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Teams should be able to trade cap space

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When spending every waking moment writing or reading or talking or thinking about football, certain ideas will naturally pop out of the brain.

Most will be bad.  A few could be good.

Here’s one that is good (I think), but that will likely never be adopted:  Teams should be able to trade cap space.

Adopted two decades ago as a way to achieve competitive balance, the salary cap gives every team a commodity, no different than draft picks or players.  With more teams desperately needing cap space and plenty of teams having more than they care to spend, why shouldn’t teams be allowed to trade that commodity to another team in exchange for a player or a draft pick or both?

Fans could complain if a team chooses to stockpile picks in lieu of spending money.  But that doesn’t mean a team should be arbitrarily prohibited from doing it if a team thinks it’s in the best interests of the organization.  Plenty of decisions create local controversy.  That doesn’t mean there should be an arbitrary barrier to making those decisions.

It’s a free-market approach, giving teams the power to try to get better — and the ability to risk doing worse.

Also, it’s something the players should want.  By sending cap space from a team who isn’t using it to a team that needs it badly enough to give something up to get it, more cap space will be used.  Which means that more money will land in the hands of the players generally.So what say you, Competition Committee?  Should cap space be fully regarded as the commodity that we’ve known for 20 years it is?The rest of you can share your views below.

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112 Responses to “Teams should be able to trade cap space”
  1. jason49er says: Feb 14, 2013 1:34 PM

    As long as the team is spending up to the cap floor, sounds logical enough for me.

  2. jason49er says: Feb 14, 2013 1:35 PM

    As long as teams are spending up to the cap floor, sounds logical enough for me.

  3. wwwfella says: Feb 14, 2013 1:35 PM

    not a bad idea

  4. andyreidsskinnyjeans says: Feb 14, 2013 1:36 PM

    Love this idea. The bengals would have a talented team.

  5. green41563 says: Feb 14, 2013 1:36 PM

    Terrible idea. Once you allow teams to trade cap space—and thus circumvent the salary cap— you’re going to have Major League Baseball.

  6. savocabol1 says: Feb 14, 2013 1:38 PM

    You could never do this. Teams cap space changes so much year to year. What is the point of having a limit if you can just make a few trades and set your own?

  7. oa316ts says: Feb 14, 2013 1:38 PM

    While I understand the logic of your argument, I have a question: Isn’t the idea of a salary cap put in place to ensure that no team spends above a certain amount, while the salary floor, so to speak, keeps teams from spending below a certain amount? The whole point being to maintain the competitive balance by forcing teams to spend a minimum amount while also limiting their total spending?

    If you allow teams to trade cap space, aren’t you essentially taking away the reason for the salary cap in the first place? If a team hits their limit of spending, and trades for more, that means its not really a cap after all… just a limit that they can extend via trade, which then allows richer teams to perhaps buy more players than other teams…

    I don’t know, I could be completely wrong, but it seems like that idea would essentially defeat the entire purpose of having a salary cap at all.

  8. scrp2 says: Feb 14, 2013 1:39 PM

    It would be funny if the competition committee invited Mike to make a speech on his idea on the pretense of a serious discussion, then afterwords, the whole room break out into backslapping hysterical laughter.

  9. superschrec says: Feb 14, 2013 1:39 PM

    Dumb – Heres Why…
    1st – This would not be able to be implemented year to year. A draft pick is only good for 1 year and a player comes in on a contract. How long would this salary cap purchase last?

    2. by trading cap space, you will urge teams like Dal and Wash to want to get as much space from opposing teams to be able to sign anyone to any deals they want

    3. this would go against what the cap means to the leauge. Keeping competion fair as far as what a team can spend to build a winner.

    4. Players going to teams will unused cap space will demand huge contracts.

    5. This would cause the cap to change year to year and team to team. The way its set now is the same for every team.

    Just cant see something like this working out.

  10. 69firebird says: Feb 14, 2013 1:39 PM

    It’s a free-market approach, giving teams the power to try to get better —

    Spoken by by the great liberal florio.

  11. zn0rseman says: Feb 14, 2013 1:39 PM

    Terrible idea.

    There are already too many owners (about a third of the league) who would happily trade away all of their cap space and spend nothing to field a horrible team and continue to function as eady wins for their big market counterparts on the North East coast.

  12. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Feb 14, 2013 1:40 PM

    My view is that the vikings are terrible and will never win the super bowl.

  13. kaos006 says: Feb 14, 2013 1:40 PM

    It would be hard to regulate. What would stop Jerry Jones paying cash to a greedy owner like Mike Brown for cap space. The richer would just get richer. Bad Idea Florihole.

  14. killxswitch says: Feb 14, 2013 1:41 PM

    The Bengals would have 20 picks every year.

  15. thegreatgabbert says: Feb 14, 2013 1:41 PM

    Speaking of “cap space”, PFT, putting a normal sized cap on a halfbrain leaves room to spare. Which NFL team will be the Yankees?

  16. fuglyflorio says: Feb 14, 2013 1:41 PM

    Makes sense, but not trading cap space for cash … or vice versa. That will subvert the very purpose of the cap. But draft picks and/or players … maybe.

  17. gbmickey says: Feb 14, 2013 1:41 PM

    The cap is in place to ensure a competitive balance. Building a team is as much about good management as players. Why is it that people cannot leave well enough alone? The NFL is great how it is, the last thing many of us would hate to see is the league turn into MLB with the haves and the have nots.

  18. shzastl says: Feb 14, 2013 1:42 PM

    The potential (albeit likely remote) problem I see is that the competitive balance purpose of the cap could be compromised if a few teams might far exceed the cap because teams that struggle to sell tickets might sell off cap space as a way to save money.

  19. Mike Florio says: Feb 14, 2013 1:43 PM

    Yes, because liberals are the champions of free markets.

  20. eaglebobby says: Feb 14, 2013 1:43 PM

    This wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that the Skins and Cowboys were penalized their cap space, so they should be able to “trade” for more cap space? No matter how much you try to word it, that’s exactly why it sounds like to you it’s a great idea.

  21. therealbigrich says: Feb 14, 2013 1:43 PM

    If a team was going to trade a player in exchange for cap space wouldn’t a team just cut a player a player to receive cap space. Maybe im not understanding this correctly .

  22. packersfansuck says: Feb 14, 2013 1:43 PM

    That is the dumbest idea I have ever heard of. Seriously that was really dumb.

  23. Beezo-Doo-doo-Zippity-Bop-bop-bop says: Feb 14, 2013 1:46 PM

    Don’t give up your day job.

  24. mlmike25 says: Feb 14, 2013 1:46 PM

    This is a dumb idea, but I’ll play along.

    Why is there no mention of HOW this would actually work? Mathmatically-speaking? How would a team receive cap space and still be under the cap?

    Seems like this type of information should be in the article rather than just throwing out ideas willy-nilly.

  25. tdk24 says: Feb 14, 2013 1:47 PM

    Being able to trade cap space would…
    1. Remove parity.
    2. Increase stupidity. (of team owners)

    Seriously, that would be a bad bad bad idea. Especially if a GM had that control and knew he was on the way out in a year or two. Hey, take some of my cap space and i’ll give you a kickback when they fire you, GM on his way out says “no problem, friend.”

  26. tenotnamedmiller says: Feb 14, 2013 1:48 PM

    Terrible idea. Cap is in place to make teams more competitive. If cap trading is implemented NFL would end up as $800 mil buy-in club with license to steal money.

  27. armylz says: Feb 14, 2013 1:48 PM

    Florio for Commish!

  28. avatar81 says: Feb 14, 2013 1:49 PM

    Mike Brown approves this message.

  29. sasattack says: Feb 14, 2013 1:49 PM

    Totally agree. My Steelers are basically forced to lose 2 young, core players due to limited cap space. It actually makes me like the NFL even less because of that.

  30. tedmurph says: Feb 14, 2013 1:50 PM

    Disagree. The reason the NFL is better than the other major sports leagus is mainly because of the cap. In MLB, for example, there are many teams unwilling to spend and go into every year with almost no chance of winning. Haves and have nots. In the NFL the cap insures relative parity and even a bad team can be fixed fairly quickly with the right people in place. Letting NFL teams become perrenial losers because they’re cheap doesn’t do the league any good. You don’t want to watch games like the Yankees vs the Royals on Sunday.

  31. pj1983a says: Feb 14, 2013 1:51 PM

    I don’t know about this. The salary cap as it is has been really beneficial for parity around the league. Giving big market teams free reign to go on a free agent spending spree year after year could seriously backfire.

  32. kisstherings says: Feb 14, 2013 1:53 PM

    This is the most ridiculuous thing I have ever heard. This would allow a team to sell off cap space and basically ‘forfeit’ a year, so that they may stockpile picks for the future, and give teams that aquire the cap space an unfair advantage over the 30 other teams in the league that weren’t involved in the bonehead trade.

    The cap is what gives each team the opportunity to compete on a level playing field. Giving a team like the Pats, who have stockpiled draft pics, the opportunity to gain a competitive cap advantage to aquire established players just because some other team thought it was “in their best interest” to forfeit a year of competitiveness in order to gain a few draft picks for the future would be entirely unfair to every other team out there.

    Sorry bud. This idea certainly should not have been dropped in your “good” bucket dude. The reason you will never see it adopted is because it is ludicrous.

  33. robert831 says: Feb 14, 2013 1:53 PM

    Not just a terrible idea, but a really stupid one too.

  34. nolahxc says: Feb 14, 2013 1:54 PM

    I like the spirit of the idea.

    However, I really like the way the salary cap is set up currently, and it’s part of the reason the NFL is way ahead of MLB and the NBA: every team, every year has a shot.

  35. rc33 says: Feb 14, 2013 1:55 PM

    Good call. Should benefit the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers mightily.

  36. Stiller43 says: Feb 14, 2013 1:55 PM

    You would have cheap teams constantly having cheap young draft picks playing for them and letting them walk because they wouldnt have the cap space to sign them later.

    Thus they become like the pirates.

    TERRIBLE idea.

  37. usher716 says: Feb 14, 2013 1:56 PM

    As long as teams are spending up to the cap floor, sounds logical enough for me.

  38. justintuckrule says: Feb 14, 2013 1:56 PM

    MF – This is such a GREAT idea that I’m surprised nobody came up with it before. As long as teams still spend the floor, it works.

    For teams that are on the brink of breaking through but are still a year or two away (like the Browns, Cards, Rams, Bucs and Panthers), it makes all the sense in the world to trade some of their excess (and wasted unused cap) to a team that is one or two pieces away (like GB, Dal, Hou, NYG) in exchange for picks that can help the cap-traders down the road.

    For instance, (not that it would happen), but the Bucs can trade 10M in 2013 cap to the Giants for a 3rd rd. pick and the Giants could use that money on an impact LB or CB (or they could renegotiate Cruz, Eli, etc. to free up future space. It’s a win-win for everyone.

    Plus….it would make the offseason that much more interesting!

    Nice work MF.

  39. EJ says: Feb 14, 2013 1:56 PM

    Good idea, but I think it would make the whole purpose of a salary cap pointless. I understand where you are coming from, but I don’t think it would fly with the small market teams. We would definitely see players playing on the same team for most of their career though, which would make it more like it was in the early 90’s, when football was at its best. Even no name players were recognized a lot more. Where teams had teamwork at its best. Players names branded to their teams like L.T. and the Giants, Andre Reed and the Bills and Brett Favre with the Packers. Now days, players switch teams like they do pairs of pants. I would vote the change through.

  40. randallflagg52 says: Feb 14, 2013 1:57 PM

    Seemed like a good idea at first, but then some of the comments made some very good points. I wouldn’t want to see this great game become baseball, where guys like A-Rod have larger contracts than other team’s entire roster.

    It would take the skill and challenge out of scouting and developing players. Certain teams would just become the yankees and never grow their own talent but poach talent that other, better organizations developed and coached.

  41. beardinals says: Feb 14, 2013 1:58 PM

    No thanks. It’s a team’s own fault if they can’t manage their cap space and they should have to pay the penalty in time, not buy some from another team.

  42. theytukrjobs says: Feb 14, 2013 1:59 PM

    Bad idea. The NFL business model thrives on a level playing field. Allowing teams to “throw away a season” to build for the future takes them out of contention.

    Think of this scenario. The 49ers trade away 3 years of draft picks at the beginning of this season to sign 3 elite players for one year. They dominate and win the superbowl and nobody comes close to them. Then they suck for 4 years. That isn’t what the NFL wants.

    The NFL wants every team to spend about the same amount of money each year. They want every team to have a legitimate shot every season. They want teams like the Skins, Hawks, Vikings, and Colts to suck one year and then make the playoffs the next year. They want parody.

    Letting teams load up for a single season would reduce the level of uncertainty in the season’s outcome and would slightly water down their business model.

  43. freepretzels says: Feb 14, 2013 2:00 PM

    Great idea, one of the best on the site.

  44. mullman76 says: Feb 14, 2013 2:00 PM

    It would work if what you acquire does not exceed the cap..

  45. greeneblitz says: Feb 14, 2013 2:02 PM

    Dumb idea, destroys the very reason behind the salary cap with is to equalize small and large market teams.

  46. hawkforlife says: Feb 14, 2013 2:03 PM

    “With more teams desperately needing cap space”

    Desperately! If they had half a brain they wouldn’t be in this position. So now you’re advocating rewarding stupidity.

    Please can’t we just leave the NFL alone. All this would do is make more paydays for agents, lawyers (one in the same mostly) and commentators. Just thought, you’re 2/3 rds there Florio.

  47. elliottcovert says: Feb 14, 2013 2:03 PM

    Interesting idea. I like the idea in principle, but I kind of doubt that the NFLPA would like it.

    The interesting thing about this is that I’ve always thought that the NFL is the most unique of the Big Four sports in the US because team chemistry and coaching/scheme are so much more crucial to the success or failure of a team. The highest paid team can easily be (and frequently is) among the worst, and the lowest paid teams can easily be among the best. I wonder how much allowing teams to trade cap space would effect the game.

  48. tannethrill says: Feb 14, 2013 2:04 PM

    Would create too many issues not worth listing.

    My biggest issue would be with the damage caused in later years by committing to players based on borrowed space and not having the space or assets to acquire more space to accommodate previous commitments.

    Not worth the trouble. Too the naked eye it sounds okay but there’s always going to be someone that ruins something like this and takes advantage of it.

  49. nahcouldntbethat says: Feb 14, 2013 2:04 PM

    Trading cap space would just enable the small market teams to feed big market teams. It would drive up salaries and indirectly cause problems for the small market teams as franchise tags became more expensive.

    It’s a bad idea.

    Look at the New York Yankees and Kansas City Athletics in the 1950’s as an example of where it would lead.

  50. joshm5683 says: Feb 14, 2013 2:04 PM

    I like the idea in theory, but whats to stop it from turning it into something like the MLB or NBA? Think of it this way…..a big market team like the Jets decides to overpay for a bunch of stars and need more cap space so trade draft picks or whatever to Jacksonville so they can hand out more large contracts. I think this would end up with all the big market teams having the most talented rosters and tip the scales more from the competitive balance that makes the NFL great.

  51. letemplay says: Feb 14, 2013 2:05 PM

    It’s a creative idea, but I can’t get behind it. Like others have said, it goes against the reason to have a cap in the first place.

    Having said that, I do think that having the cap number flat for the next two years is awful.

    A cap is good, but cap inflation needs to be looked at again.

  52. Ponder This says: Feb 14, 2013 2:05 PM

    Carl Gerbschmidt says:Feb 14, 2013 1:40 PM

    My view is that the vikings are terrible and will never win the super bowl.

    Thank you for your honesty.

  53. frenchy121212 says: Feb 14, 2013 2:05 PM

    Only idiots think salary caps in sports work. NFl and NBA are least competitive leagues out there. 3 of the final 4 in NFL were there last year. NE. 6 conf champ games in 12 years. Who doesn’t think heat and thunder will play for nba title again this year? Who is winning WS this year. Nobody knows.

  54. eustus says: Feb 14, 2013 2:05 PM

    If you’re going to trade cap space, you’re better of eliminating it entirely. Could you imagine what Mike Brown would do if he could trade off excess cap space? He’d spend even less and allow a dolt like Duddy Schneider to spend even more. Dumb.

    The cap isn’t there because football likes socialism. The cap is there to save owners from themselves.

  55. brutus9448 says: Feb 14, 2013 2:06 PM

    terrible idea because rich teams will spend more than poor teams. Why have a salary cap then?

  56. descendency says: Feb 14, 2013 2:10 PM

    I actually think it’s a good idea, given a few basic restrictions.

    1. Each team must still spend up to the cap
    2. No team shall trade future cap

    The first one would limit the pool of money to be traded, thus limiting the possibility of turning into the MLB. Smart, cap conscious teams would have a distinct advantage over reckless teams that will need to be bailed out (at the cost of picks or good players) as they already do.

    The second one would prevent a GM from ruining a teams future to try to save his own job.

  57. lovefootball4life says: Feb 14, 2013 2:11 PM

    Already the cap is hard to understand with all the ways teams get around it but this would actually add something a little more interesting to it.

    A team rebuilding knows it isn’t going to spend it all so it trades some away for a draft pick next year to keep reloading. Maybe they get their cap back in a year or more when the deal expires.

    Likewise a team that knows its at its prime and wants to go all in for a final run can buy cap space in exchange for players or future picks.

    Its an interesting way to rebuild quickly or destroy yourself in grand fashion. In either case it makes for interesting stories and more runway to be a GM hero or loser.

  58. illadelphiasphinest says: Feb 14, 2013 2:13 PM

    Didnt even get past the title n its already the stupidest idea ive ever heard.

  59. titans12thman says: Feb 14, 2013 2:14 PM

    Hi Mike, it’s a great out of the box idea. I am a member of a board and can’t stand it when people tend to bash someones thoughts or suggestions even though they may not work. This Great League that we all love has been built on out of the box approaches. The trading of cap space will not work, but I am tired of seeing mediocre teams sitting on 50 Million worth of cap space and making their fans suffer just because they are pinching their pennies. Isn’t the goal of EVERY team to build the best roster possible and win the Super Bowl? I find it contradictory that an owner will tell it’s fans that they are building a winner only to see them fizzle out in Free Agency and bomb in the draft. OR, trade off key players in key positions because they don’t want to pay them. Maybe the league could consider lowering the cap ceiling so the fans of each individual team know that it will force the front office to keep/add talent that would put the best product possible on the field. Just saying.

  60. nflhof says: Feb 14, 2013 2:16 PM

    Maybe the Raiders could trade Tarps with the Jags for a new look in both of their empty stadiums.

  61. ajb3313 says: Feb 14, 2013 2:23 PM

    I don’t like this idea very much at first glance, but I suppose that could be because it just isn’t fleshed out enough.

    The thing I like about the NFL’s salary cap is that, in general, it’s easy to comprehend. Contrast the NFL’s cap and transactions to those of the NBA and you’ll find a huge difference. NBA teams end up trading lesser talent for expiring contracts which, in essence, is the same as trading talent for cap space. As a fan, it really muddies the waters for me. I usually find myself totally perplexed by NBA trades and bothered by teams being able to acquire talent without giving up much other than old dudes whose deals are set to run out.

    Basically, if you line up all the major sports and ask “which of these has the best structure in place for handling roster finances in a way that’s logical and keeps the playing field most level?” the answer is the NFL. Why fix what ain’t broke?

  62. chatham10 says: Feb 14, 2013 2:25 PM

    I think it is a great idea if you are a Union Lawyer or a League Lawyer as they would make a ton of money working this system out

  63. thejohnsmith1122 says: Feb 14, 2013 2:25 PM

    You might as well just suggest that the NFL take away the cap and that ain’t going to happen.

  64. tomcous says: Feb 14, 2013 2:26 PM

    With creative Contracts and Trading of Players this can already be done … I believe the NBA “Sign & Trade Model” is very much doable …

    That said, I am not a lawyer, but supposedly the job of NFL General Managers and team Cap Administrators should be smart enough to do the same as they do in the NBA!

  65. cmich2006 says: Feb 14, 2013 2:33 PM


  66. fargovikesfan says: Feb 14, 2013 2:35 PM

    If you want to ruin the NFL and turn it into MLB, then sure, its a great idea… otherwise don’t screw with it. Its not broken…

  67. larryboodry says: Feb 14, 2013 2:40 PM

    Might as well just get rid of the salary cap altogether, then.

  68. jackers252 says: Feb 14, 2013 2:40 PM

    What kind of free market are you talking about, Ben Bernanke?

    A free market wouldn’t have a cap, ceiling or floor, let alone a draft. College players would be “free” to sell their skillset to the highest bidder or best fit.

    Before the rookie wage scale, we had top flight recruits going to crappy organizations. Those organizations were continually bad, year in and year out. Their draft position ended up being near the top each year where they had to pay the big contracts, hamstringing themselves in free-agency or re-signing their own.

    So now to fix these crazy rookie deals, they put in a rookie wage scale. So while the average career in the NFL is 3.5 years, the powers that be, install a wage cap of these kids. But it’s supposed to make the vets even more money, right? Just look at how many good players are already getting cut. Unless you are a superstar, your contract gets torn up and out you go.

    No wonder these guys try and hold out. Unfortunately, the deck is stacked against them there too, with stiff fines and loss of salary for anyone who doesn’t show up.

    What kind of free market are you talking about?

  69. silverhornet says: Feb 14, 2013 2:40 PM

    I have a more revolutionary idea. Take away the cap. Have a 2nd league, with expansion teams in secondary markets that would love to have a professional football team… places like Portland, Las Vegas, Orlando, etc… at the end of the season, the two “NFL” teams with the worst record are demoted and the two teams in the 2nd league with the best record are promoted. You might need “playoff” games to determine the two teams from the NFL to drop down.

    Teams trade players for fees via a transfer system.

    The draft would remain in place with the selection order determined as usual.

    Yeah, it’s like soccer but the NFL would make a boat load of money due to the “expansion.”

  70. httr73 says: Feb 14, 2013 2:40 PM

    So I could see a handful of teams practically abandon the draft alltogether. They would simply trade draft picks for cap space and start picking up guys in free agency as their rookie contracts are expiring. Good for these high cap teams because they are getting the players after they have proven themselves. Not good for other teams because they would have a hard time signing players because they know they could go to one of these handful of teams and get a better deal because they have more cap space. Bad move for the NFL if they are interested in maintaining competetive balance.

  71. jm91rs says: Feb 14, 2013 2:41 PM

    Not a good idea, but it would not kill Parity as much as you think. Let’s take Mike Brown and the Bengals as an example since we all know he’d love to get something for all that extra cap space. If Mike had been able to trade last year’s extra cap space to the Cowboys or Redskins for some draft picks, then this years team could have had more young talent on it. They already made the playoffs with all that extra cap space, so wouldn’t they be even better if they had some bonus draft picks on top of that? The teams that do OK on the year and don’t spend to the limit would probably be better than the teams that spend it all.

    The terrible teams that spend it all and lose anyway would be the ones that would suffer. I’d also be willing to bet that the teams that stockpile picks by trading cap space will be better in the long run, because the expensive guys the other teams are signing will decline quicker than the rookies.

  72. deedub1639 says: Feb 14, 2013 2:47 PM

    frenchy121212 says:
    Feb 14, 2013 2:05 PM
    Only idiots think salary caps in sports work. NFl and NBA are least competitive leagues out there. 3 of the final 4 in NFL were there last year. NE. 6 conf champ games in 12 years. Who doesn’t think heat and thunder will play for nba title again this year? Who is winning WS this year. Nobody knows.
    The NFL is a QB driven league that is why the Falcons, Patriots, Giants, will always be in the hunt.

    This is a dumb idea. Teams that are close to a championship need to find the pieces within the rules. If they can’t then… Too bad. Allowing cap space to be traded would end parity. The Redskins and Cowboys would have the players every year. Doesn’t mean they would win every year because their meddelsome owners would spend without regard to chemistry but they would have the advantage.

    Florio….. Next topic please.

  73. jeremyhurst says: Feb 14, 2013 2:47 PM

    This is a bad idea for all the reasons mentioned above. Also, because it doesn’t make sense.

    If I have 10 Mil in cap space, and trade it straight up for Eli Manning (guestimate of 10mil/year contract), that removes 10 mil from my cap, leaving me with zero wiggle room. on top of that I get a 10 mil/year contract putting me at -10 mil cap space, forcing me to cut other players.

    So not only would a team lose cap space in the trade, they’d lose cap space simply by acquiring the other player, which would be kind of like a double dip of stupidity.

  74. musicman495 says: Feb 14, 2013 2:51 PM

    I think this is a great idea. The people who hate it cannot admit what is painfully obvious – even with a salary cap, half the teams in the league (probably their favorite team) do not care about winning, and have no intention of doing what it takes to win. Those cheapskate owners are millions under the salary cap every year, will not pay the going rate for the top coaches or GM’s (not capped), or facilities (also not capped). As long as they make money and are treated like gods who are members of the world’s most exclusive club, that is all they care about anyway. So why not let them sell off their cap space.

    That said, it will never happen, because these organizations would rather have competition artificially imposed on their competitors (NFL style free enterprise). That is why the rules on things like roster size and injured reserve are also so strict – because the perpetually lousy teams that cannot ever find talent want the good teams to find the talented players and force them to cut or release some, so the lousy teams can pick them up.

  75. harrisonhits2 says: Feb 14, 2013 2:52 PM

    Absolutely horrible idea.

    The cheap owners will see this as a way to enrich themselves directly and the already well managed teams will widen the gap that much more.

    Terrible terrible terrible !!!!!!!!!!

  76. seahawks4alltime says: Feb 14, 2013 2:52 PM

    It seems to me that currently the cap makes it so that a team can not realistically afford too many high priced players. Trading cap space would remove that limit. You would have some team with 11 100-million-dollar players and somewhere there would be a team that barely spent anything and can draft anyone they want.

    Money doesn’t buy talent. So either way this just seems like BS to me.

  77. mavajo says: Feb 14, 2013 2:56 PM

    It’s a free-market approach

    Uh, what has caused you to believe that the NFL wants a free-market approach when it comes to team building? That’s actually the last thing the NFL wants to promote. The league is basically designed to force teams to be competitive, and even if you shoot yourself in the foot with bad decisions, the salary cap protects you by limiting other teams and pulling you up by your bootstraps even if you don’t want it.

    The NFL would never allow teams to trade cap space, because it runs contrary to everything the NFL is trying to do.

  78. getyourownname says: Feb 14, 2013 3:09 PM

    And people thought “restucturing” contracts into the future and hoping for a substantial increase in cap was bad …. I’ll give you my 2025 draft for an extra $10M in cap space in 2013. Of course, by 2025, I can promise even more draft picks in 2035. But I’m looking good in 2013. So much for being held to answer for talent evaulation or coaching skill. George Allen would have loved this.

    The cap is not intended to create a non-football commodity to be individually monetized, but to promote stability and parity among all teams based on the assumption (right or wrong) that the League achieves its best value when everyone operates within the same parameters, and by limiting opportunties for one short-sighted owner from adversely that value. That’s why there’s now a pay floor, to make sure teams try to remain competitive (and why have a floor to promote competition if you allow teams to benefit by not spending. i.e., create a commodity?). True, there is room for play under any rule, some franchises are better at understanding the rule, there are discrepancies due to different state income tax structures, and ongoing tweaking probably will always be necessary. But there is no point in intentionally creating incentives not to operate to achieve the rule’s fundamental goal.

    Also, there will be less incentive for a team to negotiate rational long term contracts because of their greater chance of escaping a back-end mistake. Finally, player reps will try to capture some of that economic benefit (longer, more expensive contracts), which would probably exacerbate the current salary discrepancy between high-end versus average players with no leverage, which already creates competitive issues (see Jets, NY), so net value to teams will be diminished.

    None of this means the owners won’t do it, just that it’s not a good idea for the average fan.

  79. djpugh23 says: Feb 14, 2013 3:16 PM

    I really like the idea in principle.

    However, several caveats are required :

    1) You must still meet the cap minimum spend.
    2) No trading of future cap space.
    3) There should be a maximum amount of cap space – i.e. 20million dollars.

    As people have said this may lead to an in season imbalance. However :

    – Teams trading away vast quantities of cap space probably wouldn’t have been particularly successful anyway. This idea gives them something tangible – and means that millions of dollars in cap space isn’t wasted.
    -The so called ‘Big Teams’ wouldn’t be able to do this every season. Everyone knows you need young talent in the NFL. You also need a solid core. The idea is completely different to the MLB concepts as teams can’t just spend unlimited amounts as they also need to keep an eye on the future.

  80. shaunypoo says: Feb 14, 2013 3:20 PM

    You mortgage draft picks for cap space, sign a high priced free agent for a run. Are you only going to do one year deals for these guys, because next season you are going back down to the cap limit and you are going to have to cut some dead weight since you can only mortgage your future for so many years. Then all the high priced free agents are going to see that the giant contract they sign will never be completely honored, so they front load the crap out of it. That will limit how man y mercenary’s you can sign. And some players won’t sign because they want longer term deals.

    At this point everyone in the league will be one of two types of teams: Either you bought cap space for a run and have a bunch of veterans that will be on the market next year, or you sold all your cap space and are real young with not a great chance of winning. There will be exceptions, but that is the direction you would take it.

  81. justintuckrule says: Feb 14, 2013 3:21 PM

    Bunch of dummies on this site. Trading cap space wouldn’t be like MLB and changing the Cowboys into the Yankees. As long as there’s a salary FLOOR (unlike baseball), teams still have to spend.

    You’re only talking a few million dollars of cap trade. It’s not like the Browns are going to trade $100M and field a $20M team full of retreads.

  82. perryw9202 says: Feb 14, 2013 3:36 PM

    How about being able to trade a player with his cap number and not next year’s salary?

    Take for example Suggs from Baltimore. Has a $13M cap number or something like that for 2013. Lets say it’s $6.5M salary and $6.5 prorated bonus. Trade him to Bengals for a player and they would have to take the $13M hit but only outlay $6.5M. Would free up $13M less the salary of the player they received on Ravens side.

    As it is now if Suggs were traded or cut they’d not have to pay the $6.5 Salary, but all of the prorated bonus would be immediately on the books as dead money.

    Might work

  83. phaktor333 says: Feb 14, 2013 3:37 PM

    This type of scheme would do more harm than good. In all walks of life, even when it comes to sports, the ability to manage your bottom line effectively is difference between prospering (playoffs, Super Bowl) and completely bottoming out or being stuck in neutral (top 10 pick every year or happy with 8-8). I like it that way…the teams that screw around and overpay ridiculous contracts with heavy cap consequences to mediocre talent should be stuck in cap hell. Grossly overpaying on a good player while knowing that the surrounding talent and coaching staff is below par should put a team there as well. Now, more than ever, resources specifically devoted to scouting and player evaluation based upon the match in scheme and talent are being depended on from the draft to free agency. Every team has the chance to be efficient with its books and there is no excuse to be in cap hell with the information and accounting resources available.

    Is it me, or is Mike sounding like a Jets fan right about now?

  84. quizguy66 says: Feb 14, 2013 3:39 PM

    Nothing frightens me more as a Bengals fan than this proposal. This kind of tool in Mikey Boy’s hands? Oof.

    This would lead to the kind of cynical trades that sometime pop up in other leagues. Prime example – the New York Islanders trading for Tim Thomas’ contract so they could make the salary floor. Since Thomas is huddled in his bunker and didn’t report the Isles don’t have to pay him but this still eats up room to get them to the salary floor.

    Awful idea.


  85. chief67 says: Feb 14, 2013 3:47 PM

    If a team can sell or trade salary cap space , then there will be no salary cap … Jerra Jones and the Dan Syders of the NFL would buy up all the cap space they could get !

  86. cmr73 says: Feb 14, 2013 3:51 PM

    It’s a great idea. The CAP is in place to ensure competitive balance. The FLOOR is in place to ensure players get paid and owners spend money. It wouldn’t be that hard to track. It’s just accounting and is tracked by the league just as draft picks are handled year to year. Teams should be forced to be above FLOOR to trade available space. Competitive balance would still be in order as teams would have to give up picks and / or players for the CAP space. It’s a potential get out of jail free card for big spenders like Jerry Jones or Daniel Snyder … But comes with consequences as they could lose draft picks or young talent. They don’t just get to spend freely. Eventually it will catch up to them.

  87. granadafan says: Feb 14, 2013 3:54 PM

    The NFL is the very opposite of a free market. It’s essentially a monopoly, and is very socialist (the real definition, not the Conservative view of socialism when irrationally attacking Obama) in nature. The worst teams are rewarded with the highest draft pick, free agency is limited, teams can still retain players under a franchise tag, there is revenue sharing, etc.

  88. nj22 says: Feb 14, 2013 4:15 PM

    I agree with Jason49er 100%. Been saying that for a while. Don’t the NBA teams trade contracts in a way to manipulate the cap?

  89. bowsi says: Feb 14, 2013 4:16 PM

    What about the problem this would do the value of the tags. If a team buys cap space it’s essentially driving up the price for every position accross the board.

  90. dietrich43 says: Feb 14, 2013 4:37 PM

    Why not open it all up? Trade cap space, coaches, trainers, stadium seats, used jock straps.

    I dont see it working well, and it punishes fans of cheap owners. Mike Brown would trade cap space for cash, then pocket it. It would be like the Pirates in MLB, they make money despite losing for 20 years, so the Owner is happy with a cheap roster and a losing record.

  91. jaggedmark says: Feb 14, 2013 4:42 PM

    The NFL is miles ahead of every other league regarding competitive balance and quick turn around capability for bad teams. So by all means, change that. Bad idea.

  92. jimmysee says: Feb 14, 2013 4:45 PM

    Any team that would trade cap space would have a fan revolt on their hands.

  93. essentialsausage says: Feb 14, 2013 4:45 PM

    Terrible idea. This would essentially negate the entire point of the salary cap.

  94. frenchy121212 says: Feb 14, 2013 4:51 PM

    Nothing in sports is more funny to hear than “nfl parity”. There is none. It’s Febuary 2013. Any nfl fan can right now name at least half of the final 8 for next years season. I will take new England denver San Fran and green bay. And so would you. Don’t let then media tell you about nfl parity. It simply isn’t true.

  95. frenchy121212 says: Feb 14, 2013 4:52 PM

    jaggedmark says:
    Feb 14, 2013 4:42 PM
    The NFL is miles ahead of every other league regarding competitive balance and quick turn around capability for bad teams. So by all means, change that. Bad idea.

    Man that’s funny. Hilarious actually.

  96. atrain413 says: Feb 14, 2013 4:55 PM

    This is just a straight up stupid idea. Go back to being a lawyer cuz you are starting to remind me of Boras. Your stories are either old news or you come up with stupid ideas like trading cap space. It just sounds stupid saying/typing it.

  97. davearnone says: Feb 14, 2013 5:10 PM

    Something tells me teams that trade cap space for high round draft picks will have a much better chance of being good and staying good. It is a young man’s game.

    Teams that load up on older UFA will eventually have no youth, no picks and no wins.

  98. glac1 says: Feb 14, 2013 5:20 PM

    no. I prefer my team hires someone who can manage the cap properly….. Redistribution of wealth doesn’t work!

  99. dadawg77 says: Feb 14, 2013 5:21 PM

    People who think the cap is about parity are naive. Its about owners capping their costs.

    The idea sounds good. One thing is this would lead to teams tanking a year or two but rebuilding much faster. Not sure if the NFLPA would like it thou. What they might love is allowing teams to move bonus cap hits with a trade. Right now bonuses cap hit is accelerated so the sending team receives the hit. Allowing teams to agree to move the cap hit, allows one team to spend the bonus money (Cowboys) but trade the cap hit away if player is a bust. The receiving team could then cut the player taking the cap hit but not spending any cash. The sending team would then spend the cash on a new player thus getting the NFL to the cash spend minimum.

  100. glac1 says: Feb 14, 2013 5:21 PM

    No… I prefer that my team hires someone to manage the cap wisely! Redistribution of wealth doesn’t work!

  101. rg3sus says: Feb 14, 2013 5:33 PM

    I love the idea in theory but I see a few issues. One, it allows a team to throw a season or two and load on picks. Allows superstars to try and command even more Ridiclious salaries. Allows teams to go for broke and load up for just one year. This is just a start. In theory it’s cool, but opens far too many issues

  102. justintuckrule says: Feb 14, 2013 5:49 PM

    Cap trade would not turn the Cowboys into the Yankees or the Browns into the Pirates! There is still a FLOOR unlike baseball. What part of this is so difficult to understand?

    As a fan of a team with a great GM, I’d rather we trade AWAY cap space (if we had any) to stockpile picks instead of taking on more space and costly veterans. It’s a young man’s game and rookie 4 yr contracts are gold. JPP is a $100M player after 2014. Good thing we have him for peanuts until then. You give me picks and I’ll give you the space to buy a one-year rental on an aging, overpriced, underperforming free agent DE. We have plenty to spare!

  103. justintuckrule says: Feb 14, 2013 5:52 PM

    rg3sus says:
    Feb 14, 2013 5:33 PM
    I love the idea in theory but I see a few issues. One, it allows a team to throw a season or two and load on picks. Allows superstars to try and command even more Ridiclious salaries. Allows teams to go for broke and load up for just one year. This is just a start. In theory it’s cool, but opens far too many issues
    Your point??

    Don’t you think the Raiders wouldn’t LOVE to load up on picks? They’ve stunk for 10 years now overpaying and trading away. Trading cap space gives them a real opportunity to get good quick.

  104. gonavybeatarmy says: Feb 14, 2013 6:06 PM

    WWMD…What Would Mara Do?

  105. ultichiva says: Feb 14, 2013 6:47 PM

    Worked great in my auction fantasy football league.

  106. thepolitepunk says: Feb 14, 2013 7:01 PM

    I’m unsure. It might keep frugal owners like the Cardinals from ever being good enough to accidentally make the Super Bowl. I like the idea of trading it as a commodity so what if you can trade away 5 million in cap space but have to send 5 million dollars with it? That way you can pick up a draft pick for the space but can’t be a cheapskate just trying to pad the bottom line.

  107. mackcarrington says: Feb 14, 2013 7:09 PM

    This “story” has gotten more than 100 comments so far. Way to go Mike !!!

  108. helloanybodyhome says: Feb 14, 2013 7:30 PM

    Stupid idea

  109. lostsok says: Feb 14, 2013 7:32 PM

    God I hate the off-season.

  110. marcinhouston says: Feb 14, 2013 8:28 PM

    Two words: Florida Marlins. Nobody wants to see a team trade away all its cap space and start a team of backups. Also, the ability to trade cap space would amplify the rebuilding cycle to the point that a team that is willing to throw a few years by trading their veterans and present cap space for draft picks, young players, and future cap space (or picks/players that they can easily trade for that space later) will be hard to beat in their peak years. Rebuilding teams will be even easier to beat. Teams that try to stay consistent may find they can’t compete with teams that have 50% more cap space and a load of high draft picks in their prime that have thrown away their past and future for a narrow window. All this happens today, but it would be amplified. This would make for more unbalanced games, less drama about who will make the playoffs, more teams writing off seasons for rebuilding, etc. This will mean less fan interest, lower TV ratings, and lower ticket sales because any season that starts with say 12 teams in extreme rebuilding mode far under the cap with their veterans cut naturally will have less interesting games. It would bring NFL closer to the broken NBA and MLB models.

  111. rg3andthensome says: Feb 14, 2013 8:38 PM

    And Skins fans now just stare at the ground and draw circles with their toes as they whistle…Awkward…

    Wait…Am I allowed to say “Skins”?

  112. ftcsubs says: Feb 15, 2013 9:32 AM

    Dont make this into baseball. that is why the NFL is so great that there is a competitive balance. that is why there is 5 new teams every year in the playoffs. if you do it like baseball how much money could a team spend. look at the Yankees buying championships. I think that they mandating every team to spend more is actually going to make more equal playing field. what would you let Dan Snyder or jerry Jones spend 200 million per year. you would lose your equal playing field that everyone loves about football. being from a small market team in baseball we have to have the stars line up for a year to hope that every prospect comes together before we have to sell them off because they cant afford to keep them past thier initial contract. Football is great because of the competitive balance dont mess it up

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