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With no salary floor, Bucs, Chiefs, Jags keep millions in their pockets

As the first season without a salary cap since 1993 enters its second week, a trio of teams have taken full advantage of the disappearance of a salary floor.

Per a league source, the Buccaneers, Chiefs, and Jaguars each have committed less than $90 million to player compensation in 2010.

Last year, the spending minimum exceeded $110 million per team.  Some believe that a salary cap for 2010 would have approached $135 million.  If so, the spending minimum would have been in the neighborhood of $120 million.

At the lowest are the Bucs, with only $80.8 million committed as of Friday, per a league source.  The Chiefs have spent $84.5 million.  The Jaguars are at $89.5 million.

The development translates to millions in savings — and thus additional profit — for these teams.  The bigger question is whether it’s hurting them on the field. 

Each of these three mattress-stuffing teams won in Week One.

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37 Responses to “With no salary floor, Bucs, Chiefs, Jags keep millions in their pockets”
  1. ICEWALKER says: Sep 18, 2010 12:31 PM

    I think this loophole will be closed by the Union next time.
    Although if teams can compete without spending near the cap then thrifty owners will try to get by. If their team can compete and continue to be in the playoff hunt near the end of the season, why not save a few million bucks?

  2. sniperhare says: Sep 18, 2010 12:33 PM

    The Jaguars will spend money wisely, they gave a new contract to Nwaneri, and signed Kampman.

  3. sportsjustice says: Sep 18, 2010 12:38 PM

    How about you dissect the other end of the spectrum and tell us about the teams that have over spent and are on the otherside of the salary cap.

  4. Kiss Bills Rings says: Sep 18, 2010 12:40 PM

    Yup they are & none of them will make the post season either….some day they will figure out that you have to spend it to make it…..just hopefully not too soon!!!

  5. Jerry Williamson says: Sep 18, 2010 12:42 PM

    And these teams will probably win much more. A decent example from MLB on why money isn’t everything is in the AL East. Tampa Bay and New York are going to be in the playoffs with 100 wins a piece and will finish within a game of each other most likely.
    New York’s team salary at $206M is nearly TRIPLE the $72M that Tampa Bay spends on its players.
    Boston spends 2x what Tampa Bay spends and will miss the playoffs finishing third.

  6. Hansman says: Sep 18, 2010 12:52 PM

    Money IS everything. This is really the only thing a NFL fan should be concerned about with the NFL labor disputes. The gap between the max and the minimum. A large discrepancy will make the NFL a vastly inferior product than what it was. As a fan WHY would you not want equality? You would.

  7. MattAtDorn says: Sep 18, 2010 12:56 PM

    Not to mention whether or not a team spends that money or not, how does the fact that they may or may not be perceived to have a good season effect their ability to sell tickets/ avoid black outs. Something Jacksonville has struggled with?

  8. 49er Man says: Sep 18, 2010 12:59 PM

    The Rays have a done a good job in developing their own players via the draft and haven’t spent too much in free agency. That’s about the only way in baseball that small market teams can do well.

  9. bytebodger says: Sep 18, 2010 1:00 PM

    If you want to take the Jags to task for not wading deeply enough into free agency, you may have a point. But if you want to take them to task for not throwing millions more at their existing players, where is the logic in that? They have one bona fide superstar and he was already locked up with a lucrative contract extension before last season. This year they signed Kampman to a big free agency deal and they were publicly questioned on this site for spending so much money on someone after knee surgery. They recently gave Uche Nwaneri a big contract extension, and again, they were questioned on this site for doing so. Can you find a lot of other players on the current roster who should be given millions more?
    So which is it, guys? It sounds to me like when they spend money, they are criticized and when they don’t spend money, they are criticized. This just further confirms the perception that they will be criticized here no matter what they do.

  10. Ravens Macg says: Sep 18, 2010 1:02 PM

    A savvy GM & staff can find players. When they get greedy and want the big bucks let em go and start over. Adding a rookie cap would also help.

  11. Brewdogg says: Sep 18, 2010 1:04 PM

    The game to be played is to keep yearly salaries low by offering big money up front. That’s why these teams are in a good position moving forward. If the rule regarding roster bonuses vs signing bonuses holds true, they can do their FA shopping as they see fit, and then they can give extensions with big roster bonuses to key players to get themselves above the minimum while preserving their cap room for the following offseason. It’s a great method.
    Now, I am not a fan of any of these teams, but I say wait and see what happens. If they appear on the cusp of an honest SB run, and they still play it cheap when the help to get them over the edge is available, then you can cry cheap. Until then, let them build their cores and lock them up until they get close before we judge them.

  12. whoaleckna says: Sep 18, 2010 1:05 PM

    Eagles cut major costs this off-season as well.

  13. Fan says: Sep 18, 2010 1:22 PM

    This is too much fun. Let’s see: We use the Yankees and Rays as examples why money spent is no guarantee for winning, then we argue that we should minimize this gap because, as fans, we should want equality.
    This is called “The Union Gap.”

  14. ErnieLane says: Sep 18, 2010 1:23 PM

    No wonder the Bucs (my home team) suck so bad.

  15. Fike Mlorio says: Sep 18, 2010 1:36 PM

    “The development translates to millions in savings — and thus additional profit — for these teams.”
    Stick to the lawyering and keep your ignorance of basic business and accounting principles to yourself, Mike.
    Unless you have inside knowledge of what these teams’ expenses are (profit [or loss] is what’s left when you subtract expenses from income), you’re talking out of your ass when you say “additional profit.”
    Underperforming teams, sub-par ticket sales… you could very easily be talking about teams doing their best to break even or not suffer a loss. Don’t look now, your bias is showing…

  16. NoHomeTeam says: Sep 18, 2010 1:51 PM

    ICEWALKER says: “I think this loophole will be closed by the Union next time.”
    Not a loophole.
    This was specifically negotiated into the CBA 18 years ago. You have to give something to get something in every negotiation.
    The majority of owners wanted a salary cap. The players — particularly those who stood to make big money — were against the idea.
    The salary floor is what the owners gave in exchange for the salary cap. It basically ensured that, while a small number of players on a handful of rich teams wouldn’t make as much as they might without a cap, the majority of the rank-and-file players would gain a measure of protection from penny-pinching teams.
    That many of today’s players apparently forgot that when the cap went away it took the floor with it does not make this a loophole.

  17. robert ethen says: Sep 18, 2010 1:57 PM

    They found the secret Paul Brown map which showed where the money was hidden. Under the floor.

  18. it will happen says: Sep 18, 2010 2:01 PM

    If you consider the $$ spent per win the yankees spend foolish. Rays and Twins have the same amount of wins and spend about half or less then the yankees spend on salaries. This isn’t breaking news here but a major reason why the yankees win is they can keep buying players. MLB needs a hard salary cap like the NFL. I would love to see the NYY try to have the same success as the Twins and Rays with the same salary. My $$ would say it would not happen.

  19. plt2006 says: Sep 18, 2010 2:26 PM

    Anyone who has run a business knows that CASH IS KING! You must maintain a positive cash flow, especially in times of economic uncertainty! Players aren’t the only expenses that these teams have to worry about. Also, if you can find a way to get equal or higher production without having to spend as much as the competition then your business model is a good one. Only in the current Kafka-esque pro-union environment would this logic be tossed aside in favor of putting employees above everything else.

  20. Nosredna says: Sep 18, 2010 2:28 PM

    Florio, why why WHY WHY WHY are you so concerned of what a player makes or what a team spends? It has been proven time and time again that the most expensive player is not always the best, the team that spends the most money is not always the best.
    In fact, there have been times where the lessor player has done outstanding work, the team that doesn’t pay as much has won a division.
    That being said, what does this post matter?

  21. Admiral Obvious says: Sep 18, 2010 2:36 PM

    These are cap dollars not real dollars.
    Huge difference dudes.

  22. GBfanForever says: Sep 18, 2010 2:42 PM

    It’s a strategy that’s worked wonders for baseball teams like the Royals and Pirates!

  23. KM91 says: Sep 18, 2010 2:43 PM

    @Kiss Bills Rings: Tell me how that has worked for the Jets and Redskins…

  24. malgorthewarrior says: Sep 18, 2010 2:48 PM

    Look at the average age of these teams. Younger players make less money on all times (unless you are the top 10 of the first round).
    I know the Chiefs have one of the youngest teams in the NFL, I’m sure the Bucs and Jags do, too.
    Also, two of those three teams have been perpetual losers. The Bucs used to have a lot of money tied up, but over the last few years they have let go of contracts-Rice, Brooks, etc.
    The Chiefs had Shields, Roaf, Green, Holmes, Johnson, Surtain, and Kennison all leave the team over the course of a few seasons. Those players were all making millions. They have been replaced with younger players.
    I don’t think it’s a matter of teams being “cheap”, just being young. The good players will get big extensions, as teams get more competitive they will add free agents.
    Now that I think about it, I don’t really see any purpose to this article.

  25. Shark839 says: Sep 18, 2010 2:59 PM

    When the cap comes back these 3 teams will be in great shape. They won’t be like the New York Jets and have to gut their roster.

  26. realitypolice says: Sep 18, 2010 3:42 PM

    Hilarious. I knew most of the posters here would take the side of the billionaire owners pocketing extra millions while you keep shelling out thousands of your hard earned dollars to support them.
    My favorite defense are the people who are basically saying- “why should they pay more to their players, they’re all lousy?”. Umm……..yeah, there’s a reason cheap teams tend to have a greater than usual number of lousy players.
    I don’t know why the players ever even bother to make their case or try to any PR. They can never win.

  27. Jag4Life says: Sep 18, 2010 3:43 PM

    Kiss Bills Rings says:
    September 18, 2010 12:40 PM
    Yup they are & none of them will make the post season either….some day they will figure out that you have to spend it to make it…..just hopefully not too soon!!!
    ————————————————-
    Thanks for the fortune telling. I thought the Jags were going to be in the SB, but since you say they aren’t making the post season I don’t have to worry about that.
    Obviously you are caught up with the Albert Haynsworths, Terrell Ownens and Ladanian Tomlinson’s of the world, but Jaguar G.M. Gene is building through the draft and getting QUALITY free agents not HAS BEEN NAMES to put a winning product on the filed. Nice try though.

  28. realitypolice says: Sep 18, 2010 3:48 PM

    Jerry Williamson says:
    September 18, 2010 12:42 PM
    And these teams will probably win much more. A decent example from MLB on why money isn’t everything is in the AL East. Tampa Bay and New York are going to be in the playoffs with 100 wins a piece and will finish within a game of each other most likely.
    =================
    So, you’re saying that because the Rays, who function in a completely different system where you can draft a hundred kids over 4-5 years, and pay them virtually nothing with no fear of them becoming free agents while they develop, have been successful this means that the Chiefs, Bucs, and Jags will all “win much more”?
    There is absolutely no comparison. Cheap young talent doesn’t win in football the way it can in baseball, because you are drawing from a much smaller talent pool. The Rays literally have 200 players in their system, football teams their 53 man roster and a 5 man practice squad.
    Other than that, they are exactly the same.

  29. LAEaglefan says: Sep 18, 2010 3:53 PM

    The owners of these cheap teams will stuff their own pockets at the expense of putting a decent team on the field. Its all a matter of priorities.

  30. contract says: Sep 18, 2010 3:58 PM

    Aren’t these teams having attendance problems?

  31. Bob Nelson says: Sep 18, 2010 4:17 PM

    The Buccaneers owners have to use the money to pay down the debt on their British soccer team, Manchester United.

  32. Sociofan says: Sep 18, 2010 4:19 PM

    I did not realize that the owner profit sharing mechanism in the NFL was tied to the CBA with the NFLPA. Are the owners now exempt from redistributing profits among all the league’s teams? I have not gotten that impression in the Washington area media. As a whole, it would appear that the NFL owners might do better, but will those individual teams really benefit in direct proportion to their reduced spending?

  33. Matt says: Sep 18, 2010 5:24 PM

    # Jerry Williamson says: September 18, 2010 12:42 PM
    A decent example from MLB on why money isn’t everything is in the AL East. Tampa Bay and New York are going to be in the playoffs with 100 wins a piece and will finish within a game of each other most likely.
    ********************************************
    Exactly. And then there’s the Pittsburgh Pirates, whose 2010 opening day payroll was pretty close to their 1992 payroll. Funny thing is, 1992 also happens to be about the last time they were competitive. Weird.
    So, is money everything? Nope. However, if you can’t/don’t/won’t pay to field a decent team, after a couple of years, probabilistic reality kicks in and you’ll regress back to about what would be expected, based on what you are investing. Otherwise, payroll and winning percentage in the MLB wouldn’t exhibit a moderately strong correlation (in a statistical sense, based on 2010 MLB data). Also, that’s just from one year. I’d bet hard cash that if you look over time, teams that traditionally have lower salaries tend to do more poorly, year in and year.
    At the end of the day, if you want to root for a team that won’t/can’t drop cash on personnel, cool. Hopefully said team has great scouts, amazing player development, a solid infrastructure in their farm system, and an amazing staff for negotiating contracts. Having grown up watching a small-market baseball team that got smacked around for 20 years of my life, can’t say I’d agree with you (not that I believe lack of financial investment was the sole cause of said 20 years of failure).
    ********************************************
    ********************************************
    # malgorthewarrior says: September 18, 2010 2:48 PM
    I don’t think it’s a matter of teams being “cheap”, just being young. The good players will get big extensions, as teams get more competitive they will add free agents.
    ********************************************
    Assuming that you’re right and cheap teams do tend to be younger … Are you sure it’s not just that cheap teams often tend to be young because the players that they have that do develop into stars, or even merely competent players at the professional level, often leave because they don’t want to play on a perpetually garbage team?
    Aside from rare cases (e.g., playing for a hometown team), what is the incentive to stay, in the long term, with a team like the Buccaneers or the Chiefs? Why would a budding Pro Bowler want to stay with a team that they know isn’t going to be competitive in the long run? Perhaps for the same reason that teams that are consistently competitive can often convince star players to take less money than they would get elsewhere, to have a shot at doing something?

  34. zam says: Sep 18, 2010 9:10 PM

    Now this explains the Michael Clayton deal.

  35. nicalooch76 says: Sep 18, 2010 10:19 PM

    ErnieLane says:
    September 18, 2010 1:23 PM
    No wonder the Bucs (my home team) suck so bad.
    ————————————————————-
    Yeah, 1-0, how TERRIBLE. It’s a new year, shut your vag.

  36. Jaydub says: Sep 19, 2010 3:17 PM

    Well if you ask me, I’d……
    Nah. Too easy
    Like shooting fish in a barrel

  37. kappa08 says: Sep 20, 2010 2:39 PM

    Hey ErnieLane…who sucks now?…2-0. Go chase a shiny object…it’s what guys like you do.
    You have absolutely no idea what it takes to actually build something of quality that will last. Ask The Redskins if throwing money at anything of “perceived” value works….The Glazers have already built a champion and know how to build another one…No wonder you were always picked last….

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