As I have been saying all the while I have been posting. The rookie"cap" numbers, as well as all players on the final squad as well as those that get placed on IR as well as PUP players have to fit under the salary cap when the season starts.
So if my math is correct 35(under contract for next year) + 18 ( needed to reach roster total) +any placed on IR at any point in the season have to fit under the salary cap at the end of the year.
Now the rookies (probably 7) and 11 other players fall into that 18 needed to field a team all have to come in under that 18.5 mil salary cap number.
And since we know that Pat has not allowed either Josh or John to spend that full value. I will guess that last year 11.5 will be the cushion that Pat wants under the cap. Again if my math is correct we will have 7 mil to sign those 18 players we need to, to reach our roster levels.
Now there are some gyrations that can be done to save money like cutting existing players, but when you do that you still have to replace them and their bonus money (left Orr proration) comes due and is taken out of the cap. For example if we cut DJ we lose his 6 mil salary but have to account for his 1.7 bonus money therefore it is a net savings of 4.3 mil and we still have to replace his body.. For me that is a no brainer. He is at best a backup WLB and we already have two players making less than his 4.3 doing that.
Hope this concludes this conversation.