary cap because JVR and Bob met some bonuses last season and the cap hit of those bonuses rolled over.

The reason that we're paying all of JVR's bonuses, all of Couturier's bonuses, all of Bob's bonuses, and most of Schenn's bonuses this season is because the CBA runs out.

Basically, if they don't protect the cap space by preparing themselves for those rookies to meet the full bonus, then they'd be over the cap this season because there is no "next season" to roll the bonuses over to. That's because the CBA expires. Even if they rehash the CBA, there's the potential that it won't apply. Because of that, no team is allowed to bypass their bonuses this season and put them off until next year.

Next year however, should the ELCs and bonuses cushions remain the same way, we'll go back to paying just the base ELC salary while pushing back and cap hits accumulated through bonuses until the next year. We also won't have to worry about a diminished cap from any of our ELC guys reaching their bonuses this season because we already have the cushion in our salary cap numbers for the season to cover any bonuses they might reach.

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