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26 Aug 2009

Under the Cap: Uncapped Leverage

by J.I. Halsell

Once the cash honeymoon of a young player's rookie contract has subsided, young players in the league who have made a name for themselves then turn their attention towards earning that lucrative second contract via a contract extension or unrestricted free agency. Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Roddy White, Matt Cassel, and Albert Haynesworth all cashed in this offseason with lucrative second contracts. However, it remains to be seen if players like Shawne Merriman and DeMarcus Ware also cash in, or if their respective clubs utilize the unprecedented leverage created by the looming uncapped year.

The 2010 league year, if uncapped as a result of a failure to negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, will change the rules of free agency. As has been widely reported, the uncapped year will change the requirement for unrestricted free agency from four accrued seasons to six ; meaning unlike today where a player hits the open market prior to their fifth NFL season, a player will not hit the market until they are entering their seventh season. Similarly, and most impactful to players in the 2005 and 2006 draft classes whose rookie contracts are expiring after 2009, the requirement for restricted free agency in an uncapped year goes from three accrued seasons to three through five accrued seasons. As an example, DeMarcus Ware is on track to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2009 season; however, if 2010 is uncapped, then Ware instead becomes a restricted free agent.

Restricted free agency simply gives Club A the right of first refusal should another team extend an offer to Club A's restricted free agent. In the event that Club A chooses not to match the offer of Club B, then depending upon which one-year restricted free agent tender Club A extended to its player, that will then determine what draft picks Club A receives in return from Club B. For example, prior to signing him to a contract extension, the Cowboys utilized the first- and third-round tender on running back Marion Barber, meaning if another club had signed Barber to an offer sheet, and if the Cowboys chose not to match that offer sheet, they then would have received first- and third-round picks from the club that signed Barber. However, if a restricted free agent is not signed to an offer sheet and instead plays under the one-year tender, then depending upon the tender extended, in 2009, the player will earn one of the salary amounts below.

2009 RFA Tenders Salary*
Right of first refusal (ROFR) only $1,010,000
ROFR + original round $1,010,000
ROFR + second round $1,545,000
ROFR + first round $2,198,000
ROFR + first & third rounds $2,792,000
* Note: greater of amount listed or 110% of previous year's salary

Going into an uncapped 2010 League Year, if a club is uncertain as to the long-term future of a player such that they are unwilling to commit to a long-term extension, they can then retain the player's exclusive rights by offering him a restricted free agent tender. The upside for the club is that if another club signs this player to an offer sheet and the current club chooses not to match, then they receive draft pick compensation for a player who they were uncertain of from a long-term perspective. If the player isn't signed to an offer sheet, then the club keeps this player at a relative bargain. The downside to this approach is that a club runs the risk of having a disgruntled player walking around their facility, as surely the player will be frustrated by the club's utilization of this change in the free agency system which ultimately postponed the player's next big payday. It is this leveraging of the change in the free agency rules that some clubs are considering when determining whether or not they are going to extend players in 2009.

In the case of, say, Washington cornerback Carlos Rogers, the Redskins could sign him to a second-round tender, which would give Rogers a 2010 tender salary of $1.684 million. This proposition works out as a win-win for the club, as they either get Rogers (a cornerback who some front office personnel rate highly in spite of his lack of interceptions) at a bargain rate for one year relative to the current cornerback market, or they get a second-round pick for him if he were to leave via restricted free agency. All of this said, front offices recognize the unique leverage presented by the uncapped year in this regard; accordingly, some are willing to utilize this technique to further the long-term goals of the organization, even if in the short term it results in a disgruntled player. Atlanta was not willing to go this route with Roddy White, but one can be assured that a club will utilize this technique with a player and acrimony will exist thereafter as a result.

Much like White and Steelers tight end Heath Miller, one would think that players like Merriman and Ware will receive contract extensions in the near future, as they have proved to be integral members of their respective clubs. However, the following players could find themselves disgruntled and disappointed by an uncapped year:

  • NO left tackle Jammal Brown
  • NE guard Logan Mankins
  • WAS quarterback Jason Campbell
  • WAS cornerback Carlos Rogers
  • SD wide receiver Vincent Jackson
  • CLE wide receiver Braylon Edwards
  • DEN wide receiver Brandon Marshall
  • HOU linebacker DeMeco Ryans
  • SD left tackle Marcus McNeill

Follow J.I. on Twitter @SalaryCap101

Posted by: J.I. Halsell on 26 Aug 2009

47 comments, Last at 28 Aug 2009, 11:48pm by Scott C

Comments

1
by wr (not verified) :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 11:06am

Putting Marshall on that list is hardly a reach, considering he's already disgruntled, and appears unlikely to become gruntled as a Bronco.

2
by J.I. Halsell :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 11:49am

True indeed...he's already sufficiently disgruntled, but imagine what he'd be like if he not only didn't get an extension but also got offered an RFA tender in 2010. Seems very unlikely, but this is the team that traded away a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback this off-season for Kyle Orton.

J.I. Halsell
UNDER THE CAP
Twitter: @SalaryCap101

8
by cjfarls :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 1:08pm

What a blantantly condescending and untrue statement...

Denver traded Cutler for 2 1st round picks, a 3rd rounder, AND Orton thrown in for good measure... saying we traded a ProBowl QB for Orton is just plain and simple Denver-bashing in an attempt to make yourself feel smarter than the team...

In fact, I completely expect Denver to use a RFA with Marshall next year if Marshall doesn't calm down and perform this year. Throwing a RFA tender on B-Marsh is the only way to ensure that Denver gets relatively fair compensation back for B-Marsh's services.

The alternative is either a team offers up equivelent compensation this year (a 1st rounder), or Marshall gets to work and earns a new contract either this year or next that both he and the Broncos feel is fair.

13
by Jimmy :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 3:38pm

Mr Halsall's statement may be a little simplistic but I would argue that Orton is the biggest chip in the trade (as things currently stand). Denver recieved two first round picks and a third this year for Cutler and a fifth (which turned into Johnny Knox). They have in effect already spent this bounty on Robert Ayers, Alphonso Smith (who they acquired by sending Seattle the pick they received from the Bears next year) and half of what they traded to draft Richard Quinn. Considering that half of all first rounders fail anyway and that half of the 'successes' are no better than average starters you could argue that the Broncos received a mediocre QB, either a DE or a CB and half a blocking TE (when they already have Daniel Graham on their roster). You could argue that the value of the picks received is independent of the players actually taken but both the Bears and the Broncos had the benefit of thoroughly scouting this year's class of rookies and should have had a reasonable idea of what they might get with the picks involved.

20
by cjfarls :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 4:53pm

No doubt Orton is a big part of the deal... but stating it as if its a one-to-one trade is an off-handed way to say the Broncos can't do talent evaluation (becuase if anyone did trade Cutler one-to-one for Orton, they WOULD be stupid).

Cutler is a good QB... the question is, is he a DE/CB and half a TE better than Orton... that is a much more difficult question to answer than making snide comments about the Bronco front office.

Its further complicated by the fact that Cutler was being a baby and making team cohesion unteneable for the team, while Orton has been a class act leader both in Chi and Den... Comments like the one made imply that there was no logic behind Denver's move, when that is frankly an outright falsehood.

I personally wish Denver and Cutler could've worked things out... I think Cutler has the potential to be a special player... But I also realize the team got quite a haul for Cutler, and I don't try to make myself seem smart by implying no logic when the situation is VASTLY more complicated than he implied.

21
by cjfarls :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 5:05pm

ooops... double post

29
by BigCheese :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 7:18pm

Denver WISHES they had traded the Bears' pick to draft Alfonso Smith. They traded away their own (possibly Top 5) pick and were left with the Bears (likely second-half) pick next year.

The Broncos' offseason has been one puzzler after another: The Cutler trade, drafting Moren instead of a defensive player, trading THEIR pick next year to trade up, trading away two threes to move up into the second and draft a blocking tight end they probably could have gotten in the fourth and certainly in the third.

If it wasn't for Al Davis' trade-day shennanigans, Denvers draft would be discussed as one of the worst ever strategy-wise.

33
by cjfarls :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 8:36pm

Its only puzzling if you're not paying attention.

Denver didn't think Orakpo was a good fit for a 3-4 DEF... in fact, there was basically one DEF player remaining that they had rated as worth the #12 pick... Ayers... and they got him with #19.

Also, Its obvious the current management thought a big problem with the D last year was the secondary... and they drastically improved that area. There were few DL players well suited to a 3-4 in this draft's first round, and they went at #3 and #8... so the team didn't reach and took BPA... you can disagree with the decision to draft BPA, but its far from "puzzling".

The Cutler trade is logical if you consider the haul they got in return, and the situation Cutler had put the team in by cutting off contact and acting like a baby... NO ONE wanted to trade Cutler for Orton, but he basically made the situation unteneble so the team grabbed 3 high draft picks and QB they thought can be serviceable in exchange... far from "puzzling".

As far as the Quinn, there are numerous reports out there that said other teams were targeting him in the 3rd... its far from a sure thing that he would've fell to the 3-12 pick, and they thought he was better than the 2 guys they might've gotten instead... perhaps questionable, but far from "puzzling".

Many folks seem to think Denver will be putrid this year and justify saying the offseason was "puzzling"... except the offseason wasn't "puzzling", and they obviously don't think they'll be that bad... they very well could be wrong, but once again what is "puzzling" to me is what "not so puzzling" evidence you're using to justify your incredulity about Denver's moves.

Now, this is not to say that I think Denver is going to even be a playoff team this year... their D was in such a hole last year that I think they're more likely to be "average" and once again end up with 7 or 8 wins... they don't look great, but they look much better than Oak or KC...

I also think Cutler is going to discover that he had it pretty easy with the Denver O-line and WRs (and Shanny calling his plays), so saying its a sure thing that CHI is going to be much better than 8-8 I think is also questionable...

But in the end, we have NO IDEA if Denver's talent evaluation is any good until we actually see the team on the field... McD obviously disagrees with your evaluation of the team's this chances this year... you can question whether his evaluation is right or wrong, but saying the moves are "puzzling" flies in the face of the clear and consistent logic that underlies the entire set of moves.

34
by tuluse :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 9:51pm

I find the sheer number of running backs Denver added to their roster puzzling.

I find cutting a great long snapper, only to pay another great long snapper way more money puzzling.

I find McDaniel's refusal to stroke Cutler's ego to placate him puzzling.

39
by cjfarls :: Thu, 08/27/2009 - 5:52pm

You find it puzzling that they added Buckhalter, Moreno, and Jordan over such immortal talents as Tatum Bell and the walking hospital ward of Torain, Young and Hall? If so, I question YOUR talent evaluation skills...

J.J. Arrington I guess you could say is questionable given the same injury problems as the guys they cut, but that was basically a no-risk flyer on a decent kick returner (which if you watched the last pre-season game, looks to be an area of need)...

All the RBs they added are likely to make the team and are probably better than the folks they replaced... how is that puzzling?

I guess you could say McD should've bent over backward kissing Cutler's rear... but a) we don't really know how much he did try to soothe the situation over, and b) there is logic in establishing some level of authority as a new coach. Once again, perhaps reasonable people can disagree with the approach, but far from "puzzling."

The long-snapper I'll actually give you... that puzzled me a bit too. Although in the end Paxton'll make all of about $200k more this year than the guy he replaced. McD also got a guy who knows his system and can help teach the rest of the team... perhaps worth it?

43
by Eddo :: Thu, 08/27/2009 - 8:21pm

I don't see anything wrong or really that weird with signing Jordan and Buckhalter, but drafting Moreno is a reach. The Broncos had a terrible and aging defense last year, and they could have wound up with two of Orakpo, Ayers, Cushing, Jenkins, and Matthews to start establishing a young core. Instead, they took Moreno, and they already had a good running game despite all the injuries last year, so adding a stud back wasn't necessary.

Maybe he should have bent over more for Cutler, but I'll agree that we have no idea what actually went on behind the scenes, so I don't think we can officially say he alone blew that situation. It was likely a combination of multiple strong personalities.

As for the long-snapper situation, I think that's one of the little things that a more experienced coach would have handled better. Holding onto an established, contributing member of the team would have been a good way to score points in the locker, but instead he decided to cut ties and bring in his own guy, who, at best, is only marginally better.

Also, how will a long-snapper help guys learn the system? It's not like he played on offense.

24
by Adam (not verified) :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 5:23pm

The etymology of the "dis-" in "disgruntled" is actually a word meaning "completely". It isn't a case of "dis-" meaning "not", as in "dissatisfied". "Gruntled" most likely originated as a corruption of "grunt" and/or "grumble".

40
by Scott C :: Thu, 08/27/2009 - 7:29pm
3
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 11:55am

"Right of first refusal (ROFR) only $1,010,000
ROFR + original round $1,010,000"

Maybe I'm missing something here, but is there really any point in the ROFR-Only tender?

4
by Mike B. In Va :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 12:24pm

Sure. Think of it as making a bet on the value of the player. If no one signs him to an offer sheet, you get him for a low salary. If someone does sign him, you can evaluate his worth to the organization vs. his cost.

Obviously, this isn't for "star" players, but could be very useful for retaining "role player" types. It's also pretty hard for a player to be disgruntled if no one makes them an offer.

6
by tuluse :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 12:52pm

You're missing the fact that their are two offers that are the same price, but one gets you a draft pick, while the other doesn't.

41
by Scott C :: Thu, 08/27/2009 - 7:32pm

There is still value in that. The player can't argue that another team is willing to pay him more due to the draft pick.

A team can be in good faith contract negotiations and say "we're going to pay you X on a ROFR offer until the deal is done. That way we can keep you, and you can test your value on the market."

5
by tuluse :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 12:46pm

I think this is for players the team didn't draft, either undrafted free agents, or players another team drafted.

12
by J.I. Halsell :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 3:07pm

The ROFR+Orig Round cannot be applied to players who were not drafted; for undrafted players the low tender is the ROFR-only tender.

J.I. Halsell
UNDER THE CAP

27
by rk (not verified) :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 5:52pm

It's the same tender. One is for guys that were drafted. The other is for those that weren't.

7
by Dice :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 12:58pm

Took me a second to figure out what was wrong with that picture: Carlos Rogers has the ball in his hands. Even with his lack of INTs, I'd prefer the Skins keep him another season or two, since Smoot is old, Tryon remains unable to cover anyone, and Barnes is a total mystery(but I hope he's the answer).

10
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 1:59pm

It probably just bounced into his hands after an incompletion or something...

-------------------------------
"Just look at that pumpkin."
-John Madden, looking at the moon.

9
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 1:28pm

You could add Owen Daniels to the "unlikely to be a happy chappy" list. He's not thrilled at the prospect of playing under the RFA tender this year, never mind next. The Texans seem quite likely to keep him for cheap for as long as possible, while grooming Casey to take his place.

11
by morganja :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 2:58pm

How would this effect Peppers?

15
by J.I. Halsell :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 3:44pm

Peppers would not be impacted as he has enough accrued seasons to qualify unrestricted free agency, even in an uncapped year. However, the Panthers could Franchise him again to preclude him from free agency in 2010.

J.I. Halsell
UNDER THE CAP

42
by Scott C :: Thu, 08/27/2009 - 7:57pm

I was under the impression that there was one other HUGE aspect about the uncapped year.

The top 8 teams (last 8 in playoffs) cannot sign free agents from other teams, they can only re-sign their own.

I don't recall where I read that, or have a source. But I think this article should have discussed all the differences in the uncapped year, not just restricted free agency stuff.

The uncapped year(s) were designed to be something that neither the players, or teams would really want in order to facilitate a new deal.

44
by J.I. Halsell :: Fri, 08/28/2009 - 7:21am

What you're referring to is what is called the Final 8 Plan, which as you correctly state is another change to free agency which limits teams' ability to sign free agents. An article regarding the Final 8 Plan is forthcoming, but similar to how 6 accrued seasons limits players, Final 8 limits clubs. Stay tuned for the article....

J.I. Halsell
Salary Cap Analyst | "Under the Cap"
Twitter | @SalaryCap101

45
by Jerry :: Fri, 08/28/2009 - 6:11pm

As always, thank you.

47
by Scott C :: Fri, 08/28/2009 - 11:48pm

AWESOME!

14
by Telamon :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 3:41pm

Why would the Skins risk letting Rogers leave when they can simply massively overpay him instead?

18
by Skummy (not verified) :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 4:24pm

This is actually a valid question. From any wealthy team's point of view, player happiness is probably a greater concern than money if the salary cap is gone. Why not give huge numbers to players if you can cut them without having to pay the cap price next year? If they don't produce, just cut them and be done with it.

On the Redskin roster, that likely means Randy Thomas, maybe Samuels, Rabach, Randle El will likely not be with the team next year. Have a feeling that we're going to see up front signing bonuses atrophy in the revese of the trend that started in the late 90's. Most likely, teams will tender rookies and try to work out long term deals. Players will have to weigh what they percieve as their worth versus the relative two year low pay and the potential of getting hurt. Could be interesting times, but as always the smart teams will adjust more quickly.

19
by Independent George :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 4:24pm

Because they only massively overpay players from other teams.

32
by Telamon :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 7:29pm

They actually waited till DeAngelo Hall has been with them almost half a season before overpaying him.

If they had more draft picks, I'm sure they would overpay from within more often.

16
by Noah of Arkadia :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 3:51pm

I think Ronnie Brown is on the same boat as Rogers et al

23
by Anonymous Coward (not verified) :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 5:15pm

The thing with Brown and Edwards is being top 5 players, their salaries are high enough that the 110% rule makes this much closer to a franchise tag situation than a typical RFA situation.

28
by Noah of Arkadia :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 6:55pm

What rule is that? It doesn't ring a bell

31
by BigCheese :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 7:25pm

* Note: greater of amount listed or 110% of previous year's salary

36
by Podge (not verified) :: Thu, 08/27/2009 - 4:24am

The tender they get is either the number listed or 110% of their salary (I think this goes off cap number) last year. They get whichever is higher. So if you have a guy whose last year of his rookie contract is $10m and tendered him as an RFA the tender level would be $11m, not whatever the tender level you chose for him would be.

With the franchise tag its either the tag number or 120% of last years salary, whichever is higher, which explains why Julius Peppers gets something like $18m this year.

35
by J.I. Halsell :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 10:56pm

110% of Brown's 2009 salary is a 2010 salary of 5.5M; similarly, Edwards' salary, if tendered as an RFA, will be $5.005M. Both amounts are more than the RFA tender amounts, but both amounts are also roughly $2M less than what the franchise amounts will be at their respective positions.

J.I. Halsell
Salary Cap Analyst | "Under the Cap"
Twitter | @SalaryCap101

17
by Jon Coit (not verified) :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 4:20pm

Kevin Acee at the San Diego U-T has reported consistently (to the wails and gnashing of teeth of many fans) that the Chargers will not ever (no never) sign Merriman to another long-term deal; he's reported that Merriman might be franchised, or given the highest RFA tender, and that both McNeill and Jackson are more likely to get long-term deals depending on their play this season.

22
by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 5:07pm

Acee knows what he's told. He's certain of it to the point that I'm starting to doubt him. I think a lot hangs on what seems likely to happen after 2010. That said, yeah, I'd pick McNeill or Floyd for an extension over Merriman. But I'd think they'd be more interested in extending Merriman than Jackson, as Jackson will be expensive and expendable, while Merriman will just be expensive.

37
by Podge (not verified) :: Thu, 08/27/2009 - 4:26am

I think they'd be more interested in extending Jackson over Merriman for the simple fact that Jackson has knees that can be relied on. I think its a racing certainty that Merriman will be tagged after this season, and only resigned maybe next year if he can prove his knees aren't going to fall apart.

25
by claremont :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 5:25pm

Interesting article... my indirectly related thoughts: an uncapped year would be a disaster for both the majority of players without contracts for that year, well as for the whole of the NFL in a general sense.

I don't follow the NFL all that closely other than watching my team each weekend and a few other prime matchups, so I don't know what current attitudes are and may be stating the obvious, but as a (recently unemployed) financial analyst my take is this:

I have heard in the past that players were looking forward to the uncapped year because it would allow them a much bigger slice of the revenue pie... if any of them thought the lack of a cap would be the land of milk and honey they are extremely mistaken. The lack of a salary minimum will be a much bigger deal than the lack of maximum (I realize this might be not be news to most people and redundant).

If there is an uncapped year, it will be in a tremendously weak economic climate, and what might not be obvious to the general NFL fan is just how low team spending might go. There are two important things about NFL owners- first, they have very diverse asset holdings, most owners made huge amounts of wealth doing something else, then bought a football team partly as a toy, but also as an investment. If the economy continues to deteriorate (it will) the state of owners' personal fortunes may have a surprisingly big effect on how teams are run. Second, I believe that owners under financial pressure will go surprisingly far to cut down costs if they have to, and will not have a problem putting a remarkably uncompetitive team out on the field if they have to. Another way of looking at this is that many will make personnel and roster seem to make no sense, ie, "Why would you cut reasonably productive player X to save $1m if you have already committed $3m of this season's salary?"

I don't know much at all about the holdings and assets of different owners, but I am willing to bet that many are going to find themselves in increasing financial difficulty over the next year or two. While these owners are all wealthy, their wealth is in equities and assets, not cash. If for some reason an owner gets into financial trouble or has debts to service in one of their other ventures, raising cash will be difficult if not impossible in this environment. At the same time they will be loathe to sell their other equity assets at a market bottom. If you can't borrow money and you don't want to sell equity, you cut costs. NFL teams spend $100m+ a year on player salaries, and if there is an uncapped year with no minimum, that is a figure extremely ripe for pruning.

Anyway... this is a generalization, but I think it is likely that you are going to see more and more cuts and personnel decisions in order to save money that appear to make little sense from a strategy perspective, not just in the NFL but in all leagues (especially the NBA). If you see a team making decisions that appear to make little sense because of sunk costs, the player was a good deal, etc, it is because of the above dynamic. For those familiar with the situation, look at Blue Jays letting Alex Rios walk- they had a very good player locked up through his prime at 10-12m per, a very good deal. It makes very little sense for Toronto to allow such a good player to go to waivers, it is shooting themselves in the foot. I have zero doubt that ownership called JP riccardi up and said, "You are telling me that we have the chance to decrease our future expenditures by 50m over 4 years by putting him on waivers? I don't care how good he is and if he is worth it, let him go, that is a nasty and unappealing liability".

My second point... an uncapped year would be terrible for the league as a whole since it would destroy the league's parity. While there will be financial losers, there will also be teams which escape unscathed, or teams that are naturally more wealthy, and the lack of a cap combined with less resources for other teams will mean that a small number of teams could consolidate a lot of power. It would be like turning the Yankees loose on the NFL, except it is much easier to buy success in the NFL than the MLB, where the variance of the playoffs inherently limit their advantage.

26
by claremont :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 5:35pm

Wow that was longer than I thought and mostly irrelevant to the article. Anyway, one sentence version: If there is an uncapped year, the spending by teams might drop a shocking amount, even if there isn't an uncapped year, teams are likely to make more and more cuts which appear to be irrational or even downright stupid, if this happens it is because cutting player costs is the easiest way for owners (who own a bunch of other enterprises, many of which are in financial trouble) to improve their cash flow in the short term.

30
by tuluse :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 7:25pm

The NFL has strict rules about how much debt an owner can have, and it's a pretty low number.

38
by John (not verified) :: Thu, 08/27/2009 - 4:43pm

Do you think the 2-3 new football leagues starting up over the next year are in anticipation of a heavy drop in NFL salaries as a result of low free agent spending? Or will they just raid the dead AFL?

It seems as though either a minor league will emerge or the players will get hammered in the new CBA. They already are the only major sport with such a small percentage of contracts guaranteed. Unlike the NBA they can't go to Europe and get paid in Euros, and the CFL has enough financial troubles (and tiny, tiny salary caps) that it shouldn't be a legitimate competitor. Throw in the much greater number of retired players who need benefits (bigger rosters than other leagues, more injuries) and the number of current players living paycheck-to-paycheck (and therefore uninterested in waiting out a strike/lockout) and it adds up to the NFLPA losing big at the bargaining table.

46
by tuluse :: Fri, 08/28/2009 - 7:35pm

Is the AFL dead for good?