Christensen: How I would build a NFL dynasty


Dynasties are easy to build, but under the cap space? That is more difficult. If I was a general manager though, this is how much money I would budget to each position to win for years.

If a salary cap didn’t exist, building a dynasty would be very easy. You could just sign the best players at each position, and dominate the rest of the league. When you implement a salary cap though, it makes the process much more difficult. So I decided to look at each position, and determine how much money I would budget for each position.

For the purposes of this article, the salary cap is set at $188,200,000, just like the NFL salary cap in 2019. There were no limits on how much I could spend, as long as I was under the cap. I also didn’t include signing bonus, or any type of bonus. I only included total cap hit. So, for example, if a quarterback’s cap hit is $30,000,000, that is his cap hit.

Quarterback: $34,980,000, 18.59% of cap space used

  1. Starting Quarterback; $31,000,000, 16.47% of cap space
  2. Backup Quarterback; $3,500,000, 1.86% of cap space
  3. 3rd String Quarterback; $480,000, 0.26% of cap space.

Quarterback is the most important position of an entire football team, and I spent big to get an elite one. As long as you have a great quarterback, you always have the chance to compete. We are gonna make sure our franchise guy is happy. We pay the backup a decent amount, just in case of injury, but also to be a voice in the quarterback room.


Running Back: $8,780,000, 4.67% cap space used, 23.26% total

  1. Starter; $5,250,000, 2.79% of cap space
  2. Backup; $2,450,000, 1.3% of cap space
  3. 3rd String; $600,000, 0.32% of cap space
  4. 4th String; $480,000, 0.26% of cap space

Running back isn’t very important to me. We can win with average running backs. I prefer depth anyways, and can find guys in the draft. We will not pay a lot for running backs, to save money for other positions.

Wide Receiver: $20,970,000, 11.14% cap space used, 34.4% total

  1. X Receiver; $9,900,000, 5.26% of cap space
  2. Z Receiver; $5,500,000, 2.92% of cap space
  3. Slot Receiver; $3,500,000, 1.86% of cap space
  4. 4th Receiver; $630,000, 0.33% of cap space
  5. 5th, 6th, and 7th Receivers; $480,000 each, 0.78% of cap space combined

Wide Receiver is more important than running back, but I’m not gonna overspend on receiver. I would prefer to find receivers in the draft, and develop them into good players. I would never spend a lot of cash on a player like Julio Jones or Antonio Brown.


Tight End: $8,600,000, 4.57% of cap space used, 38.97% total

  1. Starter; $6,500,000, 3.45% of cap space
  2. 2nd Tight End; $1,500,000, 0.8% of cap space
  3. 3rd Tight End; $600,000, 0.32% of cap space

6 million is a lot for a starting tight end, and we don’t need a star. Having a guy like Travis Kelce would be cool, but we can manage with someone like Jared Cook instead. Our second tight end is mainly a blocker, with a ceiling to run routes as well.

Tackle: $12,050,000, 6.4% of cap space used, 45.37% total

  1. Left Tackle; $4,500,000, 2.39% of cap space
  2. Right Tackle; $7,000,000, 3.72% of cap space
  3. Swing Tackle; $550,000, 0.29% of cap space

Left tackle is more important than right tackle, but we are gonna take that position in the draft. Yes, it is risky putting a rookie at left tackle, but we are gonna risk that for the sake of winning. We spent big on right tackle instead, on a veteran piece. 7 million for a right tackle is a lot, so we spent big to get that guy.

Guard: $6,900,000, 3.67% of cap space used, 49.04% total

  1. Left Guard; $2,500,000, 1.33% of cap space
  2. Right Guard; $3,000,000, 1.59% of cap space
  3. Two Backup Guards; $480,000 each, 0.74% of cap space combined

I don’t like spending a ton on the interior of the line. We can find day-one starters in the draft to play those positions. Instead, we execute trades for lower-level players, and develop them into starters. Guard isn’t super important, so we decide to look in the draft for guards.

Center: $1,500,000, 0.8% of cap space used, 49.84% total

  1. Center; $1,500,000, 0.8% of cap space

Like guard, we are gonna find this guy in the draft. I am fine with putting an average center on the line, as we can help him develop them into a good player. If we want to have more than one center, we will convert a guard to center, but not trade for another center.


Defensive End: $25,500,000, 13.55% of cap space used, 63.39% total

  1. Weak-side Defensive End; $14,500,000, 7.7% of cap space
  2. Strong-side Defensive End; $5,000,000, 2.66% of cap space
  3. 3rd Defensive End; $3,500,000, 1.86% of cap space
  4. 4th and 5th Defensive Ends; $1,250,000 each, 1.32% of cap space

Pass rushers are very important to me personally. If you can’t get a consistent pass rush, you can’t win consistently. I spent big at weak-side end, which is usually where you best edge rusher goes. The other 4 ends are guys who move around a lot, and play multiple positions. Our team will have a ton of depth and experience on the defensive line, where each guy can play a different role to help us win.

Defensive Tackle: $21,080,000, 11.2% of cap space used, 74.59% total

  1. Three Technique Defensive Tackle; $18,500,000, 9.83% of cap space
  2. Nose Tackle; $1,500,000, 0.8% of cap space
  3. 2nd Nose Tackle; $600,000, 0.32% of cap space
  4. 2nd Three Technique Defensive Tackle; $480,000, 0.26% of cap space

Besides quarterback, our three technique defensive tackle is the most expensive player on the roster. I will pay big for a guy like Aaron Donald, Chris Jones, or Fletcher Cox. Our defensive tackle will be the building block for our defensive line, who we can build our defense around for years. Nose tackle is pretty cheap, as they don’t play a lot of snaps every game. The other two guys are depth, but can move around the line to provide versatility.

Linebacker: $6,850,000, 3.64% of cap space used, 78.23% total

  1. MIKE Linebacker; $3,500,000, 1.86% of cap space
  2. WILL Linebacker; $600,000, 0.32% of cap space
  3. SAM Linebacker; $1,250,000, 0.66% of cap space
  4. Three Backup Linebackers; $500,000 each, 0.81% of cap space

I’m not a big believer in paying linebackers. In a league where passing is key to winning, having linebackers become less important. Instead, we take guys we like in the draft. The scheme we are running is a base 4-3 Under, where the SAM lines up on the line of scrimmage. Our MIKE is gonna be cheap, and just a veteran guy. Our WILL is our coverage guy, who we find in the draft. The SAM is just a guy, who can set an edge and play in space a bit. We don’t need great or even good linebackers to win, but just average linebackers that can fill a role.

Cornerback: $20,750,000, 11.03% of cap space, 89.26% total

  1. ,1st Cornerback; $11,000,000, 5.84% of cap space
  2. 2nd Cornerback; $4,500,000, 2.39% of cap space
  3. Slot Cornerback; $4,000,000, 2.13% of cap space
  4. 4th Cornerback; $750,000, 0.40% of cap space
  5. 5th Cornerback; $500,000, 0.27% of cap space

Unlike linebacker, cornerback is much more important these days. You have to be able to cover these fast receivers in today’s league. Our first cornerback will be our shutdown guy, who can line up on everyone and succeed. Our second corner isn’t a shutdown guy, but who can play in our zone scheme and has good ball skills. The nickel cornerback will travel, and help us take away the middle of field. Our other guys are depth guys, who need to be able to play in case of injury.

Safety: $15,755,000, 8.37% of cap space, 97.63% total

  1. Strong Safety; $9,000,000, 4.78% of cap space
  2. Free Safety; $3,500,000, 1.86% of cap space
  3. 3rd Safety; $2,025,000, 1.08% of cap space
  4. 4th Safety; $750,000, 0.4% of cap space
  5. 5th Safety; $480,000, 0.26% of cap space

Safety is key for me. Our safeties need to be able to do everything, such as blitz, cover, stop the run, have range, and play a little of corner. I rely on my safeties a lot to win. We spend big to make sure we have our guy at that position. Our free safety is a high draft pick, who can also play man. Third safety blitzes more, but must play man coverage as well. Our other two safeties are depth guys, who can do a little of everything as well.

Special Teams: $2,080,000, 1.11% of cap space, 98.74% total

This includes kicker, punter, and long snapper. I don’t really focus on them much, since our special teams coach will find some cheap guys who can play. I don’t like paying expensive kickers, as there are so many good ones to pick from. Same goes for punter, there are hundreds to choose from, and we don’t need an amazing punter.

Total Salary Cap Spent: $185,795,000, 98.72% of cap space used

Salary Cap Left: $2,405,000, 1.28% of cap space left

Nate Christensen covers the NFL for Fan Source. Follow him on Twitter @natech479.


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