Category Archives: Fire Jerry Angelo

Top Ten and the Martz Legacy

I was looking at the Bears cap numbers the other day and we look to be in pretty good shape for now.  We have about $5mm to spare as far as cap space goes, and I have a feeling that will go up as camp moves along.

I was reminded of a couple of things as I was looking at the cap numbers.

1)  There is an upper class of athletes in the NFL and a crapload of guys scrambling to get a contract.  The middle class is almost non existent.

2)  Nothing happens in a vacuum as far as the cap is concerned.

I will speak on point one first.  As of today, the top ten guys on the Bears take up 54% of the available cap money.  They are, in order:

Cutler, Marshall, Forte, Bushrod, Briggs, Bennett, Jennings, Houston, Tillman, and Allen.  On that list, I imagine we won’t be seeing Forte, Briggs, and Tillman around for too much longer.  So, the whole rest of the team is scrambling for the other 46% of the cap dollars.  This is indicative of the NFL in general.  I ran the numbers for a few other teams as far as what percentage of their cap dollars are taken up by the top ten players.

Bengals – 50.6%, Falcons – 47.4%, Ravens – 60.5%

The Ravens have a ton of high cap number players that aren’t really worth squat, but that is the penalty, if you want to call it that, for winning a Super Bowl.  The Bears seem to be in the middle of the pack as regards this top ten number.  It doesn’t change or really mean too much, but it is something to think about once in a while when you are hearing about the upcoming cuts and moves to the practice squad.

Point two is a real beauty.  Brandon Manumaleuna just got an injury settlement out of the Bears for $250k and that will go on the books against the cap.  This guy was Mike Martz’s bright idea and in 2010 Manumaleuna signed a five year deal and then got cut in 2011 after doing NOTHING. It is important to understand that it takes several years to unwind these terrible contract decisions that were made under Angelo and the previous coaching staff.


League Minimum

Carl dropped a comment in the previous thread about Gabe Carimi that I was going to comment on but it was getting too long and morphed into this post.

Per Spotrac, here is the league minimum:

0 $420k $435k $4450k $465k $480k
1 $495k $510k $525k $540k $555k
2 $570k $585k $600k $615k $630k
3 $645k $660k $675k $690k $705k
4-6 $730k $745k $760k $775k $790k
7-9 $855k $870k $885k $900k $915k
10+ $955k $970k $985k $1M $1.015M

YOE = years of experience.  YOE is an interesting topic and the calculations for what exactly constitutes a YOE are mind blowing.  Sometimes when you see a guy get cut inexplicably, you can look at their YOE – likely a team did it because they didn’t want to give an underperforming vet an automatic raise.

Our buddy J’Marcus Webb signed a one year deal with the Chefs at $730k, league minimum for his YOE.  You can say a lot about Webb, but he has remained healthy and will be a serviceable backup for pretty much any team that needs a large body – and will help in camp when guys start going down.

But signing veterans to the league minimum sometimes has a useful benefit.  If you think you can squeeze some good play out of a guy for minimum, there is the Veteran Minimum Salary Benefit rule – again from Spotrac:

When qualified, a player with more than two years of NFL experience can earn his total minimum salary, but have a cap figure that reflects two years of experience – or in 2014, $570,000. The contract must be for only one year, and must not contain combined bonus money (signing, roster, workout) that exceeds $65,000.

For instance, Shayne Graham recently re-signed with the New Orleans Saints on a 1 year $955,000 contract. With more than two years of experience (12), and a 1 year contract, Graham qualifies for the cap hit benefit. His 2014 cap figure will be $570,000 in New Orleans.

Had he received a signing bonus of the maximum $65,000, he would have received a $1.02 million contract, with a $955,000 base salary, a $65,000 signing bonus, and a cap figure of $635,000 (570+65).

With plenty of veterans being released, or not signed back thus far in 2014, the use of the Minimum Salary Benefit Rule becomes useful both for older players looking for jobs, and teams looking to minimize their cap dollars.

This is exactly why Webb’s cap hit for KC will only be $570k this year even though his salary will be $730k.

In an odd bit of salary cap math, the cap hit for the BEARS in 2014 will be $907,918 on Carimi.  I am going to try to email a few salary cap masters as to why that is.  The solid money says a dumb contract structure (again!) from the Angelo days is the reason, but I will find out for sure.

If you need some good “on the toilet” reading, here is a BASIC primer on the cap with some definitions.  With just a basic understanding of the cap, you can immediately tell when the talking heads on the cable networks are making mistakes.

UPDATE:  I did get clarification on why the Bears are taking a cap hit for Carimi.  From my (reliable) source:

That’s money that was left over from the signing bonus that Carimi received from the Bears back when he was a rookie. He was traded last season to
Tampa after June 1 so the Bears took cap charges in both 2013 and 2014 rather than all in 2013.

I still say that Carimi was correctly selected in that draft.  One of the few things I won’t bash the previous Bear regime for.


The Draft – Moving Forward With the Plan

And just like that, the Bears have all eight of their draft picks signed and in camp.  Does this sound familiar?  No.

In the past we screwed around and played games with our draft picks, but we have a new management team and a plan in place and we are going to implement it, and let the chips fall.  This is so refreshing.

I don’t want to get into all the ins and outs of the draft picks as other sites have done that to death.  I will break it down by position.

We drafted a punter (who will probably start), one offensive tackle, one quarterback, one running back, a safety, a corner, and two defensive tackles.  So half offense, and half defense.  We did fix our offense last year, but it is good to get a new and hopefully better punter in there since what in the hell happened to Podlesh last year?  Made me miss our formerly best offensive weapon, Brad Maynard.

With the slew of free agents we brought in along with these draft picks (most of the defensive picks were with the highest draft choices), our defense will be completely re-vamped this year.  We have a ton of talent on the team right now, and if Tucker can’t find the right mix, he will have to fall on the sword.  Management has given Tucker all the tools, and it is up to him now to show us good results.

All in all, this is an exciting time to be a Bear fan.  We have management who appear to know what they are doing with regard to the cap (even though we are STILL unwinding Angelo’s dumb contracts and the future cap hits they created).  The offense rolled up yards and points (second in the league) last year like we have never seen.  If, as I expect, we get this defense fixed (and the run D in particular) we will be a force in the Central this year.

Who Cares What Jerry Angelo Has To Say?

I often read the ESPN NFC North blog to keep up on our division.  Recently they had a post on Jerry Angelo commenting on Suh from Detroit.

Whether it’s about Jay Cutler or the expected fall of some of the top quarterbacks in this year’s NFL draft, former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo continues to express strong opinions regarding several subjects around the league; the latest being Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.   On April 22, Angelo made his thoughts known — pretty scathingly — on Twitter about Suh, who hasn’t attended the start of the club’s voluntary offseason workouts. 

The first thing I did when I saw it was look up Angelo on the ol’ intertubes… and of course he hasn’t been working since the Bears canned him, well, for sucking.  He apparently is doing some blogging and a sports show.  Hell, I ought to call in and heckle him for being a dolt.

Most of the ex-Bears coaches and managers of recent vintage are so bad they are unemployable in the NFL.  Shoop is wrecking the offense of Purdue (a team SO bad that the Illini even beat them to stop their infinite conference losing streak), Mike Martz isn’t in football anywhere, and dopey Dumb Ron is wrecking FIU and DEAD LAST in college football coaches, to boot.  Sure, some have jobs, and not all were as bad as those three.  Obviously many former Bears players are doing well in the league as coaches, but they weren’t “groomed” by this sort of regime.

Lovie is going to be a great experiment in Tampa Bay; he brought a bunch of our coaches and McCown.  McCown SUCKED abominably under Lovie’s crew; that is a proven fact.  Under Trestman, he flourished (with help from roster moves from Emery, like signing Marshall and drafting Jeffrey, and GETTING AN OFFENSIVE LINE).  Now, McCown is going to go backwards under the Lovie crew, and mark my words he will look much worse down there in Tampa.  Poor McCown.

As I start to look around at people commenting on Jerry’s posts (other bloggers like us) I get a lot of the same ripping apart of his posts and general astonishment that anyone has given him a microphone to speak into.

So I guess the best thing to do when he talks is just to ignore him.  I’m going with that plan from now on.


The New Bears

Wow Emery and Trestman have been busy this off season.  As you all know, I am full on board with their moves and after seeing that dramatic offensive improvement last year (second best scoring unit in the entire league), am excited to see our defense improve this year and getting back to the playoffs.

I am impressed with the patience and smarts Emery has shown in unwinding the Angelo era of awfully structured contracts.  The biggest and easiest example to show is the “trade” of Peppers for Allen.  Pep’s contract was a disaster to the cap for the Bears, and as I mentioned in a previous comment, it is likely that ANY TEAM would have had to cut him after this year – even if he had 25 sacks.  Which he didn’t.  Allen’s contract is for 4 years on its face, but the dead money and cap hit go away after 2 – so essentially Allen finishes his career as a Bear after 2015.  Unwinding Angelo’s nightmare takes time, and I think Emery knows and understands how current moves affect the future of the team.

With that, a quick summary of what has happened in the last month or so:

Gone:  Pepp, Hester, Major Wright, Corey Wootton, Michael Bush, Earl Bennett, and TQWSNBN.  Of course Lovie, in his inherent wisdom, gave TQWSNBN $5 million a year and instantly names him the starter.  I simply cannot wait to watch that qb put up a total shitshow in Tampa, proving that Trestman and Kromer are the real reason he was successful, not some random fantastic year an old qb had (of course Lovie believes the latter).

Who’s on the roster:  We re-signed Tillman, a good move I think.  He has a solid year or two left in him and is one of our keys in the secondary.  We also picked up Lamarr Houston, a solid D lineman from the Raiders.  We desperately need depth at this position and I wouldn’t be surprised to see us draft one or two SEC maniacs to fill up these spots.  Tim Jennings got a new deal.  Jared Allen is here, of course as mentioned above.  We also have Willie Young, re-signed Izzy Idonije for a year and still have Shea in there for situational downs.  I am no fan of Shea, but he will always have a roster spot for me for injuring Rodgers.  We also brought in a slew of veteran corners and safeties to address our shortcomings there, and also signed Hixon to replace Hester for runbacks.

We re-upped Cutler, and I am happy with it.  There will be arguments all over the place on this one, but not one person has yet to show me what “plan b” was that made any sort of sense at all.  Until that happens, I am happy.  We have a good quarterback – we just need to keep him upright.

I am excited to see what is up the front office’s sleeve for the draft.  We don’t have a backup qb yet so I imagine we may draft one there and certainly we should see a d lineman or two.  If it is even half as good as last year’s draft, we will be in excellent shape for 2014.

All in all, Trestman is very happy with Emery for sticking to the script and it appears that everyone is working together and making good moves for the betterment of the team, and doing the moves in a prudent manner as regards the cap so we can remain competitive, instead of having one year of greatness and then hitting the skids (many NFL teams have to “give up” some years due to past years cap mismanagement).

Alright, esteemed commenters, lets hear it.

Packers First Round Draft Picks Since 2001

We have already focused on Jelly Angelo’s first round failures from his tenure. Lets look at who the Packers have drafted since then with their first round choices:

Jamal Reynolds
Javon Walker
Nick Barnett
Ahmad Carroll
Aaron Rogers
A J Hawk
Justin Harrell
B J Raji
Clay Matthews
Brian Bulaga
Derrick Sherrod
Nick Perry
Datone Jones

Almost every one of these guys at least contributed a bit, and many are all pro players. Big difference between these and the Bears draft picks and it explains a lot of why we struggle in this division.

Stat of the Day

With the trade of Carimi, the Chicago Bears now have exactly zero first round draft picks from the Jerry Angelo era on the current roster.

For those interested, here are Angelo’s first round picks:

David Terrell
Marc Colombo
Michael Haynes
Rex Grossman
Tommy Harris
Cedric Benson
Greg Olson
Chris Williams
Gabe Carimi

Of course, there is plenty of blame to go around for most of these dogs with the coaching staff, but Angelo was the GM so he gets the majority of the blame. The bar is set pretty low for Emery.