CBA Salary Cap Info Everyone Should Know

Posted: July 27, 2011 in Football, NFL
Tags: , , , , ,

In an interview on the Norris & Davis show this morning on Baltimore sports radio station 105.7 The Fan, Ravens president Dick Cass revealed some very interesting information about the new NFL collective bargaining agreement.

The first detail of interest is that true, full team practices will not be possible for any team until August 4th, due to picayune details regarding rookies and restricted free agents.  The much more interesting information revealed in the interview, however, has to do with the new minimum salary cap restrictions.

If what Cass said was true, pretty much everything you’ve heard reported about the new “89% rule” is inaccurate.  This is not to say that there is no 89% rule in the new CBA but, according to Cass, it is not nearly as immediate or as stringent as it has been portrayed to be in the media, particularly by ESPN.

According to Cass, for the first two years of the new agreement, there is no spending minimum imposed on teams at all, meaning that low payroll teams like Tampa Bay are not under serious pressure to sign big name free agents to big dollar contracts, contrary to widespread media speculation.  In years three to six of the new agreement teams will be required to spend 89% of the total salary cap on average, not each year.  This means that with a $120 million cap, each team will be required to spend an average of $106.8 million per year from year three to year six of the new agreement; however, this does not mean that each team must spend $106.8 million each year from year three to year six.  In other words, teams may spend as little as they like for the first two years of the new CBA, and may spend as little or as much as they like within the cap from year three to year six, as long as the average total payroll from year three to year six is 89% of the cap.  For example, let’s say a team currently has a total payroll of $98 million.  If Cass’ information is correct, then this team can keep their current payroll through the end of year three of the agreement.  With a year three payroll of $98 million, a year four payroll of $105 million and a year five payroll of $118 million, this team’s average payroll from years three to six would be $107 million.  This means that with a $120 million salary cap this hypothetical team would be in compliance with the new agreement, even though they only spent more than 89% of the total cap for one of the first five years.

What this means, most immediately, is that the big money free agent feeding frenzy that all the talking heads have been predicting may very well be a myth.  This is not to say that free agents aren’t going to get big contracts, but that with so many teams over the cap, big name free agents like Nnamdi Asomugha won’t be able to hold out for outrageous, Haynesworth-esque contracts because teams like Tampa Bay will know that there aren’t many other teams that can afford them at any price.

I am currently searching for a PDF copy of the new CBA.  As soon as I am able to obtain it, I will post the pertinent sections.  If you are able to find a copy of the new CBA, please don’t hesitate to email me with the link, as well as your name so I can credit you.

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