Sep 29, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Los Angeles Chargers tight end Sean Culkin (80) gets tackled by Miami Dolphins free safety Reshad Jones (20) in the third quarter of a football game at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs cut TE who wanted salary converted to Bitcoin

The Kansas City Chiefs have cut tight end Sean Culkin, who made news last month when he announced he planned to be the first NFL player to convert his entire salary to Bitcoin.

Culkin, 27, signed a reserve/future contract in February and would have received $920,000 if he made the roster as the primary backup to six-time Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce.

“I fully believe Bitcoin is the future of finance and I wanted to prove that I have real skin in the game — not just trying to make a quick buck. I will be converting my entire 2021 NFL salary to #Bitcoin,” Culkin tweeted on April 26.

The recent additions of veteran Blake Bell in free agency and former Duke tight end Noah Gray in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft apparently made Culkin expendable.

Kansas City also parted ways with offensive lineman Bryan Witzmann (released) and quarterback Jordan Ta’amu (waived).

Former Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Russell Okung converted half of his $13 million salary from 2020 into Bitcoin. That $6.5 million investment was worth approximately $13.4 million as of Tuesday morning.

Per Forbes, Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that you can buy, sell and exchange directly without an intermediary like a bank. It was publicly launched in 2009.

Culkin has recorded two receptions for 36 yards in 19 career games (12 starts) with the Los Angeles Chargers (2017-19) and Baltimore Ravens (2020). He was an undrafted free agent out of Missouri in 2017.

According to the Kansas City Star, Culkin has a finance degree and is working on his MBA.

–Field Level Media

Jul 29, 2018; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers tight end Sean Culkin (80) is greeted by fans during training camp at Jack R. Hammett Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs’ Sean Culkin plans to convert entire salary to Bitcoin

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Sean Culkin plans to be the first NFL player to convert his entire salary to Bitcoin.

Culkin, 27, signed a reserve/future contract in February and will receive $920,000 if he makes the roster. He is vying to become the primary backup to six-time Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce.

“I fully believe Bitcoin is the future of finance and I wanted to prove that I have real skin in the game — not just trying to make a quick buck. I will be converting my entire 2021 NFL salary to #Bitcoin,” Culkin wrote Monday on Twitter.

Former Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Russell Okung converted half of his $13 million salary from 2020 into Bitcoin.

Per Forbes, Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that you can buy, sell and exchange directly without an intermediary like a bank. It was publicly launched in 2009.

“To be honest, I don’t really view it as an extremely high-risk play,” Culkin said, according to the Kansas City Star. “… I zoomed out to the bigger picture. You see an asset that grew to a trillion-dollar market cap in 12 years, which I don’t think has been done in any other asset, the fact that it’s had three, four, five corrections of 50-plus percent here, we are (near) all-time highs. When I started to break away from viewing volatility as risk, it didn’t seem very risky to me.”

Culkin has recorded two receptions for 36 yards in 19 career games (12 starts) with the Los Angeles Chargers (2017-19) and Baltimore Ravens (2020). He was an undrafted free agent out of Missouri in 2017.

According to the Kansas City Star, Culkin has a finance degree and is working on his MBA.

–Field Level Media

Jan 16, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) against Green Bay Packers during the NFC Divisional Round at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Lions restructure Jared Goff, free up $15M in cap space

Feb 2, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams (26) runs with the ball in the fourth quarter against San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions restructured new quarterback Jared Goff’s contract, a move that freed up $15 million in salary cap space for this season, ESPN reported Wednesday.

The team converted $20 million of Goff’s salary for this season into a signing bonus and moved $5 million in cap charges into the quarterback’s 2022-24 seasons, per the report.

The Lions acquired Goff, a 2021 third-round pick and first-round selections in the 2022 and 2023 drafts from the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Matthew Stafford in January.

Goff signed a four-year, $134 million extension with the Rams in September 2019.

–Field Level Media

Top 2015 pay cut candidates

Players taking pay cuts during the off-season is a regular occurrence in the NFL’s salary cap environment. Sometimes, it is in a player’s best interest to accept a lower salary instead of getting released. Here are five of the off-season’s top pay cut candidates.
Sam Bradford (QB)-St. Louis Rams
Bradford is one of the last beneficiaries of high draft picks receiving mega-deals prior to the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement creating a rookie wage scale. As the first pick overall in the 2010 NFL draft, Bradford signed a six-year, $78 million deal (worth a maximum of $86 million) containing $50 million in guarantees.
Bradford’s future with Rams seemed in doubt because he missed the 2014 season after tearing the ACL in his left knee for the second year in row until head coach he was consulted on Frank Gignetti’s promotion from quarterback coach to offensive coordinator. This suggests that Bradford will open the 2015 regular season as the Rams’ starting quarterback barring injury or a terrible pre-season. It also gives Bradford some leverage in discussions about reducing his $12.985 million ($16.58 million cap number).
Larry Fitzgerald (WR)-Arizona Cardinals
The signs have been pointing to off-season pay cut discussions with Fitzgerald for quite awhile. Fitzgerald making $16.25 million on a $23.6 million cap number in 2015 isn’t feasible with the Cardinals having over slightly $151 million of 2015 cap obligations. The eight-time Pro Bowler, who signed a seven-year, $113 million contract extension in 2011, has the NFL’s fourth highest 2015 salary cap number.
The situation needs to be before resolved Fitzgerald’s $8 million 2015 roster bonus is payable on the fifth day of the league year (March 14). Although it is ownership’s preference for Fitzgerald to play his entire career with the Cardinals, his performance no longer warrants him being paid like an elite wide receiver. Fitzgerald hasn’t had a 1,000 receiving yards season since 2011. He seemed to be a lock for hitting the mark before he was hindered by a knee sprain and injuries at quarterback.
A trade market for Fitzgerald will be somewhat limited because a team must have enough cap room to absorb his $16.25 million salary in order to acquire him. Only after a trade is completed would the acquiring team be able to restructure Fitzgerald’s contract to decrease his cap number. The Cardinals will pick up $9.2 million of cap room with a trade, which is the same amount of cap space that would be created if the team released him.
Tamba Hali (OLB)-Kansas City Chiefs
Hali has expressed a willingness to take a pay cut if it would help re-sign 2014 NFL sack leader Justin Houston to a long term deal. The Chiefs will use their franchise tag on Houston if a new deal isn’t in place before the March 2 designation deadline. The linebacker franchise tag number will be $13.077 million with a $142 million 2015 salary cap. Some contract maneuvering will be required to fit Houston’s franchise tag under the cap. The Chiefs have less than $1 million of cap room assuming the cap is set at $142 million.
Hali, who is entering the final year of a five-year, $57.5 million contract (worth a maximum of $60 million through salary escalators), has a $9 million salary in 2015, with an $11,964,705 cap number. $2 million of Hali’s salary is a roster bonus payable on the 10th day of the 2015 league year (March 19). Any reduction to his salary would need to take place before he receives the roster bonus.
The 31 year old might balk at too steep of a pay cut. It’s conceivable that Hali could make more than his scheduled $9 million in 2015 as a free agent given the market for older pass rushers picked up last year. DeMarcus Ware made $13 million last season in the first year of a three-year, $30 million deal he received from the Denver Broncos after refusing the Dallas Cowboys’ attempts to cut his $12.975 million 2014 salary. He got a $250,000 raise for 2014 in his new deal despite coming off a 2013 season where he had career low six sacks while dealing with elbow, quadriceps and back injuries.
Julius Peppers quickly landed a three-year, $26 million deal (with $7.5 million guaranteed and worth a maximum of $30 million through salary escalators) from the Green Bay Packers once the Chicago Bears released him. He was 34 years old when he signed with Green Bay and made $8.5 million in 2014.
$9 million of cap room will be freed up by releasing Hali. 2014 first round pick Dee Ford would need to step up after playing sparingly as a rookie. Hali had 91.8 percent defensive playtime (975 of 1,062 snaps) in 2014 while Ford only received 11.5 percent playtime (122 of 1,062 snaps).
Percy Harvin (WR)-New York Jets
Harvin was acquired in trade with the Seattle Seahawks last October. The Jets owe the Seahawks their 2015 fourth round pick if Harvin on the roster on the 10th day of the 2015 league year (March 19). Seattle gets the team’s sixth round pick if he is released prior to this date.
This doesn’t leave the new regime of general manager Mike Maccagnan, who came to the Jets from the Houston Texans, and head coach Todd Bowles, Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014, a lot of time to figure out whether Harvin fits into their plans. Harvin, who is scheduled to make $10.5 million in 2015, said during the 2014 season that he would like to remain with the Jets but isn’t interested in taking a pay cut.
The Jets have the leverage to ask Harvin to reduce his salary. He’s unlikely to find another team willing to pay him anything close to $41.5 million in the remaining four years of his contract as a free agent after wearing out his welcome with the Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings. There could be a glut of wide receivers on the open market because several pass catchers currently under contract could hit the streets (Brandon Marshall, Mike Wallace, etc.). There also aren’t any negative cap consequences for the Jets with releasing Harvin. His entire $10.5 million cap number comes off the book if he is let go.
Adrian Peterson (RB)-Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are presenting a united front about welcoming back Peterson once he’s eligible for reinstatement from his suspension on April 15. Peterson is seeking immediate reinstatement through an NFLPA lawsuit against the NFL. Arguments were heard by U.S. District Court Judge David S. Doty on February 6. There isn’t a set timetable for Doty to make a ruling.
Peterson, who turns 30 next month, said he didn’t think a pay cut was warranted in an interview with ESPN towards the end of the 2014 regular season. The six-year, $85.28 million contract extension (with a 2017 base salary escalator worth up to $4 million) Peterson signed in 2011 is an outlier in running back marketplace. He is the NFL’s only $10 million per year running back.
The 2012 NFL MVP’s $13 million salary and $15.4 million cap number for the 2015 season are the highest among running backs. LeSean McCoy is the only other running back with a double digit salary or cap number in 2015. The Philadelphia Eagles running back has an $11.95 million cap number and is scheduled to make $10.25 million.
Peterson has also wondered whether a clean slate with a new team might be best. His salary makes a trade unlikely, which suggests that he may be more receptive to playing for less with another team after his reinstatement. The Vikings would pick up of $13 million of cap room by releasing or trading Peterson. There’s already a lot of speculation that he’ll replace impending free agent DeMarco Murray in the Dallas Cowboys’ backfield since he has expressed an interest in playing for the team before he retires.
Others: Dwayne Bowe (WR)-Kansas City Chiefs: $14 million cap number/$11 million salary; Brandon Carr (CB)-Dallas Cowboys: $12.717 million cap number/$8 million salary; Trent Cole (OLB)-Philadelphia Eagles: $11.625 million cap number/$10.025 million salary; Marques Colston (WR)-New Orleans Saints: $9.7 million cap number/$7 million salary; Andre Johnson (WR)-Houston Texans: $16,144,585 cap number/$11.5 million salary; Jerod Mayo (ILB)-New England Patriots: $10,287,500 cap number/$7 million salary; Lardarius Webb (CB)-Baltimore Ravens: $12 million cap number/$8 million salary
Follow me on twitter:  @corryjoel

Solutions to Marshawn Lynch's holdout

<p> The end of running back <a href="http://footballpost.wpengine.com/Marshawn-Lynch-holding-out-from-Seahawks-camp.html" target="_self">Marshawn Lynch’s holdout</a> doesn’t appear to be anywhere in sight with both sides firmly entrenched in their respective positions. The Seattle Seahawks expect Lynch to play under the four-year, $30 million contract (with $17 million in guarantees and additional $1 million in incentives) he signed in 2012 while Lynch would like his contract redone.</p> <p> Lynch is subject to a fine of $30,000 for each day of training camp he misses during his holdout. Since Lynch’s holdout reached six days on Tuesday, the Seahawks can also recoup $225,000 of his $6 million signing bonus. 15 percent of the $1.5 million prorated amount of Lynch’s signing bonus became recoverable on the sixth day of his holdout. Another one percent ($15,000) can be recouped for each additional missed day with a maximum of 25 percent of the prorated amount ($375,000) forfeitable during training camp. An additional 25 percent can be recovered if Lynch misses Seattle’s first regular season game. After four missed weeks of the regular season, the Seahawks can recover 1/17th of the prorated amount ($88,235) for each additional week of Lynch’s absence. The most that can be recouped from Lynch’s signing bonus during 2014 is $1.5 million, the entire prorated amount of his signing bonus. Teams will typically reduce or waive the penalties accumulated as a gesture of goodwill once a player ends his holdout.</p> <p> Contrary to reports, Lynch isn’t subject to a fine of one week’s base salary (1/17 of $5 million) for each pre-season game missed, which would be $294,117 per game. This fine is applied to players who signed contracts as unrestricted free agents. Lynch signed his current deal about a week before he was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.</p> <p> The Seahawks are content to follow their “Next Man Up” philosophy with 2013 second-round pick Christine Michael and 2012 fourth-round pick Robert Turbin serving as the primary ball carriers during Lynch’s absence. Michael and Turbin are the main components of Seattle’s succession plan at running back. The team was already planning on reducing Lynch’s workload before the holdout. The 28-year-old has a league-leading 901 rushing attempts over the last three seasons as the centerpiece of Seattle’s run-oriented offense. There has been speculation that the Seahawks could release Lynch in 2015.</p> <p> Lynch is adequately compensated by most standards. Although Lynch is currently the NFL’s sixth-highest paid running back by average salary at $7.5 million per year, he ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards (2,847), first in rushing touchdowns (23) and tied for fourth in yards from scrimmage (3,359 yards) since signing his deal. Lynch has the fifth-best cash flow in the first three years of running back deals ($22.5 million). He’s also fifth in compensation for running backs over the last two years with $17 million, ranking behind only Ray Rice ($25 million), Arian Foster ($23.5 million), Adrian Peterson ($19.75 million) and Chris Johnson ($18 million).</p> <p class="co_image co_image_right inline_right"> <img alt="Marshawn Lynch" src="http://cdn.cloudfiles.mosso.com/c1910342/media_center/images/rendered/blog/wysiwyg/lynch3-2286.jpg" />Should Lynch honor his current contract or does he deserve a raise?</p> <p> Lynch is in a different financial situation than Jamaal Charles, <a href="http://footballpost.wpengine.com/Chiefs-sign-Jamaal-Charles-to-twoyear-extension.html" target="_self">who received an additional</a> $5.1 million over the remaining two years of his deal as a part of a two-year, $18.1 million contract extension signed on August 23. Charles was dramatically underpaid. The $18.57 million Charles made from 2010 to 2013 was $1.57 million less than Lynch earned over the last two years.</p> <p> The Seahawks don’t have any plans to deviate from their position but might be able to quickly end the stalemate by extending an olive branch to Lynch where they attempted to rework his deal within its existing framework. Interestingly, fans are almost evenly split on Lynch’s holdout according to an ESPN.com poll. 51.2 percent are in favor of reworking his contract while 48.8 percent think Lynch should honor his deal.</p> <p> Lynch is scheduled to make $5.5 million this year with a $5 million base salary and $500,000 as a per game 46-man active roster bonus ($31,250 per game). His 2015 salary is $7.5 million consisting of a $5.5 million base salary and $2 million as a per game 46-man active roster bonus ($125,000 per game). Lynch also has a $500,000 incentive in each of these years for 1,500 or more rushing yards.</p> <p> One easy cosmetic change would be to convert Lynch’s $500,000 roster bonus into base salary to ensure that he earned the money. The per game amount is only payable if Lynch is on the 46-man active roster for that particular game. For example, if Lynch suffered a season-ending injury during Seattle’s fourth game of the season, he would only earn $125,000 of his $500,000 roster bonus. Percy Harvin, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas <a href="http://footballpost.wpengine.com/Breaking-down-Richard-Shermans-57431-million-contract.html" target="_self">don’t have per game roster bonuses</a> in their contracts. Per game roster bonuses were a rarity in Seattle contracts when Lynch signed in 2012, but have started becoming more prevalent in their deals. Michael Bennett has $1 million and $1.5 million of per game roster bonuses in the last two years of the four-year contract he signed this off-season.</p> <p> The Seahawks could convert this year’s $500,000 rushing yards incentive into 2014 base salary, if not the entire $1 million in incentives for both years. The conversion would use $1 million of Seattle’s $7.55 million of existing salary cap room (includes Lynch’s $5 million base salary in calculations which isn’t counting while he is holding out). If the Seahawks wanted to spread out the cap hit over two years, the $1 million could be a signing bonus instead. The Seahawks are in good shape cap wise in 2015, with $116.922 million of cap commitments (top 51 players).</p> <p> Another possibility would be to also fully guarantee a small portion (no more than $1 million) of Lynch’s $5.5 million 2015 base salary. As an alternative, the amount guaranteed could be tied to Lynch’s 2014 performance. Seattle would insist on any 2015 guarantees containing an offset so Lynch couldn’t “double dip” (get paid Seattle’s guarantee and the entire amount of his contract with another team) if he’s released next year. Additionally, Seattle could convert Lynch’s $2 million per game roster bonus in 2015 or $2 million of 2015 base salary into a first day of the 2015 league year roster bonus. If Lynch wasn’t a part of Seattle’s plans next year, he would hit the free agent market while teams had all of their cap room available to sign players.</p> <p> Another impediment to reworking Lynch’s deal is that NFL teams are reluctant to establish contractual precedents, especially a precedent of giving into a player’s demands for a new contract through a holdout. Although teams should be able to easily make distinctions based on each player’s particular circumstances, they don’t want to send a signal to the other team members that they could get rewarded by holding the team hostage. Seattle doesn’t want to give Sherman or Thomas ammunition to approach them about renegotiating their deals in a couple of years because of how they handled Lynch’s situation.&l
t;/p> <p> Seattle did make some changes to Brandon Browner’s contract last year to give him the opportunity to earn an additional $250,008 in the final year of the three-year deal he signed in 2011. Browner received a $125,000 signing bonus and $125,008 as a per game 53-man roster bonus ($7,813 per game). Browner’s situation can be differentiated because he was only making minimum salary in his deal and a portion of the salary increase may have been a reimbursement for him accepting a four-game performance enhancing drugs suspension without pay at the end of the 2012 regular season instead of appealing so he would be available during the playoffs.</p> <p> Outside of a serious injury at running back or extremely poor performance of the rushing attack during pre-season games, it’s hard to envision anything else that could shift leverage before the start of the regular season. Unless Seattle eventually softens its stance, Lynch’s holdout will likely end the same way Maurice Jones-Drew’s did with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012. Jones-Drew returned to the Jaguars at the end of the pre-season without getting his contract adjusted.</p> <p> <strong>Follow Joel on Twitter:</strong> @<a href="http://www.twitter.com/corryjoel" target="_blank">corryjoel</a></p> <p> <em><strong>Joel Corry is a former sports agent who helped found Premier Sports & Entertainment, a sports management firm that represents professional athletes and coaches. Prior to his tenure at Premier, Joel worked for Management Plus Enterprises, which represented Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon and Ronnie Lott. You can email Joel at jccorry@gmail.com. </strong></em></p>