Conflicting accounts have emerged in recent days regarding whether the salary cap will spike in 2014, when the new TV deals kick in. The NFLPA reportedly has told players and agents that it will; Patriots owner Robert Kraft recently has said that it won’t.
Regardless of the truth (and the smart money is on Kraft knowing which way the wind will blow), the league wants the players to think that they got a great deal in 2011.
Before NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith was re-elected, the league had even more reason to paint the deal as being friendly to the players, since the league wanted Smith to keep his job. But even with Smith still in place for the foreseeable future, the league wants the players to be happy with the new labor agreement.
Kraft’s comments could be aimed at properly gauging player expectations come 2014, so that the reaction to anything other than a spike in the salary cap won’t be surprise. If, after all, Kraft is right, the NFLPA has now set the players up to be grossly disappointed.
Especially since the money that pumped up the 2012 salary from from $116 million per team to $120.6 million per team had to come from somewhere. Unless the NFL simply decided to give the players a bigger slice of the pie in 2012 or the players decided to shift money from benefits to salaries, the $147.2 million came from future years. Which means that, in future years, there could be $147.2 million less to fund the salary cap.