Cap space and Calais Campbell

No, nothing new is brewing on the Calais Campbell contract front. Right now, the franchise-tagged defensive end remains unsigned and isn’t around. To refresh the details, the tag means he will be a Card in 2012 for sure, but until he signs, he’s under no obligation to come to anything.
(Technically, the Cards could also pull the tag at any point before it’s signed, but that would never happen.)

The Cards, by last report out there in cyberspace, had about $2.5 million of cap space. There has been a lot of speculation that a new long-term deal for Campbell would create more, and that’s true. How much, though, is the question. Campbell’s current cap number (tagged players count even as they aren’t signed) is around $10.7M. Now, there are a million ways to structure a contract, and many of them would shave that number down. But let’s say, for instance, Campbell gets a five-year contract. Given the amount of “guaranteed” money — normally, money in those first three years of the deal — he’d probably command (it’s going to be north of $20 million), that’s a good chunk that comes up early in the deal. Whatever you take away from the current cap number, it’s going to be pushed into the next couple years, pressing future caps anyway. It’s not like signing him will suddenly create $10M of cap space.

Of course, just trimming Campbell’s cap number to, say, $7.5M gains more than $3M of space, and at this point, given the roster, that probably would be fine heading into the season. The deadline to sign Campbell to such a deal is a little more than two months away.

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