Crunch Time Want to get a salary cap guru's take on pro football? is just your site

December 11, 2000

It evolved from a 20-page report that had no readership. Terry
O'Neil was entering his fourth year as the Saints' salary cap
consultant when, in the wake of the dismissal of coach Mike Ditka
last January, he got the ax. O'Neil was left with a ring binder
full of research and recommendations on how to operate under the
NFL cap, and plenty of time to mull his future. Scanning the
Internet, O'Neil had an epiphany: "I knew more than anything I
read on the Web. I thought, There must be a market for this."

So on Sept. 1 O'Neil launched O'Neil writes a column
five times a week, including Mondays, when he offers insightful
postmortems in his "What We Saw Yesterday" feature. But his best
work comes in his detailed evaluations of every franchise's
talent and prospects. His two-part assessment of the Cowboys
resembled an annual report. Using a table, O'Neal showed that
Dallas might have a whopping $20.3 million in "dead money"--cash
available under the salary cap for next season--if it doesn't
re-sign a slew of veterans, including Emmitt Smith (number 22
above, $8.2 million salary) and cornerback Kevin Smith ($3.2
million). Another section, "NFL's 20 Worst Injuries," updated
four times daily, is the most informative such report available
on the Web. On Wednesdays veteran statistical maven Bud Goode
employs his 17-variable formula to predict the winners and the
margins of the coming weekend's games.

The sheer density of information tempts you to log off. O'Neil
might take that as a compliment.

--John O'Keefe