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Explaining June 1 Salary Cap Implications in the NFL

Explaining June 1 Salary Cap Implications in the NFL

June 1st is a significant date on the NFL league calendar for multiple reasons. It is an important date for salary cap implications, and also the deadline for clubs to issue June 1st tenders. This article will provide a rundown on the differences between pre and post June 1st terminations, as well as explain the ramifications of the June 1st tender.

Salary Cap Implications

June 1st marks a modification of salary cap accounting principles in the NFL. Prior to June 1st, player contracts that are either released or traded accelerate all remaining salary cap charges into the current league year. This often results in significant dead money charges that place teams’ salary cap compliance at risk. While there is a benefit to spreading cap charges across years, it can inhibit a team’s ability to move on from a player.

The June 1st designation allows teams to divide the accelerated charges across two seasons. While financially the end result is the same, this designation provides teams with more cap flexibility in the current year. After June 1st, future years’ prorated money no longer accelerates into the current league year. Instead, only the current year’s prorated bonuses count towards the salary cap. The remaining prorated money accelerates into the following season.

For example, prior to June 1st, a player with $5 million in prorated bonuses from 2022-2026 whose contract is terminated will have a $5 million dead money cap charge for 2022. Post June 1st, only $1 million will be charged against the cap in 2022, with the remaining $4 million accelerating to the 2023 league year.

Pre-June 1 Release Post June 1 Release
Season SB Prorations Dead Money Season SB Prorations Dead Money
2022 $1,000,000 $5,000,000 2022 $1,000,000 $1,000,000
2023 $1,000,000 $0 2023 $1,000,000 $4,000,000
2024 $1,000,000 $0 2024 $1,000,000 $0
2025 $1,000,000 $0 2025 $1,000,000 $0
2026 $1,000,000 $0 2026 $1,000,000 $0

Additionally, teams are allowed to designate up to two players per year as post-June 1st designations, even if they are released prior. The rule enables teams to maintain cap compliance during the offseason. However, teams must keep the player’s entire salary cap charge on the books – even though the player is no longer on the roster – until June 2nd. It is important to note that the June 1st rule applies only to prorated bonuses, not future guaranteed base salary. Therefore, all fully guaranteed salary accelerates into the current year regardless of when the player is released.

The following players were released with post-June 1 designations this offseason:

  • WR Julio Jones
  • LB Danny Trevathan
  • DT Jordan Phillips
  • DT Fletcher Cox
  • TE Austin Hooper
  • OT La’el Collins
  • DE Carlos Dunlap
  • DE Carl Nassib
  • S Landon Collins
  • LB Cory Littleton

Similar to the way post-June 1 releases work, trades and retirements that occur after this date receive the same salary cap treatment. The Eagles will save $9,797,237 by keeping Brandon Brooks — who announced his retirement in January – on their roster through June 1. He will now officially retire from the NFL and the Eagles are able to spread what would have been an almost $16 million dead cap hit across two seasons rather than taking it all in the current one. Similarly, Malcolm Jenkins delaying his official retirement will save the Saints nearly $4 million in dead cap charges this season.

The following players are candidates to be released or traded now that June 1st has come and gone:

  • EDGE Dee Ford
    • Pre-June 1 release 2022 dead money: $14,419,996
    • Post-June 1 release 2022 dead money: $5,829,997
    • Post-June 1 release 2022 cap savings: $1,120,000
  • OG Isaac Seumalo
    • Pre-June 1 release 2022 dead money: $5,856,000
    • Post-June 1 release 2022 dead money: $2,018,000
    • Post-June 1 release 2022 cap savings: $5,650,000
  • OG Halapoulivaati Vaitai
    • Pre-June 1 release 2022 dead money: $5,201,250
    • Post-June 1 release 2022 dead money: $1,733,750
    • Post-June 1 release 2022 cap savings: $7,000,000
  • LB Deion Jones
    • Pre-June 1 release 2022 dead money: $24,321,568
    • Post-June 1 release 2022 dead money: $18,980,784
    • Post-June 1 release 2022 cap savings: $1,067,059

June 1st Tender

June 1st is also the deadline for clubs to render a decision on their unsigned restricted free agents who received a qualifying offer for a right of first refusal. According to Article 9 of the CBA, the team must tender a one-year player contract of at least 110% of the player’s prior year salary (with all other terms of his prior contract carried forward unchanged), by June 1st in order for the restricted free agent to be subject to the June 15th tender.

June 1st has great significance in helping teams manage their salary cap and free agent signings.