Kent: 14 players on minimum wage would still bust Dogs’ cap
BULLDOGS fans are fuming at reports that club favourites David Klemmer and Moses Mbye could be forced out after this season but a breakdown of the club's salary cap position exposes just how dire roster management has got at Belmore.
NRL rules require every club to register 30 contracts with a minimum wage of $85,000 per season but even if Canterbury filled out their remaining 14 roster spots for 2019 with players on the minimum wage they would still bust the cap.
That's according to senior News Corp journalist Paul Kent who told NRL 360 on Wednesday night that the Bulldogs only have $800,000 to spend and 14 roster spots to fill to complete a squad for next season.
"The maths are it is impossible for the Bulldogs to put a side out next year of 30 players (if they don't release some contracted players). It's impossible," Kent said.
"They are 14 players off contract at the end of this season.
"Which, by the time those 14 players are taken out but the remaining 16 players qualify for next year's contracts, some of which contain back-ended deals, they have $800,000 left in the cap, to spend on 14 players.
"Now the minimum wage is $85,000. $85,000 spread across 14 players comes to $1.19 million.
"So therefore you're still $390,000 over the cap even if you pay all 14 players you need to have on your roster minimum wage."
It's a frightening reality for the Bulldogs to face and it explains why they must convince rival clubs to take some of their stars off their hands.
For argument's sake, if Canterbury got the full 2019 salaries of Mbye and Klemmer off their books it would give them roughly an extra $1.6 million to play with on top of the $800,000 currently available to them.
Even then they would have to secure 16 players on an average of $150,000 per man, which is very much at the lower end of the salary ladder in clubland.
It's why Klemmer, a player who lives and breathes the Bulldogs, didn't slam the door shut on an off-season move when he was asked about it earlier this week.
After saying: "I'm contracted here at the moment and I could never see myself leaving, I love the club," Klemmer added the caveat that "it is a business and if you get the tap so be it".
What many Bulldogs fans don't understand is why you would be shopping around your best players when there are others on big salaries who aren't performing well.
The reason for this is that other NRL clubs are unlikely to agree to take on the majority of a player's high salary if that player isn't performing or in demand.
The Bulldogs have run out of room to negotiate.
"What's unpalatable for Canterbury is that unfortunately, and the fans are going to be hurt by this, but every player has to be on the market," Kent said.
"They can't just find the guys that they want to get rid of, that don't provide value for money anymore because no club is going to want them or want to take part of their salary."
Salary cap dramas have followed Aaron Woods around, with the Wests Tigers spending most of his career there in the doldrums due to an unbalanced roster.
This season for the first time the Tigers have started to emerge from the mire but Woods and his hefty salary have contributed to a new crisis at Belmore.
The NSW and Australia rep was grilled over this irony by media on Thursday morning but he said all the players could do was take care of business on the field.
"As a playing group we get together and the best thing for us to do is play footy," Woods said.
"All the other stuff's out of our control, it's for the people upstairs. We don't get involved in that. All we can control is what we do on the field and that's our job."