Madden for Thumbies 1 – Team Management

1 – Team Management

A new segment I’m going to be writing for the next couple of weeks is to introduce a few rule changes/updates. However, it will also give a how-to of that topic to help everyone to comply with it. The first one is on team management. A few teams were not managed well last year which made it difficult for people coming in to that team. The new rule is as follows.

‘Each owner is required to manage their own team to a reasonable standard to maintain the integrity of the league rosters. The main points include, but are not restricted to:

  • Managing re-signings so your team can maintain quality and a healthy cap. This includes staying in a positive balance for owner funds.
  • Participating in FA and/or the draft to ensure that you have the best chance of maintaining quality on your 53 man roster.
  • A sensible level of depth on your roster by position. E.g. 15 HBs and 1 WR.
  • If you are not drafting setting a board, or attempting to get value for your picks in a trade.

Failure to do this could put your position in the league at threat, and people will be removed in excessive cases’.

Team Management Tips

Basic terms – to manage a team properly you need to understand how money works and how best to stay under the cap.

Salary Cap – The total amount you are allowed to pay your players in one year, in salaries and bonuses. Your salaries come out of your earnings and affect the amount of funds you generate. Low wage bill = more funds each week.

Funds – are important in owner mode for a few reasons detailed below. It is your actual cash as an owner. It is used for:

  • Paying bonuses to players you re-sign, draft or sign in FA. Please note you pay out a bonus in full out of your funds when a player signs a contract. However, for the purpose of cap, it comes out equally split over the length of their contract. E.g. Player signs 4 year deal with 20 million bonus. 1. You lose 20m in funds instantly and 2. You ‘pay’ 5 million (20 divided by 4) towards the cap for the player.
  • Funds affect your ability to sign players. Re-signings need funds for their bonus, but critically, you need positive funds to sign players from the FA pool to maintain roster size.
  • Being in negative funds can also get you fired in game.
  • Finally funds are used to upgrade your stadiums facilities.

Contracts – are made up of both of these things when a player signs a contract their salary is paid out of funds weekly, their bonus is paid in full on signing.

For cap purposes salaries are backloaded but shared out each year of the deal. Bonuses also count towards your cap, shared equally across the deal. You can check the details on your salary screen.

Cap Penalties – If you cut/trade players before their deal runs out you will be subject to a penalty that comes out of your cap. You can check this on your salaries screen to see if the cut will be a NET positive/negative on your cap.

Your penalty will be the rest of the bonus owed to the player. When you cut 1 years worth of the remaining bonus is applied as a penalty. The next season the rest of the entire bonus owed counts towards your cap.


People will differ in their approaches due to philosophy or conditions in madden (seasonĀ  number, or starting roster). But, I believe the key to maintaining a solid roster is re-signing your key talent. You not only retain your best players, but do not need to replace them with trades or draft picks. My approach to this is as follows:

  • First, at the start of each season identify who you would like to re-sign. This can depend on several things. I like to have 4/5 seasons in mind at the start of each madden.
  • Try to balance differing factors in this, the most important is prioritise who you can afford. You cannot always sign everyone and must think of funds and cap. Bear in mind contracts are back loaded so you can create trouble down the line with large/long deals.
  • If you have the cap room consider funds, not just this year the next too. If you are low and have, say 5 star players to sign next year you might have to let a luxury player leave now so you can sign next years crop.
  • Above all things financially, ensure your have positive funds at the end of the season. You rookies bonuses, FA bonuses and you must have positive to sign FA off the waiver wire. This could stop you reaching 53.
  • How old are they? On M17 regression hit at 28. Average players can quickly become obsolete, or those that rely on physical attributes above 90 such as CB/WR. These tend to drop by 2 a year, so re-signing your elite CB at 28 with 90 speed isn’t really realistic. However, it doesn’t mean they are useless, Ziggy Ansah was still my best DE at 33 in Madden 17. His speed/moves dropped from mid 90s to mid 80s but he was still very effective.
  • If they are old but you want to keep them think about tagging them for a 1 year deal at the end of the season. This can mean you get an extra year out of them without committing to a long term deal. Be aware you can only tag one player each off-season.
  • Do you have depth at that position? If you are struggling for cap/funds and have a line of succession for that position it may be better to trade them to maintain financial security.
  • In addition to this, think who you are going to draft, you could get value for a player in a trade, save cap knowing you will have a replacement next season.
  • If you plan ahead you can try and trade players you know you will not be keeping before the trade deadline.
  • Attempt to re-sign players at the earliest opportunity. You often get multiple goes at this during the season. Do not low ball them as this can lead to rejection.

Free Agency

If you have managed your re-signings well you should have the minimum holes in your team possible come the off-season. However, FA can be a useful tool in managing your roster. Again, I have a certain approach which is quite reserved in FA. This does not mean that big money signings cannot be useful or effective.

  • Attempt to fill your gaps in your team. This can be high or low rated. Players can be cheaper in FA than in re-signings so it is a really useful tool.
  • Be aware of the costs. When you offer a deal salary and bonus (pro-rata)go towards your cap, and the full bonus comes out of your funds instantly.
  • Be weary of age, players over 28 will regress each year. Again this does not mean they are useless and often older players can be short term bargains.
  • If you are looking for depth don’t get involved in a bidding war there will be plenty of other depth players you can try and pick up.
  • For big money signings note they will sign for the best deal. No exceptions. If you are being priced out move on to another player.
  • Look for players that might fit another positions. Safeties are often easy to fill in FA, older, tall corners often fit the bill. For example my starting safeties this years were all from FA – Micah Hyde (played CB for a season), Aquib Talib (CB) and Xavier Rhodes (CB).

The Draft

Often the big focus of team management. Picks are useful not only because they give new players. These players are easily up-gradable, and ensure the long term success of your finances are they are cheap!

  • Always do your scouting each week. You lose scouting points if you put this off. I start with positions of need and tend to buy the coaching trait for double points ASAP.
  • If you cannot attend the draft you can do two things. 1. On M18 you can set a draft board to try and get the players you want. 2. Try and trade your picks for value. Picks rise in value coming up to the draft as it is imminent in peoples minds.
  • Again, look for out of position players. For example, 3-4 DE tends to be garbage but 4-3 DTs fit there perfectly. Look for the attributes you want for that position.
  • Get any trades agreed before. The draft does not stop for them. This includes getting approval for rookie/90+/1st rounders.
  • Check the combine scores, some late round flyers can be found and upgraded later on.

This is not everything to do with management and people have different ways of conducting this process. I am happy to answer any questions in chat. The best way to practice is to SIM a single player season with your team. The above information should enable you to keep a full, reasonably skilled roster and adhere to the new rule. Next blog with be on how to user/and vary user.

Moose Out.