Flyers sign Weber to offer sheet

After weeks of speculation, the Flyers signed restricted free agent (RFA), defenseman Shea Weber to an offer sheet. General manager Paul Holmgren issued a statement on Thursday morning confirming the move:

“The Philadelphia Flyers have signed restricted free agent (D) Shea Weber to an offer sheet. There will be no further comment at this time.”

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported it is for 14 years in excess of $100 million. Nashville has seven days to match or choose to accept four first-round draft picks as compensation.

In addition, Preds GM David Poile issued his own statement minutes ago:

“We are in receipt of the offer sheet signed between the Philadelphia Flyers and Shea Weber. Under the rules pertaining to an offer sheet, the Predators have one week to decide whether to match or accept the compensation. We have stated previously that, should a team enter into an offer sheet with Shea, our intention would be to match and retain Shea. Our ownership has provided us with the necessary resources to build a Stanley Cup-winning team. Due to the complexity of the offer sheet, we will take the appropriate time to review and evaluate it and all of its ramifications in order to make the best decision for the Predators in both the short and long-term.

“We do not anticipate any further comments on this situation until we make our decision within the next seven days.”

Bill Meltzer has even speculated we may see another Chris Gratton situation, and that Weber may ultimately be traded to us for a package of players and picks, rather than just the draft pick compensation.

The hulking center was acquired in late Summer 1997, as Mike Jensen of the Inquirer wrote at the time: “Gratton, whom the Flyers had signed to a five-year, $16.5 million offer sheet…the Lightning could have kept him by matching the Flyers’ offer to the restricted free agent. Technically, Tampa Bay did not have to match the offer, (but) traded back to the Flyers the four first-round draft picks Philadelphia had to give the Lightning as compensation for signing Gratton. In return, Tampa Bay received (Mikael) Renberg and (Karl) Dykhuis.

I guess it’s fitting I wrote my latest CBA 101 piece about RFA compensation. I overlooked one detail though. For contracts five years or longer, the compensation range is determined by merely taking 1/5 of the total dollar amount; rather than just using the cap hit. That means this offer sheet clearly hits the four 1st round pick compensation level.

I personally don’t see how Nashville doesn’t match. Ignore the fact that it’s Shea Weber, and they’ve already lost Ryan Suter. Ignore anything hockey related for the moment.

Most people are aware that no player’s cap hit can exceed 20 percent of the Upper Limit. However — and I was unaware of this as well (credit to our very own penaltykiller for pointing it out)– salary and bonuses also cannot exceed 20% of the Upper Limit in any given League Year. That means Weber cannot make more than $14.04 million in a single year. The speculated $26 million (also from Darren Dreger) that some have said in one year, can’t be possible unless they spread it out over two different league years. (Note: I noticed now that it was reported $26 million in one “calendar year”. That technically is possible as a “League Year”, is not the same as a “calendar year”.)

I personally don’t see how Nashville let’s Weber go for “only” $14.04 million even for multiple years.

I’m trying to think of something I may be overlooking, because it seems like every time some sort of big news happens, some little golden nugget of information pops up that everyone seems to forget about, or is unaware of.

The only thing I can think of is that maybe the large majority of this contract is in signing bonuses? I’d imagine that it’s harder for Nashville to pay Weber in $14.04 million checks rather than in salary spread out over the course of the season.

Needless to say, it will be an interesting seven days!

  • Brad

    Is there any possibility that a trade has been agreed to and this is just the first step in solidifying terms with Weber long term? Homer and Poile have made deals in the past right? or maybe that was Clarke. Still, I think they wouldn’t have done this without the expectation it will happen. OR maybe they’re just ensuring he stays in Western Conference…

    • Brian Smith

      That’s a pretty big stretch… It’s possible, but there’s no need for the Flyers to OS Weber. The Preds could have signed & traded, or just traded outright with Weber and the Flyers agreeing to a deal in principle. The OS appears to be more of a way for the Flyers to ensure Weber doesn’t play anywhere aside from NSH or PHL for the next 3-4 years. And that’s all. Now, that doesn’t mean that they won’t come to terms on a deal with picks/players if Weber does sign….but I don’t think the OS was part of a mutual plan at all.

  • Brad

    Are you saying the difference between Bonus and Salary is it’s paid right up front upon signing in one big check as opposed to spread out across the season? How does this offer compare to their Suter offer?

    • penaltykiller

      Yes, bonuses are paid immediately upfront. For example when the Wild signed Suter and Parise on the 4th of July their signing bonuses were $10M each. They had to cut them each a $10M check on July 4.

  • Brad

    So are you saying all $14.04 million is possibly paid at the start of the season in September, and an additional 12 million is scheduled to be paid in September 2013… therefore being 26 in one calendar year?

    • Kevin Christmann

      Could be $14.04 right away, then another $14.04 on July 1st 2013. (And again on July 1st 2014 if they wanted).

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