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.
What would those situations be? We think the main factor here is injury. You can call this the “Alex Smith rule” or even “Kam Chancellor rule”. Catastrophic injuries like this are unfortunate outcomes in a collision sport and at times completely unforeseen. Teams should not be penalized the way they are in these instances. For example, the Washington Redskins will need to account for over $50 million on their cap if they had decided to walk away and terminate Smith’s contract. In this example, Smith will count for over $40 million (in cap space) the next two seasons and it’s a big burden for the Redskins and prevents them from signing other players.
We propose a rule where if a player is deemed by an independent doctor to have suffered a football injury that will cause him to miss an entire season then the team would have the option of releasing the player (while still having to fulfill ALL contractually obligated cash guarantees) with the only dead money counting on the salary cap to be that years prorated bonus money and having no dead money accelerate onto the current year’s salary cap or onto any future salary cap the way a post June 1 would work.
In this example, the Redskins could walk away from Smith with a $5.4 million cap charge in 2019 and no charge in 2020, a massive savings for the team on the cap. Smith would still receive his $31 million in guaranteed (cash) salary but no longer have that or his future prorated money count on the cap.
We would extend this rule to also cover any players who are indicted of a crime. Again this would not relieve a team of any financial obligation to the player in the event they are innocent just the future cap charges associated with it.
The catch to this proposed amnesty clause is that it can only be used once, either every four seasons or during the duration of the entire CBA. We are not looking to create an environment where teams are creatively finding ways to get out of cap charges we just want to protect the teams in the event of extraordinary circumstances and give those teams the most ability to go back into the market and sign players. A limited use amnesty rule should do just that.