When the new labor deal implemented a rookie wage scale, the league and the union sold the greatly reduced pay for incoming players by explaining that the windfalls that previously went to unproven players will go to veterans.
For the most part, that hasn’t happened. Especially this year, where free agency has been more tepid than ever.
“I think from talking to a lot of other guys . . . the players in free agency are not quite seeing the money that was promised by cutting down the rookie salaries when they came into the league,” free-agent defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Thursday night. “A lot of the big deals have been cut down, and a lot of the players who are going to be expecting big money either got cut or let go in some manner.
“And I think that’s what you’re seeing when people are saying [there's] a little buyer’s remorse. It’s because we’re expecting a lot more money on the veteran end, and it’s just been hard. We haven’t seen as much of it as we thought we would have.”
While the CBA now requires teams to spend 89 percent of the unadjusted cap on a four-year rolling average, that translates in 2013 to only $109.47 million per team.
Actually, nothing must be spent this year, because the teams have the next three years to make up the difference. Even then, 11 percent of each year’s spending limit can be pocketed by the teams.