I have received a few emails concerning the 2012 veteran salary cap credits and thought it would be a good night to post about it. Quite a few people seem to be under the impression that this year is the same as last year and that teams can apply (3) $1,000,0000 million credits on three different veteran players. This is of course false, so let\'s get that cleared up right off the bat. The truth is that teams can use (3) $500,000 credits in 2012 and they certainly do not have to do so if they do not choose to.
Let\'s look at what the CBA says about the credits for this year:
(ii) For the 2012 League Year, each Club may designate up to three players who, as of July 25, 2011, have five or more Accrued Seasons and are under contract to the Club on the first day of the 2012 League Year with a Salary of at least $500,000 over the Minimum Active/Inactive List Salary for such player, for each of whom the Club will receive a credit to Team Salary for the 2012 League Year of $500,000 provided that the player is on the Active/Inactive Roster, Reserve/Injured List, or Physically Unable to Perform List of the Club throughout the 2012 League Year regular season. The amount of the credit shall be reduced proportionally for each week of the regular season such player is not on the Club’s Roster as described in the immediately preceding sentence in the same manner described in Subsection (i) above. The amount of any such credit to Team Salary in the 2012 League Year shall be offset by an equivalent charge to Team Salary, spread over the 2014–17 League Years in a manner to be determined by the Club. Each Club’s designations of such players, if any, shall be made by written notice to the NFL no later than the first regular season game of that League Year. Additional Room shall become effective upon receipt by the NFL of such notice. The NFL shall promptly forward such notices to the NFLPA.
(iii) Clubs shall identify in writing to the NFL prior to the beginning of each of the 2014–17 League Years, the amount of any offset described in Subsections (i) and (ii) above that shall apply for such League Year. If a Club has not identified its entire offset as of the first day of the 2016 League Year, then the remaining offset balance shall apply in the 2017 League Year.
That should be pretty explanatory as these are the same stipulations as 2011 outside of the amounts changing. Now the question becomes when a team can designate these credits should they choose to use them. I have now been given two different answers on this from two different league sources and it is quite possible that neither fully understood my question as you know how articulate I can be at times.
It would be easy to assume the way the above is written, and that is VERY dangerous to do, that a team can submit the written notice to the league at the start of the new league year and designate the players they wish to use the credits on that qualify for them. Up until this point and time I have not been accounting for theses credits in my salary cap numbers because of the uncertainty surrounding the time frame. As I stated above, I was told by one league source that they were "officially applied" once the team cut down to 53 players before week one of the season. It is amazing that they can write the CBA in a way you can\'t decipher it fully at times, especially if you have just a high school education.
Now in regards to how these credits relate to the Pittsburgh Steelers, we know almost for certain they will take advantage of these credits once again in 2012. Just so you know, last year the (3) $1 million credits were applied to Casey Hampton, Hines Ward and James Harrison. If indeed the Steelers have, and can, apply them once the new league year started, then they have an additional $1.5 million worth of cap space at this time.
According to my bookkeeping the Steelers have a little over $8 million in cap space after all of the tenders have been issued. This also includes the rollover money from 2012 and the extra $1,643,000 million cap space that came from the uncapped year penalty incurred by the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins. If you were to add in the $1.5 million veteran credits, the Steelers have roughly $9.5 million worth of cap space at their disposal. These numbers balance almost perfectly with the numbers that Pat Kirwan quoted for the Steelers on Thursday on SiriusXM Radio, however he did not differentiate if the veteran credits were accounted for though in his numbers. Once again that is dangerous to do, but I will.
For the time being the extra $1.5 million will be considered a floating value until we know for sure when it will be officially applied to the Steelers 2012 salary cap and once again it very well could already be.