Brian Miller wrote a column today about some changes he proposes to help players and teams better navigate the salary cap era.
While I agree that changes need to be made, and I find alot of merit in some of his suggestions, here are five other changes that I believe would better fix the problem. (My apologies to the owners in advance as these suggestions help the players more than the owners.)
(1) Set a stricter rule for the salary floor
I think the system for penalizing teams for underspending needs an overhaul. Right now, teams have to “spend cash” equivalent to 89% of the cap within a four-year period. Teams that want to circumvent this rule, simply have to give huge signing bonuses to a few players and that counts as “cash spent”. In the meantime, it doesn’t equate to trying to put a competitive team on the field.
Under my new rule, teams that don’t even try to approach the cap (yes, I am looking at you Cleveland and Jacksonville) would lose draft picks every year they don’t spend up to 90% of the cap in actual “salaries” the previous year. Which brings me to the next proposed change.
(2) Guaranteed contracts
Make player contracts “fully guaranteed”, except for misconduct (like drugs/PEDs, domestic violence, etc) but if they are put on IR, the contract doesn’t count towards the cap. This would be LOVED by the players for the security it provides
Teams would like it because it would set a more reasonable market for free agents. Gone would be the days of the agent-loving, PR, fake dollar deals that currently clutter the market and drive up salaries. This change would also protect teams against off the field player transgressions, and season/career-ending injuries, that would hamstring the franchise.
(3) “Hold outs” would be prohibited
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Since player salaries are now fully guaranteed, teams have to honor the contract they signed and pay the player the full value of the deal. In return, players have to honor the contract and cannot “hold out” to rework their deal. (This clause will apply to players that have been tagged as “Franchise”, “Transition” and “Restricted”.)
(4) “Franchise Tag” tweak
The “Franchise Tag” can only be used on one player at a time. If a team “franchises” a player and then signs them to a long-term deal, they lose the tag till the end of the contract. (ex. sign Andrew Luck to a 5yr deal, you lose the tag for 5 years, even if you cut him.) The tag was meant to allow teams to keep their most valuable player; usually the QB. It wasn’t meant to hold a different player hostage with the team each year.
(5) Implementation of “max deals”
For years, players have griped about how they are the only sport without guaranteed contracts. Well, per Rule #2, players now have them. The trade-off? Just like the NBA, the CBA will contain the establishment of “max deals”.
Each position is given an “Annual Value Cap” (AVC). (For example, the AVC for Tackle would be $10M/yr, therefore, they cannot offer a player at that position more than $10M/yr.) As for which position a player is designated, that will be determined by which position he took the most snaps the previous 1-3 seasons.
This not only helps the teams by protecting them from outbidding each other, it also more equally distributes the wealth among a larger percentage of players. Right now, most teams have 3-5 players making HUGE dollars and the rest making squat.
**If you want to level the playing field between teams, you can even have an “income tax” correction so states with no income tax don’t have a major advantage. (Sorry fans of teams in Florida and Texas).**
Well readers, what do you think? How do they compare to Brian Miller’s suggestions? What changes would YOU make?