We’ve received several questions over the past few weeks regarding the operation of player contracts after the evaporation of the salary cap.
And the answer to all questions is simple — once the cap goes away, any further rules relating to the operation of the salary cap will hinge upon the collective bargaining process.
As NFL spokesman Greg Aiello explains it, there will be no “transition rules” unless and until the league and the NFLPA agree to such measures via collective bargaining. Thus, any team that decides to sign players to big-money deals will be assuming that risk that, eventually, they’ll have to scramble for cap space, if/when a cap is reapplied.
This reality could cause some teams to be even more cautious when it comes to spending money in 2010.
Meanwhile, existing contracts can be dumped by trading or cutting players with no cap consequences in 2010. Presumably, there would be no lingering ramifications in future years covered by the deals, subject again to the collective bargaining process.
So, basically, the removal of the salary cap will plunge the entire player payroll system into uncertainty, and there will be no clear answers until the league and the union reach an accord regarding the next compensation scheme.