Approximately nine months ago, I ran a list of frequently asked questions that the NFL provided about the CBA negotiation ramifications, and the uncapped year in particular. I didn't think much of it at the time, but I noticed something recently that was a little interesting, to say the least. Maiocco ran a similar FAQ with some updates from the last nine months and that's what caught my attention:
Q: Is there a Minimum Team Salary in the Final League Year?
A: There is no Minimum Team Salary in the Final League Year. The Minimum Team Salary in 2009 is projected to be $107,748,000, meaning each team is required to allocate $107 million on player costs (not including benefits). The team salary cap in 2009 is $123 million.
According to the current CBA, the Final League Year is the 2010 League Year. That is the year where there is no salary cap. There's been plenty of discussion about the ramifications of no cap, but there has not been much discussion of the ramifications of no salary floor.
Most teams have a lrge percentage of there players locked up to multi-year deals, so it's unlikely we'll see teams with $50 million or $60 million payrolls. However, say, for example, you're a team that struggles in 2009 and is not expecting to be much better in 2010. You've got some decent-sized salaries coming off the books after the 2009 season. If there's no new deal in place yet, do you hold back for 2010 and pocket whatever money you save on salary?
I'm not saying this will happen, but it's certainly an intriguing possibility, particularly in hard economic teams. Most owners are filthy rich, but potentially pocketing millions of dollars is certainly a tempting possibility. This is all just speculation, but it's something to at least ponder.