Franson wants 1 year, but the Leafs aren’t having it

Franson wants 1 year, but the Leafs aren’t having it

Photo: Nathan Denette/Canadian Press

An interesting development in the Cody Franson contract talks today, one that seems to explain the reported desire from Franson’s camp to sign a one-year contract for the second summer in a row. Darren Dreger is reporting that the Leafs are not willing to give Franson the one-year contract he’s asking for as the negotiations sit idle with camp underway.

If Dreger’s information is accurate, this is an interesting case where the Leafs appear to actually want to bridge a player to unrestricted free agency rather than renegotiate with him as an RFA in an off-season where the team has a whack of important players on expiring contracts. The fear on Nonis’ behalf is that a one-year contract puts the Leafs in a situation where they could easily lose Franson next off-season, when the Leafs are vulnerable (may not be able to afford him, and he could file for arbitration).

It could be that the Leafs‘ glut of defence prospects makes Franson tradable in a season. Or it could be that he cements his place in the team’s core. Either way, having him locked up past this season at a cheap number may be preferred in the Leafs‘ case, whether they are trading him or keeping him.

Franson’s position seems to be that he cannot receive the salary he desires given the current cap ceiling and the Leafs‘ tight cap situation in particular. He rather not lock himself in at the projected $2.5 million figure the Leafs are offering for the next two years. Instead, he would like to take another one year deal, work at continuing his upward trajectory from last season over 82 games, and negotiate from a stronger bargaining position next off season.

More simply put, Franson may not want a two-year bridge into unrestricted free agency because, as it stands, he can’t get the salary he wants for the next two years. Franson hopes to bring his first big contract one year closer by signing the one year deal.

This is a 6’5 defenceman who really emerged offensively and added some snarl to his game last season. He’s a piece the Leafs are kind of counting on to fill out their top 4 next season. We’ll see if Nonis can patiently win this negotiation as he did with Kadri. The likes of Morgan Rielly coming to camp gunning for a spot and the cap space, and Paul Ranger fighting for minutes as well, may help his cause as far the club’s leverage goes.

235 comments
BPsotka
BPsotka

Would it be possible to sign Franson to a one-year deal and then an immediate multi-year extension for more years, thus having a smaller cap hit just for this one year?

VaiveOClockSomewhere
VaiveOClockSomewhere

My quick thoughts after media day:

1) Kadri looked like a teenager last year. Looks like a man now. I think that bodes well for the team.

2) Is anyone NOT a Paul Ranger fan now?

Dangle_My_Berries
Dangle_My_Berries

tomorrow we should start seeing some real news out of camp...

Cartsy
Cartsy

How was this guy not signed before Gunnarsson and Fraser?

Mattmark
Mattmark

The one year-vs.-two year term seems to be an artificial negotiating bottleneck... unless there's something I'm misunderstanding (which is entirely possible).  The cap is recalculated on a seasonal basis, and there's widespread expectation that it's heading upward in 2014-2015.  All teams have to do to respect the 2013-2014 cap is ensure that the money they pay out this season doesn't exceed it.  What does this have to do with the following season?  What's preventing Leafs from signing Franson to a two-year deal that pays him considerably more in the second year ( 2014-2015), when they'll presumably be in a position to do this, than in the first (2013-2014)?  How could this possibly be considered cap circumvention if the team's payroll doesn't exceed the cap in either of those seasons? 

.JVR.
.JVR.

On the heels of the breaking news that Liles has changed his number from 24 to 26, it looks like Colborne will be wearing his more familiar #22 for the Leafs this season.

.JVR.
.JVR.

@BPsotka 

I asked this last week, but didn't seem to get much of a response.

I'm guessing there is a rule in place that an extension can't be signed until the calendar turns to 2014?

Not 100% sure, but I can't see the NHL allowing that or more teams would have taken advantage of it this summer.

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Dangle_My_Berries 

What, you mean Liles wasting a perfecting good Leafs jersey by changing his number to 26 before he gets traded?

mcloki
mcloki

Cap is the average.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

The cap hit is the average of all the years of the contract. The rule changed in the new CBA.

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Pent_House

Yup, Franson should have opted for Arbitration and he probably would have gotten the $3.5-$4 million he was looking for.

Mattmark
Mattmark

@mcloki Yes, I see the problem now.  Sorry for my ignorance, but I didn't realize the cap is actually a fiction (in the sense that it can be completely detatched from what a team actually commits to its players over the course of any given season).

Mattmark
Mattmark

@Bobsyouruncle @Mattmark Why on earth would you 'average' salaries paid in separate years?  He'll never be  paid the average... he'll be paid at two different rates.

Oh, right, the team will be breaking the rules... even if this particular rule is a total abstraction that has no connection with a team's actual payroll expenditure for a given season.  So my question is answered... it's just logic and reason that remain unsatisfied.

Dangle_My_Berries
Dangle_My_Berries

@CanuckUKinToronto @.JVR. he said that it was the number he used growing up and when he joined the Leafs he meant to ask for it, but it wasnt available. This season he ask and he received..

.JVR.
.JVR.

@BPsotka

If Nonis is set on a 2-year deal, Franson will be signing a 2-year deal.

It's just a matter of how much training camp Cody wants to miss over it.

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Mattmark

That wasn't the principle at issue when I made the original post.

I was just stating that since he changed his number, the Leafs had to make him a new jersey to wear in training camp and he's gonna be traded anyways.

They should have just told him to wait until he is in Carolina to ask for #26, haha.

Mattmark
Mattmark

@Dangle_My_Berries @Mattmark @.JVR. Doesn't matter if he was being sarcastic or not.... the principle at issue is unchanged.  What if Kessel got a new number mere days afer you'd invested in his jersey?  My guess is the store would say, 'Consider yourself lucky: now you own an instant, antiquarian souvenir.'

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Dangle_My_Berries

haha, I was being sarcastic man.

Hence the ;) after my post, lol.


Do you really think I'd buy a Liles jersey?

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Dangle_My_Berries

Yea, I bought the Liles Winter Classic jersey on NHL.com and now it's got the wrong number on the back ;)

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Matt was wondering why we couldn't give Franson $3 million this year then $4 million or whatever next year when the cap goes up on a two year deal, not realizing the cap is averaged over the two years.

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Xxxxxnew 

I think we all realize that, not sure why you're reminding us, lol.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Before this version of the cap a team could add 4 years at the end of the contract when the player was say 38-42 at $1 million per in order to bring down the average of the cap hit over a 12 year contract. So if the guy was making say $6-8 million all those other years, all that had to happen was for the player to retire before his last four years and the team would have circumvented the cap by being allowed over the course of the contract to divide the salary by 12 years instead of the 8 the player actually played.

Mattmark
Mattmark

@Xxxxxnew If what a team actually pays out in any given season doesn't exceed a certain agreed-upon upper limit, I still don't grasp in what sense this limit has been 'circumvented' just because you've made a different commitment for another season entirely.  If dollars-per-season is the unit of measurement in which the cap limit is expressed, it's illogical not to use this unit consistently.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

I was glad they rejigged the cap calculation to cut out some of the circumvention crap.

Mattmark
Mattmark

@Cameron19 @Mattmark @mcloki Given that the league held the whip hand in negotiations, it's puzzling it would have chosen to tie management's hands in such a strange way... one that makes it so difficult to plan for the future.  I suppose they were concerned about teams entering into long-term commitments they'd subsequently be unable to meet.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Mattmark @Cameron19 @mcloki To be fair, it is more difficult to do this now.  The new CBA does severely limit your ability to have salaries that are much higher or lower than the cap hit.  That's why the Getzlaf/Perry contracts appear to be so large.  Even with Clarkson, under the old CBA, we might have made his 7 year deal a 10 year deal, and brought his cap hit down to 3.7 million - like Detroit did with Franzen. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Mattmark @mcloki The Sabres were spending 80 million dollars on payroll the year the cap was 64 million (2011, I believe). 

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

I wasn't talking rich vs poor. Under the previous system if the player walked away with five years left at $1 million per, after being paid $8 million over the previous 10 years, the team circumvented the cap by being allowed to average the salary for cap purposes over 15 years instead of the 10 years the player actually played. That was the type of circumvention I was talking about that was halted with limited variances in year to year salaries and also because retired players cap hits keep going, not including injuries etc.

Mattmark
Mattmark

@Xxxxxnew Everyone understands that the cap is supposed to level the playing field.  (It also, not incidentally, saves the owners money by averting bidding wars.)  But when it comes to ridiculously long-term contracts that players are expected to walk away from in their final years, how does this help rich teams any more than poor ones?  What does it matter what the size of a commitment is if, in the end, you're going to walk away from it?

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Well, the cap was introduced because Detroit was spending $74 million a decade ago when a team like Minnesota was only paying out $24 million a season.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Xxxxxnew It's still possible for it to be quite significant.  And yea, generally speaking, with those types of players you're hoping to pawn them off on teams that aren't cap teams later in the deal anyways, so salary would be my main concern. 

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

That would be an advantage in salary savings to the new team but the cap hit would be the same, wouldn't change. Also you can only front end load by a certain percentage now.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Bobsyouruncle @Mattmark We have started paying out portions of the annual salaries in the form of signing bonuses though, which will help with moving players later in their contract.  

-

Back-ending a deal also makes it cheaper on the cap to buy out. But yea, generally, you would think front-ending would still be the way to go. 

Mattmark
Mattmark

@Bobsyouruncle @Mattmark "They have turned the life of the average citizen into a business, perhaps the worst definition of human life ever invented."

--Saul Bellow