Earlier this month, our Luke Adams examined the largest 2015 cap hits by position on offense, scrutinizing the most expensive individual cap charges for next year. The list that follows, while along the same lines, tabulates the largest cap hits by position group. Some overlap in the lists is unavoidable — if a single player has an exorbitant cap charge, it will inevitably raise the team’s cap hit for his position as a whole.
We’ll look at the defensive side of the ball later in the week, but let’s examine which clubs are investing the most cap space on offensive positions…
- Saints, $28.193MM
- Falcons, $21.596MM
- Chiefs, $21.477M
- New Orleans and Atlanta’s presence here is no fluke, as Drew Brees and Matt Ryan have the No. 1 and No. 3 cap hits among quarterbacks, respectively. Brees, in fact, has the largest cap figure in the entire NFL at $26.4MM.
- It is strange that Kansas City ranks third, however, given that Alex Smith, at $15.6MM, has only the 10th-highest hit among QBs. Chase Daniel, the highest-paid backup in the league, is what drives the Chiefs to their No. 3 ranking, as his $4.8MM cap number is good for ninth on the club.
- Besides the Chiefs, the Cardinals are the only club with two quarterbacks inside their top 10 cap hits. But because both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton have relatively low numbers ($7.375MM, $3.867MM), Arizona places just 17th in terms of QB spending.
- Vikings, $18.529MM
- Panthers, $14.207MM
- Eagles, $12.557MM
- Minnesota’s place at No. 1 is almost entirely thanks to Adrian Peterson and his $15.4MM cap figure, as backups Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon each have hits of $800K or less.
- This list doesn’t encompass dead money, but if it did, Carolina would actually edge the Vikings for the top spot, as DeAngelo Williams counts for $4.33MM on the club’s books despite his release earlier this year.
- It might surprise that the Eagles aren’t even higher on this list due to their offseason spending spree at running back, and the continue presence of the well-compensated of veteran Darren Sproles. Philadelphia is projected to lead in RB spending in 2016, however, when DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, and Sproles’ cap hits all jump.
- The team that will spend the least on running backs? The Titans, who after releasing Shonn Greene will field only runners on rookie deals, will spend about $1.88MM.
- Lions, $39.13MM
- Broncos, $25.233MM
- Washington, $25.171MM
- Each of the top three clubs in receiver spending follows a fairly similar model: an impact No. 1 pass-catcher earning earning top-end money, and a solid No. 2 option earning near the top of the second tier of receiver compensation.
- Even with Dez Bryant earning franchise-tag money, the Cowboys are just sixth in receiver spending, due in part to their reliance on Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley, former mid-round draft picks still on their rookie deals.
- The Packers, who have signed both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb to multi-year extensions during the past twelve months, rank just 23rd on this list. Both receivers’ cap charges will obviously continue to rise, but neither will surpass $10MM until 2017.
- The Dolphins ranked first here last year, spending nearly $9MM more on receivers than the next highest club. But after trading Mike Wallace and releasing Brian Hartline, Miami places just 27th.
- Rams, $16.976MM
- Jaguars, $16.612MM
- Chargers, $15.48MM
- St. Louis’ top two tight ends — Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks — place not only in the top ten of the club’s cap charges, but in the top five. That’s largely because the Rams are employing a cadre of players on their rookie deals at many of the positions where top earners usually play (quarterback, offensive line, receiver, defensive back).
- Jimmy Graham‘s $9MM in dead money isn’t factored in here, but if it were, the Saints, who currently rank 29th in tight end spending, would place fifth.
- Jets, $36.226MM
- Raiders, $32.437MM
- Washington, $32.299MM
- The Jets placed in the top three of offensive line spending in 2014 as well, but it didn’t seem to do much good. New York gave up 47 sacks, eighth most in the league, and ranked 20th in run-blocking and 25th in pass-blocking according to Football Outsiders’ metrics.
- Rodney Hudson‘s unique contract structure means that he takes up about 41% of the Raiders’ 2015 offensive line spending total of about $32.5MM. Hudson didn’t receive a signing bonus, instead garnering a $6.9MM roster bonus that counts entirely on Oakland’s 2015 cap. All told, Hudson’s cap charge is $13MM, highest among centers.
- The Browns ranked first in line spending in 2014, as both Joe Thomas and Alex Mack‘s cap charges were tops at their respective positions. But Thomas and Mack’s contracts call for a combined $4.3MM reduction in cap hits in 2015, leading Cleveland to drop to seventh on this list this season.
Information from Over the Cap was used in the creation of this post.