You were promised a long post, were you not? Serves you right for having such a short one last time. Full disclosure: this post isn’t that long.
As every club has a salary cap and money is limited (when is money NOT limited?) knowing where you’re spending your money and figuring out how to get more is always important.
Take a look, first, at your current list and their salaries (and while you’re at it, can you make these salaries public because I’m sick of not knowing). Get your rankings and priorities from the previous step and compare them. Who are you paying the most? Does it make sense?
You may think that your best players should be getting the most money. While this thought pattern is logical… it’s wrong.
The group you want to pay the most is the group you want to keep – your priorities. If you can’t afford to lose them, then you better be able to afford to keep them.
For some clubs, their best players will be their priorities and that’s fine. But think of it this way: if you’ve got two SOLID rucks that are both fantastic kicks and fast as lightning… you don’t need to spend premium money on a third (although ruckmen have the tendency to get injured so make sure you’ve got at least two other guys who can ruck in a pinch). If you ARE spending big money on a third, that’s a great opportunity to free up some space in your cap. (That’s not to say you don’t need depth, you just need to figure out which areas are more important).
So start shuffling some money around. As much as it hurts… you have to drop the dead weight. If you can’t see certain players as a part of your premiership team – drop them. Hard and fast. Use some of the money to beef up the other contracts or to sign a few players that fit into your teams needs and timeline (don’t worry, we’ll get to that in the coming posts).
Other than extra players in taken positions, here are some other places to free up some cap space would be…
- Older players who won’t be around by the time you’re ready to really compete
- Younger players who aren’t meeting expectations/have an attitude problem/are only ever going to warm the bench/don’t fit the dynamic/there are any major issues with
- Younger players who you’re paying but don’t play often enough
- Players you know are wanted by other teams that you know you can get a premium for (read Moneyball if you really want to know how it’s done)
Not saying you have to totally get rid of all these people… but even renegotiating the terms of their contracts might get you a bit more wiggle room to get some pretty great players.
A perfect club (well, almost perfect) probably has a salary cap break down that looks somewhat like this (and yes, I know it’s somewhat convoluted).
Group 1. Premium players that you would only give up if they lost an arm – 25-40% of the cap
Group 2. Young players that will become the foundation of the club in the next generation – 20-25%
Group 3. Young players who need more time – < 20%
Group 4. Older players who won’t make it to the next grand final but who still have a few years left – < 25%
Group 5. Non-premium, yet consistent, players you keep (because there are only so many Dane Swan’s out there) but would be willing to give up for the right price – 20-25%
Group 6. Players I want to get rid of in the next trade period – < 15%
This isn’t perfect, obviously. The reason I have a range is because it depends on how many players are in each category. For instance, if I was Gold Coast, Groups 1 and 4 would be very small (and thus, receive a smaller part of the salary cap). The point is what I said earlier: if you can’t afford to lose them… you better make sure you can afford to keep them.