2020 Pats: Who's Out? NE Opt-Outs

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Interesting tidbit from Miguel. If a player opts out, all incentives other than roster bonuses next year will by definition become NLTBE since none of these players will play a snap in 2020.

I can't exactly figure out how it helps, but the idea that Bill has spread the word to the team that he is ok if they want to opt out seems more and more likely with everything I read.
 

sodenj5

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I have no idea if BB is masterminding this or not, but I certainly can understand why veterans who have made money and are used to playing for Super Bowls might look at an uncertain competitive situation, a completely unpredictable season, and a pandemic and conclude "thanks, I'll stay at home"

I also think that while Belichick wasn't likely thinking about all this in March when Brady left he certainly has thought hard the last couple months about what the season will and won't be and the way to manage the multi-year picture.
Makes a ton of sense. The northeast is doing a better job than most areas of the country, however, you’re still going to have to travel to areas of the country where they’re treating it like a hoax.

If you’ve made your money and have several rings already, why put yourself or your family in jeopardy?
 

BigJimEd

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The Patriots' established pattern of dramatically altering offensive and defensive gameplans week to week hasn't convinced you it's a smarter-than-average roster?
Fair point. Although, football smarts doesn't always translate. See Brady, Tom and his views on concussion water, sunburns etc.
 

BaseballJones

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The cap space we thought we would have in 20/21 and 21/22 is being eaten up by the opt-outs.
And that makes this year super interesting (if they have a year). Lots of cap space is opening up for 2020. I'd think a handful of one-year deals for people like Clowney and such should be in the offing. Shores up the team in the event of a 2020 season, without having any of it carry forward.

What stinks about the contracts being pushed back a year is that you're paying for these guys who are now one year older. For a guy like Chung....that represents a lesser value than it otherwise would.

But oh well....these guys are probably all making the correct move.
 

Super Nomario

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Forgetting about the health concerns, which I know is impossible to do, but I feel like there’s a part of Belichick that relishes the idea of having a shitload of players opt out so he can tinker with a bunch of nobodies just to see what he could do with them for a year. I know that’s not front and center for him or any of the players opting out, and I know he values winning above all-else, but I think he’d love to take on that challenge. I forget where I saw it on Twitter, but there was also speculation that BB effectively said, “Look, if you’re nervous this year, stay home and we’ll figure it out,” because he’s really ready to ride with whoever is in front of him and just see what happens. He has absolutely zero pressure on him, and it would be a fantastic experiment for throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks.
I dunno. We've seen certain units with tons of injuries roll out processions of nobodies (I'm thinking of the Chris Jones / Joe Vellano at DT every snap season) and it hasn't been very pretty. Belichick goes to great pains to try to establish a certain floor level of competence everywhere on the roster (even if it means sacrificing high-end talent). That broad floor level of competence is going to be tested in 2020, assuming there are games.
 

DJnVa

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I think it's a zero sum game. If a player opts out and was due to make $5 million this year, his cap should come off the books for this year and we'll carry over $5 million more than we would have to next year.
Maybe, I'm not explaining myself right, but there's a big difference in having free space this season with the uncertainty and then less space the next 2 years.

We've gone from:

20/21--Not much space
21/22--A lot of space
22/23--A lot of space

to

20/21--A lot of space
21/22--less space than we were planning for
22/23--less space than we were planning for (instead of guys that are on 2 year deals being off the books, they're back on, and we're paying them that rate for, say their age 33 season instead of age 32)
 

DJnVa

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Makes a ton of sense. The northeast is doing a better job than most areas of the country,
I mean, outside of the 5 highest death rates/1,000,000 being in NJ, NY, Mass, CT, and RI.


But they are, hopefully, past their peaks at least.
 

DJnVa

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And that makes this year super interesting (if they have a year). Lots of cap space is opening up for 2020. I'd think a handful of one-year deals for people like Clowney and such should be in the offing. Shores up the team in the event of a 2020 season, without having any of it carry forward.

What stinks about the contracts being pushed back a year is that you're paying for these guys who are now one year older. For a guy like Chung....that represents a lesser value than it otherwise would.

But oh well....these guys are probably all making the correct move.

Another thought---sign guys to big 1 year deals. Season cancelled. What happens to those deals? If they get pushed a year we're suddenly over the cap.
 
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Cap smartypantses, please correct me if I’m wrong, but does this freed up space open up the possibility of, say, signing a guy like Clowney to a one-year deal, just to have him play for whatever this seasons winds up being and then landing the resulting 3rd round comp pick for the following draft when he signs for big $$$ next year?
 

DJnVa

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Cap smartypantses, please correct me if I’m wrong, but does this freed up space open up the possibility of, say, signing a guy like Clowney to a one-year deal, just to have him play for whatever this seasons winds up being and then landing the resulting 3rd round comp pick for the following draft when he signs for big $$$ next year?
Yes. But if the defense is decimated, why would we want Clowney to add to it? I get BB will always want to win every game possible, but if we lose all these guys to opt outs, why bother? (again, that's me talking, and not how BB sees it)
 

sodenj5

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I mean, outside of the 5 highest death rates/1,000,000 being in NJ, NY, Mass, CT, and RI.


But they are, hopefully, past their peaks at least.
Yea I think that has a ton to do with NY being the early epicenter of the outbreak in the US and that trickling to neighboring states. That graph would make it appear that California and Florida are doing well, and I know I would rather be in Connecticut right now than in Florida.
 

E5 Yaz

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Another thought---sign guys to big 1 year deals. Season cancelled. What happens to those deals? If they get pushed a year we're suddenly over the cap.
Shhh ... he was on a roll
 

DJnVa

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Yea I think that has a ton to do with NY being the early epicenter of the outbreak in the US and that trickling to neighboring states. That graph would make it appear that California and Florida are doing well, and I know I would rather be in Connecticut right now than in Florida.
Yeah, that's what I meant by "past their peaks".

All that aside, it is fascinating to see how each team deals with this.
 

BaseballJones

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Another thought---sign guys to big 1 year deals. Season cancelled. What happens to those deals? If they get pushed a year we're suddenly over the cap.
We haven't been talking about what happens if the season is cancelled. Just about the contracts of the players who opt out.

I don't know what would happen to these contracts if the season was cancelled.
 
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Yes. But if the defense is decimated, why would we want Clowney to add to it? I get BB will always want to win every game possible, but if we lose all these guys to opt outs, why bother? (again, that's me talking, and not how BB sees it)
I meant as a chance to get a look at him, he’s potentially a special player, but more with the added benefit of practically guaranteeing a “free“ 3rd rounder in a season likely to be cut short anyway.

edit typos
 

DJnVa

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We haven't been talking about what happens if the season is cancelled. Just about the contracts of the players who opt out.

I don't know what would happen to these contracts if the season was cancelled.
I know, but it's a fair point to raise, no? Unless we know what happens, it's a moot point.

Yes, in a vacuum we could definitely sign him.
 

BaseballJones

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I know, but it's a fair point to raise, no? Unless we know what happens, it's a moot point.

Yes, in a vacuum we could definitely sign him.
Yes definitely for sure a fair point to raise. I wasn't being critical of you for raising it.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Maybe, I'm not explaining myself right, but there's a big difference in having free space this season with the uncertainty and then less space the next 2 years.

We've gone from:

20/21--Not much space
21/22--A lot of space
22/23--A lot of space

to

20/21--A lot of space
21/22--less space than we were planning for
22/23--less space than we were planning for (instead of guys that are on 2 year deals being off the books, they're back on, and we're paying them that rate for, say their age 33 season instead of age 32)
I don't think we have any less space next year. We will have exactly the same cap space next year as we would have had without the opt outs. Let me try it like this. I'll use rounded numbers and we don't yet know the 2021 caps but the principle works the same no matter what numbers you pick.

2020 NFL Salary Cap -- $200 million. Let's stay it stays the same next year.

Before the opt outs, it looked something like this:

2020: Cap $200 million. Expected cap hits: $198 million. Carry over to 2021 -- $2 million.

2021: Cap $200 million. Adjusted cap $202 million ($200 million plus $2 million carry over). Expected cap hits for players on the books: $155 million. Expected cap surplus $47 million.

Now let's take the opt outs and imagine they were set to count $25 million against the cap. Now it looks like this:

2020: Cap $200 million. Expected cap hits: $173 million. Carry over to 2021 -- $27 million.

2021: Cap $200 million. Adjusted cap $227 million ($200 million plus $27 million carry over). Expected cap hits for players on the books: $180 million ($155 million expected plus $25 million for the players who opted out who now have their 2020 contracts added). Expected cap surplus $47 million -- or exactly the same.*

I think you're just not taking the carry over into account. Maybe you are and I'm missing the point. But the point is that while cap charges for next year are going up, the adjusted cap for the team next year goes up by the same amount.

*In actuality, the surplus will be higher because all of the 2021 cap hits that are attributable to incentives will not be counted on the 2021 cap for players that don't play this year.
 

BigSoxFan

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Yes. But if the defense is decimated, why would we want Clowney to add to it? I get BB will always want to win every game possible, but if we lose all these guys to opt outs, why bother? (again, that's me talking, and not how BB sees it)
It all depends on how many more guys join them. If you are able to keep the McCourty’s in the fold, then the secondary is still quite strong. Losing Hightower really blows but we’ve been there before due to injuries.

Will be fascinating to see how many more join them.
 

RedOctober3829

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The cap space we thought we would have in 20/21 and 21/22 is being eaten up by the opt-outs.
While they do add money to the 2021 cap with the opt out guys, Hightower only has $2.5 million guaranteed out of his $12.4 cap number and Bolden only has $500k out of his $1.9 million guaranteed. Chung's 2021 number now increases by about $3 million. I would expect Hightower to have his deal re-worked. On the 2022 cap, Chung's number now increases by $2 million. Cannon is the only one out of the guys who didn't have a contract in 2022 and his 2022 number is $8.9 million(only $2.56 million guaranteed).
 

DJnVa

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I don't think we have any less space next year. We will have exactly the same cap space next year as we would have had without the opt outs.
Anyone in final year of deal that opts out lowers our cap space next season no?

While they do add money to the 2021 cap with the opt out guys, Hightower only has $2.5 million guaranteed out of his $12.4 cap number and Bolden only has $500k out of his $1.9 million guaranteed. Chung's 2021 number now increases by about $3 million. I would expect Hightower to have his deal re-worked. On the 2022 cap, Chung's number now increases by $2 million. Cannon is the only one out of the guys who didn't have a contract in 2022 but now his 2022 number is $8.9 million(only $2.56 million guaranteed).
Yeah, I know they can work around it. Just saying that it is definitely a thing though. We might be fine paying Player A $5M this season, but maybe we're not as cool paying him that next season.

If this is somehow strategic then I'm all good. But you draft guys hoping to replace guys and now some of those players have contracts running longer than we anticipated. Which eats up another year of the rookie contract of guy replacing him.
 

RedOctober3829

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I don't think we have any less space next year. We will have exactly the same cap space next year as we would have had without the opt outs. Let me try it like this. I'll use rounded numbers and we don't yet know the 2021 caps but the principle works the same no matter what numbers you pick.

2020 NFL Salary Cap -- $200 million. Let's stay it stays the same next year.

Before the opt outs, it looked something like this:

2020: Cap $200 million. Expected cap hits: $198 million. Carry over to 2021 -- $2 million.

2021: Cap $200 million. Adjusted cap $202 million ($200 million plus $2 million carry over). Expected cap hits for players on the books: $155 million. Expected cap surplus $47 million.

Now let's take the opt outs and imagine they were set to count $25 million against the cap. Now it looks like this:

2020: Cap $200 million. Expected cap hits: $173 million. Carry over to 2021 -- $27 million.

2021: Cap $200 million. Adjusted cap $227 million ($200 million plus $27 million carry over). Expected cap hits for players on the books: $180 million ($155 million expected plus $25 million for the players who opted out who now have their 2020 contracts added). Expected cap surplus $47 million -- or exactly the same.*

I think you're just not taking the carry over into account. Maybe you are and I'm missing the point. But the point is that while cap charges for next year are going up, the adjusted cap for the team next year goes up by the same amount.

*In actuality, the surplus will be higher because all of the 2021 cap hits that are attributable to incentives will not be counted on the 2021 cap for players that don't play this year.
Players in the last year of their deals now are on the books for next year. For example, Hightower was off the books for next year so now his $12.4 million cap number is on next year's cap so there goes $12.4 million of said cap space. Other contracts are pushed down the line.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Players in the last year of their deals now are on the books for next year. For example, Hightower was off the books for next year so now his $12.4 million cap number is on next year's cap so there goes $12.4 million of said cap space. Other contracts are pushed down the line.
But they just got a reduction in this year's cap of $12.4 million, which will carry over to next year. So it's a net zero.

Either I'm missing something or nobody is understanding how a carry over works. Cap savings carries over.

(For the record, I think Hightower's signing bonus still counts this year and so the carry over is not the full $12.4 million but that's not clear; either way it exactly nets out.)
 

DJnVa

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But they just got a reduction in this year's cap of $12.4 million, which will carry over to next year. So it's a net zero.

Either I'm missing something or nobody is understanding how a carry over works. Cap savings carries over.

(For the record, I think Hightower's signing bonus still counts this year and so the carry over is not the full $12.4 million but that's not clear; either way it exactly nets out.)
Hmmm.

Either way, his signing bonus is on this season's cap--$2.5M
 

E5 Yaz

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I wouldn't be surprised if we've seen Hightower's last game with the Patriots.

He's already past the "year too early" stage and, even with a season "off," he's not going to get quicker.

And, frankly, no one knows what a 2021 season might look like ... if there even is one.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Hmmm.

Either way, his signing bonus is on this season's cap--$2.5M
Right -- so the cap savings this year is $10 million and the cap hit next year is $10 million.

The Patriots will use up some of that $10 million savings this year by having to pay another player who plays in his spot on the 53. Figure at least $700,000. Correspondingly, though, they will not have to take a cap charge for paying a player next year because Hightower will take up a spot in the 53 that otherwise would have cost at least $700,000.

This whole thing is cap neutral, unless they spend the new found cap space like drunken sailors this year to deal with the opt outs instead of carrying the space over.
 

BaseballJones

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People think the salary cap will stay the same or go up? Isn't it possible it goes down due to financial hits to the teams/league?

If revenue takes a huge hit (and it will, especially if there's no season), the cap will go down. Which will hurt the Patriots as all these contracts are pushed forward to 2021. E5 is right though....who knows if we even have a season then....but some of these players - like Hightower - may just call it quits. Dude has been injured a lot and isn't getting any younger.
 

DJnVa

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Right -- so the cap savings this year is $10 million and the cap hit next year is $10 million.

The Patriots will use up some of that $10 million savings this year by having to pay another player who plays in his spot on the 53. Figure at least $700,000. Correspondingly, though, they will not have to take a cap charge for paying a player next year because Hightower will take up a spot in the 53 that otherwise would have cost at least $700,000.

This whole thing is cap neutral, unless they spend the new found cap space like drunken sailors this year to deal with the opt outs instead of carrying the space over.
It's also not neutral if the cap is lowered, but your point holds. Thanks for explaining.
 

IdiotKicker

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I dunno. We've seen certain units with tons of injuries roll out processions of nobodies (I'm thinking of the Chris Jones / Joe Vellano at DT every snap season) and it hasn't been very pretty. Belichick goes to great pains to try to establish a certain floor level of competence everywhere on the roster (even if it means sacrificing high-end talent). That broad floor level of competence is going to be tested in 2020, assuming there are games.
This is a fair point as well. I guess I’m wondering if he may use it as an extended proving ground for younger players by necessity, given the opt-outs largely occurring amongst veterans.
 

Super Nomario

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It all depends on how many more guys join them. If you are able to keep the McCourty’s in the fold, then the secondary is still quite strong. Losing Hightower really blows but we’ve been there before due to injuries.

Will be fascinating to see how many more join them.
The last time Hightower missed a lot of time (2017), the defense was kind of crappy and cost us a Super Bowl. So I can't laugh this one off, especially with Van Noy and Collins also gone.
 

Royal Reader

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It's also not neutral if the cap is lowered, but your point holds. Thanks for explaining.
I'm not sure if I'm being dumb, but how is this the case? If the cap goes down, but you're rolling the player's entire cap hit *and* the money that pays for it, how are you out anything? I suppose the minimum salary might go down a little, so maybe you're out $50k or so.

The downside seems to be if there's a season, and Cam is really good, you've got a worse team around him while he's earning relative peanuts.
 

BigSoxFan

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The last time Hightower missed a lot of time (2017), the defense was kind of crappy and cost us a Super Bowl. So I can't laugh this one off, especially with Van Noy and Collins also gone.
I’m certainly not laughing it off. He’s a big loss. But the secondary is also far stronger now than it was in 2017 and we have some interesting young pieces that we didn’t have 3 years ago.
 

RedOctober3829

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But they just got a reduction in this year's cap of $12.4 million, which will carry over to next year. So it's a net zero.

Either I'm missing something or nobody is understanding how a carry over works. Cap savings carries over.

(For the record, I think Hightower's signing bonus still counts this year and so the carry over is not the full $12.4 million but that's not clear; either way it exactly nets out.)
I get what you’re saying, but that takes into account them carrying all of the unused money over to next year. They still need to sign replacements for those guys. Given that 3 of the players are starters, they’ll need to spend to adequately replace any.
 

DJnVa

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I'm not sure if I'm being dumb, but how is this the case? If the cap goes down, but you're rolling the player's entire cap hit *and* the money that pays for it, how are you out anything? I suppose the minimum salary might go down a little, so maybe you're out $50k or so.
I don't know. I'm in the weeds now.
 

BaseballJones

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I'm not sure if I'm being dumb, but how is this the case? If the cap goes down, but you're rolling the player's entire cap hit *and* the money that pays for it, how are you out anything? I suppose the minimum salary might go down a little, so maybe you're out $50k or so.

The downside seems to be if there's a season, and Cam is really good, you've got a worse team around him while he's earning relative peanuts.
If a player has a $10m cap hit in 2020 with a $160m team salary cap (I don't know what the actual cap is; it's irrelevant for the purpose of explanation), that player takes up 1/16th (6.3%) of the team's cap space. If the 2021 cap is lowered to $120m, and that player's $10m salary is moved forward, yeah it's still $10m, but now it's 1/12th (8.3%) of the team's cap space. Thus, in practical terms, the cost for this player has just gone up.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I get what you’re saying, but that takes into account them carrying all of the unused money over to next year. They still need to sign replacements for those guys. Given that 3 of the players are starters, they’ll need to spend to adequately replace any.
Right -- but they now have three fewer starter spots to fill next year or in future years. (Or if a player leaves or is cut they get the savings anyway.)

I know I'm making this far more complicated than it needs to be a for non-capologist board but for the mathematically inclined I think whether or not this is cap neutral, cap negative, or cap positive ultimately comes down to the delta between (a) the money paid to fill the roster this year to deal with fewer players in the 53 than expected and (b) the money saved by having players in future years on the 53 in spots that you thought you were going to need to fill.
 

NomarsFool

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People keep talking about unused money being "carried over" to the following season. Is that a special provision due to Covid? Because ordinarily, unused cap is unused cap. It is not "carried over" in any way.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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People keep talking about unused money being "carried over" to the following season. Is that a special provision due to Covid? Because ordinarily, unused cap is unused cap. It is not "carried over" in any way.
Unused cap is always carried over. That's why the Colts' adjusted 2020 cap is $241 million and the Patriots' adjusted 2020 cap is $199 million.
 

Cotillion

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Unused cap is always carried over. That's why the Colts' adjusted 2020 cap is $241 million and the Patriots' adjusted 2020 cap is $199 million.
well technically a team could chose to not carry over (they have that right), but for all practical purposes they always carry it over.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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well technically a team could chose to not carry over (they have that right), but for all practical purposes they always carry it over.
Right. Little known fact but true.

I think about the only thing that keeps a team from carrying over too much cap space is if it needs to do something to comply with the cash spending rules and whatever it does has cap consequence in the given year.
 

TheWizard

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The public/media found out today, I wonder when the Patriots' management started getting word from the players and their agent(s),this week, last month etc?

Symantecs at this point but be curious to when they started to get word.
 

Cotillion

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Right. Little known fact but true.

I think about the only thing that keeps a team from carrying over too much cap space is if it needs to do something to comply with the cash spending rules and whatever it does has cap consequence in the given year.
I feel like a couple years ago there was rumblings that the Raiders or some other team from the Midwest or west was considering not fully rolling it over cause if something like that with cash spending or sontehing. It’s how I became aware of the feature.
 

pappymojo

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Maybe, I'm not explaining myself right, but there's a big difference in having free space this season with the uncertainty and then less space the next 2 years.

We've gone from:

20/21--Not much space
21/22--A lot of space
22/23--A lot of space

to

20/21--A lot of space
21/22--less space than we were planning for
22/23--less space than we were planning for (instead of guys that are on 2 year deals being off the books, they're back on, and we're paying them that rate for, say their age 33 season instead of age 32)
Some of the players who are opting out (Chung, for example) could just retire or be cut next year.