Tweaking the NFL Salary Cap

What if salary cap rules changed so that pay of players who are with their original team only count 75% against the cap?

Archie Manning in an Oilers uniform is so wrong! Incidentally, #10 to his left is Oliver Luck. Both are playoff committee members and fathers of NFL QBs.

Archie Manning in an Oilers uniform is so wrong! Incidentally, #10 to his left is Oliver Luck. Both are playoff committee members and fathers of NFL QBs.

The NFL 2014 season is upon us, and so begins the annual processes of doing double takes upon seeing familiar players in different uniforms. Free agency in the NFL is like an epic game of musical chairs.

Am I the only one who thinks it has gone too far? It’s like players these days don’t want to marry; only date.

As a kid, I remember when Archie Manning was traded to the Houston Oilers. With Archie gone, wearing my #8 Saints jersey to the Superdome didn’t feel right. That was before free agency. Free agency took team swapping sacrilege to a whole new level. Do you remember Jerry Rice as an Oakland Raider? Brett Favre as a Viking? Maybe it’s all a big conspiracy, so us fans have to buy new NFL gear every year.  Is nothing sacred in the NFL?

It saddened me yesterday to see Roman Harper, a long time Saint, in a Carolina Panthers uniform. It reminded me of when Sam Mills made the same move. Mr. Mills subsequently thumped the Saints, causing then coach Jim Mora Sr. to lose his shit and quit the team. [See video below.] We didn’t do diddly poo on offense because Sam Mills still tackled like a madman. Apparently getting beat by your own players pisses coaches off.

I know free agency and salary cap are here to stay–so this annual game of musical chairs isn’t going anywhere. But can the NFL do anything to dial it back a little? Wouldn’t it be good if they made a small adjustment that allowed at least some players to spend their entire careers with one team?

A MODEST PROPOSAL

What if salary cap rules change so that that the salary of players who are with their original team only count 75% against the cap? Let’s take an example of a player who is paid 1 million.

Example:

Original Team: 1,000,000 salary * 75% = 750,000 against salary cap.

New Team: 1,000,000 salary * 100% = 1,000,000 against salary cap.

I asked Saints GM Mickey Loomis what he thought of my idea. “That’s why we have the franchise tag,” he said.

Yea, but the franchise tag is only ONE player, Mr. Loomis.

Another concern that’s been voiced is that the players union wouldn’t go for it. But why would the union not want more money for player salaries? The real concern is that the owners wouldn’t want to pay more than they already do. But the impact of such a change wouldn’t be that large.

Let’s assume a team has half their salaries tied up in players that they initially drafted or signed. How much more might they have to pay if such a tweak were implemented?

133 mil * 50% * 25% = 16.25 million increase

I’m guessing a 16 million increase in payroll would be worst case scenario. Therefore, buy-in from the owners is not out of the question.

What do you think? Would the NFL be more fun to watch if teams had a slight incentive to develop and keep their own talent?

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