Yardbarker Horiz

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

GM Challenges: The Salary Cap Rocket

Clearly the largest part of the modern NFL GM's job is to manage the salary cap.  The salary cap has been escalating rapidly for the past five years.

In 2005, the salary cap was $85.5 million.
In 2006 the cap was originally set to be approximately $94.5 million.  An extension of the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement -- between NFL player and owners) that year included a change in the formula used to determine the cap.  The new formula jolted the cap to $108 million.

In 2007 the cap barely nudged up to $109 million.

In 2008 it escalated to $116.7 million.

For 2009, the cap is approximately $127 million (an increase of 50% over the 2005 cap in just five years).  This rapid rise in cap dollars means small market teams are getting more and more money to meet the cap from the "league" and not from their own revenue sources.  This will likely be a testy topic among the owners when the current CBA expires in 2011.

Where does that leave the modern GM?  They are stuck between owners which must have profitable franchises and players who are getting a larger and larger fraction of revenue.  Also, the current CBA contains language which affects existing player contracts ("poison pills" to motivate both sides to the negotiating table) which makes decisions on handling veterans a gamble.  Finally, the threat of a player lockout in 2011 looms on the horizon.

Oh, yea, and don't forget to win a bunch of games, too!!

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