So why don’t teams know, only 10 days away from the launch of a new league year, the 2012 salary cap?
A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the league and the NFLPA currently are “scrambling” to increase the tentative number.
The problem arises from two realities. Under the new CBA, players receive a finite number (47 percent of specifically defined revenues) to cover both salaries and benefits. But the costs of the benefits have increased, driving more of the allocation away from salaries.
And so, for roughly a week, the NFLPA has been trying to re-do the numbers in order to trim back the benefit costs and in turn drive up the salary cap.
It’s not the first smoke-and-mirrors exercise under the new CBA. The absence of a performance-based pay system in 2011 directly resulted in a higher salary cap for 2011. This year, the return of the performance-based pay system (at $3.46 million per team) takes money away from the cap.
While the union currently is trying to find a solution, it’s a shared problem. The league doesn’t want the players to think they got a bad deal in 2011, and so the league has a certain amount of willingness to cooperate with the effort. Moreover, the teams (most of them, at least) want to drive up the cap number in order to have more money to spend.
Regardless, the number will come out at some point within the next 10 days. The longer it takes, the more likely it will be that, in the end, this problem has no acceptable solution.