Going over roster/cap limits towards the end of the season

A related question, say, for example, a team makes a dozen of such final day claims. In doing so, he goes way over his team’s cap space and roster limits. Will the system allow this team to participate in arbitration in this illegal state? I don’t think it should.

There aren’t cap and roster limits in the offseason. If there were, 99% of teams would be in an illegal state, between loans no longer existing (they disappear on the last day of the regular season) and the 60-day DL disappearing.

I spoke to this a little bit here:

All teams are eligible to participate in arbitration. It is up to each league to determine how comfortable or uncomfortable they are with purposefully circumventing cap / roster rules towards the end of the regular season. There was a long debate in Slack a couple of years ago about the practice of starting 50+ auctions on the last possible day, and it basically comes down to whatever your league is ok with and setting expectations so everyone is on the same page.

But there is an important distinction between teams becoming “illegal” due to the offseason reset as opposed to entering the off-season in a true illegal state (even if it is less than 24 hours), right? I think there should be a mechanism in place that maintains the integrity of the caps. A team spending $ or taking on roster spots the systems indicates it doesn’t have, doesn’t seem like a practice that should be allowable to me.

Thanks for the quick response!

I agree, but that line becomes blurry quickly, which is why it is up to leagues to set the boundaries.

We had an owner start a bunch of auctions in the original league a few years back, we talked it through, and it hasn’t come up since because we all kind of agreed it wasn’t great.

I noticed this issue in a couple of leagues last year - one guy in particular rostering 60+ guys at the end of the season.

I made it very clear in 160 that any team pulling that stunt would have the transactions reversed a week prior to the end of the season.

The only other league that this occurred in is unlikely to continue going forward - so was just one team being funny.

I agree with Niv on this. Our league decided last year to set an unofficial deadline at arbitration that teams needed to be legal or the commissioner could remove a team’s most recently added players.

In one of my leagues a couple of higher dollar guys came available as cuts last week (week 2 of playoffs). We have now had 2 teams win players at auction (Scherzer $35 and Buehler $38) that put them over the salary cap. They are now trying to ride out an invalid roster for the last 2 weeks of the season since they are eliminated to avoid having to make any cuts. Both are $22+ over the cap.

I am the commish of the league and posted to the message board that having an invalid roster is against Ottoneu rules and asked them to have a valid roster within 48 hours of the message posting. If they are still at an invalid roster state after the 48 hour window, what should be the next steps?

I feel as though it is an illegal advantage they are taking to go over the cap to win players at auction and then not making their roster valid again. Many other teams would have bid on those guys if they thought they could go over the cap and ride it out until the offseason.

Bumping this thread.

Everything you said here is right and on point. I’m ok with pretty harsh punishment for owners who are knowingly exploiting this situation, but as mentioned in this thread, sometimes people just aren’t checking their team super actively. I do not have great answers - it is up to your league to figure out what is the appropriate time period and the appropriate punishment for not exploiting these rules.

I think a fair way to treat this, if they still have an illegal roster after a fair warning, is for the commish to go back to the most recent auction(s) and treat it as though the offending team hadn’t participated at all, rewarding the player to the team that came in 2nd at the price they would have gotten the player for otherwise. Do that as many time as necessary until the offending team has a legal roster.

Seems like the most fair way to only punish the team breaking the rule.


An idea I had suggested to me by another owner in our league is a “luxury tax”. This would be any $ amount over the cap a team is at the end of the league year is subtracted from their salary cap for the next season. So basically if a team is at $420 at a $400 cap at the end of the season, the next league year their salary cap would start at $380 instead of $400.

I thought this was an interesting idea. Thoughts on it for the future?

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So… anyone who takes a loan for a trade at all? Seems a little broad.

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This is a pretty interesting idea and I could see some value in making this a league option sometime in the future.

This would just be anyone over the cap at the end of the season. So if they had a loan which put their cap at $450 but only had $448 in salary they would be fine. Now if they had a loan which put their cap at $450 and they ended the season with $460 in salary (invalid roster), then next season their salary cap would start at $390 since they were $10 over a valid roster at the end of the season.

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This is a really specific solution that doesn’t address the situation where someone has 45 players in 40 roster spots but is under $400 in total cap used so I don’t think it addresses things as well as just moving players off teams that don’t get legal.

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What if someone is at $289 because of loans giving out? Add a player which technically doesn’t take them over 400 but would technically make roster illegal until offseason? That legal?

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I’m not sure its worth going through every single specific scenario here. The advice is this:

Set expectations with your league. Get everyone on the same page. Enforce how you all collectively see fit.

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Hi Nivshah,

I think you did an outstanding job in a crazy short seasoned year.

I just wanted you opinion on something.

I am in 5 leagues. On the last day in one league an owner picked up several older high priced players that put him over the player and salary limit knowing that he didn’t have to or couldn’t cut anyone or comply with the salary rules. He has 5 players over and around minus -50 in salary.

I have been in leagues like this for over 20 years and I have seen owners try to push the rules to their advantage before. Is this a loophole in the rules or something well within the rules a a smart play on his part?


This thread and a couple others like it cover a variety of outlooks on this kind of play.

If I am reading the rules correctly -

  1. There is no salary limit in the offseason, so if I am over the salary cap it won’t matter until after the keeper deadline/before the auction.

  2. There is no IL in the offseason, so the roster limit is not expanded for players on the IL.

  3. I can keep those IL players on my roster over the roster limit during arbitration, but I need to cut them before the keeper deadline in order to not have a cap penalty, and before the auction in order to participate.

Is that right?

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