Team Finances/Free Agency Update

While we are waiting for Monday’s release, we have a big update related to Team Finances and Free Agency coming down the road to share with you. The goal is to give leagues new options to control their free agent markets. Highlights include:

Hard Salary Cap – league option, teams must stay under the salary cap at all times.

Binding One-Year Contracts – league option, players you have at the flip are locked in for the season.

(Beta Test) Contract Renewal Bonuses – league option, veterans want more money to stay away from the free agent market.

New Team Finances page – a central location to organize a team’s signing decisions for the current and upcoming year.  


The details:

Hard Salary Cap league option

Approximately 30% of teams in active leagues are over the salary cap – enforcing a hard salary cap will immediately liven up free agent markets.

  • Managers will choose to sign or release each of their players for next season.  Those choices are processed at the season flip. 
  • The default signing order before user interaction will be: Low Minors highest to lowest salary, Active Roster highest to lowest salary, AAA highest to lowest salary. Once the cap is reached, remaining players will be released. 
  • This is only the default setting – managers have the entire postseason to choose what players they want to release. No other user will be able to see these decisions and they will take effect on the flip.
  • To enforce the hard-salary cap without limiting draft choices, draftees will cost nothing in the year they are drafted.  (Managers will be able to see a players’ “next year’s salary” at the time of the draft, to be able to financially plan accordingly)

Binding Contracts league option

  • Option for Hard Salary Cap leagues – players you choose to keep are locked into one-year deals at the flip, and can’t be released until the next flip.
  • Cap space is going to be valuable – owners have to decide how much space to keep open for free agency/trading down the road.  If you lock up all your cap space and somebody good shows up in free agency at the flip that you want…uh-oh.

(Beta Test) Contract Renewal Bonuses league option

  • Leagues choose the age when players start demanding renewal bonuses (default 28yo), and the bonus amount (default 25% over base salary).  
  • This is a way to force more free agency decisions on players as they start to age, while still allowing owners the chance to keep any specific player they are attached to.  You pay a premium to keep them from going to the open market.
  • We will be unretiring a league to use as a Beta Test for contract renewal bonuses – if you are interested in participating, please PM citizenclone.

New Team Finances Page

  • Per January Updates, player salaries for next season are calculated at the beginning of the post-season.
  • The Team Finances page will show with 100% accuracy what players’ salary demands are for next season / whether they intend to retire.  As previously announced, overbids will not decay – players will demand the exact same overbid each season, until they return to free agency.  
  • Managers will be able to choose to sign or release each player at the flip.  For teams over the cap in hard-cap leagues, managers will see what players will be released if they make no changes.  


These options, along with the ability to set the league salary cap, give leagues a lot of control over how much free agent activity they want.

  • If you want teams to be able to keep almost everybody for their entire careers, you can work with a high salary cap and stick with current rules.
  • If you want players to change teams more often – enforce a lower, hard salary cap with binding contracts, to give owners hard choices to make each season.

Multi-year contracts and more complex free agency rules are for down the road – for now, we’re looking to learn about the impact of finances on gameplay, as leagues try out these options.