In recent years, the salary cap hasn’t been going up by much. Which means spending hasn’t been going up much. With the cap going up, spending should go up, too. And the NFLPA is making sure that other forces, such as collusion, won’t be holding spending down.
Per a league source, the union conducted an informal conference call with a group of agents on Thursday to explore the question of whether any agents believe collusion is occurring. During the call, no agent came forward with any specific proof or allegation about collusive behavior in the marketplace. And for good reason; this year saw a record number of free-agent signings and total spending.
Still, with the cap going up $10 million per team this year and expected to continue to spike annually, the NFLPA will continue to monitor the situation, with specific attention being paid to veteran players who are cut with the excuse that the team needs salary-cap space.
Some have suspected collusion regarding the absence of long-term extensions for 2011 first-round picks. With cornerback Patrick Peterson receiving a five-year extension from the Cardinals and tackle Tyron Smith getting an eight-year extension from the Cowboys, the hope is that other teams will reward 2011 first-round picks who were underpaid by a system that guards against busts.