The Eagles wound up signing DeMarco Murray to a five-year, $40 million dollar deal. Philadelphia gave Murray a $5M signing bonus, which makes the math pretty simple. A signing bonus is paid at signing, just like the name implies. However, the salary cap hit is spread evenly over the life of the contract: Philadelphia’s cap space has to include $1M in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 as a result of giving Murray five million dollars at signing.
Now, if the Eagles traded Murray tomorrow, that cap hit would be accelerated. And, in fact, the team would have to take a $5M cap hit this year. This would be something of a win for the team that trades for Murray, though, as they would essentially be inheriting a five-year, $35M contract, in terms of both cash and salary cap dollars.
As Barnwell points out, here’s where a potential trade could happen. The Jaguars are flush with salary cap dollars: arguably too many, in fact. Let’s say that once Murray and the Eagles came to an agreement in principle, the parties instead decided that Jacksonville should be the team to sign Murray. And that signing bonus should be bumped up, too, to say, ten million dollars.
So Jacksonville signs Murray to a 5-year, $40M deal, with a $10M signing bonus. Then, the Jaguars turn around and trade Murray to the Eagles for X. What ends up happening is Jacksonville takes a $10M cap hit in 2015 and is out ten million dollars of real cash. The Eagles get Murray on a 5-year deal but now only have to pay him thirty million, in terms of both cash and salary cap dollars. And Philadelphia, depending otherwise on the structure of the contract, could then cut Murray without penalty at any time.
It’s a real win-win-win situation, but the key question is: What is X? If X was a 7th round draft pick, you could be sure that Philadelphia would jump at the chance to do this. If X was a first round pick, then I’m not so sure. It comes down to the question of how much is a draft pick worth in terms of both salary cap and real dollars?
That’s a really complicated question. I have some ideas, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to go about answering this question. And in some ways, your gut may be just as helpful as anything else. If you were the Jaguars, what’s the lowest pick you would take? If you were the Eagles, what’s the highest pick you would give?