But what if you had to take into account the $116 million salary cap for the 2008 season? Now, Manning ($18.7M cap number), Tomlinson ($7.8M) and Urlacher ($5.8M) might not fit into your 53-man roster plans.
For the inaugural SI.com Salary Cap Roster Challenge, we gave our personnel experts Michael Lombardi and Bucky Brooks $116 million apiece and told them to go build a team, using current players' 2008 cap numbers. Here is Michael's team and here is Bucky's team. We then asked resident handicapper Dr. Z to break down each man's team and simulate a game between the two squads. Here is Dr. Z's breakdown.
Additionally, there were a few other ground rules:
• To include the 2008 rookies, the majority of whom have not signed yet, the following salaries were assigned to rookies based on their draft status: $2 million for first-rounders, $1 million for second-rounders, $500,000 for third-rounders, $400K for fourth-rounders, $350K for fifth-rounders and $300K for sixth- and seventh-rounders and undrafted free agents.
• To ensure no player appeared on both rosters, Lombardi and Brooks turned in their rosters to a third party, who then had them change the duplicate players. This process was repeated until both rosters were unique.
• To better define strategy and to complete the team, Lombardi and Brooks were instructed to pick a coach, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator.
And why should the experts have all the fun? For your own roster-making pleasure, we inputted the 2008 cap numbers of every player under contract heading into training camp. Feel free to create your own 53-man rosters and send them along to firstname.lastname@example.org.