UNOFFICIAL GUIDE TO THE MADDEN 2004 FRANCHISE MODE SALARY CAP Version 0.5 The ideas and text in this document are (C)2003 David K. Britz, GameFAQs Contributer. Certain data, terms, and salary cap rules are property of the National Football League. This document may be read and forwarded to other users as long as proper credit is given to the author. This guide may not be sold or mass-distributed without prior permission. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org --------------------------------------------- Hello all, and welcome to the first version of my guide to all you need to know (and more) about the salary cap in the Madden 2004 franchise mode. Note that this is the first version, so some of this data is still a bit organized, but I just wanted to "get it out there". Future versions will have more examples, more details, and a table of contents. --------------------------------------------- INTRO AND DEFINITIONS: The salary cap refers to the total compensation that all the players on your team can receive in a season. Madden 2004 starts out with a salary cap of $75 Million, and increases at roughly 10% per year for subsequent seasons. Prior versions of Madden had a simplified salary cap system where you would sign a player to x dollars a year for y years. This year's version models the NFL much closer, by including signing bonuses. Contracts in Madden 2004 have 3 main components: Contract Length, Total Salary, and Signing Bonus. A player's "cap value" is defined as the amount that his contract counts against the salary cap for that season. The cap value equals the salary that player makes in the current year, plus a PRO-RATED amount of the signing bonus. For example, if you sign a player to a 3 year contract which includes a $3 Million signing bonus, then $1M of that bonus will count toward the player's cap value each year of the contract. --------------------------------------------- VIEWING CONTRACTS: You can view any player's contract from the roster screen by going to player info ("Select" button on the PS2, and pressing R1 a couple of times to go to contract info.) NOTE: This window displays the player's ENTIRE contract, so even starting out (2003 season) you might be in the middle of the current contract, so pay attention to "# years" and "years left". The contract just says "Year 1", "Year 2", etc. If you're not sure which is the current year, check the value for "cap salary" (which is the same as the "cap value" I mentioned before. This gives you the player's current year cap value, and you can compare that to the yearly cap totals at the bottom of the screen. Note that when signing a player, you can only determine the TOTAL VALUE (salary + bonus)of the contract, the number of years, and the amount of the signing bonus. The game automatically determines the year-by-year breakdown of the salary. How this is arrived at I do not know, and is beyond the scope of this FAQ anyway. I'll get more into signing bonuses later, but as you change the signing bonus, the yearly salary (and thus the cap value per year) changes. Keep an eye on that as you toggle the bonus up and down. There is an "optimal" signing bonus. Here's a sample contract that you might see in Madden 2004. Note that I've filled in the years. In the game you'll still just see "Year 1", "Year 2", etc. Year Salary Bonus Total 2003 $1.82M $1.50M $3.32M 2004 $2.07M $1.50M $3.57M 2005 $2.69M $1.50M $4.19M 2006 $3.49M $1.50M $4.99M 2007 $4.54M $1.50M $6.04M 2008 $5.89M $1.50M $7.39M Total contract value: 6 years, $29.5 Million, $9 Million Signing bonus. Those are the parameters you could control in the sign player screen. The individual year salaries are beyond your control. The "Total" referred to above would be the player's "cap value" for that season. Again, the total cap values for all the players cannot exceed the salary cap, that's basically how it works. --------------------------------------------- SIGNING BONUSES --------------------------------------------- Now, on to the specifics of signing bonuses: Why have a signing bonus? Basically, because of the way the game calculates salaries, bonuses are a good way of backloading contracts (putting more of the cap value in later years), while keeping the player happy (thus more likely to sign) by getting more money in the short term. Moving the bonus value up and down during a signing, you will find an "optimal" cap value for that player, given the contract value and length. This is what NFL teams often refer to as a "cap friendly" contract. You have to experiment to find out what it is. Just keep going up and down through the bonus values and keep an eye on the current season cap value until you see it bottom out. Now, that being said, you should be careful with bonuses. I mentioned that a player's cap value is based on a PRO-RATED so that it's cap value is split up among the years of that player's contract. In the real NFL, the player would receive ALL the bonus money up front, but to allow for the salary cap, the NFL lets players "count" the cap in this manner. The major disadvantage with bonueses is that if a player leaves your team for any reason - if you cut the player, trade him or he retires, any remaining portion of that bonus still counts against your team's salary cap. This is called a "cap penalty". Each season you may have a "cap penalty" that will count against your cap, which will be based on any players leaving your team during the previous season. Any remaining BONUS money (not salary, that goes away) on that player's contract gets accelerated into the next season. For example, take our sample contract above. Year Salary Bonus Total 2003 $1.82M $1.50M $3.32M 2004 $2.07M $1.50M $3.57M 2005 $2.69M $1.50M $4.19M 2006 $3.49M $1.50M $4.99M 2007 $4.54M $1.50M $6.04M 2008 $5.89M $1.50M $7.39M Let's say we're in the 2006 season and we decide to cut this player. His original signing bonus is $9M, which is counted over 6 years at $1.5M per year. There are 3 years remaining (the current year counts), therefore there is a pro-rated bonus remaining of $1.5 x 3 = $4.5 Million. That $4.5 Million will be added to our cap penalty for the 2007 season. The cap penalty is money that counts against your cap even though it's not tied to any specific player. If the salary cap for 2007 is $110 Million, then we effectively would have a cap of $110M-$4.5M = $105.5 million. So you can see that giving large bonuses to players who are not likely to be with your team in the long-run, older players with declining ratings, or players that are near retirement, is a risky proposition. Often if a 10-year veteran is demanding a large signing bonus, it's probably best to let that player move on. This is how real NFL teams get into "salary cap trouble." They give large contracts to veterans who aren't worth that money. Then when those players retire or get cut, the teams wind up with huge cap penalties that severely hurt their ability to sign free agents. --------------------------------------------- It's generally wise, during the off-season re-signing of your free-agents, to leave about $8 million of cap room available. In early seasons, you'll need at least $5-6 million to sign draft picks (assuming 1 pick per round), and may need to pick up a couple of free agents from other teams to fill team needs or to fill the roster. Remember, you can't ever go above 55 players on a roster in Madden so if you have more than 48 players under contract going into the draft, you may not be able to sign all your draft picks because you run out of roster room. Only players that are signed are under contract. If a player has "0 years remaining" then they are not considered under contract, and do not count toward this 55 player limit until they are signed. Occasionally players currently under contract may hold out for more money. They're not counted toward the player limit either, but will not be available to your team until you re-sign them, or the end of that season. I'll have more on holdouts in a later FAQ version. --------------------------------------------- RE-NEGOTIATING CONTRACTS Occasionally you may want to re-sign a player currently under contract. This could happen for two reasons: 1) You're trying to free up space and maybe this is a declining player who is willing to re-negotiate to a lower or more cap-friendly contract. (2) You know this player is in the last year of his current contract, headed for a breakout year, and you want to sign him NOW before the price goes way up. In terms of signing bonuses and the salary cap in regards to signing players currently under contract, there are no cap penalties for re-negotiating, even if the new signing bonus is lower or the contract length shortened. However, you should be aware that once a player signs a contract involving a signing bonus, that bonus money becomes permanent until the contract expires. So if you sign a currently-contracted player to a new contract, the new signing bonus will effectively INCLUDE the old signing bonus. So if you're negotiating a contract that had a $1M signing bonus, and the new contract has a $2.5M signing bonus, then that new contract will have an effective signing bonus of $1.0M + $2.5M = $3.5M. The OLD BONUS MONEY DOES NOT GO AWAY UNTIL THE CONTRACT EXPIRES COMPLETELY. Below is an example: OLD CONTRACT (3 years $3M, $900K Bonus): Year Salary Bonus Total 2003 $600K $300K $900K 2004 $700K $300K $1.00M 2005 $800K $300K $1.10M Now suppose you know it's 2004 and this player's going to be a hot free-agent item, so you want to wrap him up long-term. You propose a 5 year $15M contract with a $3 million bonus. Year Salary Bonus Total 2004 $1.75M $600K $2.35M 2005 $2.00M $600K $2.60M 2006 $2.25M $600K $2.85M 2007 $2.75M $600K $3.35M 2008 $3.25M $600K $3.85M This contract would NOT result in a cap penalty. What would happen is that the salaries would be replaced, and the new signing bonus ($3 million) would be added on to the remaining portion of the bonus from the old contract ($300K+300K=$600K), for a total of $3.6 million. That bonus will then be divided among the new five year contract, so the new contract would in effect show up as follows: Year Salary Bonus Total 2004 $1.75M $720K $2.47M 2005 $2.00M $720K $2.72M 2006 $2.25M $720K $2.97M 2007 $2.75M $720K $3.47M 2008 $3.25M $720K $3.97M As you can see, although the bonus money is combined, there is a benefit to restructuring contracts. Real NFL teams will often do this to get a player's contract to be more "cap-friendly", or to count less against a year's cap, even though they're being paid the same, or more. Note that suppose the 2nd contract were given AFTER the first one expired. The resulting bonus would have been $3 million over 5 years, or $600K per year. However, since we re-structured an existing contract, the cap number for each year is only $120K more per year than it would have been had the new contract NOT replaced an existing contract. SO THAT IS A GOOD TIP FOR THOSE WHO ARE RUNNING TIGHT AGAINST THE CAP. Try restructuring contracts. If the new contract is a longer length, you can spread existing signing bonuses over longer periods of time! Just be careful again, like I said before, that you don't give a huge contract for someone who will probably not be with your team for long. If the above player retires after the 2004 season, that's a hit of $720K x 4 = $2.88 million against your 2005 cap penalty. So just beware. --------------------------------------------- This concludes this verion of the Madden 2004 Salary Cap guide. I hope to add some more tips and examples in a later revision. Thank you for reading!