Salary cap and contract league info needed

interested in starting a salary cap league but don’t have any prior experience in this type of league. any info on the settings or honestly any input for ideas would be appreciated

What platform are you using/going to use? This would be a dynasty league i assume?

I run 4 leagues that use salary cap and contract years.

We use a $300 salary cap.

Contract years are default 4 when you sign a player or draft a rookie.

During the startup, we use auction with the $300 salary cap and the winning bids are the player’s salaries. I then allow owners to assign contract years to those players. For example:
Number of players - Years on contract
1 - 6
2- 5
4 - 4
4 - 3
3 - 2
2 - 1

Why do i do this and not default them all to 4? Well we also have RFA in my leagues, franchise tags.

1st round rookies, for an extra fee when you draft a 1st round rookie, you can give him the 5th year option, instead of the default 4 year contract.

We also have Holdouts. With holdouts I generate a list of the Top “X” paid players for their position. IE: The top 10 RB salaries. This list is generated and locked in day 1 of the regular season.

So say you draft Jacobs and he is at his rookie $15 salary, but during the season he plays as the 5th best RB. This means he far out performed his salary of $15 because its well below the top 10 RB Salaries. We would then take the 5th highest salary combined with Jacobs $15 salary and average them. If it was $45 for the 5th salary Jacobs new salary would become $30.

Why do i do these things in my leagues? Well its to keep them from becoming stale and forcing owners to make tough roster decisions. We all want the super stacked team sure, but a few owners having super stacked teams causes the league to become stale, owners then leave because there is no parity in the league since the stacked teams dont ever have to move players, etc.

Now i know my rules, which i barely scratched the surface of, are complex and a lot of owners are scared off by them because its not something they are used to having.

So if you want to keep things simple:

  1. Set a salary cap you prefer
  2. Use an Auction Draft Start up that sets the players salaries
  3. Default the contract years to 3-4 years
  4. Allow for no more than 2x 1-Year Contract extensions
  5. Make Contract Extensions mean something by having them come with a 10-15% salary increase
1 Like

I just started a dynasty salary cap/contract league and very excited to see how it plays out. We began with an auction draft but the contract setup is a bit different than last response.

All players added (either through startup draft, waivers, or off-season free agency auction) is added on one year contract with a team option.

At end of first year with player, owners get 3 choices: (1) cut them and that player goes to the off-season free agent auction; (2) pick up team option year at same salary as year before but player will then be free agent; or (3) sign to long-term contract up to four more years but salary increases, additionally, player’s cut while on long-term contract cause dead money on salary cap.

For long term contracts, the amount of yearly increase is based on player’s performance in contract year. We have four tiers based off positional rankings. So if player finished top of his position in 2019 then you elect to give him a long-term contract, his salary increases each year.

That’s a pretty short explanation and leaves out a lot of details, but hopefully gives a general idea. Me and three other guys worked on it for awhile and put together a pretty lengthy “constitution” to explain it all. Having a constitution to establish your rules would be my number one suggestion.

My constitution/bylaws are 24 pages i believe in a google document. Which is a huge turnoff to the causal/average player.

Sounds like you have a pretty solid league setup and wish you the best of luck in your first year and going forward.

Do you have a link to view your constitution, im interested to see the finer details of your lague.

Thank you, we are really excited. We technically haven’t even started as still working on setting draft date. Right now it has league members personal contact info. Let me try to scrub that stuff and will post a link! We also have an Appendix that tries to explain the contract stuff with hypothetical examples I will include.

So we have the docs as PDFs, tried to save so that I can send by a viewable link. Hoping this works.


Exhibit 1 for Appendix:

Let me know if those links aren’t working and will try again later after work today!

that looks so professional, i will delve into it more when i have a chance, thanks for posting.

So looking at your Tier system, i like the idea behind it but i dont think the execution is going to work to the best it should. For Example: back in the day, 2009, Jamal Charles was a FA in my league and was picked up by an owner for $1 salary. He finished 18th that year which would put him in your Tier 2 contract.

this means for the next 4 seasons, charles’ salary would be 1, 1, 2, 2. Unless the minimum increase is $1, i didnt see this though, then it would be 2 every year?

I think in the rare occurrence that someone is that cheap and then performs well enough to be worth a four-year extension, the owner just lucked into one of the most valuable long-term contracts. But with about 26 players on each roster, there won’t be many steals on the in-season FA market.

If an owner does end up with a steal of a contract, it will just put that team in great position to extend their much more expensive guys and not be capped out from adding depth. Think of it like a real life NFL team being able to spend big on FA when they have a stud QB on a rookie contract. I will be fascinated to see how it all plays out over the next few seasons.

And as to specifically the extension being 1, 1, 2, 2: yep, that’s all it will be. Look at Exhibit 1. Humphries in the hypothetical had a $1 salary and got an extension. Every year of the extension was still just $1 because the salary increase never was $1.50 or more. Cheap guys that are solid depth will be pretty valuable with this setup.

Conversely (using the hypothetical Exhibit), extending a guy like Michael Thomas for four years will end up with him having a $100 salary. So Owners will have to decide if they want to be top heavy but have roster set long term; or, avoid long-term contracts and build roster through the off-season free agency auctions.

I think this could be resolved though by using a holdout rule. Just like in the real nfl, players that are way underpaid can holdout and refuse to play. A FA waiver wire guy isnt a rookie either, and a FA in the real NFL that is a decent player isnt going to get a league minimum contract.

I love the complexity of your league for contracts, but keep in mind mfl cannot effectively handle this so its all going to be manual work by you as commissioner.

BTW, ive had many owners who draft well and sign/trade for cheap players that breakout and end up with 3-6 holdouts on their team. The same could happen in your league where an owner or two gets has several 1-2 tier guys in the 1-5$ salary range. This could cause your league to become top heavy, especially if the same owners continue to draft/sign/trade very well because they are insanely good judges of talent.

Interesting idea with holdouts. Curious how that would work and be completely objective. I could see savvy owners getting upset that they are being punished for good roster management. Ideally, we’ve got 12 experienced guys in this league so we shouldn’t stay top heavy for long. But you never know.


18.1 A Holdout is defined as a player who finishes in the Top X in total points at his position (See Top X schedule below), but whose salary is not in the Top X of his position.

18.2 Holdouts will be determined at the conclusion of Week 16 games.

18.3 Players determined to be a Holdout will be given a Holdout Salary Adjustment (HSA). HSA’s are calculated as follows:

Holdout Salary (HS) + Salary Performed At (SPA) divided by 2.

Example: QB Joe’s salary is the 20th ranked salary among all QB’s, at $15. QB Joe finished the season as the 5th best QB in total points. His salary will be added to the salary of the 5th highest paid QB, which is $45. Add the 2 salaries to get $60, then divide by 2 to get $30. QB Joe’s new salary will be $30 for the following season.

18.4 The following schedule will be used to determine Top X at each position:

Top 10 Quarterbacks

Top 10 Running Backs

Top 15 Wide Receivers

Top 5 Tight Ends

Top 3 Kickers

Top 5 DEF/ST’s

18.5 Either the day of or day before the NFL Season kickoff, The top X salaries will be determined. This list will be posted on the message boards and will be used to determine new salaries of holdouts at the end of the season. This list is locked and will not change. (This is how it has been done since season 1.)

18.6 Holdouts will be enforced no later than the 2nd Sunday of January. The commissioner will make every attempt to get these done as soon as week 16 games are complete.

18.7 All players no matter what that qualify for a Holdout will have it applied.