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The Mysterious Uncapped Year

Things are quiet in Skins-land, with a lull in the schedule before OTAs resume in June, so I thought I'd open it up on th4e topic du jour in the NFL - the possibility of a work stoppage and, prior to that, an uncapped year. I don't see either of these things happening, and I'm going to give the owners the benefit of the doubt that they don't maim the golden goose, but Lorenzo sent me an interesting email today and I thought it made sense to discuss on the blog during these lazy days of May.

Okay, unless you've been living a sequestered life limited to changing diapers and dispensing rations of band-aids and medicine you've no doubt heard the news that the NFL owners might opt out of the current CBA with the players during meetings this week. Okay, so what does this mean?

Well, for one, the current CBA that is supposed to run through 2013 would now cease after the 2011 season, and, as such, the 2010 season would be uncapped. But don't get too excited. Sure, Joe Gibbs would go on and on about how that without that pesky salary cap Dan Snyder would no doubt buy a dynasty, but even if the owners opt out today, that uncapped year is far from a certainty.

An early opt out most likely will be the first step towards an early return to the bargaining table as both sides try to has out a new CBA. And that process - again, giving both sides the benefit of the doubt - could very likely result in a new labor deal well prior to 2010. A resolution like that would negate the uncapped year. (I see the process unfolding in this manner).

Should there be no new CBA by 2010 and that off season be uncapped, there are some provisions in place to keep things from getting completely bonkers. Free agents would need 6 years of service and not 4 to hit the open market, for instance. But, in the long term, I think if we ever hit uncapped year the owners will never go back to a cap, and the game could be changed forever, for the worse in my opinion.

It will be exceedingly difficult to force teams that have spent immensely in 2010 to then comply with a new cap whenever NFL play resumes, in whatever form. Once that box opens, look out. Now, from a Redskins perspective they would undoubtedly be heavy spenders - they've already spent $40 million more on players since 2000 than any other NFL team - but no cap hardly ensures the richest guy wins. Pro sports ain't that simple.

Throwing globs of money at players without a cap would allow you to purchase some serious depth, perhaps, but chemistry and front-office acumen and cohesion and leadership has never been for sale to the best of my knowledge. Watching that off season leading up to an uncapped 2010 season sure would be an interesting socio-economic experiment if nothing else. It would be a novelty for this generation of players, and a good portion of the owners as well.

Hard to see it as being the best thing for the game, what with the competitive balance, general import of most NFL games and the allure of being able to come from the depths of the league to a champion in short order intrinsically tied to what made this league a behemoth in the first place. But, for those of you who still pine for Coach Joe, an uncapped year might be about the only thing to get him to considered his retirement as well.

By Jason La Canfora  |  May 19, 2008; 1:07 PM ET
 
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Comments

First woooo

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Uno

Posted by: Numero | May 19, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the anon post...first wooo by me.

Nothin beats forming your team through the draft. That's what I always say at least.

Posted by: Fawcett007 | May 19, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Really interesting stuff. I always look forward to updates. Hell, I check this as much as I check my facebook.

Posted by: Trevor Gartenhaus | May 19, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Who is Lorenzo? Alexander?

Posted by: Redcoat | May 19, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Red Wigglers
gee willikers.

Posted by: Stumped | May 19, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Lamas. Lorenzo Lamas.


-Nate in the PDX

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"It will be exceedingly difficult to force teams that have spent immensely in 2010 to then comply with a new cap whenever NFL play resumes, in whatever form."

Really? Why?

What if you gave out huge salaries in the upcapped year but small signing bonuses and small salaries in outyears? Wouldn't that give you a long term competitive advantage if the cap returned?

Posted by: Capologist | May 19, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

*** Breaking News*****

The Beat Reporter is Pregnant

My sources tell me the father is Coach Joe.

Beat Reporter loves some coach joe

Posted by: Great One | May 19, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

meanwhile on the subject at hand. Uncapped year would be terrible. it would be great for the skins but bad for football as a whole.

The only thing they need to change is the rookie pool and put a limit. I think your veterans who have earned money should get the big dollars and rookies should earn it.

Posted by: Great One | May 19, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Jason is anti redskin. Regardless the uncapped season would help the Redskins because they would sign top talent and would have the best depth.
The 1991 team has so much depth. It could be good or bad but Jason never points out the good when it comes to the Redskins. How do you cover a team and rarely have anything good to say. No wonder Daniel Snyder never does interveiws. Jason please cover soccer and move to Scotland. Again I like Jason but he clearly cannot stand the Redskins. Its brutal when you never get anything good out of him. Lets see what this Reid guy will do. Will he follow Jasons coat tails and get a room together at the local crack head inn or will he stick to the facts like Friday.

Posted by: Tom | May 19, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we could call the other beat reporter Jason Red.

-Nate in the PDX

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Hi Tom. No guarantee that the Skins get all the best players if it goes uncapped, because there are other owners with as much if not more money.

I'm a bit confused. How do you get "Jason hates the Skins" froom this post....

Posted by: Redcoat | May 19, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Aside from the obvious ways in which the Skins would likely out(over)spend everyone else in an un-capped year, might an uncapped year provide an opportunity for the skins to clean up their pay-it-forward profligacy (always re-structuring and rolling back big cap hits) and get themselves righted with the cap in general for a future of better fiscal responsibility as a team (hopefully paired with better scouting acumen, better use of the draft and a little better luck)? Does anyone understand the cap and the way an uncapped year would work well enough to explain how this might work to right the ship?

Posted by: ts44 | May 19, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Come on, Tom. You're doing the Daniel Snyder fan thing; "winning" the off season, and getting mad when anybody says anything relating to reality. How well has that worked so far? One playoff win in how many years?

Please remember that it is not JLC's job (or any member of the Post staff's job) to cheerlead. Especially since that bandwagon guy took the buyout.

This is not redskins.com. You might want to check it out, it's always positive. In fact, they'll give you all the virtual kool-aid you want.

Posted by: groundhogdayguy | May 19, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Hi Jason,

Is there any buzz over in Ashburn about the Skins interest in Thurman?

Posted by: yuri | May 19, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for insulting Joe Gibbs. You jerk.

And by the way, the NFL was pretty awesome before the cap, too. Redskins wins aside.

Posted by: Dave | May 19, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

not an cap expert but one thing that has been pointed out is the 2009 year could be terrible for the skins because if there is no cap for 2010 they might not be able to prorate or defer money.

Posted by: Great One | May 19, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Dave, hate to disagree with you, but before free agency and the salary cap. football was third in american sports. it was basketball, baseball, then football. salary cap and free agency has helped football tremendously

Posted by: Great One | May 19, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Cap,
I'm sure that Danny will find a way to bleed off a whole lot of his fortune in an uncapped year. But I think Jasno is essentially right, you can't buy a championship, at least not in the short run.

Of course if the league, did away with the cap altogether, that's a different story.

Posted by: Stumped | May 19, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

But, in the long term, I think if we ever hit uncapped year the owners will never go back to a cap, and the game could be changed forever, for the worse in my opinion

By Jason La Canfora | May 19, 2008; 1:07 PM ET
Previous: Skins Release Mathis |

It's the players who have threatened to never have a cap again if the current CBA is voided. The owners, especially in Buffalo and Cinncinati, are praying to keep the cap.

Posted by: drbatchelor | May 19, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

What if you gave out huge salaries in the upcapped year but small signing bonuses and small salaries in outyears? Wouldn't that give you a long term competitive advantage if the cap returned?

Posted by: Capologist | May 19, 2008 1:44 PM

Not realistic. The owners would never sign a player to that type of contract. You'd essentially be paying huge money for one year's service. The player would have complete control after year 1 when he's already been paid and doesn't really have to work towards earning his money. Plus at that point, the player can afford to holdout for more money if he wishes, because if the cap was re-instilled, there would be little repercussions for getting released (due to low future bonuses and low salary).

Not to mention the fact that the owners, as much money as they have, actually do have bank accounts and have to sign checks. It's not really realistic to sign a $70 million check at one moment in time per each expensively signed player.

Posted by: psps23 | May 19, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Cooley blogged about this on his blog as well.

Posted by: P Diddy | May 19, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

The owners, especially in Buffalo and Cinncinati, are praying to keep the cap.

The owners in both spots, are idiots. Ralph Wilson complains about not making the same revenue as other teams, but he names his stadium after himself. Well gee Ralph, where did you expect this revenue to come in from?

Posted by: Red-Greg | May 19, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Wow RG, I didn't really it was named after the Ralph Wilson!!

Posted by: Redcoat | May 19, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Having some trouble differentiating the "Jason" words from the "Lorenzo" words in the thread... and I think some of the upset down here in the comments may have been caused by Lorenzo's words. But again, it's just a hunch...

Not that everyone who's so inclined shouldn't take this opportunity to criticize Jason La Canfora! Go for it, fellows. As always.

-Nate in the PDX

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

We still have that All-Pro "capologist" dude, right? I have to think he's got a scheme all ready to roll for this scenario. Not worried at all about an "uncapped" year.

Also not worried at all about a work stoppage year. We won the SB after both strike-affected seasons in the '80s. Bring it on.

-Nate in the PDX

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Didn't the all-pro capologist get canned?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Assuming rational economic actors, I assume the reason that owners would not return to a cap after an uncapped year would be that they (a majority anyway) would still have valid existing contracts that would add up to exceeding the new cap (caveat: I couldn't guess where the new cap would be, but I assume it would have be high enough to peel off enough of the owners to vote for it again). They would (1) still have to pay out those contracts but (2) would be required to cut guys in order to meet the new cap. Also, with a cap in place now, there is a de facto cap on per player contracts ... see the Larry Fitzgerald shabingus. The de facto cap is the amount you can pay the single player (or maybe a few select individuals) and still afford to keep an additional 52 guys (or whatever #) on the roster. If the cap goes away, then the de facto single player cap gets blown ... and probably for more than one player ... and trying to fit that player (or those players) back within a team cap would create huge disparities between the highest paid and everyone else.

Any presumption that, in an uncapped year, the owners would act collectively for the good of the league (i.e., in anticipation of a return to a cap) rather than in individual self-interest, would be ... irrational.

Posted by: redsween | May 19, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

So, you made it to bethesda okay, Jasno? We were worried.

Posted by: cORKCZAR | May 19, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

RC, you foolin with me?

Posted by: Red-G | May 19, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I thought the Bills played in Ralph Wiggum Stadium ("Those buffaloes can't fly if you keep eating their wings").

Also, how long do I have to do this redthing?

Posted by: redsween | May 19, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Yes RG, I am indeed fooling with you. Do you think Wilson pronounces his first name as 'Rafe' so he can sound more famous?

Sween, I think Red is dead now. It's so... ....this morning.

Posted by: Redcoat | May 19, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

You know, reading the post and as much o the thread a I could stomach I've com to the reluctant conclusion that, despite our needs as fans, Pro Football is not a 12 month 365 day sport.

This is an Economics seminar. Uncapped, unschmapped I do'nt' know and I dont' care if I'm ignorant or indifferent on the topic, but I do know I'm sleepy..

I'd rather read about Va, Beach Blanket Bingo or the paper stock the new offense is printed on--if it's ready yet--but that's just me.

Posted by: CORKCZAR | May 19, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I sold the offense the new paper.

Posted by: Dwight Schrute | May 19, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

As an intermittent hyperlinker, I recognize I might link to Kirwan articles/columns/whatever it is that he does too much.

Still, he has an interesting piece this morning about positions that are changing, and in particular, going away. Specifically, he talks about middle linebackers, strong safeties, and in-line TEs.

http://www.nfl.com/freeagency/story?id=09000d5d808470ee&template=with-video&confirm=true&campaign=ec0005

In the course of doing that, however, he sheds a little light on our Cooley love up here:

"Then there's the H-back. Chris Cooley in Washington is probably the ideal example. These players have the ability to line up anywhere -- as a back, split out, or in motion -- using their alignments in combination with their speed and receiving skills to exploit weaknesses in coverage. Generally thought to lack the size and strength to be dominant blockers, players such as Cooley and recent Jets draft pick Dustin Keller are generally better when asked to block in open space. But make no mistake, the H-back is considered an offensive weapon, especially in a West Coast type offense that relies on short underneath routes. He can be the best friend of a young quarterback who needs a reliable target in the middle of the field. Just take a look at Cooley's numbers in recent years and you'll see what I mean."

Posted by: dcsween | May 19, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't get the cap issues. The owners are suffering? The players paychecks too small?

Ooops, I forgot the greed factor ... my bad

Posted by: AL, Zeke, etc | May 19, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Corkczar, Beach Blanket Bingo meets DID ...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0206226/plotsummary

Posted by: dcsween | May 19, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

My anonymous friend at 2:24pm, isn't the All-Pro capologist Eric Schaffer? I think he's still with the team, though I don't know that for sure.


I guess my further point was, EVERY team will be scheming with ways to beat the system, or at least the ones with the inclination and wherewithal to be spendthrifts. And you can bet Danny will have a bunch of guys with green visors and sleeve garters poring over their adding machines to make things work as much in our favor as possible.

Speaks really well of Tags that he left with this mess looming (one of the major reasons cited for his not being voted into the HOF this year), and speaks really well of Goodell that he hasn't made any big strides to forestall the trouble ahead, doesn't it?

-Nate in the PDX

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

You would have to believe that at contract renewal time Schaffer put his numbers in front of The Owner in such a way that it would have seemed like a cap hit to let him go!!

Posted by: Redcoat | May 19, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I have an uncapped year every year. I can't wear caps in Prison. People try to smuggle things in their caps. That can't be happening in here, or people get cut by that colon shank.

Posted by: Prison Balls | May 19, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Sween, the big receivers are gold. In Skins history, the best receivers were Taylor and Monk. What did they have in common? Size. Both were big, strong, athletic targets with great hands.

Cooley? He is gold.

Posted by: AL, Zeke, etc | May 19, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Am I chopped liver, AlZeke?

Posted by: Gary Clark | May 19, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

... And you can bet Danny will have a bunch of guys with green visors and sleeve garters poring over their adding machines ...

-Nate in the PDX

Posted by: | May 19, 2008 2:49 PM

Adding machines? We're talking adding machines? These guys are supersmart ... they use chismbob.

Posted by: dcsween | May 19, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Also in redsponse to Nate ... from pft ...

"GOODELL TRYING TO GET OWNERS NOT TO OPT OUT

Posted by Mike Florio on May 17, 2008, 12:58 p.m.

A source with knowledge of discussions regarding the fate of the Collective Bargaining Agreement tells us that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is trying to persuade NFL owners not to exercise their prerogative to opt out of the CBA two years early.

Per various media reports, the owners could pull the plug on the labor agreement at a one-day league meeting on Tuesday. Only nine of 32 votes will be necessary to do so.

As we hear it, Goodell wants the league and the union to negotiate an extension of the CBA without declaring an intention to kill the deal two years early, in order to avoid the potentially negative press arising from such a decision.

Still, the deadline for opting out two years early is November 8, 2008. It really doesn't leave a lot of time to get the thing done. And it's not the kind of deadline about which the union will care."


Posted by: dcsween | May 19, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Jason didn't dig into this one enough. There's more to the restrictions than just an increase in the number of years before eligibility. There are two other key restrictions:

1. Teams are allowed up to 3 tags (franchise and/or transition) on players on the team.

2. Teams that make the playoffs will have restrictions on how much money they can spend. What I have read indicates it will be a sliding scale, depending on how far you get.

This was posted over on NFL.com just recently (http://www.nfl.com/news/story;jsessionid=D024FD5D653F041F360447A540B7C52D?id=09000d5d80864e15&template=with-video&confirm=true), but I have read this previously elsewhere. It's out there and available with simple searches.

Posted by: Chip | May 19, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

[Looks like I'm not the only Kirwan reader.] The other interesting bit -- which seems FASCINATING -- is that there would be NO draft in 2011. Who needs free agency (which looks like it get severely curtailed if the owners pull the trigger) if you can buy up all the first round talent?

Posted by: dcsween | May 19, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Jason didn't dig into this one enough.

Posted by: Chip | May 19, 2008 3:19 PM

Ya think?! He didn't even get the fundamental position correct on who would refuse a salary cap if the current collective bargaining agreement was voided. Gene Upshaw has been saying for months that the players would never allow another salary cap with a new CBA.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

BeepUms

Posted by: FudgeUms | May 19, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Opting out is okay. Nothing wrong with getting max money, even if you're a fraud.

Posted by: Gilbert Arenas | May 19, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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