It will be free in year 1 and we will see where it goes from there. Post your email on here and I will get you the info. Here are the rules:
ARTICLE I. The Auction
To start the league, we will have an Auction of all players, obviously. Each team will begin with a budget of $900. They will bid on each player of their choosing throughout the Auction. You must keep at least $1 for each slot, so the max bid to begin with would be $884. Once the Auction is complete, the season begins with your players on your team.
ARTICLE II. Rookies
Any rookie drafted in the Auction will receive a 4-year automatic contract. They will receive 130% of what was originally paid for each following season.
For example, if in the Auction, Andrew Luck is drafted for $10, the following year he will cost $13, then $16, then $19 in the final year of his 4-year deal. We will get to more about contracts in a minute. Rookies can be traded while under contract, but the contract stays with them until that 4-year term is up.
Also, rookies are not Rule 5 Draft-eligible until their 3rd year in the NFL. In their 1st 2 years, they can be played or not played at the owner’s discretion with no penalty either way.
ARTICLE III. Contracts
At the end of Year One, ALL players (other than the aforementioned rookies and some others, see Article XII) will be released into the Free Agent pool. Teams will then bid on the players they want. The max length of a contract is 5 years, and the max contract average is $300 per year, which theoretically should never be surpassed. It will be a bidding system, in which teams will submit to me their bids, and, since I am part of the league, I won’t look at them until the bidding deadline has ended. It will NOT be simply a free for all. A different player will be bid on on a regular basis throughout the offseason, so as not to overload on bids right at the beginning. The $900 re-sets at the beginning of each season, so you will have all that money MINUS the money you are spending to keep your rookies under contract.
ARTICLE IV. The Free Agent Bidding Process
The Free Agent bidding process is as follows. Any number of years between 1 & 5 can be committed toward a player, and any amount of money between 1 & 500 that still allows the contract to be under $300 per season. The 130% rule DOES NOT apply here, that only applies to rookies. However, the contract cannot decrease in value from year to year.
For example, if you bid on Tom Brady for $130 for 3 years, the value in years 2 & 3 cannot be lower than the value in Year 1, and the value in Year 2 cannot be higher than the value in Year 3, etc. The bidding will be won by the team that offers the highest total salary.
For example, if someone offers Tom Brady a 2-year contract for $200 in year 1, and $250 in year 2, and another person offers Brady a 5-year deal for $100 in year 1, $125 in year 2, $150 in year 3, $175 in year 4, and $200 in year 5, the 2nd person would win that bidding. More than likely, the owner offering the longer-term deal will win the bidding.
But, if a team offers an outrageously large salary, such as $200 in year 1 and $400 in year 2 (just surviving the $300 yearly average cut-off line), that team will have a better chance to win the bidding for a player. Most of the time, however, length of a contract trumps money. As for ties: If there is a tie in the bidding on the total value of said contract, if the team to which the player was previously employed is involved in the bidding, the player will return to that team. If that team is not one of the two teams that have tied, it will come down to an extra bid.
ARTICLE V. The Extra Bid
In the event of a tie, the extra bid will be employed. In this scenario, each team will submit one final number. It is not related to the contract in any way, it will simply be deducted from that year’s cap for that team. Whomever wins this bid will receive the player. If another tie occurs in this process, the team with the fewer amount of players at that position on their current roster will receive the player in question.
ARTICLE VI. Rule 5 Draft
Much like baseball, this league will institute a Rule 5 Draft. What this is, is a chance for guys riding the bench on one team to be able to get a chance to contribute on another. The first Rule 5 will not occur until after Year 2 of the league. What will happen, is that any player on any team that was not in the starting lineup for 5 or more weeks, in other words, they were in the starting lineup just 4 of the 14 regular season weeks, will be entered into the Rule 5 pool. Any team will then be allowed to bid on the player. However, the full length and extent of that player’s contract follows him wherever he goes.
The bid will be just one number to be deducted from that team’s starting $900. A tie will once again result in an extra bid of one number, unless one team backs down and does not desire to bid on that player any further. In that case, the team that still desires to get the player will receive him PLUS a $2 charge that would have gone towards the bidding, but this is at a considerable discount. HOWEVER, every player picked up via Rule 5 MUST PLAY AT LEAST 6 GAMES with his new team. If that player does not play 6 games, that team will be left out of the following year’s Rookie Draft. Also, that Rule 5 guy will be released back into the free agent pool, and that team will be forced to forfeit whatever salary was left on his contract.
The Rule 5 Draft DOES NOT apply to players on the IR throughout the season. However, if a player is not on the IR but is still hurt, he will be susceptible to the Rule 5. However, there should be plenty of space on the IR for all injured players. Also, any player on the IR at any time is not susceptible to the Rule 5 draft, even if just for a week. (And, by on the IR, I don’t mean throughout the week, I mean on Sundays when the games are being played, that player is sitting on the IR, not on the bench.)
ARTICLE VII. In-Season Free Agents
On a weekly basis, obviously teams will more than likely need to pick up players. There is no in-season bidding for players, as this would cause an insane amount of work for me, and the online leagues will not allow me to adjust each team’s individual budget. So, in lieu of this, there will be no waiver system. It will simply be 1st come, first serve, and I will keep track of it on my own and update you on how much money each of you has left for pick-ups.
Each player will cost $7. Why 7? It just made sense. If you release that player, you don’t get the money back or anything, the $7, once spent, is gone forever. Be wise with your FA acquisitions.
Also, every player picked up during the duration of the regular season will automatically be a free agent at the end of the year, there will be no contracts for In-Season Free Agents. EXCEPTION: Undrafted Rookies, see article XV.
ARTICLE VIII. Cutting Players While Under Contract
Any player can be cut while under contract, but the team will still be forced to forfeit the entirety of the money to which they had promised that player. That means not just for that year, but, if cutting someone in Year 2 of a 4-year deal, all 4 years of money will be forfeited by year. In other words, not all the money will be deducted immediately after cutting the player, but the payments will be executed as originally scheduled in the contract.
ARTICLE IX. The Rookie Draft
Every year, to assimilate the rookies into the league, there will be a rookie auction where only rookie players will be eligible to be bid on. As mentioned before, they will receive that 4-year contract automatically with increasing values of 130% of the previous year.
ARTICLE X. Contract Options
Options, such as team or vesting which will be explained, can be used in bidding on an Offseason Free Agent. A team option is, essentially, the option for the team to release that player before their next contracted season. For example, if someone signs Drew Brees to a 4-year deal for $130 in year 1, $140 in year 2, $150 in year 3 and a TEAM OPTION for $175 in year 4, that team has the option to cut him before that 4th year at NO PENALTY.
A vesting option is quite different. The team still has the option to cut that player, as in the Drew Brees example, but the option is based on performance. For example, if the same contract for Brees were constructed, but the 4th year was a VESTING OPTION for $175, with the performance requirement of an average of 40 TD passes per year. If Brees does not average 40 TD passes per year for the 1st 3 years of the contract, he is released without penalty. HOWEVER, if he DOES throw 40 TD passes per year, the team has no choice and must bring him back for a 4th year.
HOWEVER, any option year proposed in a contract DOES NOT count towards the total value of the contract. For example, in the above contract, the total value would be $420, NOT $595, because the 4th year (the option year) does not count towards to contract’s total value.
ARTICLE XI. Retired Players
If a player retires while he is still under contract with your team, you will not be required to pay any more of his salary. The salary will become null and void and you will not be forced to pay anything else.
ARTICLE XII. Contracts After Year One
After the first year, each team may keep two players that they drafted in the Inaugural Auction. However, each team is required to give that player no more than a 4-year deal and no fewer than a 2-year deal. The value is as follows: Year One(2013): Same price as previous year’s auction. Year Two: Add 30% of previous year’s total. Year 3: Add 30% more. Year 4: Add 50% of the current contract.
For example, let’s spell this out using easy numbers. Say in 2012 you draft Ray Rice for $100 and want to make him 1 of your two keepers moving forward, this is what the payout would look like: 2013: $100, 2014: $130, 2015: $169, 2016(if you chose a 4-year deal): $253.
ARTICLE XIII. Trades
Trades are where it will get difficult for me to keep track of everything, but I’m committed. Anyone can be traded at any time straight up, but their contract follows them everywhere. If you are looking to dump a guy or a contract to get them off your payroll, you obviously can, as anyone is tradeable.
Say you have a guy that is over-the-hill, but is still mildly productive but you have no room for him anymore, you can trade him. But, say that same guy has a large contract that nobody will want to take on, you can offer to eat some of that contract despite the trade. You can offer to give them money or simply just offer to pay half the salary and they pay the other half, and each of you is deducted the specified amount. So, essentially, it makes it incredibly similar to real sports.
An example: After 2013, you signed Peyton Manning to a 4-year deal with the following payout: 2013: $60, 2014: $65, 2015: $75, and 2016: $80. Say you also drafted Matt Barkley in the 2013 Rookie Draft and he is producing better than Peyton. Another team is without a top QB as Vick has gone down with a knee injury and Carson Palmer is in jail for drug trafficking. That team needs a QB, so you offer to trade them Peyton for just a backup RB, but they do not have the cap room after signing Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald this past offseason. Next season they will be able to cover the contract, but this season they can’t. So, in order to alleviate some of that contract, you offer to pay $35 of his $60 salary in 2013, but the rest is up to the other team, that is legal. Trades including money are legal.
ARTICLE XIV. Loans
Loans are similar to trades, but you aren’t getting a whole lot in return. Say that you have a 4th RB whom you like, but isn’t producing at the level that your top 3 RBs are at the time, and you want to make a run at the championship this year, but don’t want to lose this 4th RB to the Rule 5 Draft this offseason, you can loan him to another team that perhaps needs an RB, and you will get that player back at the end of the season. The team that is receiving the loan will be forced to pay whatever that player’s salary is for only that year. Since all contracts will be paid prior to the season, he will simply pay the money to the team loaning him the player.
ARTICLE XV. Undrafted Rookies
Undrafted rookies will be available for pickup during the season, and every undrafted rookie will receive a contract as follows: 7 in Year 1, 10 in Year 2, 13 in Year 3, and 16 in Year 4. Cutting will be the same cost as mentioned earlier. It’s a contract in every sense of the word.
ARTICLE XVI. Leftover Money
Any money leftover from the draft will be your ONLY MONEY for the season to pick up free agents. The only way to free up money is to make a trade or loan someone.
ALSO, money that is not spent one year WILL BE CARRIED OVER to the next year. For example, if you fail to spend $250 in 2012, you will have a $1150 to spend in the offseason and rookie draft in 2013.