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    Salary Cap Guide by kcollins75

    Version: 0.5 | Updated: 12/26/03 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    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:  dave_nospam-misc@yahoo.com
    
    ---------------------------------------------
    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!