I posted this in another thread but thought I would make another one because it can be a substantial amount of money available to us this offseason.
Ok, so here is how it works. For teams under the cap, the MLE counts as team salary and against the available salary cap. Teams under the cap typically renounce the exceptions (MLE, Bi-Annual) in order to preserve cap space.
If our intention is to sign two max contracts, however, we must renounce the exceptions to preserve the cap space.
But if our intention is to only sign 1 max contract player and fill out the roster we can choose to retain the MLE.
It will count approx as a $5.8 mil cap hold. If we choose to retain Lee's Bird Rights it will count as a $10.5 mil cap hold. This totals $16.3 mil in cap holds. Add in the "phantom" player minimum salary cap holds to fill out the 12 player minimum roster (4 on the books + 3 2nd round draft picks = 7 players on the roster. 5 "phantom" roster cap holds at $488,000 = $2.4 mil).
$16.3 + $2.4 = $18.7 in total cap holds.
We will have $17.8 mil in team salary this July. If the cap comes in at $54 mil, that gives us $36.2 mil in cap space. Subtract the $18.7 in cap holds and we still have $17.5 mil in cap space.
A max contract for $54 mil salary cap is $16.2 mil.
What does all of this mean?
We can sign a max contract player, resign Lee and go over the cap because we retained his Bird Rights and the use the MLE (and go over the cap) to get other players.
Another important fact. If a team is under the cap, they can make trades and don't have to match salaries. That team can take on more salary than it is giving.
So after a max is signed we will still be under the cap. We can then trade with another team and take on a large salary and go over the cap. Then Lee and the MLE can be signed.
This affords us many options to fill out the roster around a max. What would you do?