Christensen: How to build around a rookie quarterback

The previous part was about building a dynasty with a more expensive quarterback. This time, I will build a Super Bowl level team, but with a rookie quarterback. With added cash, how will I spend it to compliment my young quarterback, and maximize his young career?

When I built my last team, it was difficult to spend as much as I wanted. When you spend about 16% of your cap space on one guy, every other position suffers due to it. So I decided, how could I build a roster with a rookie quarterback? Rookie quarterbacks only make around three to four million a year, so I had a lot more cap flexibility.

Just like the last article, the cap is set at $188,200,000. I have no limits on what I can spend, as long as I am under the cap. Minimum salary is set at $480,000. Also, I will have the exact same number of players at each position as the last one. There won’t be any more players at any position, so you can see the difference in what I spent at each position. If you haven’t read my first article about building a team, then I would recommend you do that before reading this one.

Quarterback: $7,480,000, 3.97% of salary cap

  1. Starter; $4,500,000, 2.39% of salary cap
  2. Backup; $2,500,000, 1.33% of salary cap
  3. 3rd String; $480,000, 0.26% of salary cap

Last time, I spent $34,980,000, or 18.59%, of my salary cap on quarterbacks. This time, I will have an extra $27,500,000 to spend on other positions. That gives me much more flexibility to be bold with moves, as I have the money to do so. Our rookie quarterback will be cheap, but make a huge impact immediately.

Running Back: $7,980,000, 4.24% of salary cap, 8.21% total

  1. Starter; $4,500,000, 2.39% of salary cap
  2. Backup; $2,200,000, 1.17% of salary cap
  3. 3rd String; $800,000, 0.43% of salary cap
  4. 4th String; $480,000, 0.26% of salary cap

Even with more cap space, I spent less on running backs this time around. I saved $800,000 dollars, or 0.43% of salary cap space, in this scenario. I just don’t believe that running backs are that impactful, and I would prefer to have many different options than just one good running back.

Wide Receiver: $18,490,000, 9.82% of salary cap, 18.03% total

  1. X Receiver; $10,500,000, 5.58% of salary cap
  2. Z Receiver; $3,750,000, 1.99% of salary cap
  3. Slot Receiver; $2,250,000, 1.2% of salary cap
  4. 4th Receiver; $550,000, 0.29% of salary cap
  5. 5th, 6th, and 7th Receivers; $480,000 each, 0.78% of salary cap combined

I also decided to spend less on receiver. This time, I saved around $2,480,000 dollars. I spent more on my top receiver though, but less at slot and Z receiver. I prefer to draft and develop receivers over time instead. Receiver just isn’t an important position to me, as we can scheme receivers open in our offensive scheme.

Tight End: $7,730,000, 4.11% of salary cap, 22.14% total

  1. Starter; $6,000,000, 3.19% of salary cap
  2. 2nd Tight End; $1,250,000, 0.66% of salary cap
  3. 3rd Tight End; $480,000, 0.26% of salary cap

Another position, and another case of spending less money. I spent $870,000 less on tight ends this time, mainly by just paying my backup tight end less. I still don’t think it is super valuable, and prefer to spend money elsewhere.

Tackle: $14,125,000, 7.51% of salary cap, 29.65% total

  1. Left Tackle; $5,500,000, 2.92% of salary cap
  2. Right Tackle; $8,000,000, 4.25% of salary cap
  3. Backup Tackle; $625,000, 0.33% of salary cap

I spent a lot more on tackles this time. It was close to $2,000,000 more on tackles alone. I upgraded both of my starting tackles, just to let my rookie quarterback be more comfortable. Still, I didn’t overspend on tackle, as we will find guys and develop instead of reaching for talent.

Guard: $8,850,000, 4.7% of salary cap, 34.35% total

  1. Left Guard; $5,000,000, 2.66% of salary cap
  2. Right Guard; $2,250,000, 1.2% of salary cap
  3. First Backup Guard; $1,000,000, 0.53% of salary cap
  4. Second Backup Guard; $600,000, 0.32% of salary cap

We spent about $1,900,000 more on guards this time around. With more free cash, I decided to help our quarterback out in the trenches. Since our quarterback is young, he will panic more under pressure, so we need to keep him clean until he develops more.

Center: $3,000,000, 1.59% of salary cap; 35.94% total

  1. Center; $3,000,000, 1.59% of salary cap

We doubled the spending on center this time, and just like guard, we are gonna help our young guy since we have the cash to do so. This time, our center will have more experience, and be able to help make calls on the offensive line as well.

Defensive End: $31,600,000, 16.79% of salary cap, 52.73% total

  1. Weak-side Defensive End; $18,000,000, 9.56% of salary cap
  2. Strong-side Defensive End; $8,000,000, 4.25% of salary cap
  3. 3rd Defensive End; $3,500,000, 1.86% of salary cap
  4. 4th Defensive End; $1,500,000, 0.8% of salary cap
  5. 5th Defensive End; $600,000; 0.32% of salary cap

This is the bread and butter of our team; the defensive line. With so much extra cash after only spending 36% of our salary cap on offense, we are gonna build a dominant defensive line. At defensive end, we spent nearly $6,000,000 more on production this time. We got deeper, and better, at every position of the defensive line. Every single one of these guys will contribute a lot, being versatile and getting a lot of pressure over the season.

Defensive Tackle: $25,000,000, 13.28% of salary cap; 66.01% total

  1. Three Technique Defensive Tackle; $20,000,000, 10.63% of salary cap
  2. Nose Tackle; $2,000,000, 1.06% of salary cap
  3. 2nd Nose Tackle; $1,750,000, 0.93% of salary cap
  4. 2nd Three Technique Defensive Tackle; $1,250,000, 0.66% of salary cap

We also upgraded in the interior, spending $4,000,000 more on defensive tackles this time. We mainly got deeper, by signing two nose tackles at high prices, and our fourth defensive lineman got a pay bump as well. These guys will be key, moving around everywhere and providing much needed depth.

Linebacker: $10,080,000, 5.36% of salary cap; 71.37% total

  1. MIKE Linebacker; $3,500,000, 1.86% of salary cap
  2. WILL Linebacker; $2,000,000, 1.06% of salary cap
  3. SAM Linebacker; $2,500,000, 1.33% of salary cap
  4. Backup MIKE; $1,000,000, 0.53% of salary cap
  5. Backup WILL; $600,000, 0.32% of salary cap
  6. Backup SAM; $480,000, 0.26% of salary cap

Linebackers were improved, with a near $4,000,000 pay bump in talent. Last time, I said linebackers don’t matter to me as much, which is still true. I just decided to spend a bit more on talent this time, getting more versatile at our positions. We can now afford to spend on guys who can cover and tackle well, which we couldn’t last time.

Cornerback: $26,230,000, 13.94% of salary cap, 85.31% total

  1. 1st Cornerback; $12,500,000, 6.64% of salary cap
  2. 2nd Cornerback; $8,000,000, 4.25% of salary cap
  3. Slot Cornerback; $4,500,000, 2.39% of salary cap
  4. 4th Cornerback; $750,000, 0.4% of salary cap
  5. 5th Cornerback; $480,000, 0.26% of salary cap

Cornerback saw a $6,000,000 raise in talent, as we prioritized the position a lot more. We won’t rely on rookies as much, but good, experienced veterans to win. Our first cornerback will be better as well, as we can spend to keep him around for much longer than before. Cornerback will be huge for us, as we have to stop opposing offenses from passing the ball against us.

Safety: $23,300,000, 12.38% of salary cap, 97.69% total

  1. Strong Safety; $14,000,000, 7.44% of salary cap
  2. Free Safety; $5,500,000, 2.92% of salary cap
  3. 3rd Safety; $2,500,000, 1.33% of salary cap
  4. 4th Safety; $800,000, 0.43% of salary cap
  5. 5th Safety; $500,000, 0.27% of salary cap

Safety saw the biggest increase in cash output. Nearly $8,000,000 more was spent on safeties this time than before. We mainly put more money into our starting safeties. Strong safety saw a large pay increase, but free safety got close to $2,500,000 more invested. Our safety position is gonna be deep, with a lot of versatility. We need our safeties to do everything for us; have range, cover, tackle, be our leaders, and play a little of cornerback as well. To have guys who can do all this well, we needed to spend a lot, and this amount of cash justifies that need.

Special Teams: $2,155,000, 1.15% of salary cap, 98.84% total

Like last time, we went cheap on special teams. Our special teams coach will find guys that can contribute for cheap, so we can spend elsewhere. I don’t believe in overpaying special teams, since there are so many different people who are all good at special teams.

Total Salary Cap Spent; $186,020,000, 98.84% of salary cap

Salary Cap Left; $2,180,000, 1.16% of salary cap

Nate Christensen covers the NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs for Fan Source. Follow him on Twitter @natech479.

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