Monday, May 28, 2012


I hate the new blogger re-design that's being forced on me, plus Residual Prolixity is a really dumb name for a football blog. Thus, a new wordpress site and a new name that more accurately reflects what I'm trying to do here. Welcome Reading and Thinking Football.

I've been playing around with that site for a month or so, and it's still definitely a work in progress. I've just recently started posting actual content there, including a new book review of North Dallas Forty, a post on Stewart Mandel's NFL projections from when I got cranky on draft day, and a post on NFL guaranteed contracts.

I'm going to leave this site up, but don't plan on making any changes to it. That includes changes to recurring features, including adding book reviews to the sidebar (note North Dallas Forty isn't and won't be listed there; see instead here) or updates to the Titans salary cap page (see instead here) or my FO archive (see instead here). Instead, bookmark and follow me over there. I won't promise more blogging, but there should be more new content and in particular commentary there than there's been here lately.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Book Review: Illegal Procedure

What to make of Illegal Procedure: A Sports Agent Comes Clean on the Dirty Business of College Football? Said agent, whose co-writer was James Dale (not to be confused with Jim Dale, the U.S. Harry Potter books reader), is Josh Luchs. We learned the basic outline of Luchs's story in this SI article from October 2010 written by George Dohrmann, who also wrote the foreword for Illegal Procedure.

Most of the book tells the tale of Luchs's career, how he started off as a sports-mad kid in Beverly Hills, then worked as a Raiders ballboy, and eventually turned into an agent beginning with Pro Bowl DE Greg Townsend. For most of his career Luchs was more of a runner than an agent, generally working with a more experienced partner-Neil Allen, Doc Daniels, Gary Wichard, and finally Steve Feldman before a dispute with Wichard ended up with his agent certification revoked for a year by the NFLPA. Runners vary in degree of respectability and professionalism; by being a certified agent who's never spent time in jail, Luchs probably ranked on the higher end of the spectrum. There are some interesting stories in here, such as Mel Kiper's relationship with the now-deceased Wichard and how Luchs and Wichard used to fake or otherwise alter information for the recruiting playbooks for players, but I didn't get many lasting lessons out of it. At multiple points in Luchs's tale he does talk about the personal traits that made him as successful as he was (he was an agent for almost 20 years, which per se indicates a certain level of success), which just re-confirmed in my mind how unsuitable trying to be a sports agent would've been for me.

The lasting takeaway from Illegal Procedure, if there will be one, comes from the sentence SI stuck on their cover, "I will never forget the first time I paid a player..." The final chapter of the book asks "Can This Sport Be Saved?" and includes a couple recommendations by Luchs.

The fundamental problem is that good football players go from having a legal market value of $0 so long as they have eligibility remaining to a legal market value greater than that when their legal eligibility expires (including when they voluntarily cede any remaining eligibility). You don't have to be familiar with the life-cycle hypothesis from economics to predict that this is an inherently unstable system which people like Luchs (and he wasn't the only agent or agent-affiliated person paying players) could exploit.

The general scorn for this system is directed at the NCAA for imposing the cap on the legal market value at $0, and not without good reason. Since I'm trying not to go all Death to the BCS by writing another 4,000 word review, I'll simply stipulate here that the NCAA is not going to fundamentally change and start allowing every player to be paid what somebody, agent or not, is willing to pay them. (If I get around to it, one day I'll write about what a world where the NCAA gets rid of all amateurism restrictions might be like.) My preferred solution would be to sever the school-sports link completely. As Charles Clotfelter writes in Big-Time Sports in American Universities, though, schools are in general relatively happy with the role of athletics as it exists right now, and I recognize that's not a realistic solution.

Luchs categorizes his recommendations into two broad strokes: first, improving policing, and second, tweaking the system. There are a couple basic problems that have to be confronted to reach either goal. First, the NCAA is a voluntary association of member schools that only has the power the schools want to and can grant it. For some reason, those member schools aren't necessarily particularly interested in giving power to an organization devoted to constraining and punishing their missteps. Further, the NCAA can only deal with the information it gets; it's not a government and doesn't have governmental powers. I suspect the member schools could grant more sweeping powers to the NCAA than it currently possesses, but that gets us to a related problem.

The NCAA doesn't have the power to compel people acting outside the NCAA system. While Illegal Procedure exclusively talks about football, I'll start with a basketball example. One of the favored tricks for NCAA recruiting has been Big Booster of School X makes a donation to the Foundation related to the traveling team of Player Y, who somehow magically decides to attend School X. School X and Player Y are both subject to NCAA jurisdiction, but Big Booster and Foundation are both outside it. Unless Big Booster or Foundation somehow decides to reveal the arrangement on their own, the NCAA is stuck. For football examples of the same thing, take a look at either the payments made to Reggie Bush while at USC (see my review of Tarnished Heisman) or the Nevin Shaprio scandal at Miami. We only know about the Bush scandal because the wannabe agents forked over a ton of money and didn't get it back, while Shapiro was in jail. Similarly, Luchs only talked after he was out of the agent business and lost his certification. To use the parlance from Bruce Schneier's Liars and Outliers, we only know about these because they defected after leaving the community. Nobody defects before leaving the community, because doing so is essentially an announcement that you're leaving the community, and everybody in the community knows it.

There's yet another related problem, which is namely that for players, defection isn't really a big deal. Take, for example, the first player Luchs paid, Colorado defensive end Kanavis McGhee. Even if you think Taylor Branch's Atlantic article was a bit over the top, you'd probably agree with Luchs and McGhee there's nothing seriously morally wrong with McGhee advancing some of his future potential earnings to a time of need. McGhee ends up essentially stiffing Luchs, not signing with him, but even if Luchs had defected then, it's unlikely McGhee suffers any personal harm; NFL teams have indicated they don't care if a player has a personal problem with the NCAA's amateurism standards (wideout A.J. Green was suspended four games while at Georgia and still went fourth overall in the 2011 NFL draft). It would be difficult for the NCAA to come down harshly on a school for a single player's actions like that (thus the phrase "lack of institutional control" is the key to any relatively harsh NCAA punishment), and even then McGhee doesn't necessarily care that much. Luchs similarly has an incentive to defect (an edge on gaining McGhee as a client) and no strong incentive not to defect from the NCAA's rules.

McGhee's position outlines another of the key problems the NCAA has, namely the changing cast of characters. Going back to Schneier, you can have trust in a world of weak institutions where the members of the specific society are closely related and/or will have repeated interactions. A favorite example of this is the prevalence of Orthodox Jews in the diamond trade; there's not even an organization as heavily-involved and powerful as the NCAA that oversees the diamond trade's day-to-day affairs, but it still works because the members of the group trust the group's other members not to defect because of their shared beliefs. That's absolutely not true about college sports, as both Luchs and Reggie Bush show. USC didn't play in a bowl game following the recently-concluded 2011 season because of NCAA punishments arising in part from the actions of Reggie Bush while at USC. Said Reggie Bush just completed his sixth year in the NCAA, so why should he care? Bush's coach, Pete Carroll, meanwhile skedaddled out of town to a terrible job coaching the Seattle Seahawks that only pays him like $6.5 million a year.

USC gets punished because they're the only party who's still around, and the NCAA has to punish somebody if they want to try to prevent it from happening again. Controlling that behavior was nominally the job of USC's Compliance Department, but Luchs notes in the book he spent a lot of time around schools and never met anybody from Compliance until he started sitting on panels after he talked to Dohrmann. How schools treat their own Compliance Department resembles they treat the NCAA, as more of a necessary evil that limits the damage to schools than a proactive fighter against evil. One of Luchs's recommendations is that schools move Compliance out from under the aegis of Athletics or even the individual school, and put them on the NCAA payroll. It's a recommendation that comes from the right place, but I wonder how effective it will be. The key to effective Compliance includes a high level of trust between Compliance and coaches and athletes; removing them from Athletics and giving them real power makes them an outside authority to the coaches and athletes, and may only serve to make them more remote than they already are. Moving their budget out of Athletics but within the University, for instance to the President's office, can work, but only if the President is on board. As Clotfelter's book indicates, though, university presidents frequently use athletics for their own ends. Barring a major attitude change, I have a hard time seeing Compliance become a major factor.

The NFLPA isn't going to do something; as I said, nobody really cares about the NCAA's rules other than the NCAA. Some states have passed a version of the Uniform Athlete Agent Act; anybody familiar with NCCUSL will be unsurprised to learn not all states have passed it, and what's passed hasn't been the same in every state. Any enforcement act, to be effective, would have to be federal. Of course, there already is SPARTA, the Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act, which is so famous and well-enforced you hear about it approximately never. The NFLPA did last month institute one of Luchs's recommendations, dumping the Junior Rule, which was passed in an overreaction to the Reggie Bush affair.

One of the grayer areas is how agents and agent runners get access to players. Schools run their own Agent Day, where a bunch of agents come in and meet with a bunch of players briefly, sort of speed-dating for representation. As Luchs puts it, "Agent Day" is really any day he could meet with a player, and it's relatively easy to do that. Go to campus, track down somebody who knows the schedule of the person you want to meet (good athletes are local celebrities, it's not that hard), and find them; Luchs did it plenty of times and in the era of social networking it's even easier. Players are going to be able to meet agents and people who aren't agents themselves but have contacts with them. Some of those people are their head coaches, who all have agents and know agents themselves; Luchs writes about UCLA coach Terry Donahue basically stealing away wideout J.J. Stokes for his agent, Marvin Demoff. Nick Saban has a similarly enlightened policy, decrying all agents while somehow many Alabama players just happen to sign with Saban's agent, Jimmy Sexton. Luchs's suggestion is to pass a rule forbidding agents from representing coaches and players on the same team, which I think is (a) unrealistic and (b) unlikely to work given a coach could direct his players to a separate agent with whom he is affiliated or who has a long history of representing players from the school.

If it's unlikely better enforcement is going to solve the problem, then the other alternative is to reform the NCAA's system. As I indicated above, the system itself isn't going to undergo a massive change. The most realistic thing you could hope for is a couple tweaks. One of those is FCOA, or Full Cost Of Attendance. As this report notes (big PDF, see p.8-9), athletic scholarships used to cover FCOA but since the early 1970's have covered less than that. There have been proposals lately that schools should cover FCOA; most of the big football schools are on board, while many smaller schools are not. Naturally, some of the details could be messy, and like many other regulations this one benefits the bigger schools with more resources. Frankly, though, I don't care; this is as much a moral issue as a practical one, and while my sister, a full-scholarship athlete at a school then a member of the Big XII, sometimes regaled me with tales of leftover per diem money, FCOA for all athletes should be the baseline.

Beyond FCOA, there's are certain other decisions that to me seem relatively obvious. As the Ed O'Bannon case winds its way through the court system, compensating athletes for revenues arising from their right of publicity may be something that ends up legally required. Compensating players for jersey sales seems like a slightly harder issue; I can order any NFL player's jersey, if only online (I own a Titans #71 Michael Roos jersey), but many schools sell only one or a selected number of player jerseys with that specific player's number on it. If a portion of that money goes to the player, does it all go to an individual player or does some or all of it go to individual team members. The NCAA could well decide to take the easy way out and stop selling jerseys with individual player numbers or names on them, thus obviating the argument that they're capitalizing on individual players' right of publicity (as the EA NCAA Football developer said in an interview I read, Florida QB #15 doesn't have to be exactly Tim Tebow the same way New England Patriots QB #12 has to be Tom Brady).

One of the reasons FCOA could be attractive based on Illegal Procedure is, once Luchs got smart about paying players, he tended to pay them $300-500 per month, nothing excessive but enough to give them a reasonable amount of spending money. FCOA theoretically gives the players that reasonable amount of spending money, thus obviating the need for extra money, right? It would probably have some marginal effect, but I bet that FCOA ends up being in effect an adjustment to the baseline; athletes are currently getting paid $500 a month in excess of the legal baseline, and after FCOA a number of them will probably still be making roughly that same $500 per month. Luchs realizes this, though, so he proposes essentially legalizing that payment.

What Luchs did when he paid players was write up documentation as though the payments were loans, to be repaid when players had money. His recommendation is to bring agent loans aboveboard by making them legal, giving public notice of them, and administering them in a way that gives the NCAA ability to supervise them. Before implementing this, the lawyer in me would want to do an analysis probably at least as long as this post to date; since this post is already at least twice as long as I thought it would be, I'll try to be brief:
  • A hypothetical NCAA-supported Compliance Department strikes me as the ideal party to oversee these loans. I'm surprised Luchs didn't make this suggestion in the book.
  • Repayment terms would have to be carefully crafted for agents to suffer from bad bets. Most personal loans, as these would be, are general recourse, to be repaid out of any monies owned by the borrower. If the intent is for loans to be repaid out of football earnings, I'd need to do more research on the enforceability and limits of loans whose only recourse is against a potential future income source, especially an unlienable one.
  • Beyond the recourse problem, repayment terms would have to be crafted taking into account a player's future football income. First-round draft picks would probably be required to pay off any modest loans quickly, while late-round players might be given a longer grace period or only have to pay off in part if they don't make the full roster. Of course, as Luchs talks about from his playing days, getting players to actually pay any agent is sometimes easier said than done.
  • Approving this would probably compromise, in the NCAA/schools' view, the NCAA's strong moral stance against paying college players, and don't you dare bring up football players playing minor league baseball for money.
  • One of the NCAA's concerns is their ability to control their own players, or at least limit agents' influence. This would essentially legitimize agents as market actors in the eyes of players. Right now already a number of players voluntarily forgo their remaining eligibility because of the market price cap, to their personal detriment. Increasing agents' access is likely to only increase that number. There are a number of good reasons you might be fine with this, and I'd probably agree with you, but you could easily argue it creates a worse equilibrium than the current situation. The best analogy I can think of is allowing high schoolers to bypass college and go directly to the NBA, which we know has been eliminated.
  • Players and people who want to pay them still could and would avoid the system. The people who paid Reggie Bush were marketing agents who wouldn't necessarily be subject to this system, not contract agents like Luchs. Boosters of School X who want to help players from School X also would bypass the system; Ohio State tat-gate and Nevin Shapiro would probably laugh at this system the same way agent Luchs laughed at the NFLPA people who tsk-tsk'ed him.
Of course, I don't have any magic bullet solutions either. Instead, the NCAA (which really means the member schools) will avoid compromising what it sees as its moral principles for as long as it possibly can, and the system will continue as much as it has been as possible, with the majority of players and people on the up-and-up or taking only relatively modest amounts of money from people like agent Luchs willing to go to the gray area and beyond.

And once again I've gone on for entirely too long, though not because I threw the book down eight or so times in anger like I did with Death to the BCS. I didn't throw down Illegal Procedure even once, speeding through most of it very eagerly. I just don't expect much change to the world of college sports, for good or for ill.

UPDATE (5/17/12, 2352 CT): Made a few stylistic and typo edits while resisting the urge to re-write some sections.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Arena Football Pythagorean Exponents

A couple years ago, I went through and calculated the Pythagorean exponent for the NFL over various years. I promised a week ago that if I won the Mega Millions lottery jackpot, I'd spend time developing advanced statistics for Arena Football. Alas, I didn't win the lottery, but I did spend a little bit of time tonight working on calculating the ideal Pythagorean exponent for Arena Football anyway, at least for the past dozen seasons.

The methodology for this was pretty simple: I took every AFL team's points scored and points allowed, put them in a spreadsheet, and used Excel's Solver function to calculate the proper exponent as determined using the least squares method. This is not a particularly sophisticated way of doing the calculation, as it doesn't take into account consistency, and other, more complicated techniques are likely to produce better results. The findings:


As I did for the NFL chart, I added points per game, to see if there was any trend that more scoring meant a higher exponent. As you can see, there is no apparent strong pattern that that is indeed the case. Arena Football has also expanded the season length from 14 to 16 and then to 18 games over the course of this sample; no great pattern is apparent there either. Ditto the number of teams, which has also varied.

In addition to the exponent for each year, I also figured out the average exponent (based on each year), and came up with 5.400. If you want to use a Pythagorean exponent over time, then I suggest that be the one you use.

When Aaron wrote the first FO article discussing the use of Pythagorean exponents in football back in 2003, one of the things he used it for was to predict how teams would do the next season. I have not yet done that for Arena Football; I suspect it tends to be a lot less consistent than the NFL. Looking solely at the 2011 standings, based on Pythagorean standings, I would expect Milwaukee and Philadelphia to improve, while Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay get worse.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My 2012 Total Titans Archive

As I did for 2011, this will be an irregularly-updated list of my, and only my, Total Titans posts for 2012.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Review: War Room

Michael Holley's War Room: The Legacy of Bill Belichick and the Art of Building the Perfect Team continues the tales he began in Patriot Reign as Scott Pioli and Thomas Dimitroff finish their New England tenures and move on to their own jobs in Kansas City and Atlanta, respectively.

I criticized Patriot Reign for being relatively content-light. War Room is nominally about fifty percent longer, but effectively close to twice as long, with a shorter introduction that doesn't bog down the book nearly as badly. There are more interesting things to tell, such as Pioli's and Dimitroff's struggles to impose new regimes with the Chiefs and Falcons, and how those are both similar to and different from the ones they experienced and learned from in New England. Both men were obviously strongly influenced by their time with Belichick, but without simply being clones of him.
War Room also drops a few nuggets, which I don't recall Patriot Reign doing at all. The biggest ones come from draft day deliberations, where the Patriots picked noted busts Laurence Maroney and Chad Jackson in the first and second round over the objections of their scouts. They had instead been endorsed by people outside the building, namely Josh McDaniels' brother Ben at Minnesota for Maroney and Belichick's close friend Urban Meyer for Jackson. The Titans had actually done something similar the year before, reportedly relying on tight ends coach George Henshaw, whose son played at West Virginia, for a positive character evaluation of Adam "Pacman" Jones. Henshaw was fired after Jones' rookie season. As far as I know, Belichick and Meyer are still friends, and Ben and Josh McDaniels are still on speaking terms. In fact, Josh would hire Ben to be his quarterbacks coach in Denver, where the brothers tried to resurrect Maroney's career without any success.

I didn't find any deep insights in War Room, though I freely admit I read most football books as a deep amateur looking for a way to pass the time rather than as a professional looking to extill insights. There are also a couple things Holley doesn't seem to get, either from a Boston-centric viewpoint or they're not obvious and nobody actually bothered to explain them to him, with the foremost example in my mind that Spygate (covered only briefly) exacerbated an existing anti-Boston sentiment arising from a belief that the Patriots were willing to push to the edge of the rules and beyond, if they could get away with it, which they could (see increase in illegal contact penalties, 2004, post Colts-Patriots). War Room is currently available in the Kindle edition for $4.99, and is worth that price more than Patriot Reign is worth $2.99 on Kindle.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

My 2011 NFL Awards

For This Given Sunday, we made our choices for a number of NFL awards, which were aggregated into this post. As my individual votes and writeups weren't included in the site, I'm re-printing my email here.

MVP: It's Aaron Rodgers, and for half of the year it was laughably not close. Rodgers cooled a bit the second half of the season, partly the result of some struggles at offensive tackle, partly some issues with the receivers, and partly because it's darned near impossible to play virtually mistake-free football for an entire season. Drew Brees of course put up more numbers, but he also dropped back to pass 138 more times. Brees' sheer volume includes a lot more short passes designed to get playmakers in space and to complement the Saints' running game, so it's no surprise he had a higher completion percentage than Rodgers. He still threw more than twice as many interceptions, and that's no surprise, because every week he gives defenses multiple opportunities for turnovers.

Rookie of the Year: Carolina went from a pathetic to competent and at times quite prolific offense primarily because of the tremendous upgrade Cam Newton represented over the vast abattoir of suck that was Matt Moore, Jimmy Clausen, and whatever else the Panthers called what they rolled out at quarterback in 2010.

Defensive Player of the Year: With all due respect to Jason Pierre-Paul's one man band effort for the New York Giants, Justin Smith was probably the key to the San Francisco 49ers' outstanding defense this year, lining up in different positions, soaking up blockers, and generally creating havoc from a 3-4 defensive end position where creating havoc rarely ranks high on the results list. As impressive as rookie Aldon Smith's 14.0 sacks were, he should probably give half of them to Justin for his role in creating them by disrupting protection schemes and drawing double coverage.

Offensive Player of the Year: Too often, the most outstanding offensive player of the year is the person who actually wins the MVP award, and some player who puts up outstanding numbers but either for a lesser team or just isn't as good as the person who wins MVP. It's nice to recognize the great year Drew Brees had, but Aaron Rodgers was both better and more valuable.

Comeback Player of the Year: Cam Newton reminded us that Steve Smith was still good, but Smith was also good in 2010. He was just hard to see amidst the dross in Carolina. I'll instead go with Matt Stafford, who after missing most of 2010 with shoulder surgery, started all 16 games en route to leading the Lions to the playoffs in 2011. Granted, it helps when you have a player like Calvin Johnson, but he came back from injury, answered questions about his health, and showed the promise that led the Lions to choose him first overall in the 2009 draft.

Coach of the Year: Jim Harbaugh instilled the San Francisco 49ers with the toughness Mike Singletary always talked about, and added more creative offensive play-calling, better management of quarterback Alex Smith, and a new defensive coordinator who brought better results. With the 49ers holding the #2 seed in the conference, you can't kick the NFC West champs around the way you've been able to the past couple years.

Book Review: Patriot Reign

How do you have extensive behind-the-scenes access to the top decision-makers for one of the NFL's most secretive franchises for the better part of two seasons, write a book about it, and not have much interesting in it? That's the question I have to ask of Michael Holley's Patriot Reign: Bill Belichick, the Coaches, and the Players Who Built a Champion. Sitting down to write this review perhaps a dozen hours after finishing the book, I find myself at a loss to talk about the interesting insights I gleaned from reading it. Perhaps reading it would've been a more valuable experience when the book first came out in 2004, but even then I doubt it. Too much of the book is devoted to the time before Holley had the extensive behind-the-scenes access (the first third, roughly), and too much of the remainder is taken up by descriptions of game action where Holley's access provides little, if any, value-add over a game recap written the day of the game. In what's left, there's not much insight into any of Bill Belichick, Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis, or Scott Pioli beyond what I already knew, and the players are almost complete ciphers. I may have said unkind things about Next Man Up, and still think they're true, but Feinstein's at least was a relatively complete portrait of a team in a season; Patriot Reign doesn't even get that far.

Despite my quibble with whether reading Patriot Reign was a particularly valuable use of my non-infinite time, reading it was a relatively pleasant experience. If you're a Patriot fan who wants to read about your favorite team and don't care about deep insights and unique content, you could do worse. For serious football fans, though, there's little if anything of interest or importance. And I'm still planning on reading Holley's newer book, War Room.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tennessee Titans Estimated 2012 Salary Cap-MOVED


For the past several years, I've attempted to keep track of the Tennessee Titans salary cap situation. As with the All-22 footage, the NFL doesn't necessarily want you to have this information, so getting accurate numbers is a non-trivial task. The following numbers should be considered estimates only and should be relied on at your own risk. Numbers in italics in particular should be regarded as educated guesses. Use of 1 represents an unknown non-zero quantity.

Afalava, AlFutures
Aguilar, DevinUDFA
Amano, EugeneSalary$3,182,500
Signing Bonus1,450,000
Roster Bonus?500,000Guess based on reported 2012 cap amount
Ayers, AkeemSalary598,932
Signing Bonus520,728
Babineaux, JordanSalary1,200,000
Signing Bonus200,000
Bailey, PatrickSalary830,000
Signing Bonus100,000
Ball, DaveSalary825,000$100,000 guaranteed
Signing Bonus200,000
Roster Bonus247,000
Bardon, BrandenUDFA
Batson, WillUDFA
Bias, GeorgeUDFA
Bironas, RobSalary2,850,000
Signing Bonus825,000
Britt, KennySalary755,000
Option Bonus733,750
Signing Bonus250,000
Brinkley, BeauUDFA
Brown, TonySigning Bonus1Dead Money
Brown, ZachSalary390,000
Signing Bonus311,509
Campbell, TommieSalary465,000
Signing Bonus11,500
Casey, JurrellSalary490,000
Signing Bonus153,750
Clayton, ZachSalary465,000
Signing Bonus27,500
Cook, JaredSalary615,000
Signing Bonus175,000
Curran, RennieSigning Bonus322,200Dead Money
Davis, HallSigning Bonus1Dead Money
Dawson, KeyuntaFutures
Deadder, ChaseUDFA
Diles, ZacSalary700,000Cap charge of salary likely $540,000
Divens, LamarSalary540,000
Donaldson, HerbFutures
Douzable, LegerSalary700,000Cap charge of salary $540,000
Durand, RyanFutures
Egboh, PannelFutures
Evans, LaQuintonUDFA
Graham, CameronFutures
Graham, DanielSalary2,000,000
Signing Bonus666,667
Griffin, MichaelSalary6,212,000Franchise Tag (not signed)
Harper, JamieSalary465,000
Signing Bonus95,750
Harris, DaJohnUDFA
Harris, LeroySalary2,700,000
Signing Bonus1
Hasselbeck, MattSalary5,500,000
Signing Bonus2,000,000
Hawkins, ChrisSalary465,000
Hawkins, LavelleSalary800,000
Signing Bonus666,667
Haye, JovanSigning Bonus1,000,000Dead Money
Hutchinson, SteveSalary2,000,000
Signing Bonus1,500,000
Ingram, JakeFutures
Johnson, ChrisSalary8,000,000Subject to $250,000 workout reduction
Signing Bonus 150,0002008 contract
Option Bonus966,0002008 contract
Signing Bonus 22,000,0002011 extension
Johnson, QuinnSalary615,000
Johnson, RobertSalary540,000
Signing Bonus95,000Dead Money
Kern, BrettSalary706,000
Kirkendoll, JamesFutures
Klug, KarlSalary465,000
Signing Bonus49,250
Kropog, TroyFutures
Signing Bonus101,125Dead Money
Locker, JakeSalary947,091
Signing Bonus1,912,500
Malast, KevinSalary465,000
Mariani, MarcSalary540,000
Signing Bonus14,850
Marks, Sen'DerrickSalary615,000
Signing Bonus235,000
Martin, MarkelleSalary390,000
Signing Bonus24,724
Martin, MikeSalary390,000
Signing Bonus141,890
Matthews, KevinSalary540,000
McCarthy, ColinSalary465,000
Signing Bonus113,850
McCourty, JasonSalary1,260,000
Signing Bonus22,455
McRath, GeraldSalary645,000
Signing Bonus106,531
Mooney, CollinUDFA
Morgan, DerrickSalary725,000
Signing Bonus200,000
Option Bonus1,195,000
Roster Bonus115,000Possibly workout-related
Mouton, RyanSalary615,000
Signing Bonus165,938
Murdock, O.J.UDFA
Otto, MichaelSalary750,000
Signing Bonus375,000
Preston, MichaelFutures
Reynaud, DariusFutures
Ringer, JavonSalary615,000
Signing Bonus36,635
Roos, MichaelSalary5,500,000
Signing Bonus1,500,000
Scott, ChristianUDFA
Sensabaugh, Coty390,000
Signing Bonus108,000
Shaw, TimSalary830,000
Signing Bonus100,000
Sheppard, MalcolmSalary540,000
Solomon, ScottDraft Pick
Smith, RustySalary540,000
Signing Bonus28,500
Smith, ShaunSalary1
Stephens, NickUDFA
Stevens, CraigSalary1,000,000
Signing Bonus1,125,000
Stewart, DaveSalary5,000,000
Signing Bonus1,000,000
Stingily, ByronSalary465,000
Signing Bonus27,625
Thompson, TaylorDraft Pick
Velasco, FernandoSalary615,000
Verner, AlterraunSalary540,000
Signing Bonus132,000
Vlachos, WilliamUDFA
Washington, NateSalary3,400,000
Signing Bonus900,000
Wheatley, TerrenceFutures
Whiting, DarrylUDFA
Wilburn, GaryUDFA
Williams, DamianSalary540,000
Signing Bonus205,500
Wimbley, KamerionSalary2,500,000
Signing Bonus1,800,000
Witherspoon, WillSalary3,500,000
Signing Bonus1,000,000
Woods, D.J.UDFA
Wright, KendallDraft Pick
UDFA Bonus Amount75,528Estimate

Guide to Notes
  • Dead Money: If a player is cut by an NFL team before the termination of his existing contract, any guaranteed money, particularly signing bonus, remains on the books and counts against the salary cap.
  • Draft Pick: Player was selected by the Titans in the 2012 NFL draft, but has not yet signed a rookie contract. I will add drafted players once they sign contracts. Aaron Wilson indicates the Titans have been allocated $4.48 million to sign their drafted players.
  • Estimate: The amount is estimated. For the UDFA Bonus Amount row, the current Collective Bargaining Agreement imposed a maximum aggregate bonus amount to rookie undrafted free agents of $75,000. For 2012, that amount was raised to $76,585. The current figure is based on first-year proration for 2012 and dead money from the Titans cutting all their UDFAs in 2011, in both cases assuming the Titans spent up to the maximum. For the Missing row, that amount is calculated based on the difference between my totals for individual contracts and the reported aggregate salary cap amount.
  • Futures: Player has signed a futures contract. Players who sign a futures contract are, generally speaking, not likely to make a 53-man NFL roster, and if they do likely will be making at or close to the league minimum.
  • Total: Estimate for all players under contract. Note that this excludes futures contracts, and is not the same as the current Titans salary cap figure for NFL purposes. My best estimate is the Titans currently have about $16.7 million in salary cap room.
  • UDFA: Player signed a contract with the Titans after not being selected in the 2012 draft (plus Will Batson and Collin Mooney, who were technically eligible for prior drafts but were not selected and have no regular season NFL experience, and O.J. Murdock, a 2011 UDFA who spent all of 2011 on injured reserve). The Titans have not kept a rookie undrafted free agent on the active roster in several seasons, so, like Futures players, I have not added salary information. UDFAs customarily sign three-year contracts during which they are paid the minimum salary each season (for 2012 first-year players, said minimum salary is $390,000).

Known Unknowns:
To make these tables more complete, these are the amounts I know are not right or do not know are right: Eugene Amano-explanation for difference between known numbers and reported 2012 cap value (confirmation of bonus); Patrick Bailey-salary (estimated to be exact same as similar deal signed by Tim Shaw); Tony Brown-dead money related to signing bonus from 2010 contract extension; Lamar Divens-signing bonus, if any, from Feb. 2012 one-year deal; Hall Davis-signing bonus confirmation and amount;  Zac Diles-signing bonus, if any, from May 2012 contract; Leger Douzable-signing bonus, if any, from April 2012 one-year deal; Leroy Harris-signing bonus, if any, from 2011 contract extension (reported APY of two-year deal $3.15 million); Chris Johnson-confirmation signing bonus 1 and option bonus amount from original 2008 contract apply and explanation of approximately $400,000 difference between numbers shown and reported 2012 cap value; Brett Kern-signing and other bonus from 2011 contract extension, if any; Markelle Martin-signing bonus from May 2012 rookie deal; and Shaun Smith-salary and signing bonus, if any, from 2011 three-year deal.

2012-05-22: Whoops, I forgot O.J. Murdock.