2016-07-08 12:10

Chapter 07 - Roster Management over the seasons
Version 1.2.0 - 03.07.2018

An essential part of the game is of course to build your team up to a certain level and once you reach that, to keep the level up over several seasons, if not for as long as possible.
There are some ways to do this and all have pros and cons.

You have 70 roster spots and you do need more than a few players ready to play in this game.
You can decide to do substitutions not very often, or never, but that will take a toll on your training progress, since you will have to train PC more often. It will also take a toll on your players performance in the last quarter of every single game, since they get more and more tired.
So overall you will need some backups for each position.
On which level those should be and could be, is up to you.

My take on this is, regarding minimum amount of players to play this:

# Players needed221517765311

That's a total of 41 players and you could reduce it by 1 if you decide to make a P/K hybrid.
You can also decide to use just 1 QB the whole game, it’s an often used strategy, with all the risks I did mention above regarding fatigue and performance.
In addition you could specialize on some positions, like only running with FB, never use RBs at all, or you could put only stars in as CB and add SFs or LBs as backups and backup-backups. You will find solutions for that.

Still, the engine will fill your game roster up with 55 players, so regardless of the numbers you put into the depth chart by yourself, if you have additional players on the roster they will end up on the game depth chart and might even play, and even worse, they will play, out of position.

Assuming you try to have at least 55 players worth a spot on the field, it leaves you with 15 spots left on the roster for developing players.

For some this seems to be way more than needed, for some it's too less.
It all depends on your roster building and roster managing strategy and that strategy is quite heavily linked with your training and coaching strategy, but it also has a managing part which goes further than just thinking about where to train what and who.
It included thinking about when to train who up to a level needed and also where to get that new player in a few season for another player leaving soon.

Player Sources
Remember you have basically 3 sources for players, Youth Academy, Draft and Transfer Market.

Youth Academy
What comes out of your Youth Academy is totally in your hand except the youth pull lottery each update. But getting 4 to 8 good enough youth players for further examination is quite likely with 24 updates and if not, you still can try to buy a few on the transfer market. Main pre condition for that is a Youth Academy on the highest level and a level 20 scout. If you decide to have less in one or both sections, the youth pull quality will suffer. With the new premium Youth Academy you will not get additional players to choose from.
At the end you will have some players out of your Youth Academy (if you did not decide to ignore it totally) and you even have the chance to build them on the best fitting position.

The draft is quite tricky and can result in 3 very good players or in 3 busts. In general at least 1 of those 3 players should be worth a career on your roster and sometime even more.
The position you get is sometimes not the most desired, depended on your draft strategy, but normally you should either get a player good enough for the job or at least good enough to coach him into that job.

Transfer Market
The transfer market is the trickiest one. There are managers which have a golden hand for buying cheap and selling with a huge profit, there are some who do it the other way around and there are some who do even ignore the market at all, or which do just buy players or just sell players.
In general the market does sell players from other teams and regularly also delivers players from former teams as free agents in all forms of quality, or even new build free agents as good or even better as draftees.
The prices are a headache. At some points you get good players for very little money and sometimes a bidding war rages over a good but not VERY good player and that guy changes teams for a 9 figure amount of money. Normally does a good player get some attention and if you like to have him, there are several teams interested which do push the price.
My advice here is, if you try to build a team around players from the market, be patient. It will save you a lot of money and even if it seems at the start that money is flooding in when the stadium is fully build, once you reach a good strength level with your team, coaches and players wages will eat your income away and you have to finance all additional expenses with the rest if there is even some.
The transfer market can be your best friend, if you did start your franchise and you already have some income from the stadium. You can get there some really nice prospects for something between 5.000$ and 20.000$ per player which do either have better skills than your initial roster players or they have a better potential than your players. But be warned, don’t dive too deep to early, wages and prices can kill you, especially if you try to grab high skilled veterans (which usually do also cost a lot more to buy, since the system does set a minimum price based on skills).

Which kind of player is needed?
You will have to decide, which way you would like to fill your roster over time and with which kind of players. Before I get into the ‘which way’ part, a short word on the ‘which kind’ part.
There are some values which are fixed and can’t be trained, mainly TW, INT and TAL.
TW will help to speed up the training (the more the better) and will give a bonus on PC on season rollover, if the value is 35+, or will give more likely to surely a small loss on rollover, if the value is below 35. Training speed has to be translated in two ways.
First you get per player more training in the same time compared to a player with less TW on the same position.
Second it will give a player the chance to train more skills to a higher level than a player with less TW on the same position. That may sound obvious, but it’s imported to understand the consequences.
A high TW player should always be the first choice, but if you think about which position it helps most think about positions with a lot of A- und B-Skills.
For example a FB or TE would need higher TW than a WR to have all A- and B-Skills on the same level, because they just need more skills to be trained on that level (means they need like 20 to 40 points more lifetime training progress).
INT is also a helpful value, but you won’t find all 50 points genius players. Some have less than 20. It’s up to you to decide whether you let a perfect athlete go, because his INT did not match the limit of maybe 30, 40 or 50 (which you did set yourself, the game does not have any limit, except 50 as max). There are positions which seemed to have limited need for high INT players, like RB, FB, TE, WR, DL or CB are possible. I’m not saying you should use every low INT player, but you should also think twice before selling or cutting a low INT player which has other benefits.
TAL is quite easy to get. TAL does limit your players non-physical skills max value and the higher it is, the higher can those skills be trained. The question you have to think about is, how high is high enough and how high is not high enough.
You don’t find 0.5* TAL players very often and they will cap at skill value 36.5 . That is for most managers not high enough, because of the strength of competition. Most managers do like 40+ on their oldest players on the A- and B-skills.
You also don’t find 5* TAL players very often and they cap at skill value 50. Most managers will tell you that this is normally too high, because they do cost a very high wage and the higher wage does not justify in most mangers opinion the few points more on skills value.
The community will very likely set the limit somewhere between 2* and 4* to be acceptable, the upper limit is of course 5*, since no manager HAS to train their player that high, but they CAN.
Bottom line is, think about the quality you would like to see and this quality level is for sure different per position.
At the start, when you do sort your initial roster, don’t be afraid to keep low talent players which are 23+ in age, since with all stuff you still have to build up and higher over the next few seasons, it’s quite unlikely those players will ever reach their full potential anyway. If they have good physicals, they are for sure better players than low physical 5* TAL players.
With the increased training speed this becomes a bit less true, since your progress will be faster now and you will likely cap low talent level players earlier, but still is the race between the young and the old there and you better think twice before firing a good low talent guy in favour of an average high talent guy.

Which way should I get a player?
Now back to the ‘which way’ topic. Here are some strategies I did see over the time.

Build through the draft:
That is for some time a buzz word in the NFL and the same is valid for some managers in RZA.
At the start is the draft you best friend, the players are way better than your initial roster material and you get 3 per season, for free. Yeah!
Of course it is obvious that the draft alone will not keep your roster alive, you need some sort of extra source, which is usually the Youth Academy.
The problem with this approach is, later in your career, when your players got coached to a higher level, like an average of 40 skill points, a draft player is never an instant starter.
He is a prospect, maybe a backup, which needs a few seasons training to be as good as your starter.
On top comes the fact that not every drafted player is worth the effort of training.
Many do lack the needed physicals, or do need a lot of training to get a clear picture on their physicals.
With an age of 19 to 23 you might even end up with a quite old guy who does only play for 7 seasons, instead of 10+.
Since the draft is more than sorting and scouting, that selection process to get the needed and desired player is at bottom line a matter of luck.
Considering this all, you need a good drafting strategy and a good coaching strategy to keep your team on top for many seasons.
The good thing is you get your players for free, which makes this a quite cheap approach and that helps with coaches and wages.

Build through the Youth Academy:
This is similar to the draft strategy, but flips the priorities.
While the draft managers do focus on the draft and try to get some extra bodies out of the Youth Academy, this path here does try to get as much positions filled from the rookies and the draftees are only a nice addition, which might solve a problem or two per season, but most of the draftees won't play for long on the roster, if ever.
If done right, it's possible to get 3-5 good players per season, sometimes more.
That also not enough to fill all spots, but close.
Biggest problem here is the available material.
Sometimes you don't get fast players, or strong ones, and dreaming of the fast AND strong one is almost useless.
And you need some time to get a clue about these qualities if you work with youth pulls.
Buying draftees for the YA could help here, but those don't come cheap.
If you don't dive into the transfer market, this approach is also a cheap one, which might even produce a profit.
All you need is a good YA strategy and a good coaching strategy.
Normally this approach does come with a problem of roster size and prospect development.
In this game, the old ones are the best and the young ones are the future stars becoming the best at some point.
With 70 players on the roster, you need spots free for each rollover and that means, around 4-7 players have to leave, each season in average (considering a big class from YA and some draft players).
Which players will you cut? The young, or younger ones, or the old veterans who are the backbone of your team?
Keep in mind, that with the new rule since season 25, the retiring players can’t be fired anymore after their last important game to create roster spots. They can only be fired prior the first regular season game, which means in the first week of the season (rollover u p d a t e Sunday and Wednesday Update), the draft week in real live. So better have a plan to create those needed spots ready in week 1. Thanks to some later changes you can now send the old guys packing again late in the season, still you need a plan how to get those spots.
With the new increased training progress the youth will now progress in development faster and therefore will challenge the old guys earlier, which will increase the pressure at bit.

Build trough the market:
This is not easy and has some cons, but if done right, it saves you of a lot of trouble.
There are several different approaches on this take alone, usually based on the coaching strategy.
A manager with some high class coaches will lack development on some positions. This can be mitigated by buying veterans on the market, which do come cheap sometimes, and sometimes not.
The rule of thumb is, the fewer seasons left in the tank, the cheaper they get.
Or you buy physically build players with very high TW and young age and build them on the high class AC positions and shift them at mid age or later to train from that point on without coaches.
Needless to say, those young players do often not come cheap also.
A manager with a more balanced coaching approach might just look for the best players available and might buy a player whenever he is in the desired price range.
The trick is then to manage the roster effectively, which means either shifting players from one position to another to fill needed or to fit better, or to adapt playing style and playbook based on available players.
Saying all this, where is the trouble saving?
If done right, you get all the players you need and want from the market and can ignore the YA and the draft. The problem is that this needs a lot of patience and work (and probably also money).

It's might not be wise to do that approach 100%, but it's possible to use it from time to time.

Fine tuning:
Once you did decide your main path (and you will probably use a mixture out of the 3 paths above with leaning on one of those strategies as main recruiting tool) the main trick is to have your team in championship form.
I did come across two main strategies here, waves and revolver.

Basic idea here is that you need some time to build a championship team and you need not only good starter, but almost as good backups. With 55 players almost on the same level, you have to let something go, in this case, a constant addition of young players.
You start with a quite high amount of young or younger players and do train them, season over season, and you don’t add many, if any, new players after that. You have maybe 8 to 15 player the same age.
You try to push the high level phase of each player that way that as much of the players as possible are on the same level or just a bit less. With so many players in so high wage regions, you will be very likely in red figures over a few seasons, once the main part of the roster gets old.
Once this gets out of control and you do see the end coming, most of the high wage players get sold, cut or retired and the team can start building again.
With 55 players on the depth chart, it’s not uncommon to have 4 to 6 ages building the major amount of players on that roster.
The rest of the roster is a mixture of bought, drafted or developed players to fill the gabs and to provide starter in the rebuild phase and backups or prospects in the championship phase.
Some managers did and do master this, based on some basic rules. First the building phase initial setup could be quite expensive, but timed and done well, not neck breaking, because you buy potential, not starter player, and the prices on the market do change often and you might set a focus not many other players do have.
The few seasons building the momentum are then quite cheap, since most players are not that expensive. Money comes in quite well.
Once the main part of the roster gets over a certain level, development might get slowed down or B-Skills are trained, until the first real punches can be thrown.
A successful team can make a lot of money in the playoffs and with a team build out of many great players, it's likely that deep runs in Supercup and league playoffs are possible.
When a championship was won, the next season also the champ of Champ cup comes in addition. In that phase it's still possible to earn money, or at least not being in the red figures.
The real competition starts when the majority of the roster gets new contract and the wages start getting out of control. The team is in red figures and depended on the success, this is a tough one, or not so tough.
Deep runs in all competitions will bring in enough to keep most teams running, but every season this gets harder and a single loss in the playoffs can cost major money.
Latest when the first few players start to retire, the team get regrouped and based on this strategy; it can happen that half of the team gets redone.
If the team was an Elite team at that point, it's likely it will drop back to level 1 and will need some seasons to get back on top.
Some teams do even drop to level 2 (sometimes on purpose) and do then come back after a few seasons.
Before season 25, at the ending of a development wave after a sudden playoff dropout it was possible to limit the financial problems by just cutting players you would have to cut or sell anyway. But with season 25 and the new retirement rule, for some time you could not send 7 to 15 retiring players packing after the crucial playoff loss and save several millions on the next few updates. Now this is again possible, so think about it, when you get into this situation.
With season 30 onward we have the increased training progress, which makes this approach faster and easier to manage. The problem is likely to sustain the roster long enough in terms of wage.

Basic idea here is to have the next replacement ready when the old guys call it quit. Every time.
This takes a lot of planning effort and good training management, since not every position is trainable the same way, thanks to the AC system.
You start with a few players and each season you add 4 to 7 additional players on positions needed.
A strategy for positions with only a few players is needed, the positions with a lot of players, like liner, do get every season a player in average.
The positions with a few players can be filled by adding only every 3 to 5 seasons a player, or they can be filled by switching older players from positions with a lot of players to that position with a few players and train them INTO this position.
Example: You might need 2 good QBs on your depth chart and should have 1 to 2 as prospects, so you add just every 3 to 5 seasons a QB to you roster and do have at some point players age 20, 23, 26 and 29. The two oldest should be the best.
This has the con that your backups have quite big gaps in skills, compared to the starter.
Or you need 3 to 4 safeties on your team and don't have a AC there, but do have a LB-AC? Switch regularly LBs to SF, better the really good ones. Say you have LBs age of 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30. Switch the 28, 29 and 30 ones to SF and build new prospects on LB until they get old and good enough to play SF.
This does have the con, that the position you strip the players off does loose some real contributors, but it gives you on the other hand quite well trained players on every position.
The whole process will bring you team to a certain level and keeps your team on that level.
You need good play calling and a bit of luck to succeed on the highest level, because a Wave-player can exceed revolver-players from time to time and with 32 teams in a league, there might be a wave-player on a peak season just ready to fill the gap when the last one did decide to rebuild.
The trick is to excel in those seasons the wave-players are weak and stand your ground on the peak seasons.
The limit of this strategy is the coaching strategy.
At some point you will reach your peak and from that time on, if you don't switch your coaching strategy, that peak will be held, more or less.
There is also a problem with your roster. If every season 4 to 7 new players do come to the roster, 4 to 7 players do have to leave your current one and you have to decide which one. Normally that includes some of the starters, because they are the old ones.
With new retiring rule since season 25, you better plan your roster spots early. Still, with the changes done afterwards you can still count on the retiring players to be cut prior rollover to create the spots needed for the young ones. But that would mean you can live with keeping all youth players in the Youth Academy until the last few weeks of the season, which often is not the case. All spots have to be created earlier, most of the time. Likely the retiring players will only open up spots for the upcoming drafties and maybe the last YA-player left to promote.
With the new training progress in season 30 your young players will progress faster now, so the pressure on the old guys will be bigger. With a full roster this will create challenges on wages and the question when to let go of an older player.

Losing players:
Of course you will have players leaving the team over the season. There are four ways to lose a player. Retiring, selling, cutting and leaving because of no renewed contract.

Retiring is quite easy. With age of 30+ do players think about retiring, the older the more likely they will decide to retire. There is a small chance that even in that case the player will play another season or more, if paid right (he will ask for a big bonus on his team page and if that is payed he will be treated as a normal player again). With age of 35 they will decide to call it quit at season rollover for sure (it can still happen that for some reasons they play even longer, but don’t count on it). You can identify the retiring players by a remark on their players detail page near the comment section, or on the roster page they are marked different than regular players (non HR department managers will see a red marker, HR department managers will see a blue/violet marker)
With season 25 the rule for retiring players was adjusted. Prior to that you were able to fire them anytime during the season, which lead to the strategy to play with them as long as you were competing and cut them after the last crucial game and save the wages until season rollover and gain extra roster spots earlier for the youth academy players. Now this seems to be a bit of a mix of having to keep them for the season and being able to cut them prior rollover. I did try to fire a veteran lately in season 30 and it worked, so the ban seems to be at least not 100% now.
Biggest change seems to be now that they can be sold until end of first real live week in the game.
There is some confusion regarding the selling part of those players and when is the last day start selling them. If you decide to sell a player on Friday and he stays on the roster until he is eventually sold a few days later, the stay-on-the-team-day has passed.
That means, if you can sell him to a date after the Friday night (so you decided to sell him prior to that deadline but the end date inside the transfer market is after the deadline), he will leave and the buying team has now an retiring player on his roster which can’t be fired anymore, and if you, as seller, were not able to find a buying team on such a player after the deadline, he will stay on your team for almost the rest of the season.
Retiring players can be spotted by scouting them. The scout report will give you the hint, saying “The player will retire at season end”.
As far as I know it is not visible, whether the player offers to stay for an extra paycheck, which happens from time to time and as far as I know, this “prolongation right” is also sold with the player, so if you pick up a retiree, he might add some extra years. But better watch for add in the Transfer market Forum or ask the manager himself (but he might not tell the truth …)

Keep in mind that only players retiring on season rollover will be shown in your Hall Of Fame as possible candidate. All other fired or sold players will NOT appear.

Selling is the case which will happen also quite often. You might sell Youth Players, Seniors with limited upside in compare to another player you might have acquired not long ago, Seniors which don’t fit into your new concept, Seniors which are expendable to create roster spots for the next generation and also Seniors which might just have a season or two left in the tank but became too expensive or you need the roster spot. In general will younger players generate higher income if trained well enough and good capped youth players will also get good offers compared to uncapped or suspicious looking youth players (like a SPE 35 / STR 35 player with no add).
With now also retiring players entering the market in the first week of the season (that was not possible until season 25) buying 30+ year old players in that first week is now a gamble, if you don’t scout the player, since it’s not visible whether that player will play for 1 season or longer.
Some managers did already decide to keep their hand of 30+ age players in the first week of the season, so better communicate the best way possible if you like to sell a retiring player and do early enough so you might be still able to fire him afterwards. If he is still on your roster (or in a transfer market offer) after the first Friday of the season, he will stay on your roster for almost the rest of the season (if he was sold, then he will stay on the new teams roster for almost the rest of the season).

Cutting is the easiest, but it might cost you. The players do demand some compensation to leave the team. Not THAT much, but still something. That’s important to know if you have to cut players because of financial issues (see Chapter 11 regarding finances). Especially if you are a HR department manager the contract length does have a huge impact on demanded money for voiding the contract. Some managers do cut players right after the last regular season game or their last playoff game, when it is clear the player won’t fit into next seasons roster and there is no chance to sell them. The earlier you cut them, the more you will save. Long term contract players are usually worth a dime on the transfer market and usually get sold, not cut. But if you have to cut a long term contract player, expect a big price to do so. Keep that in mind when you do contract prolongations.

No renewal
In case of HR department activated you do have also the possibility to lose players by not renewing their contract. In that case they will leave at season rollover. It might happen that you don’t want to renew their contract or it can happen that you and the player did not agree on a new contract in the 5 possible offer tries and the player decided to leave. In both cases the player gets normally sold before being cut, but this depends on the timing of the negotiations. The last phase of the season prior to rollover is dominated by a closed transfer market (one real live week prior season rollover, so two training updates) and that can indeed lead to such a situation that you can only cut the player or wait for the rollover and he leaves automatically.

Maximizing the roster:
It might be a plan to just ignore specific positions, like TE or FB and focus on the positions you can support better and add players there in higher numbers.
This will reduce your possible playable formations.

No TE, you can only play with:
Shotgun 4WRXX

No FB, you can only play with:
Singleback SpreadXX
Pro SetXXX
Singleback BigXXX

No RB, you can only play with:
Shotgun 4WRXX
Goalline OXXX
Shotgun 2WRXXX

There is no formation without WR, but you can try to use only a few by avoiding the 4 WR sets and focus on 2 WR or less formations:
Pro SetXXX
Goalline OXXX
Shotgun 2WRXXX
Singleback BigXXX

If you don’t want to skip any position at all, there is also the chance to just limit the needs on each position. Some positions do demand more than one (in case of RB and TE) and more than two (in case of WR) and if you avoid such formations, you might save yourself some backups.
There is no formation which does need 2 FB.

Two TEs needed:
Goalline OXXX
Shotgun 2WRXXX
Singleback BigXXX

Two RBs needed:
Pro SetXXX

4 WRs needed:
Shotgun 4WRXX
Singleback SpreadXX

Overall, the key on those approaches is to focus on your strength in ACs and recruits and to avoid half trained players as workaround. It’s always best to have the 11 highest trained players on the field.

It’s not that easy to do the same on defense.
There are only 4 player types in general, DL, LB, CB and SF, so it will never happen you can get rid of any of those positions. There is also the problem with the formations and their basic needed. Of course you can try to avoid a NT to use and you can try to avoid a fourth very good LB as starter, but overall you better think about several formations to use and the bottom line is, you do need a lot of players and whether they do play starter on some formations and only backup on others is a decision for playbooks, not roster management.

The old ones
It might also be a good plan to actually planning with some 30+ players regularly. Not many players do leave on their own after their age of 30 season, and the older they get, the more likely they leave.
But it’s quite common to have some 30+ year old players on the roster and some might get cut or sold regularly to have roster space for the next generation.
With the strategy of planning with older players there comes the possibility to have fewer younger players. The same chance is also the major risk. Nothing does prevent your three 30+ starting WRs to call it quit the same season and you might not have good substitutions ready on the roster.
So on one hand you have the chance to have need of fewer players every season, which means you can focus on a few players in the YA for example and new fewer roster spots free every season, but on the other hand it might happen that your championship team loses quite a lot after season rollover, because they do retire all the same season.
As an example, we had a few seasons ago a problem with the rollover and Peter made a full rollback and on the second try it worked.
My team had only 3 retiring players after the first rollover and after the rollover and second try I had somewhat around 9. In both cases I had 2 players which decided to play further after an extra pay check, which are not included in the numbers. Still a big difference in numbers and a lottery on every rollover.

Wage management
A great part of the game is based on finances and a great part of that is based on the players wages. There are two models to pay your players, the initial wage system and the HR department approach.

Initial wage system
That’s quite easy as it’s written in the manual. The average of the highest two skills beside STR and SPE do set the wage for the next season after season rollover. The wage is than fixed for that season. So it is wise to look at every player a few weeks before rollover and evaluate the training goals and the wage goals.
Does that player really need a push on his maximum skill in the last few weeks? Or is it wise to train other skills? The answer is not always the same and you have to be aware that you can’t take away the level the player is at that moment, but you can keep him on that level, if needed or wanted.
If you train his maximum skill further, you should know the consequence, so calculate the wages. A small increase can mean thousands of more wages over a season, if not millions.

HR Department
If you decide to use the HR Department you have to activate it once and there is no turning back. Honestly, the main con on that approach is, you have to negotiate every players wage over several seasons and the big time major pain is the initial negotiation of EVERY player on the roster. In average I have to negotiate 40% of all players contracts before season rollover and I think that’s quite normal. That means around 30 times doing the negotiating process, which is sometimes a pain in the a*peeeeeep*.
As positive effect you will for sure have smaller wages over the seasons.

To give you a picture regarding the consequences of changing to that system, here is a brief overview.
As initial impact of that switch you will see, that you will have to negotiate ALL contract of your players until season final.
Such negotiations can happen at any point during the season, so no rush needed, but it might get a lot of work, if you decide to switch a few days or even hours before season rollover. Because any player without a new contract (marked then with a red background colour behind the then shown season number of his expiring contract) that player will become a free agent and you get NOTHING in compensation. So you better get your roster in order before that rollover happens.
The negotiation does happen in an extra pop up window and shows the current numbers, give you a drop down for contract type and shows the expected wage based on the OLD, initial system. (there is now some kind of demo-button available on the HR-window.)
Depended on his age and your amount of already finalized franchise contracts you should find a 2 year contract (this and another season), a 3 year contract (this and another 2 seasons), a 4 year contact (this and another 3 seasons, franchise) and a 5 year contract (this and another 4 seasons, franchise).
Please be aware that if you negotiate before season end that “this season” part of the contract still means the current running season, so you basically do negotiate a one year shorter contract, because the contract will start running after you found an agreement and since the rollover does come quickly, that first season is gone quickly.
As basic rule for negotiation before season rollover it did quite good work with the following parameters:
A two or three season contract gets an agreement if you offer around 90% to 92% of the estimated wage based on skills (that’s the OLD system), negotiated shortly before season rollover.
So if the skills do imply a 50.000$ for next season and you offer a new contract of two or three season (including the current) with 45.000$ to 46.000$ this should work.
A franchise contract is a bit heavier to negotiate, since they want more money.
A have a note which says a four year contract gets an agreement if you offer 95% to 100% from the estimated wage, negotiated shortly before season rollover. A five year contract works with 105% to 109% of the estimated wage, also shortly before rollover.
Some managers don’t like the fact that they do lose one year after rollover and do negotiate AFTER rollover (and the player has of course no red signal for his contract BEFORE rollover, otherwise he would be gone after rollover).
They do sometimes even negotiate before season rollover a 2 year contract and do then negotiate a new contract after the rollover do have the player secured for 2 to 5 seasons.
I don’t do it that way, so I don’t have valid numbers on that scenario. But the ask wage will not go down. It was mentioned once that there is some kind of training estimation inside the wage demand, so be careful, if you try to test this. I once read, that a 5 year franchise contract AFTER rollover do get an agreement at 175% of the estimated wage, often for less, but I did not test this.
Regardless when you negotiate, you have 5 tries (the player will answer with his demand which is much higher than the estimated wage) and if you fail to come to an agreement, that player will leave the team for sure. No chance to keep him. If you still have some time, you might be able to sell him until season rollover, but if you do it as I do, negotiating in the last week before rollover, you better get that agreement, because the transfer market will be close then.
Be aware that older players (age 27+) will not negotiate a contract running beyond the age of 30. So if you try to make a 29 year old player a franchise player for 5 seasons, it won’t happen. You will only be able to offer a 2 year contract. Then, when he is 30, he will accept another 2 year contract and so on.
Since it is very likely that the older the more expensive the player will get, it’s better to use the limited amount of franchise contracts on players age of 25 or 26 and not on 20 year old rookies. Because once the wage is fixed, it stays fixed and if you can keep a player from wage point of view on his skill level a few seasons ago, the major saving do happen for the older players.
It’s also wise to think about the next franchise player prior you offer the contract. What I mean is, if you have to negotiate 40 new contacts a season you might have several players at the age of 25 or 26, but you might have only 1 or 2 free franchise contracts left. It’s wise to offer those contracts to those players which do demand the highest wage at the moment and will develop fastest or to the highest skill value during the contract length. It might even be smart to NOT offer any franchise contract in that season, because you know that next season you will have several much higher skilled 25 year old which will save you much more money.
Be aware that if you have set yourself a skill level stop, like not higher than 40 in all non-physical skills, or 45), and your 25 year old player is already near that area, better calculate the likely saving for all players worth a franchise contract and s e l e c t those with the highest savings, since sometimes, of that limit is quite low, you get the same effect of a franchise contract by default, since your player will no longer increase his skill level, so also not his wage much (except eventually the EXP factor).
Franchise contracts don’t have anything to do with respect or a deserving player. It’s a business instrument and that player will not be angry, if you offer him one, or not. ;-)
If you did for whatever reason overpay the player, like for example you did like to offer 100.000$ a week and you did insert and negotiate 1.000.000$ weekly offer, sell him or cut him, if the difference is too much. If the difference is small, like 20.000$ instead of 2.000$, think about it, normally this is “only” 1 to 2 seasons and you might accept the higher costs. Otherwise sell him or cut him. There is no way to renegotiate the contract, unless some unusual does happen (like a few seasons ago, when all contracts were able to be renegotiated, due a reset by the admin to solve a bug, but such stuff does happen not often, almost never (well, happened again when Peter did adjust the wage system).

Experience influence on wages
Be aware that with season 25 a new part was introduced with influences on the wages. EXP is now part of the wage system and those numbers above are no longer valid for every EXP level.
It looks like the system is now in full extend mode, but I personally don’t think the increased wages are THAT much higher than before. It’s about 20% higher than before. Of course, for a high skill value player that’s some money, especially if he is in the area of 49 to 50.
It seems my rule of thumb regarding wages to offer are still valid, so the EXP factor is also part of the old, initial system now and they math for negotiation was not changed.

Overall you will be forced to make tough decisions over the seasons to come and you will have to weigh the future long term development against the short term push you might get if you keep your aging players on the roster. The game gives you a lot of chances to try several approaches, if you take your time. One thing is certain: you can’t turn around a roster in a season time. So take a look at your roster and start planning.

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