Weber Circumvention, pt. 2

A few additional thoughts after last night’s post.

Back in the Summer of Kovalchuk, much was made of the fact that the tail of the (ultimately rejected) contract was minuscule compared to the front-loaded years, by a long shot when compared to other similar deals (e.g. Luongo, Hossa). I wrote a post called The League’s Casewhich included this chart:

player term tail tail/term tail value t$/yr top years ratio
Luongo 12 3 25.00% $3.6 $1.2 $23.4 15.44%
Zetterberg 12 2 16.67% $2.0 $1.0 $15.2 13.20%
Hossa 12 4 33.33% $4.0 $1.0 $31.6 12.66%
Kovalchuk 17 6 35.29% $3.5 $0.6 $68.0 5.15%
The columns:
term” = length of contract. “tail” = the length of the tail. “tail/term” = the ratio of the length of the tail to the overall term (i.e. how big is the tail relative to the “dog”). “tail value” = the total salary paid over the course of the tail years.“t$/yr” = the average salary during the tail years. “top years” = the total of the commensurate top salary years (for example, if the tail is 6 years long, “top years” tallies the top six salary years; if the tail is 2 years long, the “top years” column tallies the top two salary years). Lastly, “ratio” = the ratio of the tail $$ to the top years’ $$.
[…] [Note that] the ratio of the tail dollars to the top dollars is two or three times smaller than everyone else’s. Luongo gets about a sixth of his top salary during his last years. Kovalchuk gets about a twentieth.

Now let’s update the chart with the Weber numbers. We’ll include the numbers as reported, and the adjusted numbers per my last post (link above).

player term tail tail/term tail value t$/yr top years ratio
Luongo 12 3 25.00% $3.6 $1.2 $23.4 15.44%
Zetterberg 12 2 16.67% $2.0 $1.0 $15.2 13.20%
Hossa 12 4 33.33% $4.0 $1.0 $31.6 12.66%
Kovalchuk 17 6 35.29% $3.5 $0.6 $68.0 5.15%
Weber 14 3 21.24% $3 $1 $42 7.1%
Weber adj. 14 3 21.24% $3 $1 $55 5.5%

What interests me about these numbers is that, while the Weber offer sheet is careful to keep the tail relatively short, compared to the front-loaded years, the tail is still very close to the ridiculous Kovalchuk ratio of 5.15%. Even the non-adjusted number, 7.1%, is much more Kovalchukian than the Luongo, Zetterberg, Hossa deals. And the adjusted number, 5.5%, is nearly the same as the offensive Kovalchuk ratio, the one we all mocked so openly two years ago.

The reason for this, of course, is that Weber’s contract pays much, much more money in the biggest three years than even Kovalchuk’s rejected deal did ($11.5 for each of three years, $34.5 total — compared to $42 for Weber, or $55 adjusted).

The point being, if Kovalchuk’s tail was a circumvention, it’s arguable that Weber’s is, too.


  6 comments for “Weber Circumvention, pt. 2

  1. Jeff H
    July 20, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Ooooh, the plot thickens!

    You are leaving out one important detail, however, and one that league cited as the most important, which was that Kovalchuk was getting paid until he was 44. As you said in another post, there is some arbitrary rule about age 41 now, but you can adjust the numbers to have the same “retirement/late career” effect even if you don’t run the contract way past a reasonable retirement age. The Kovy deal was just so blatant that they dared the arbitrator to invalidate it, and he didn’t bluff.

    • July 20, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      I agree. The Kovalchuk contract was egregious on pretty much every level. It compares to the Weber offer sheet in a narrower sense. The question is: how much like Kovalchuk do you have to be to get nixed?

      (The other issue is the league’s desire or lack of desire to address it; they may not care the way they cared with Kovalchuk; those are political issues and I have no idea what’s going on behind those closed doors.)

  2. JamesFlagg
    July 20, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Great analysis on the Weber offer sheet……I have a feeling that league administrators are probably reading your stuff and thinking, “you know, I never thought about that”……

    • July 20, 2012 at 10:56 PM

      Well, these are incredibly smart and crafty folks. I’m sure all of these ideas have been batted around ad nauseum behind closed doors. The question is not really “is there a legitimate argument to be made” but “do we care?” They might not care.

  3. Ed
    July 20, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    I think this contract gets nixed not because of the length but because that most of Weber’s salary is coming from his signing bonus. That to me is the part that will get them in the end. Weber’s salary for the first couple years is $1 million but he will be getting paid $14 million. If that isn’t against the spirit of the CBA, what is?

  4. RockiesTop
    July 21, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    If they really wanted to stop the circumvention of the intent of the CBA, they should just remove the averaging of the cap hit. I don’t see any of the mega-contract players playing for $1M for the last several years of their contracts. If Philly had to fit $14M intead of $7.86M into their cap structure, they couldn’t do this deal. Also, since the longest insurable contract is 7 years, that should be the maximum length.

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