The NFL needs to change their salary cap structure before it ruins the league

BLOOMINGTON, MN - FEBRUARY 05: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to the media during Super Bowl LII media availability on February 5, 2018 at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII 41-33 on February 4th. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, MN - FEBRUARY 05: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to the media during Super Bowl LII media availability on February 5, 2018 at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII 41-33 on February 4th. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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The NFL made a smart move when they added a salary cap to the CBA all those years ago but now they need to go back to the table with the NFLPA and change it before it ruins the league.

On average the cap has risen around $10 million each of the last few years and by 2021 it should be north of $200 million. That may seem like a lot of money but it really isn’t. It is hindering teams and as the salaries of players continue to rise, the cap isn’t rising quick enough to meet those demands.

Quarterback salaries alone are rising faster than the cap can keep up. Kirk Cousins may very well become the highest paid quarterback in the NFL this off-season and while his contract will definitely go over the $100 million mark, his guaranteed money should be the highest as well. At least until the Packers redo Aaron Rodgers’ contract.

NFL teams will soon be paying an average NFL quarterback in the mid-teens. Millions we are talking. Quarterbacks who hold clipboards will eventually begin to make closer to $10 million. It’s the natural progression but when players begin counting $22 to $28 million of cap space, there is something wrong and something needs to be done.

It’s not just quarterbacks. Receivers are starting to make major money now that a larger portion of teams offenses are leaning towards the pass again. Jarvis Landry wants a deal worth $15 million a year. That is $15 million in cap space. A defensive end may count $10-12 million of cap space and offensive tackle prices are going up.

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It all adds up and it all adds up to teams having to release players to make more room to operate. Case in point, Robert Quinn’s trade to the Dolphins saved $11 million of Rams cap space. The Dolphins trading Landry will save $16 million. Each year teams dump veteran players because they can’t operate within the restraints of the cap.

This is not to say that the NFL should eliminate the cap. They absolutely should keep it but there are ways to improve the structure. One Twitter comment makes a lot of sense.

Removing quarterbacks from the equation makes sense as they are the highest paid players and the most important person on the field offensively. If that were the case however teams would throw money at every quarterback they could get their hands on and hope one of them sticks.

Another option would be to cap each position. Eliminating a position from the cap will allow another position to rise to the top of the money chain. Capping the positions could benefit both the players and the teams.

Say each team was allotted $34 million of cap space each year to pay for their entire quarterback roster. Starter, back-up, third QB, even the practice squad player would count. That’s it. That’s the money you have to allocate.

Receivers could see a cap number in the mid-30’s as well or high 20’s. Each position has a slotted allocation. Money not used on specific positions can be moved around to pay kickers and punters or other special teams players. The point is each position has a cap.

This would allow teams a better opportunity to keep their own players and groom prospects for the future. Players could improve their annual contracts as well because teams would or should have more flexibility with their cap.

Rookies would remain on their cap structure and each players salary would count towards that positional cap as well. This isn’t a perfect plan, if it were I would probably be in New York pitching the idea to the league. It is however an option and perhaps a better one than is currently in place.