You may have just won the Super Bowl, or had the misfortune of missing the playoffs. Either way, the path to next year’s championships begins now. Using tools like free agency and the draft, it’s time to build your team into contender once again.
There are eight weeks in the post-season. Seven are devoted to re-signing players whose contracts are expiring or free agents that just hit the market. Week one is the only week you have to make deals with your existing players. Weeks two through seven are used for negotiating with free agents, and convincing them your team is the place they want to be.
You can only re-sign players who have no time left on their contracts. You can’t renegotiate contracts after they’ve been assigned to try to save salary cap space. It’s an unfortunate feature missing from the game, but the new negotiation system is a little better than in past years. There are two types of players to talk with during this stage: available and unavailable. Anyone that approached you during the season and couldn’t make a deal will be unavailable. The rest of the players who didn’t try to work out a deal will be listed here as available.
Unavailable players will move on to free agency, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to sign them at that point. It just means you no longer have first crack at talking with them. The better the player, the more money they’re going to cost. Likewise, if a player isn’t rated that well, he won’t be as taxing on your salary cap. Then again, players with ratings in the 60s/70s can be replaced with younger, more moldable talent from the draft, so it may be best to let them walk.
Don’t be afraid to let that superstar leave either. Just because a player has great ratings doesn’t mean he’s worth breaking the bank for. Unless he’s an unmatchable talent, like a franchise quarterback or defensive stud, let him walk, and take your chances with the other players in free agency. Odds are you’ll either find a younger, cheaper model, or you’ll be able to get him back if there’s no better option.
A key step in improving your team is bringing in a few free agents to fill voids at key positions, and add depth to your roster so your back-ups are capable of stepping in without skipping a beat. Players will be listed by their overall rating, but you can also learn what position they play, how old they are, what his market value is, and what type of scheme they are best suited for. There’s also a listing of all the other teams hoping to pick that player up, so unlike the real NFL, you’ll always be able to see what the other teams in your division and conference are up to in free agency.
The market value is a per-year value placed on that player’s talent. Any off you give that falls within that range is deemed acceptable, though obviously, the closer you are to the top end of that value, the likelier you are to make a deal. This year’s Madden prorates all the contracts, so you can’t decide whether to give players front-loaded or steady payments. Every single contract will be back-loaded. It’s an okay strategy, but if you pick up a few pricey players in one post-season, there’s going to be a lot of money tied up in contracts in a few years. Careful management of your monetary resources can help you stave off trouble with the cap, but if you do find yourself running into problems, you can always cut that player to get rid of his bloated contract.
You’ll be able to manage your ongoing negotiations through the player listing under the My Negotiations and My Signings tabs. A player will whittle down his choices (if multiple teams are going after him) over the course of free agency, and the more in demand a player is, the longer he will take to decide where to sign. You can choose to withdraw your offer or increase your offer if you think the initial deal you gave a player isn’t going to cut it, or you find another alternative. Try not to overload too much in free agency, as the draft is just around the corner, and you’ll be able to add even more role players during that stage.
If you’ve done your due diligence, and worked hard to scout out players you think can help take your team to the next level, the draft will be a breeze. If you didn’t, well, good luck. While the draft in Madden NFL 13 is easily the most well thought out the stage has been in years, it’s also developed with the longtime player in mind, and doesn’t really cater to the casual crowd much at all. Like a real coach/GM, you’ve got to have a gameplan when it comes to the draft if you want to be successful.
Throughout your Connected Career, you may have noticed the storylines created by the Madden’s new faux-Twitter accounts and new stream. In addition to providing insight into the current NFL season, the News Center reveals quite a bit about college players that will be entering the draft in the upcoming season. A great cornerback may have had an amazing start to his year, but perhaps injuries have caused his stock to drop. You’ll hear about it through the various fake sports pundits Madden’s Twitter feed uses, and it’s an invaluable asset when learning about the upcoming draft class.
Every pick in the draft will take two real-time minutes. You can of course skip ahead to human controlled picks, but if you were hoping to make a deal to trade up in the draft with any teams, you can only do so when that team is on the clock. Two minutes isn’t a very long time when you’re scouring your draft board, trying to figure out if you should snag that second round prospect early or not. Thankfully, you can pause the draft to give yourself a bit more time. This is hugely beneficial when working out deals, or just trying to figure out what your next pick will be.
The draft lasts seven rounds, and depending on how your season went, or what team you decided to take over, you could have multiple picks in a round, or no picks at all. If you’re a team like the Redskins who gave up multiple first round picks to get Robert Griffin III, you’ll have to keep that in mind both when scouting, and when drafting. Conversely, if you’re the Rams, who got those additional picks from the Redskins, you can make quite a big splash during the draft. It’s all in recognizing what types of players your team needs to excel, and making sure you do what it takes to get them onto your team.
There are no contract negotiations with rookies this year, as the new collective bargaining agreement created set salaries for rookies depending on their draft number. Rookies you drafted will be automatically signed to your team, though you can cut them at a later date if you feel like it.
That’s a typical season in the life of an NFL coach. Once you finish the draft, the clock on the next season begins. Can you continue your team’s dominance, or turn a once-fledgling franchise into a contender? Will your performance qualify you for the Hall of Fame? Can you surpass Vince Lombardi as the greatest coach of all time?