With one of the best franchises in the NFL — the Steelers — declaring that it will use a self-imposed salary cap in the uncapped year, one of the worst franchises — the Lions — has done the same.
“I think the only prudent thing to do, from our perspective, is to
engage in the same kind of planning process that we would’ve if there
were a cap,” CEO Tom Lewand said Wednesday, per John Niyo of the Detroit News. “Eventually, there will be a new system. I
don’t know what that’s going to look like yet.
“The worst thing
that could happen would be to make progress in a significant way in
2010 and then have that progress impeded by new rules.”
We’ve previously explained that, after the salary cap goes away, the rules are there ain’t no rules, which means that teams will be proceeding at their own risk if they overspend in 2010.
This dynamic illustrates yet another way in which the uncapped year actually hurts players. Every prudent team has a budget, and they can set their own ceiling as high — or as low — as they wish. With no salary floor, there’s no bottom limit on each team’s upper limit.
None of this means that the union won’t ultimately claim collusion, but the union will need evidence more persuasive than the reality that every business determines on a year-by-year basis the amount of money that will be devoted to labor costs.