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Calvin Johnson Retires.

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And if he retires, it's not.

The question was whether Quinn wants him back at a $24M cap hit. You stated it's spent money. No, it's not. Only if he comes back, is it spent. Meaning... UNTIL he plays, it is NOT spent money.

I really don't understand.

What is the cap hit if he doesn't retire?

What is the cap hit if he does retire?

And...what is the cap hit if his contract isn't restructured and we release him?

I heard the Lions just hired a new FO guy last week to handle the cap.

It is a specialized field these days, very confusing. Russ Thomas wouldn't last a week...?

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I really don't understand.

What is the cap hit if he doesn't retire?

What is the cap hit if he does retire?

And...what is the cap hit if his contract isn't restructured and we release him?

I heard the Lions just hired a new FO guy last week to handle the cap.

It is a specialized field these days, very confusing. Russ Thomas wouldn't last a week...?

Sorry I don't have all the exact numbers but:

If he plays, the cap hit is roughly $24 Million.

If he's cut, the cap his is roughly $12 Million. This happens because signing bonus are pro-rated for the length of the contract. For a simple math example: Sign a player to a 10 year contact. His base salary is $2 per year and you gave him a $10million signing bonus. That means his cap hit each year is $3 Million (The base $2M plus one-tenth of the signing bonus each year of the 10 year contract). However, if you cut him in year 5, for example, then the remaining pro-rated bonus accelerates and hits the cap all that year. So you cut the guy right after year 5, then his bonus hits the cap next year to the tune of $5 million.

To make maters more complicated, it depends on when you cut him. If you want until the start of year 6 (July 1 I think), then his base salary for that year, plus the pro-rated portion of his signing bonus hit the cap, but the REST of the bonus doesn't hit until the following year. So in our example, the team cuts the guy right after year 6 begins. The player his the cap for his base salary ($2M) plus one-tenth of the signing bonus ($1M) for a total of $3M. Then in year 7 the cap hit will be $4 Million (the remainder of his bonus). So a team can spread out the hit a little bit if they use that trick.

This makes no sense here as CJ's base salary is more than the accelerated bonus hit would be. There's no real advantage to trying this trick.

If he retires, the NFL treats it like a cut. The one difference is that the team can go after the player for a portion of the signing bonus back. Using out example, let's say the player retired after year 5. The cap hit is still $5 Million, but the year can "sue" for that prorated signing bonus back. This then counts as a salary cap discount, but not until the next year. So if the Lions do this they'll see a cap discount in 2017, but still get the cap hit in 2016.

Finally if he's traded, I'm a little less sure, but I think the bonus is still accelerated just like if he's cut. This is one of the reasons trades are are lot less frequent in the NFL with big name players under longish contracts. Absorbing the cap hit is very hard to do.

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One more thing... restructuring often involves taking a portion of the current year's contract and converting it to signing bonus, there by spreading it out over the rest of the contract.

Going back to our simple math example... the player is paid 2M base salary, but his cap hit is $3M because of that $10 mill signing bonus.

In year 5 the team is REALLY tight in cap space so works with the player to restructure his deal. What they say is this:

In year 5 and 6 we'll only pay you .5 million. In 7, 8, 9, and 10 will still pay you $2 million. But we'll give you a signing bonus $3 million. So now the cap hit works like this:

Year 5: Base Salary $0.5 Million + $1 million from original signing bonus + $0.5 Million the new signing bonus (3 million spread over 6 years) = $2 Million dollar cap hit. The team "saved" $1 Million in cap space in year 5, and also year 6. The down side now is that in year 7 thru 10 the cap hit is $3.5 million instead of just $3 Million, but presumable the NFL might raise the cap limit then and so that won't be such a problem.

Why would a player do this? First, he's not actually losing money. He's still getting paid $30 million for the whole contract. Second, he's actually gaining somewhat. Year 6 of his contract is not 75% guaranteed. Even if the team cuts him after year 5, he's still gets $1.5 million of year 6 money as part of that restructured signing bonus.

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Control+F "concu" came up blank.

Concussions, or the risk of brain damage, are probably the main reason. The game is downright dangerous.

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RedRamage - Great posts.

What if both sides agree to void his whole current contract and CJ agrees to play for $500K for one season for the love of the game? Do the Lions get the whole $24 million cap space back minus the $500k they will pay him?

Here is CJ's e60 feature if you have never seen it:

qT6ThVyI5xA

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Edited by nd1377

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Nate Burleson says: "I'd be angry if I was CJ" and then proceeds to be very illogical.

Nate Burleson: I'd be angry at the Lions if I were Calvin Johnson | MLive.com

"I might walk away and retire if I heard all those rumors, and I knew deep down inside how much I had done for this organization, and how many stars I had made inside this organization. I mean, I benefitted off of Calvin's play, just like everyone in that locker room. Just like people in the front office. Just like ownership of the team. I'm not saying that's the reason he might retire. I'm just saying what Nate Burleson would do. I'd be mad."

This doesn't make any sense. Nate seems to be hinting that CJ heard rumors that the Lions might want to trade him and/or force him to take a pay cut and that this might have prompted CJ's decision to retire.

First, this is belied by the fact that CJ reportedly told people BEFORE the 2015 season that he was going to retire. Second, this would be a very dumb way to 'get back at' the team.

As I pointed out above, if CJ retires, the Lions can try to recover a pro-rated portion of his signing bonus... to the tune of millions and millions of dollars! But if they cut him, they can't do this. So, let's assume for the sake of argument that CJ is pissed. That he's really unhappy with the Lions because he's sure they want to force him to take a pay cut. What would someone who's really angry do?

Option 1: Play in 2016 but refuse to restructure thereby either forcing the team to either trade or cut you, (ensuring they don't get any bonus against their salary cap, and more importantly, they don't get to take any money from your pocket) or collect another $12 million in salary from them while you suffer repeated "leg strains" or "back cramps" that side line you for much of the season.

-OR-

Option 2: Retire quietly, which lets the team you supposedly hate get a nice salary cap bonus in 2017 AND they get to take a few million dollar out of your pocket.'

I think we can all agree with Nate that option 2 really shows the Lions how much a guy hates them.

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Sorry I don't have all the exact numbers but:

If he plays, the cap hit is roughly $24 Million.

If he's cut, the cap his is roughly $12 Million. This happens because signing bonus are pro-rated for the length of the contract. For a simple math example: Sign a player to a 10 year contact. His base salary is $2 per year and you gave him a $10million signing bonus. That means his cap hit each year is $3 Million (The base $2M plus one-tenth of the signing bonus each year of the 10 year contract). However, if you cut him in year 5, for example, then the remaining pro-rated bonus accelerates and hits the cap all that year. So you cut the guy right after year 5, then his bonus hits the cap next year to the tune of $5 million.

To make maters more complicated, it depends on when you cut him. If you want until the start of year 6 (July 1 I think), then his base salary for that year, plus the pro-rated portion of his signing bonus hit the cap, but the REST of the bonus doesn't hit until the following year. So in our example, the team cuts the guy right after year 6 begins. The player his the cap for his base salary ($2M) plus one-tenth of the signing bonus ($1M) for a total of $3M. Then in year 7 the cap hit will be $4 Million (the remainder of his bonus). So a team can spread out the hit a little bit if they use that trick.

This makes no sense here as CJ's base salary is more than the accelerated bonus hit would be. There's no real advantage to trying this trick.

If he retires, the NFL treats it like a cut. The one difference is that the team can go after the player for a portion of the signing bonus back. Using out example, let's say the player retired after year 5. The cap hit is still $5 Million, but the year can "sue" for that prorated signing bonus back. This then counts as a salary cap discount, but not until the next year. So if the Lions do this they'll see a cap discount in 2017, but still get the cap hit in 2016.

Finally if he's traded, I'm a little less sure, but I think the bonus is still accelerated just like if he's cut. This is one of the reasons trades are are lot less frequent in the NFL with big name players under longish contracts. Absorbing the cap hit is very hard to do.

Thank You. Great explanation. I wish we could trade his rights to a winning team. It would be nice to have a HOF Lion player actually win a Super Bowl, even if it's with another team.

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RedRamage - Great posts.

What if both sides agree to void his whole current contract and CJ agrees to play for $500K for one season for the love of the game? Do the Lions get the whole $24 million cap space back minus the $500k they will pay him.

I'm not sure that this would be allowed in the NFL rules. In theory CJ and the Lions could agree to cut him and then resign him at a very reduced price, but the pro-rated bonus would still hit. This is designed specifically to prevent teams from cheating on the salary cap.

Here's an extreme example, but let's say we're trying to sign a big name player. We offer him a 30 year contract at $1 million base salary with a $150 million dollar signing bonus. There's a wink and nod agreement that after 10 years we'll mutually agree to void the contract and he'll play one last year for $10 million.

Over this contract I'll have paid the player $170 million (150 + 10 years at 1 mill each + one year at $10 mill), but my cap hit will only be $6 million per year for the first 10, then $10 million the last year.... or a total of $70 million over 11 years, which obviously sorta defeats the purpose of a salary cap if I can manipulate it to that extreme.

This problem arises from the fact that NFL contracts are not guaranteed. You don't see huge signing bonuses like this in MLB because once the contract is signed the team HAS to pay the player that money unless he retires.* But in the NFL if you sign a 10 year deal, the team can cut you after the first year if you suffer a career ending injury. So how do you, as a player, protect yourself? You demand a good chunk of that money upfront... a signing bonus.

An MLB player signs a 10 year deal for $10 million each year, he's gonna make $100 million. An NFL player might make only $10 million. So instead he and the team agree to a $5 million per year deal for 10 years, but a $50 million signing bonus. Now the player KNOWS he's going to make at least $55 million even if he's cut after the first year.

No problem there, that's what both sides agreed to. But the NFL, being a salary cap league, needed to deal with this so teams didn't cheat the salary cap. So, signing bonus, which in could be considered advances on yearly salary, at pro-rated over the contract. But, to prevent a team from cheating like my example above, if a player is cut/traded, any remaining pro-rated bonus comes due that year.

* Yes I know I'm over simplifying things and there are probably lots of ways that that MLB player doesn't get his full $100 million, but those are the exception more than the norm, and it's only an example after all. Heck, I'm MAJORLY simplifying the NFL salary cap too cause there's all sort of things like the rookie pay or incentives or IR players which make it even more crazy.

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Control+F "concu" came up blank.

Concussions, or the risk of brain damage, are probably the main reason. The game is downright dangerous.

I don't know that CJ himself has suffered any concussions that we know of, not that he might not suffer one in 2016 if he played. But injuries to his body has been the most oft cited reason why we think he's retiring now. And I can't blame him for that one bit.

Football is really rough on a body and he's got more than enough money to be comfortable for years to come.

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The signing bonus has already been paid, so there is no way to get that 12-13 mil off our cap this year. He could agree to be cut and play for the vet min and we would still save the 12 mil we save when he is cut or retires.

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It's a great thing that we kept Caldwell since it was widely noted around here by the pro-Caldwell posters that it would ensure Calvin returns.

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It's a great thing that we kept Caldwell since it was widely noted around here by the pro-Caldwell posters that it would ensure Calvin returns.

Who exactly said this?

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Who exactly said this?

I couldn't find any after a bit of searching through the off-season and the front-office threads. Closest I found was one poster who said that he hoped CJ's retirement threat was an effort to keep Caldwell around rather than CJ really wanting to retire.

I also posted that I hear a Matthis rumor that he would retire if Caldwell wasn't retained. But I don't think that was so much an effort to keep Caldwell around as much as it was an aging veteran not wanting to deal with learning a new system.

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Detroit Lions pushing Calvin Johnson for retirement decision

The Detroit Lions have so far shied away from giving Calvin Johnson a deadline to make his decision on retirement, but with free agency fast approaching, the team is pushing to get an answer soon.

The Lions, in conversations with the representatives of various players across the league, have told people that they hope to know in the next 24 hours what Johnson's plans are for 2016.

Johnson confirmed in January that he was considering retiring from the NFL after nine seasons, but he has not yet spoken publicly about his decision and has not responded to multiple email requests for comment.

Lions general manager Bob Quinn explained at the NFL combine last month why the organization had decided against giving Johnson a deadline.

"That’s just the decision that we made internally to not put a deadline on Calvin," Quinn said. "That’s something that we’ve talked about, myself, Coach (Jim) Caldwell, Rod Wood. That’s just the way we’re going to go about business in terms of what Calvin’s decision may or may not be."

Johnson, who turns 31 in September, is a six-time Pro Bowler and one of the NFL's all-time great receivers, but his production has slipped in recent years because of health.

Still, he led the Lions with 1,214 yards receiving and nine touchdowns last year, and his retirement would leave a major void on offense.

The Lions have just one receiver under contract besides Johnson who has more than 20 career catches (Golden Tate), two other young pass catchers with undefined roles for 2016 (TJ Jones and Corey Fuller), and several more players on futures deals (Corey Washington, Austin Willis, Ryan Spadola).

They plan to address their receiver position in free agency and potentially the draft no matter what Johnson decides, though the caliber prospect they can afford might hinge somewhat on Johnson's decision.

The Lions entered today with about $30 million in available cap space, but they could gain another $11.1 million if Johnson retires.

Marvin Jones, the top receiver in free agency, may end up being too expensive for the Lions' liking no matter what Johnson does, but the Lions are expected to be in on the next tier of receivers that could include players like Jermaine Kearse and Anquan Boldin.

Along with receiver, the Lions hope to fill needs this week on the offensive and defensive lines, at linebacker and safety.

It's unclear what the Lions will do if they don't get an answer from Johnson by the time free agency officially opens at 4 p.m. Wednesday. For now, teams are allowed only to negotiate with players' representatives.

Pro Football Talk reported during the NFL combine that some in the league wondered if Johnson wasn't dragging out his retirement announcement in order to get the Lions to release him, the thought being he then could play for any team if the NFL if he decides to return.

Johnson's confidants angrily disputed that notion, and others close to Johnson have insisted over the past two months that Johnson's only motive for considering retirement is his health.

Johnson has undergone finger and knee surgeries in recent years, he barely practiced in the second half of last season because of an ankle injury, and he confided in people at that time that he was considering walking away from the game.

Tate, who the Lions signed to a five-year, $31-million contract in free agency two years ago, has led the Lions in receptions each of the last two seasons. He's primarily an underneath receiver, though, and the Lions are looking for someone with more field-stretching ability and to be a target in the red zone.

The Lions have reached out to a handful of free agents today while they wait on Johnson's decision, including Cincinnati Bengals safety George Iloka, and remain in talks with several of their own free agents, including Haloti Ngata. According to NFL Network, the Lions also have shown interest in guard J.R. Sweezy of the Seattle Seahawks.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter@davebirkett.

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CJ holding them hostage at this point. Maybe it's a power play on his end to see if they will release him.

Before anyone says they have no right to "rush him" let me say that is ridiculous. He has had 3 full months. This is just crazy stupid what he is doing.

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CJ holding them hostage at this point. Maybe it's a power play on his end to see if they will release him.

Before anyone says they have no right to "rush him" let me say that is ridiculous. He has had 3 full months. This is just crazy stupid what he is doing.

It's getting hard to believe this is anything other than CJ maneuvering to force them to cut him so he can look at other offers and see if one is enticing enough to make him want to train again. The 'Hamlet' act is the best way to do that because Caldwell (or any coach) is not going to want a guy back that can't make up his mind if he is dedicated to playing for him.

I can hear Caldwell's voice in the meeting saying "It's a distraction. Let's move on".

Edited by Gehringer_2

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It's getting hard to believe this is anything other than CJ maneuvering to force them to cut him so he can look at other offers and see if one is enticing enough to make him want to train again. The 'Hamlet' act is the best way to do that because Caldwell (or any coach) is not going to want a guy back that can't make up his mind if he dedicated to playing.

If true, the Lions should talk to him and tell him that they want to void his contract completely to see if he agrees. When I say void the contract, I mean the Lions would have zero cap space going to CJ. Would the NFL allow that type of situation if both sides(Lions and CJ) agree?

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If true, the Lions should talk to him and tell him that they want to void his contract completely to see if he agrees. When I say void the contract, I mean the Lions would have zero cap space going to CJ. Would the NFL allow that type of situation if both sides(Lions and CJ) agree?

I don't think it's the league that would object so much as the player's association.

But I think it's a moot point. Why would he be willing to walk away from 10/12 (?) million he has coming if they cut him to make a deal with another team when it's unlikely any team would pay him him that much starting from a clean sheet of paper?

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I don't think it's the league that would object so much as the player's association.

But I think it's a moot point. Why would he be willing to walk away from 10/12 (?) million he has coming if they cut him to make a deal with another team when it's unlikely any team would pay him him that much starting from a clean sheet of paper?

I guess it depends on how bad he wants to play for another team and/or how much he hates playing for Detroit. Cutting him is not an option. He either retires, plays for the Lions, or agrees to void to his deal completely(if possible so the Lions have zero cap space going to him).

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I don't see how anyone who has watched Calvin play & watched the way he conducts himself off the field can think this is anything but him trying to decide about his health & his future. None of his actions over the course of a 9 year career should lead anyone to believe he's capable of holding an organization hostage to try to get released. It's not in his character to do so. People said the same thing about Barry Sanders. It wasn't true then & it's not true now.

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....People said the same thing about Barry Sanders. It wasn't true then & it's not true now.

I don't know if it was holding the Lions hostage, but Sanders wanted to be traded. He didn't want to play for the Lions.

Sanders Seeks Return but not with Lions

.....Monday, the day after the season kicked off, Sanders' representatives told the Lions he would return $5.4 million of his signing bonus if the team would release or trade him this season.

The Lions said no.

The offer is evidence that Sanders, who has four years left in his contract with Detroit, still wants to play. In 10 seasons with the Lions, Sanders, 31, gained 15,269 yards, only 1,457 behind Walter Payton's all-time record.

``I think he's ready to consider it, in the right situation,'' David Ware, one of Sanders' agents, told Chris Mortensen of ESPN Tuesday. ``But the right situation is not the Detroit Lions. His career is finished there.......

Edited by nd1377

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I don't think it necessarily has to be a mutually exclusive thing.

By that, I mean, a guy can both strongly be leaning toward retirement but could be talked into playing another season on another team because he is thinking the grass is greener.

These guys have been playing the sport their whole lives and for the vast majority they are extemely committed / passionate about it to the point of being borderline obsessive about it that it is very hard for them to walk away.

So it doesn't surprise me several struggle with the retirement decision and waffle.

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I don't know if it was holding the Lions hostage, but Sanders wanted to be traded. He didn't want to play for the Lions.

Sanders Seeks Return but not with Lions

yeah - I don't know why it should be considered any kind of character flaw for a great player to want a shot at a championship once before he is done - with the turnover the Lions are going to see I have a hard time seeing them winning anything next year.

the situation with Calvin is that he is untradable because of his contract - his only way out is to be cut.

Edited by Gehringer_2

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I guess it depends on how bad he wants to play for another team and/or how much he hates playing for Detroit. Cutting him is not an option. He either retires, plays for the Lions, or agrees to void to his deal completely(if possible so the Lions have zero cap space going to him).

I don't think the league will allow a team to get the dead money removed from their cap.

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