Generally when people begin discussing improved contracts for players the talk immediately turns to rules that benefit the star players. That type of talk misses the bigger point. The majority of the NFL are not star players. At the end of last season, roughly 60% of the players under contract were playing on minimum salaries with minor bonuses. If the players ever want to potentially stage a strike or play hardball with the owners there has to be something for the small guy who constitutes the majority of the league and the biggest thing that can be given to them is a major pay raise with their base salaries.
The NFL is never going to eliminate the franchise (or transition) tag system but it is clear that it needs a major overhaul. The franchise tag is a provision of the CBA that allows a team to retain the rights to a pending free agent based on an average of the five largest salaries over the past five years as a percentage of the salary cap. The player is free to negotiate with another team when the “non-exclusive” tag is used but the cost of signing the player is two first round draft selections, which effectively blocks the player from free agency. Continue reading CBA Suggestion Number 9: Revamping the Franchise Tag System »
The current CBA ties player costs to three “buckets”- League Media, NFL Ventures, and Local Revenues- with varying percentages going to the players for each bucket. However, the bigger thing is that the NFL has capped off player costs at 48.5% while also adding in a floor (a percentage it can not go lower than) of 47%. Continue reading CBA Suggestion Number 8: Improving the Revenue Split »
Every now and then you will hear about obscure CBA rules and perhaps none is more obscure than the funding rule. Article 26 (Salaries), Section 9 (Funding of Deferred and Guaranteed Contracts) discusses the funding rule which is a requirement that any guaranteed, other than injury guarantees, needs to be set aside in an escrow account, by each NFL team. This is one of those rules that has helped prevent players from negotiating guaranteed salaries in future NFL seasons because it requires so much liquidity up front by NFL owners. Continue reading CBA Suggestion Number 7: The Elimination of the Funding Rule »
While we are in favor of team’s facing consequences with the cap when it comes to decisions on contracts, there are scenarios where the sides would benefit from a potential “amnesty rule”. The amnesty rule would allow a team, under certain situations, to prevent the acceleration of any guaranteed or prorated (dead) money from hitting the salary cap. Continue reading CBA Suggestion Number 6: Salary Cap Amnesty Clause »
In the prior (2006-2012) CBA, teams were required to allocate a certain amount of costs to their salary cap every season. The 2011 CBA scrapped this rule in favor of allowing teams to “carry over” unlimited amounts of salary cap room to future seasons. The results, in general, have been more negative than positive. With teams having gigantic amounts of cap carryover compared to moderate amounts in the prior CBA, teams are finding it much easier to release players or decide to take a year or two off from the market, so they can load up at a later date. Teams have the ability to carry players on the franchise/transition tag with no problems giving them incredible leverage in negotiations. The salary cap was also designed to bring some parity to the league and that is rarely happening these days so if they want to make it meaningful they have to bring changes to it. Continue reading CBA Suggestion Number 5: Reinstitute Salary Cap Minimum Spending »
The 2011 CBA brought about a new spending rule that pegged actual cash spending to the salary cap. While we can argue about the changes made regarding the way that the cap is calculated compared to the past, this change clearly increased spending relative to the cap by about 5%. There are two cash requirements in the current CBA. The first is a league wide spending requirement of 95% of the NFL salary cap over two four year periods (2013-2016 and 2017-2020). The second is that each team must spend to a minimum of at least 89% of the salary cap to make certain that the 95% number is not being met by a minority of teams. Continue reading CBA Suggestion Number 4: Raise League Wide and Team Minimum Spending Requirements »