Is the Proposed Minimum Salary Growth Enough?

In looking over more of the new CBA proposal information that has come out I wanted to talk more about the minimum salary increases. I said the other day it’s a major win for the players (a $100K raise for about 58% of the NFL is certainly a major bump in pay) but with more numbers being know I thought it made sense to put that in perspective. This is not to say players should vote against it- the raise alone is going to get it to pass- but just to pass along more information.

One of the problems that I think exists with the system is that the minimum P5 salaries are not pegged to the salary cap. All the tenders in the NFL are but P5 levels are not. I understand that unexpected changes in P5s can be difficult to deal with but the new revenue sharing system that started in 2011 has been relatively predictable with cap growth so teams should be able to estimate year to year raises. Even if not you can simply put in a one year delay on the raise levels so teams would have a full year to prepare for the increase in salary. By not pegging to the cap you have a system that simply lags the true growth in the NFL.

If we look at where the cap was in 2011 and where it is projected to be in 2020 you can see just how much players lost over the last 9 years by not pegging minimums to the cap. In addition we can now look at the new salaries for the “core players” of the NFL and see that the NFL isn’t even bringing the player back to 2011 levels with the proposed raises.

Credited Seasons 2011 Level 2020 Cap Inflated Level Proposed 2020 P5 Difference
0 $375,000 $623,053 $610,000 -$13,053
1 $450,000 $747,664 $675,000 -$72,664
2 $525,000 $872,274 $750,000 -$122,274
3 $600,000 $996,885 $825,000 -$171,885
4 to 6 $685,000 $1,138,110 $910,000 -$228,110
7 up $810,000 $1,345,794 $1,050,000 -$295,794

How is this a stronger deal for the players if its not reaching the basic levels of where the players were 10 years ago? Because the last agreement was so poor it has put the NFL in a drivers seat position where they can throw out a big number ($100K/$90K raise per player) and have it sound great even though ultimately the “little guy” still isn’t where he should be relative to the revenues from the league.

This is still going to be a problem in this new CBA as well. The union did a far better job in negotiating raises of $45K per season but will that keep up with the revenue growth”?  Probably not.

The cap currently increases every year in the ballpark of 6.5%. There is talk that it will increase significantly more in a new CBA once the leagues negotiates new TV contracts but lets just call it a conservative 7% growth.

Credited Seasons Proposed 2020 P5 Proposed 2025 P5 7% Cap Inflated 2025 P5 Difference
0 $610,000 $840,000 $855,557 -$15,557
1 $675,000 $960,000 $946,722 $13,278
2 $750,000 $1,030,000 $1,051,914 -$21,914
3 $825,000 $1,100,000 $1,157,105 -$57,105
4 to 6 $910,000 $1,170,000 $1,276,322 -$106,322
7 up $1,050,000 $1,255,000 $1,472,679 -$217,679

All but one level (players with 1 year of experience) make out better by 2025 using the current proposal. If growth is higher than 7% even they would not. By the end of the CBA its even worse.

Credited Seasons Proposed 2020 P5 Proposed 2030 P5 7% Cap Inflated 2030 P5 Difference
0 $610,000 $1,065,000 $1,199,962 -$134,962
1 $675,000 $1,185,000 $1,327,827 -$142,827
2 $750,000 $1,255,000 $1,475,364 -$220,364
3 $825,000 $1,325,000 $1,622,900 -$297,900
4 to 6 $910,000 $1,395,000 $1,790,108 -$395,108
7 up $1,050,000 $1,480,000 $2,065,509 -$585,509

This of course again leads to a bad cycle where come the next labor agreement the NFL simply proposes the same $100K salary increase to entice a vote even though they continue to derive great benefit out of the way they continue to set P5 minimums with no consideration of growth.

There really should have been room for more here for the core players. It certainly is an immediate increase but its important to put things in context of how players were valued years ago and what they have agreed to now. Sometimes those big numbers sound bigger than they are and that may be the case here as well.

Questions about this article? Reach Jason Fitzgerald on Twitter at @Jason_OTC